Sep-Oct, Year of Our Lord, 1997
Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
The December 15th deadline for us to voluntarily leave the land came and went quietly. We heard from people around the country who joined with us in prayer and fasting. Six weeks later, a SWAT team carrying Colt Automatic rifles forcibly moved us off the land.
Things have changed dramatically for us, but our God has been faithful. The enemy came in like a storm and threw us off the land, intending to knock us down so hard that we could never get up again. They must have thought they could shove us out and we would go away. But they did not count on how good our God is. The work He has given us to do is continuing. Praise His holy name.
We are once again doing the ministry as the Lord Jesus directs. We are producing Church documents, offering books and tapes and have a new mobile phone number. Our mailing address is the same.
Last month we drove back four Heaven-licensed vehicles from Nevada. Walter Blackmore and Ima Redeemed donated a school bus, motorhome, travel trailer and car to the ministry. This has been a tremendous blessing to us. How wonderfully our God provides. This is the first time in months that Rachel and I are sleeping in a bed where you can sit up and not hit the ceiling. Ah, life's small comforts.
While in Ely, Nevada, we attempted to visit David St. Pierre, who receives our newsletter. He is in the Maximum Security prison there. We spoke to Chaplain Kelly, a Catholic priest. He wanted to see some Church identification. When we pulled out a Kingdom of Heaven passport, Chaplain Kelly's face lit up. "This is a great idea," he said.
Chaplain Kelly checked our references and approved our visit. However, the warden stepped in and would not accept anything but State I.D. We explained that we were commanded by Jesus Christ to visit the prisoners and their rules were interfering with that command. We wanted to work it out, but we were ordered to leave the prison. May God have mercy upon them.
On our road trip, we had two friendly encounters with the police. Also, in Winnemucca, Nevada, the police started circling when they noticed our Heaven-licensed school bus and car parked on the street. Just as a squad car was slowly driving by for the second time, two Heaven motorhomes pulled up behind the bus and the four of us drove down the street in a convoy. Apparently, the police decided not to persecute us.
On August 8, 9 and 10, we sponsored a booth at the Preparedness Expo in Portland, Oregon. We welcome the wonderful new friends we met there.
Inside the Expo were speakers and information on government corruption and cover-ups, the New World Order, man-made viruses, alternative health, and self-reliant living. Outside were angry picketers claiming that the show promoted white supremacy. Imagine their surprise when the Expo Manager, Len Atencio, approached the protestors. The Manager is Hispanic! He diffused a tense situation by giving all the picketers free passes. Soon they put down their signs, came inside, and had their eyes opened.
I have to admit there were times during these last six months when men's cruelty to men made life almost unbearable. We have wept many tears. It was often difficult to go on. But we have now walked through the storm and found the Son shining on the other side. Christ has renewed our strength and given us hope.
Paul Revere, Pastor
1990 - 1997
By Brooke Celeste Revere, Age 17
"The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."
Girls! Wake up! Now!" I tried to open my eyes. Dawn was just starting to show over the trees and the motor home was still gray. I sat up and rubbed the sleep from my eyes.
"Mom, what's going on?" I mumbled as I reached for my clothes.
"Just get dressed!" There was an urgency in her tone. The dusk was very thick and I could barely see her standing in the hall. Two men in dark clothes were peering in from behind. Mom ordered them to leave so that we could dress.
"What do you think is going on?" I asked my thirteen year old sister.
"Just pray," she answered.
We walked out of the motor home that day with nothing. It would be many months before we would sleep in it again. Outside, men carrying machine guns were everywhere, most of them wearing dark clothes and nylon wind-breakers. I stumbled by them and headed for the church office.
As I climbed the porch steps, I noticed shattered glass everywhere. The large sliding glass door lay in a million pieces on the floor. Only a few jagged fragments still hung in the frame.
My heart sank. What has happened? I wondered. Numbly I stepped through the empty frame and looked around for Mom. She had disappeared after waking us, and I guessed she would be in the office.
When I found her, she informed me that this was a raid and that Dad had been arrested.
"For what?" I gasped.
"I'm not sure," she replied. "They just came busting in and claimed this was property of Marion County. Your Dad tried to explain to them that this was the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, but instead of listening, they arrested him."
A few minutes later the police loaded us into a van and drove us to the end of the property. We had not been allowed to take a vehicle or other provisions. They dumped us in the pouring rain to fend for ourselves. We did not know where we were going or what we would do. But God was watching over us and later neighbors offered us shelter.
As four of us - Mom, my sister Skye, Chris and I walked up the road in the downpour, I remember looking at Chris, the mentally challenged young man we were caring for. He had a wild look in his eyes. Someone had thrown a blanket over his shoulders, but he stood there shaking in terror, unable to grasp what was happening.
It was January 31, 1997. That day changed our lives forever. Everything on the church property was boxed up and taken to Lile Moving and Storage. This included boxes of books published by the church, all our computers and printing equipment, Church records, everything! All the vehicles were towed and stored at a small outdoor lot for several months.
We lost all our physical possessions; clothing, food, cooking supplies, blankets - they took it all. They had arrested two full-time staff members and the pastor himself on a charge called, "Obstructing Governmental Administration."
We later learned that the reason for the raid was that the Church had not paid property taxes, even though churches are not required to pay taxes.
The County had foreclosed upon the Church in secret. At the beginning of the proceedings, they assigned us an attorney and served him with all the paperwork. The only problem was that neither the court, nor the attorney, ever told us.
Also, the County Assessor never made a personal visit to the Church during the last nine years. The County apparently relied on the extensive field notes of the IRS. The only problem was that the IRS made a major mistake. They had investigated our neighbors, believing they were the Church. So neither the County Assessor nor the IRS ever physically visited the Church prior to the raid.
A few days after the raid, IRS investigator Mike Fargo traveled to the Embassy with County deputies. As he tried to turn into the neighbor's driveway, one of the deputies informed him that the Embassy gates were still a half mile down the road. Fargo later admitted to us, "I sure had egg on my face."
Several months and dozens of letters later, Lile Moving and Storage graciously returned all the Church's things. They were outraged by Marion County's actions against the Church. Also, Randy's towing returned all the towed vehicles and even paid for damage they did. Praise God.
"Mail call!" Christian rode up on his bicycle and skidded to a stop.
"Did that letter I was waiting for come?" Glen asked hopefully.
"Sorry, Glen," Christian replied as he propped the bike against a tree. "I didn't see it." With a sympathetic smile he took a paper bag from the bicycle rack and entered the bus.
"Excuse me. I'm sorry. Excuse me." He made his way between the crowded desks to the back of the narrow bus where Dad was on the phone. Dad nodded his appreciation as he took the bag and began date-stamping the mail inside. Then he sorted it and sent it out to the various desks to be processed.
Finally, six months after the raid, we are up and going again. It feels good to be back to church work, even if things are a little tight. We are swamped with things to do, filling out orders, talking to people on the phone, working on the newsletter.
Since the raid, God has blessed us with kind neighbors who are letting us park on their property. We set up our office in a 35-foot school bus, and although crowded, we have been able to function again.
Vehicles, motor homes and trailers have become our living quarters. Things are very different. Cooking for seven or more people out of a small motor home kitchen is a real challenge. And since there is no room to eat inside, we eat our meals on a big picnic table by the creek.
To bathe, we set garden hoses out in the sun to heat water and then attach a shower nozzle to one end.
When we were on the Embassy's thirty-four acres we made our own hydroelectricity, gravity fed drinking water from a spring and were nearly self-sufficient. We had been in the process of expanding our facilities. The foundation had already been poured for a stone chapel/meeting hall. We were planning more health retreats, as well as our yearly church retreats. Now, without land, these things seem far away. The County has auctioned off the Church grounds and locked the gates.
But we have new hopes. Now that we are mobile, we will be able to travel more. We are planning to attend more expositions and hold more meetings on the road. With the help of God, we are learning new ways to evangelize.
Some people say we are homeless gypsies. But we politely say, we are "camping."
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . .Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Until you are committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. But the moment you definitely commit yourself, then God moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help you, that would not have otherwise occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision. All manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and materials assistance, which no man could have dreamed, comes your way.
So make that commitment.
How did the Embassy of Heaven Church, which began by revelation from Jesus Christ in 1987, be violently ejected from the land ten years later?
The Church's stated purpose is to bring the lost into the Kingdom of Heaven where their sins are forgiven. In our many books, tapes and newsletters we advocate Christ's way of peace and forgiveness, not violence.
The County knows that when our people go to jail, we do not fight, we do not defend. We lay down our lives in prayer and fasting. Yet prior to the raid, Marion County Commissioners said they feared a tense standoff like the Freemen siege in Montana. "I believe it will escalate no matter what we do, not unlike the situation in Montana," Commissioner Randy Franke said. "I think we need to plan for the worst." (Statesman Journal, October 29, 1996, Salem, Oregon)
Franke refused to apologize, but regretted that he had made such remarks. However, the County still proceeded to use violence against us. Apparently fear and paranoia prevailed. The following key players are identified in the County's decision to execute a military raid against us.
Talking out of both sides
Back in 1990, the Church filed a Statement of Purpose documenting that the Church property was used for a nontaxable purpose. After reviewing the information supplied, the deputy tax collector, Basil Coxen, told us that our paperwork was in order. We signed a statement removing the property from its current use because it was now being used for Church purposes. The Deputy also said he would run our paperwork past "legal" as a formality, but he didn't expect any problems. Since 1990, that is where the paperwork sits. Instead of removing the property off the tax rolls, as expected, the County moved us to the highest taxing schedule where it remains.
Michael J. Hansen, legal counsel for Marion County, seems to have mastered the art of stonewalling. Even after scores of letters between the Church and the County, the Church remained on the tax rolls. Somehow the County has decided they are the Church's adversary and will not tell us specific reasons why the Church is still being taxed. Legal Counsel for the County, Michael J. Hansen, said in a November 25, 1996, letter, "We may debate the issue of whether or not the Marion County Assessor should have granted the exemption originally in 1990. Right or wrong, he did not do so."
Hansen has also stated that the information the Church supplied to the County was "wanting" or "insufficient." But Hansen steadfastly refuses to tell us what additional information is needed.
Hansen mixes stonewalling with confusion in an attempt to frustrate those to whom he is writing. Prior to the raid, our neighbors, Roy and Julia Basl, asked about the legal authority Marion County was using to evict the Church. Hansen wrote a three-page reply to their November 15, 1996. He said the Embassy must be organized in a particular way that can be legally recognized. In the same letter he admitted that the County was forbidden from interfering with church organization:
"Paul Revere did file a statement with the Marion County Assessor, claiming an exemption for the properties. The Assessor determined the information was insufficient to warrant an exemption. (For example, the Embassy need not be incorporated, but it must be organized in a way that the organization will be legally recognized and able to act as an organization and not just as an individual.)"
Later, in the same letter, Hansen admits:
"States and counties are forbidden from promoting religion and from interfering with church doctrine, belief, and organization." (November 25, 1996 letter)
Which way is it? Must the Church be organized in a way that the County can "legally recognize" or is the County forbidden from interfering with the way the Church is organized?
James Clayton has also been asking for justification for moving against the Embassy of Heaven Church. In his December 5, 1996, letter, he cited Article I, of the Bill of Rights and several pertinent Supreme Court Decisions. He then asked Legal Counsel Michael J. Hansen for a few remarks to ease his mind that Marion County's policy and procedures were not in conflict with Supreme Court decisions on separation of church and state.
"I will not engage in a debate over the Constitution with you." (December 17, 1996 letter)
Then Clayton humbled himself and wrote to Hansen:
"Far be it from me to suggest that you engage me in debate over the Constitution."
Clayton then reiterated his intent:
"What I was asking for, and perhaps not clearly enough, was your justification for moving against the Embassy of Heaven Church." (December 30, 1996 letter)
To which Hansen replied on January 9, 1997:
"As I stated in my last letter, I will not debate the Constitution and law with you."
Clayton clearly admitted he did not want a debate, he only wanted to know the justification for moving against the Embassy. Hansen avoided the question and restated a point that was already settled.
On December 3, 1996, Glen Stoll, wrote a short letter saying that he had reviewed hundreds of pages of paperwork concerning the Church, but found that the County had never addressed the basic question of how the County justified denying an exemption to the Embassy. He asked:
"How does Marion County justify denying an exemption to the Embassy of Heaven properties?"
"I believe that Paul Revere has maintained copies of all correspondence between Marion County and himself concerning the Embassy of Heaven Church properties. If, as you write, you are connected with the church, I am sure you can review your own copies." (December 17, 1996 letter)
This reply meant nothing to Stoll because he had already told Hansen he had been reviewing the files. More importantly, Stoll received no answer to how the County justified denying the exemption:
Glen Stoll asked again for the County's justification for denying the Church. Hansen replied:
"Marion County does not need to 'justify' its actions." (Hansen letter to Stoll dated December 31, 1996)
How does anyone get answers from someone intent on stonewalling us?
JANE ELLEN STONECIPHER, OSB 77362
Assistant Legal Counsel
When we first met Jane Ellen (Jo) Stonecipher, she was trembling. It was a few days after the raid. A delegation of about 12 Church members had come to visit Michael Hansen, Stonecipher's boss. We tried to reassure her that we came in peace and would not hurt her, but she continued to shake.
A few months later, Rachel Revere saw her while shopping. As Jo approached, Rachel's face lit up with a smile. Automatically Jo smiled, too. Then she recognized Rachel and her countenance fell. A look of terror came over her and she tried desperately to leave. But Brooke and Skye were in a half circle around their Mom and Jo could not get away fast enough.
Jo Stonecipher wrote us many letters during the time the Church was attempting to be removed from the tax rolls. She actively participated in the secret foreclosure process, submitting the Judgment and Decree against us. Jo was also the one who prepared the Writ of Assistance. The Writ authorized the use of force against us. The County, geared up to kill, employed the Salem SWAT team, a Light Armored Vehicle (LAV), a tank, Oregon State Police, Oregon National Guard, Marion County Sheriff, Salem Police, Stayton Police, IRS, and Children's Services Division.
We were surprised that the County did not use standard eviction procedures. The police admitted that the raid was not an eviction. We asked why the Church was not given an opportunity to be heard. They said that the Circuit Court Judge, Greg West, who signed the Order for a Writ of Assistance, did not think a hearing was necessary.
We are praying for Jo. She was out at the raid, observing the destruction as it happened. She knows a wrong has been done.
J. WILLIAM STORTZ, OSB #49093
Marion County foreclosed on the Embassy of Heaven Church in secret. How did the County get around the requirements to notify the Church during the court proceedings? Simple. They appointed J. William Stortz as our attorney. All serving of legal process went to J. William Stortz, the attorney of record, instead of us. This man went out of his way to sail us down the river. Never once did he or the court notify us that he was acting in our behalf.
Jane Ellen Stonecipher submitted an Order to the court that "an attorney at law should be appointed to represent all the defendants . . . and to examine into the matters alleged in the complaint herein, and subsequent proceedings, for the protection of any rights which the defendants, or each or any of them may have in the premises."
Attorney Stortz was appointed to represent the rights of the defendants. He makes answer, stating that he has examined the record of taxes and that there appears to be unpaid and delinquent real property taxes past due on each of the properties described in the complaint. He then "admits all the allegations of the complaint." He goes on to say that "plaintiff (Marion County) is entitled in law and in equity to have relief prayed for in its complaint, and that each and all of the said defendants . . . do not have a good defense to this suit, and decree should be entered in accordance with the prayer of the complaint."
How did Stortz know none of the defendants had a good defense? We were not even contacted during the proceedings. Finally, Duane R. Ertsgaard, Judge, signs a Judgment and Decree of foreclosure and it is dutifully sent, not to the owners of record, but to J. William Stortz, their attorney.
This is quite a nifty arrangement. The Court appoints an attorney to look after the defendants rights, but the attorney never contacts the defendants or even tells them what he is doing. Stortz relies on the records of Marion County to make his determinations, instead of contacting the defendants. After all, Marion County is paying him. Besides, the County saved all that money by serving all the paperwork on Stortz, instead of on each of the 176 defendants. After the decree of foreclosure was signed, owners could redeem their property during the next two years. In our case, this was difficult to even consider since we had not been notified of the foreclosure.
Oregon statutes require that at least one year prior to the end of redemption, that a warning notice be sent to the owner or lienholder containing the date of the judgment and decree, the date of expiration of the period of redemption, a legal description of the property and the name of the owner as it appears on the latest tax roll. There is also to be a warning to the effect that the property ordered sold under the judgment and decree, unless sooner redeemed, will be deeded to the county immediately upon expiration of the period of redemption. This notice is to be sent both by certified mail and by regular mail. (ORS 312.125)
We never received this notice. We asked the County to show us proof that we had been served notice, but they could show us nothing. The people who supposedly purchased the Embassy of Heaven Church for $119,000 received only a quit claim deed and local title companies say they will not issue title insurance on it. Part of the problem is that the Church did not receive notice and opportunity to be heard before being ejected. But a much bigger issue is that the County has no authority to eject the Church.
MIKE FARGO, Revenue Officer
Internal Revenue Service
I have the wrong place?
"Watch out for those people at the Embassy of Heaven. They patrol their fence line with armed guards." That's what local high school students were told. The source of this outlandish rumor puzzled us for years until we saw IRS Revenue Officer Mike Fargo's investigative notes.
In May of 1991, Fargo's notes show that he traveled to the Sublimity, Oregon post office to find out about Paul Revere. He picks up a backup address for Revere of 9020 Basl Hill Road SE, Stayton, Oregon 97383. This is not the address of the Embassy of Heaven Church. It is the location of Basl farm. We are not sure why Fargo was given that address. Back in 1991, the Embassy had no street address, only a post office box. Perhaps the postmistress just wrote the address of the nearest neighbor. However, this one piece of inaccurate information caused many people to err.
Fargo makes a field visit to the property and describes what he sees: "Small farm out in remote area. Hard to say if T/P (taxpayer) working adjacent acreage. Small nursery stock, pond, numerous buildings, all very old & run down." Fargo is describing the Basl farm, not the Church.
When Fargo arrived at Basl farms, he would have seen an airplane and several outdoor crosses on the hill. Since he knew Revere was a pilot and pastor, this might have confirmed in his mind that he had the right location. But he did not. Fargo spends the next six years believing Basl farm is the Embassy of Heaven property.
Fargo attempts to locate Mrs. Revere, but meets Mrs. Basl instead. Mrs. Basl tells us she remembers the visit. She vehemently denies being Mrs. Revere and tells Fargo he is at the wrong location. "The Embassy of Heaven Church is a half mile down the road," she says. But Fargo won't listen. He smugly nods and assumes she is lying.
A closer examination of Basl farm showed no visible Church activity. Fargo sees no retreat grounds with campsites, speaker's platform, outdoor kitchen, showers and restrooms. He doesn't see the main building with computer stations, surrounded by thousands of books and pamphlets, a printing press, tape duplicators, church records and supplies. He missed the stacks of chairs and a pulpit in the corner. He sees none of this because he is not at the Embassy.
What activity is visible at Basl farm? In the evening, Roy Basl, pistol and rifle in hand, walks his fence line looking for coyotes and bobcats that attack his sheep. Since the IRS thought that the Basl farm was the Church, the rumor spread that the Church patrols its borders with armed guards.
We believe that the IRS did such an extensive field investigation that Marion County Assessor chose not to make on- site visits to the Church. After all, it was easy to rely on Fargo's notes. And Michael Hansen, the County Attorney, shared the same office building with Mike Fargo. Perhaps they took coffee breaks together and laughed about the Embassy's claim to be a church. After all, armed guards and a couple crosses on the hill do not make a church.
Fargo's notes continue with many errors. He says Revere flew a private aircraft either without license or with weapons, his informer could not remember which. Fargo's notes say, "They had real difficulty serving T/P (taxpayer) with subpoena: He drew a knife on the process server. T/P is very dangerous and has gone off the deep end of the protestor movement. Feels he could easily shoot someone." Another collector said she "has done 0 collection as R/E ( real estate) is only asset & T/P (taxpayer) too dangerous to get close to." Fargo's notes even include a death wish on Mrs. Revere. "Their judgment stays forever & they are just hoping he outlives wife."
The judgment mentioned relates to flying without a pilot's license. There were no weapons charges. The subpoena server's affidavit was attached to Fargo's notes. The server makes no mention of Revere drawing a knife. All he says is Revere "was carrying a knife approximately one-foot in length." The "knife" was a corn cutter used to trim brush. The server just happened to catch Revere as he was trimming blackberries. Yet this corn cutter "knife" was used as the basis to declare Revere "too dangerous to get close to."
A few days after the raid, a search warrant was executed. About $15,000 worth of silver was found and turned over to the IRS. Fargo then joined Sgt. Duane Fletchall, Marion County Deputy, for a drive out to the Embassy to hunt for more silver.
When the car arrived at Basl farm, Fargo wanted to turn into the drive. Sgt. Fletchall stopped him. "No, this isn't the place. The Church is a half mile down the road." "Boy did I have egg on my face," Fargo later admitted to us.
They found no more silver. We told Fargo and other IRS employees that the silver seized at the Church did not belong to Pastor Revere. The coins were donations sent by Church members and were being saved for a new sanctuary. IRS ignored the truth, sold the coins, and kept the proceeds.
Marion County Sheriff's Office
I'm paid to look like
Pastor Revere remembers his first meeting with Sgt. Duane Fletchall:
Fletchall came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. In 1986, he came to the Embassy and arrested me shortly after the airplane crash. As I sat in the back of the Marion County patrol car, I said to him, "There sure are a lot of wild beasts out here."
Fletchall paused a minute and then agreed with me. I said, "You know something, there aren't very many of them, but there are a few lambs of God out here, too." The remark stirred him up a little. He started asking lots of intelligent questions about the Kingdom of Heaven. Soon he was deeply moved by the thought that he was carrying a lamb of God.
When we arrived at the Marion County Jail, Fletchall talked with various people and was concerned that I was treated well. "This is a good man. You be nice to him," he'd say. Later, Fletchall confessed, "I've been on the force for 12 years and you are the first one I haven't handcuffed."
That evening Fletchall called Rachel and apologized for having arrested me. "I'm sorry for what I had to do. Paul won't be coming home tonight. I want you to know that if you need anything, just call me, 24 hours a day." He was choked up and could hardly talk.
We began sending Fletchall newsletters and he came to the Embassy regularly through the years. He ate with us, brought his pastor out to visit, shared the media spotlight and heard many sermons. He even obtained a Heaven passport. But then something changed.
Fletchall was on the move and intended to run for sheriff in the next election. His superiors knew of our relationship and his ambition. We believe he was assigned the gruesome task of promoting us as advocates of violence.
Fletchall's notes show how much he is straining to do his job. He says, "In years past, Paul Revere has been extremely against the use of guns or people being in possession of guns, and he would not allow them on his property. Now he has changed his philosophy to telling me that he is not against people burying guns and that they can carry them, which is completely different from what he said in the past. This is a reversal of a hundred and eighty degrees (180) and that gravely concerns me." (Fletchall notes 07/01/96)
Yet Fletchall did not really believe what he said. In an October 29, 1996, Statesman Journal article, Fletchall says "It's unlikely that Revere would resort to force to prevent an eviction. 'In talking to Paul, he's advocating no violence,' he said."
The same article states, "As for commissioners' concerns about a possible clash, Revere said: 'We've been in the media for at least 10 years. Everyone knows how we have responded to violence. We have never returned violence. We've offered lemonade and cookies."
But somehow the decision was made to violently attack the Church. And Duane Fletchall was the man in charge of briefing the scores of police on the morning of the raid. And a few days later it was Fletchall who signed an affidavit in support of a search warrant. The search warrant allowed investigators to ransack every box and search through all the Church's possessions, which were in crates at a local storage company.
They were looking for records that would support "theft by deception" charges and evidence of affiliation with militia groups. According to the Statesman Journal, Fletchall "began a theft investigation of Revere, based on the theory that because he was persuading people to buy his Heaven license plates and other documents, the state of Oregon was losing revenue.
"All they discovered was that Oregon residents had spent about $1,900 on Heaven documents. The district attorney refused to file a theft charge, and Fletchall says he accepts that.
"Now Fletchall is under fire for leading an investigation that culminated in a military-style raid. The booty: little evidence, no criminal charges and a hefty bill for the county, which is paying thousands of dollars to store the Embassy of Heaven's possessions." (April 20, 1997, Statesman Journal)
When we tried to investigate the basis for the raid and search warrant, the records were sealed and remain sealed at the request of the sheriff.
When the Church's movable property was returned, one file was missing. It was Duane Fletchall's request for a passport and his declaration that he is a citizen of Heaven who has given his allegiance to Jesus Christ.
The sheriff and the undersheriff have recently taken early retirement, but there is little chance that Fletchall will win his bid for sheriff. Perhaps Fletchall imagined that the destruction of the Embassy would be his ticket into the Sheriff's office. Instead, he's been exposed as a bungler and a Judas. But how can we judge him? For all we know, Fletchall may have been the restraining force that saved us from being machine gunned to death. We pray that he humbles himself before God and seeks to do His will.
These four men and one woman were the obvious Church Molesters. There were probably many people supporting them behind the scenes. It is ironic that the County tried to charge Pastor Revere with "Theft by Deception." Look at what has been stolen and then identify the thieves.
During the execution of the search warrant, donations to the Church were stolen. Deputies smashed the Church's offering box and stole the cash inside. They drilled the safe, which was clearly labeled Church property, and stole the funds inside.
The County claimed the Church owed 16,000 in property taxes. Then they proceeded to auction off the Church grounds for 119,000. Why does the County get to keep the 103,000 balance? Why was the Church assessed property taxes in the first place? Who is really guilty of "Theft by Deception"?
Have you ever wondered what would happen if thieves rushed in and stole everything you had? Then, instead of the thieves going to jail, they throw you in the lockup. When they finally let you go, there is nothing to go back to. They didn't just take the valuable things. They took the junk, also. They didn't just take the movable property. They took the land and buildings, too. Then they locked the gates, leaving you no place to work or sleep.
Most people do not even know what happened to you because you can't make contact. Thieves have taken your address books, computers, every scrap of paper, every envelope. It is impossible to jump in the car and go visiting. They took all your cars, too. Even the junkers that didn't run.
You could certainly use a change of socks and a notebook. In fact, since you have nothing but what you are wearing, you'll have to repurchase all your clothes, food, utensils and bedding. But that will be difficult because the thieves stole your money, too. Even if you could obtain new supplies, you have nowhere to put them.
Some people could find a job and start over. But not you. You have no State papers - no driver license, no social security number.
Neighbors graciously provide sanctuary for you and your family. Others hear of your plight and send gifts and letters of encouragement. Then the thieves strike again. They find out you are still getting mail at the old location. They yank out your 3,500-pound mailbox. Then the post office starts throwing everything but the first class mail away. They tell you, "By next Monday, all first class mail will be 'returned to sender.'" No 30-day notice for you. You have no address. You have no standing. You are homeless.
You are systematically being cut off in every direction you turn, except one. That's what happened to us.
Friday, May 9, 1997
Reprinted from Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon
The military-style raid on the Embassy of Heaven Church has set a new and destructive precedent for state interference with the affairs of church. Upon what authority did a SWAT team carrying automatic weapons invade the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ?
The county justifies the raid by claiming the church owed more than $16,000 in property taxes. This is peculiar because in Oregon, churches are not required to pay property taxes.
The church filed the necessary papers for church exemption 10 years ago. But instead of removing the church from the tax roles as expected, the assessor raised the church taxes to full market value. Today, Marion County has laid claim to our church property and is enjoying political exemption from property taxes.
Our doors were always open. Yet not one person from the assessor's office ever bothered to tour the church. Not one. That is why their determinations against us were in error.
Visitors today see a small building with thousands of pieces of shattered glass scattered over the floor. Only a few months ago, the church building buzzed with activity. Crammed inside were workers at computer stations, surrounded by thousands of copies of books and pamphlets, a printing press, church records and supplies. Stacks of chairs and a pulpit in the corner quickly converted this multipurpose building into a house of worship.
Just beyond this building, the cement foundation has been poured for our new chapel. About $15,000 worth of coins that had been donated for this cause were seized and sold by the IRS following the raid.
Dotted through the woods is a covered speaker's platform for retreats, campsites, outdoor kitchen, picnic tables, showers and restrooms. They bear silent witness to the church that once thrived there.
Today, the gates to the church are padlocked. Even the 3,500-pound pillar that announced the Kingdom of Heaven Embassy was uprooted by the county.
History shows a bloody trail of despots shutting down churches and martyring men and women for their faith. Is this where we are headed in America?
The church has been raided, robbed, shackled and arrested. Every piece of church property has been fingered, inspected and judged - everything from baptismal records to long-johns, from my dad's old family Bible, which was rudely torn and thrown in a box, to the gallons of communion wine, which were poured on the ground.
We have been stripped bare before the judgment of the world. All our earthly goods have been seized. Yet the only "crime" we have committed is doing the Lord's work. We are not afraid to walk in the light. Marion County, what are you hiding? You shut up the Kingdom of God in men's faces, and you won't go in yourselves.
Let's open the sealed files so that the people can see the truth. If you erred, we forgive you. But now it is time to make amends. Do what is right and give back God's church.
Paul Revere is the ordained pastor of the Embassy of Heaven Church, an independent assembly.
Our neighbor, Roy Basl, was having breakfast when he felt the ground shaking and heard a horrible rumbling sound. He looked out to see a tank, complete with gun turret, headed down the road. His wife, Julia, was on her morning hike and the tank was so wide that the rubber tracks nearly mowed her down. Behind the tank was a long convoy of vans, squad cars, tow trucks, moving vans, and a light armored vehicle (LAV).
The SWAT team apparently wanted to arrive incognito. They were "hidden" in a bus marked boldly, "WINERY TOURS."
How did the County justify sending in a military tank on civilians? We were told the only time they can use such equipment is during war or for hostage rescue. The County got around this requirement by saying the military equipment was needed for "officer rescue." Was the County really fearful that the three gentle men at the Embassy were going to take hostages?
I don't believe it. And I don't think they did either. One week prior to the raid, a letter to the editor was published in the Salem paper. It said, "Paul Revere doesn't even own a water pistol, and the county knows it." (Arlan Blodgett, Statesman Journal, January 23, 1997) The County knew we had no weapons, but they were itching to use theirs.
If they really believed we were armed, why did they send most of their men into the clearing at the center of the 34 forested acres where they could be shot from behind every tree. Either they are fools or they knew we were harmless.
Rachel remembers the mood of the deputies as they hauled her and the children off the land:
As they drove us to the gates of the Church, the two deputies gloated over their victory. "I haven't had this much fun since the siege at ??? when I was in the Marines," said the younger one. I looked sadly out the window as young soldiers carrying colt automatic rifles marched two by two beside us.
Just moments before, the Salem SWAT team had busted the Church's sliding glass door and stormed the Embassy. An attack dog had run up the stairs as I was hurriedly trying to dress. "We've found another one," shouted a man in a dark jacket. No one showed badges or warrants. No one was in uniform and they refused to identify themselves. I looked outside, but there were no marked cars. There was a van marked "WINERY TOURS," but no squad cars. Moments earlier our neighbor had warned us that tanks and a huge convoy of vehicles were headed our way.
"This is Marion County property, don't move," someone shouted. A hideous sight filled the dimly lit room. Men, too many to count, poised their machine guns at us. My heart sank. This was it. There would be no more letters on securing the Church exemption. No day in court. No negotiation, just brute force. Paul spoke to me softly, "I'm sorry, Babe, I never thought it would come to this." Then in the power of the Spirit Paul commanded, "In the name of Jesus Christ, remove yourselves from God's sanctuary." Then he was quickly arrested.
The van stopped suddenly and jolted me back to reality. I knew it was the end of the ride. The cold rain pelted our faces as we stepped unto the road. "Go back and plead with them to let you stay dry just a few minutes more," I thought. But, no, these were not men with tenderness and compassion. Their forefathers herded men, women and children in boxcars and sent them off to concentration camps. For a brief moment, I envied those poor prisoners. At least they were given food and shelter. We were being thrown out in the cold to fend for ourselves. My sweet daughters looked expectantly up at me, "What now, Mom?"
"We will walk, children, and pray. Our Father knows our plight. He won't just leave us to die in the streets. He will show us the way he wants us to go."
On the morning of the raid, neighbors Roy and Julia Basl walked to the Church gates to investigate. They were threatened with arrest if they stepped one foot onto the Church grounds. A deputy told them everything was being done quietly and orderly. "We aren't expecting to have to use force." Nevertheless, no one was allowed to view this "orderly" process. And they had brought scores of men and weapons, "just in case."
The deputy said, "All the men and women are being arrested and we have secured a van to take the two girls to Children's Services Division." Roy and Julia's heart went out to Brooke and Skye and they pleaded with the deputies to allow the children to stay with them.
Down below at the Church, the arrest plan was modified when the SWAT team ran into Christopher Lee Jones. He is a young, mentally challenged man being taken care of by the Church. Rachel said to the intruders, "We're responsible for this man's welfare. He is on a special diet and must take all these supplements at specific times."
She pulled up a large box of bottles and started explaining Chris's care. We believe that the decision was made not to arrest Rachel because they did not want the liability for Chris Lee. With Mom not being arrested, there was no cause to take Brooke and Skye to Children's Services. God used Chris Lee, in his weakness, to save Mom and the children from the pain of separation.
God is indeed good. When we were in a hard way, He provided a wonderful cushion to fall on. Our neighbors, Roy and Julia Basl, gave us sanctuary in their home on the day of the raid. Five days later the men, Abraham, Christian and Paul were released from jail. All of us lived off the blessings of God's people, for we had nothing in the way of physical possessions except the clothes on our backs. No pillows, blankets, food, utensils - not even a change of socks. We stayed with our neighbors for the next four months until the Church property was auctioned.
We are now camping on our neighbor's land. He has opened his heart to us.
The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of paradise.
Each Sunday after the raid, between twenty and thirty of us stood outside the locked Church gates to worship. We stood through the hail, rain, sun and snow, praising God and sharing the gospel. Three people decided to bury their old self and begin a new life in Christ. After services, we climbed over the gates and hiked through the woods to witness the following baptisms in Mill Creek:
The following two baptisms were performed in a bathtub:
Witnesses were: Our Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, Holy Angels, and our enemy, Satan, gnashing his teeth in rage.
We first met Jerome (Joe) a few years ago when he visited the Embassy. He listened to the preaching on the Kingdom of Heaven and fired back many questions. It wasn't long before Joe was boldly driving under Heaven's authority. He was filled with a mighty power and quoted, "The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Daniel 11:32).
Joe was in his seventies and suffering from emphysema, but on fire for God. Then the inevitable happened. The police stopped him and he was dragged to jail. He tried to explain to the police that he must have his oxygen tank in the cell with him. "You're not getting any special treatment," they shouted as poor Joe grasped for breath.
The next day Joe was near death from struggling for air. The police, not wanting any liability, unceremoniously threw Joe on the street, along with his oxygen tank. After that harrowing experience, Joe decided not to drive, but he kept supporting the work of the Kingdom.
Joe was an avid reader and writer. He would research the FBI, ATF, CIA and the rest of the alphabet gang. Their schemes to control and abuse men, women and children made Joe angry. The anger would boil inside him, constricting his air passages so that he could hardly breathe. Then he learned a simple truth. "The moment I start hating a man, I become his slave." He thanked us for an article we published entitled, Getting Even because he saw himself:
The man I hate hounds me wherever I go. I cannot escape his tyrannical grasp on my mind . . . The man I hate may be many miles from my bedroom; but more cruel than any slave driver. He whips my thoughts into such a frenzy that my innerspring mattress becomes a rack of torture. The lowliest of the serfs can sleep, but not I. I really must acknowledge the fact that I am a slave to every man on whom I pour the vials of my wrath. (Quoted from the book, "None of These Diseases," by S.I. McMillen, M.D.)
Joe looked into Christ's answer and as his old self was crucified, he was filled with the Holy Spirit. The old spirit of wanting to get even was replaced by Christ's spirit who, when He was reviled, reviled not again. He began to let go of his focus on the wicked things and to think on those things that are true and honest, just, pure and lovely.
We remember Joe in the hospital a few days before he left us. As we sang hymns of praise, we could see the peace of God come over him and fill his heart and mind. Joe will be remembered for his many articles exposing the adversary. But he will also be remembered for something more. Joe was delivered from hate and learned to conquer through love.
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A week before the Church went on the auction block, Pastor Revere, Christian Livingstone and I were notified to show up in court on the charge of "Obstructing Government Process," or face arrest. Even though we smelled a rat, Pastor Paul and I decided to show in court. They had no intention of hearing the Church. Their purpose was to throw us in jail so we could not bear witness against their theft on auction day.
Judge Anglemeier tried to force Pastor Revere to sign a jail release form, for a nonjailable offense. But he would not bind himself. Pastor Revere decided to quietly walk out of the courtroom. When the judge discovered he was missing, she ordered, "Get him." Guards scurried everywhere trying to find him, getting jammed up in doorways like keystone cops. The Lord caused Paul to pass safely through the midst of their compound.
Unable to get her clutches on Paul, the judge came after me with a vengeance. I knew I was going down! She refused to recognize my Christian name and ordered my arrest. While they were handcuffing me I asked, "Are you arresting me for failing to appear while I am standing here before you?" "Yes," she admitted, and I was hauled to the lockup.
I shed a lot of tears in jail because of the physical abuse. After one of the guards drop-kicked my side, he mockingly said, "Your Jesus isn't here to save you." But later God sent his "angels" in the form of inmates who sang songs and read Bible verses to me through the walls of my solitary cell.
I was released eight days later, about one hour after the Church was sold to a local butcher, J.D. Bruce. Twelve had signed up to bid on the Church, but when they heard the truth, only Bruce decided to bid.
For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
What was the conflict that propelled Marion County to come with such a show of force against a tiny, unarmed Church? Marion County has taken the position that all churches must pay property taxes - unless they qualify for and are granted an exemption. Our position, however, is that no church pays property taxes. But in order for properties to be removed from the tax rolls, the church must secure the exemption by claiming it. Once the church notifies the assessor, it is the assessor's duty to remove the property from the tax rolls. The difference in positions is that the County wants us to apply for and receive a privilege. Our position is that God established this Church and if He said it, that settles it.
This battle is not so much a question of taxes as it is of Lordship. Who is going to be Lord of the Church? Is Marion County, State of Oregon, going to be lord over the Church, or is Jesus Christ going to be Lord over the Church? God does not share His glory with another. Neither can any man serve two masters, for he will love the one and hate the other. We know we have a very jealous God.
Jesus wants us to be in His bed, and it is a very private bed. If we become harlots and join the bed of others, then He can no longer sanction His bride.
Any church that incorporates or is recognized under the State or Federal government cannot possibly be the Church because they have separated themselves from Jesus Christ. In other words, if a church is recognized by the State, it is not the Church. It is the State. Therefore, if we want the protection of the Lord Jesus Christ, then let us remain with Him alone and let us stand until the end.
If the Church remains a Church under the Lord Jesus Christ, then their whole livelihood is Jesus Christ. They are not restricted from speaking out against abortion, homosexuality, and divorce and remarriage. But once the Church becomes a corporation of the State, then the State has an interest in what they preach. They can threaten to remove their tax exempt status for speaking in opposition to the State's policies.
The State church must use its property according to State dictates. They must apply for zoning and building permits. However, a Kingdom of Heaven Church is used exactly the way Jesus Christ desires the people to use that Church.
In a State corporation church, the States rules over them. They are blocked from truly being the Church. Jesus Christ becomes merely a figurehead. His true character is gutted out and His Kingdom ceases to be a present reality.
The State churches have fallen into a low position of having to jump through hoops for the State, just to claim what is already theirs. The County wants to do the same thing with us. They want to qualify us as a Church. But as soon as they start trying to qualify the Church, they enter into establishing religion. Now they are telling the Church what it can and cannot do.
The County has told us that we have not taken advantage of our statutory right to appeal the Assessor's denial. We believe we cannot appeal their decision. To appeal is to acknowledge that the County has the authority to qualify a Church and to grant or deny the Church an exemption. We continue to stand on the Lord Jesus Christ and are not subject to the State's procedures. A Christian follows truth wherever it takes him. The world, on the other hand, follows procedures, and not the truth.
We may have made a hundred errors, but we could not care less. We may have "missed appeal rights" and this and that, but it does not matter because we are seekers of Truth and that is what we want them to follow, too. Their forefathers used procedures to take Jesus off of the land. They had no accusations against Him. They crucified a perfect man. And their procedures crucified Him.
Now they have come against our Lord Jesus Christ by removing His Church from the land. And they are hoping to prevail, not because Truth is on their side, but because they have followed their procedures.
By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
"Mirror, Mirror on the wall,
Ain't I the greatest of them all?"
Every day Queen Marion would consult her mirror. Every day the mirror would reply:
"Yes, O Marion, that is true.
Everyone fears and bows to you."
But one day the mirror gave a different answer.
"Out in the hills so peaceful and free,
Is a maiden who never bows to thee."
"What! How can this be?
A maiden who will not submit to me?"
Furious, she called in her loyal henchman and ordered:
"You must talk to the one who thinks she's free
Have her sign these forms and we'll let her be."
When the henchman returned, he reported:
"The beautiful maiden has made her own form.
This is something quite out of the norm."
Queen Marion turned purple with rage. She called her soldiers and said:
"How dare she defy me, this is her fate,
Take her land and lock the gate."
The henchman did as they were told and threw the maiden on the street.
The wicked queen thought she had won,
But the people awoke and saw what was done.
Out of the tribulation and the pain,
Was broken the spell of Queen Marion's reign.
By Christian Livingstone
Marion County and others conducted a military raid and seizure of Embassy of Heaven Church on January 31, 1997. Church staff was jailed, Church records taken, Church funds confiscated, the Church grounds padlocked and the land sold at public auction.
The State, through its political subdivision, was demanding that the Church produce a large amount of money ($16,000) for property tax, or else be destroyed by them. Most churches in America and organizations like the Y.M.C.A., Planned Parenthood, Masonic Lodges, etc. receive the privilege of a property tax-exemption by becoming a state corporation. The state Attorney General becomes the Head over these state creations. But churches are not required to be state incorporated in order to be excluded from property tax rolls. Interestingly, Virginia law even prohibits churches from state incorporation. The Embassy is not state-incorporated, nor has it applied to the U.S. federal government for 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization privileges.
The modern Caesars now expects the Body of Christ to submit to their lordship through registration, compliance, periodic reports, fees, pledges and ongoing supervision. Even though many of their constitutions declare that they have perfect toleration for religion, they do not! The modern Caesar is beginning to resemble Nero Caesar, who plagued the Christians in the first century A.D..
Basically, Oregon statutes say that the Tax Assessor shall remove church property from the tax roll after notification is made by the church. The Church gave notice beginning in 1987. The Church has continued its attempt to settle this matter. The Church property was deeded and recorded in 1988 as belonging to the Embassy of Heaven Church. County Commissioner Randall Franke did mention in an Oregon newspaper that he thought the F.B.I. should be consulted to remove the Church. Members across America sent Marion County officials a flurry of mail shortly before the raid, asking them to reconsider their threats. The Church was not sent a statutory Notice of Redemption Expiration and Warning previous to the raid. Even now, the Church seeks nothing more than restoration.
Marion County Legal Counsel, Michael Hansen, was claiming that Embassy of Heaven Church and all churches are subject to property tax unless they are qualified and granted an exemption by Doug Ebner, the Tax Assessor. Doug Ebner establishes religions for Marion County. Of course, he is not authorized to do so. State and federal constitutions, court cases and even their statutes affirm that the Church is not subject to state establishment, qualification, regulation or tax assessment. In 1990, all of the County questions and objections were satisfied and everything seemed to be cleared-up nicely. Legal Counsel suddenly began to evade, in writing, the inquiries by the Church, and have continued this pattern for the past seven years. Marion County Commissioners, and others, are refusing to give their basis or justification for the destruction of the efforts of Jesus Christ at the Embassy of Heaven. Righteousness and Oregon law seem to indicate that State, County, City and federal officials are active church molesters.
Friday, January 31, 1997 was a dark and rainy morning. There were seven people on the 34-acre Embassy of Heaven Church grounds. At about 7:35 a.m., a half mile away, Roy Basl felt the ground rumbling from tank tracks on the asphalt road. Roy telephoned Pastor Paul Revere that the Church was about to be taken out by a convoy of vehicles. Minutes later, a full load of agents (later found to be City of Salem's SWAT Team) wearing blue jeans and windbreakers arrived at the main Church building under the disguise of a civilian shuttle bus. These men had attack dogs and were carrying automatic rifles. They broke through the front sliding glass door of the Church. The Embassy is a 24-hour a day ministry in which the front door is never locked.
Up on the hill, at about 7:50 a.m., Abraham, a longtime church staff member, was quickly arrested by a group of deputies that dressed in recognizable uniforms. Abraham was bound at his hands and feet after telling the men that they were not in Marion County and were trespassing on the Kingdom of Heaven. These men also carried automatic rifles.
At about 7:55 a.m., in the Retreat area of the grounds, I was told by men with automatic rifles to leave the work that God had called me to do at the Embassy of Heaven. I told these men that I would not help them do their evil and wicked deeds. They immediately arrested me by placing cuffs at my wrists. I was on my knees as these men expected me to get up and walk with them. Again, I told them that I would not help them do their evil, but that I would not try to stop them. I told them that I forgave them for treating me in a way that they would not want to be treated. Some more men carried me to where Abraham was. I asked them to repent of their wickedness and follow Jesus Christ by quitting their job of violence.
We could see police vehicles all along the road, with mobile command posts, big moving vans and other support units. The tank was a short distance away perched on a hill, just out of sight from the Embassy. There were probably more than 100 people from various agencies who were involved in the raid. Abraham and I sat in the rain for an hour as we were restrained and under the guard of about ten men. We bore witness verbally to their hostile deeds while also calling them to repent and begin to follow Christ. Other men continued to make searches at the Church. The place was crawling with bureaucratic enforcers.
Three Church staff were taken to jail, Pastor Paul Revere, Abe and me. We were charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration, a maximum one-year jailable offense. During the transporting, we witnessed to these men who had sworn an oath which demands disobedience to Christ. The deputies asked Abe and me for a date-of- birth, social security number, and if we were employed, which we refused. Even these deputies seemed to sense how ludicrous their questions were.
Upon intake at Marion County Jail, the Peace of Christ was upon me. I witnessed very clearly and loudly. I was dragged, slammed and photographed with several gloved hands forcing my face and neck. I invoked the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I invoked the concept of the Golden Rule as it applied to their actions against the Church directly. I told them I would not help them in their evil against the Church, but that I would not try to strike out at them as they did their evil deeds. I told them that I forgave them for their trespass against me. I told them that there were other jobs that they could do that didn't violate the teachings of Christ. Later, jail supervisors said that we would be treated humanely. All three of us were to be housed in one cell together.
We walked to a general population housing unit of the jail. We were given some linen items and a cell. One of the guards demanded that I take an I.D. card to the cell. I told him that I didn't need it. This man immediately took a can of tear gas and held it in front of my face. He said he was going to spray me if I did not obey him. I sat down on the floor and told this man that I wouldn't try to stop him. This guard became even more enraged and out of control. He grabbed his handcuffs and forced them as tightly as possible onto one wrist. My left wrist was wrenched back and forth repeatedly. This man was trying to cause a lot of pain and injury. Other guards came to drag me off to a detention cell. I yelled loudly, Father forgive them for they know not what they do. As they forced me down a hallway, I asked them to find the courage to love others by quitting their job of hostility toward people. As they slammed me into a cell, I verbally forgave them for their trespass against me, and told them that Jesus would too, if they asked Him.
After about an hour in the hole, I was asked if I'd like to be reunited with Pastor Revere and Abe. Pastor Revere was able to accomplish this with the jail. So, the three of us were finally celled-in on some other housing unit. We were all in agreement about fasting until the time of our release. We were able to come out of the cell for one hour per day. Paul telephoned Rachel daily. All Church vehicles were removed by Randy's Towing in Stayton. Randy Cranston had a bill of $1400 for the towing, and a daily charge of $166 for storing the nine vehicles outdoors. This is nearly $5000 monthly. Lile Moving Company, in Salem, had spent four days taking all other Church property to an indoor warehouse at a charge of $14,000. Lile had a storage charge of $300 per month. The Church was now homeless.
On Tuesday, February 4, 1997, the three of us went to a pre-arraignment hearing. The courtroom was packed. There were a lot of Church people that I recognized. We were cuffed, in jail clothes and placed consecutively in a small glass enclosure with a microphone. There was a black-robed State employee there, Loraine Anglemeier. I told her that my name was Christian Livingstone, that Marion County and this State were trespassing on the Church, that the court lacked jurisdiction, that I had no need to answer in the matter, that if she wanted to speak further, that Pastor Revere was the designated Church spokesman. This judge noted the jurisdictional challenge and issued court orders anyway. Pastor Revere and Abraham made similar statements, and more. On each of us, the charge of Obstructing Governmental Administration was reduced to a violation, a nonjailable $250 fine. We were ordered to return to the court on Monday, February 24th. Orders were also given to obtain fingerprints and photographs before our release from custody.
After we were returned to the cell, Sergeant Martin asked if we would consent to fingerprints and photos in order to be released. We all declined. The court was still in session and we sent the papers back writing that the court orders were in violation of our conscience. Some time later, Sergeant Martin came back and informed us that it was all settled. He said that we just needed to pick up our property in order to be released. He said that, one-at-a-time was the normal release process. We suspected that he was trying to deceive us. He was.
The three of us were leaving. Paul was first. He was escorted with Sergeant Martin for release. About 30 minutes later they came for me. Two men escorted me through hallways and I was given my clothes. There were now several guards who were anxiously standing by. I asked them if they were expecting something? They denied it. I was led further, into the front desk area of the jail. About nine men began grabbing me. They were twisting my arms behind my back. They were pulling my hair and head backwards. They had their hands at my neck. One man was holding a can of tear gas in front of my face. One man reached upwards from behind me and between my legs as he grabbed my testicles and squeezed them for nearly three minutes. I yelled out twice that he was grabbing my testicles. Others were forcing my fingers to spread apart into two-digit groups. After about 10 minutes, these men finally got ink prints from my hands and another photograph with their hands holding my face.
The Spirit of Christ was with me in a powerful way during this brutal incident. I witnessed very loudly to these men that they were in violation of the Law of Jesus Christ, the Golden Rule. I told them that they lied to me about being released from their jail. These men were speechless. I stated that I forgave them for treating me in a way that they would not like to be treated. I told them that I did not hate them, even though they hated me. The more I spoke, the harder they seemed to handle my body. I told them that I would not treat them the way they were treating me. I proclaimed that I was praying for each one of them as I tried to make eye-contact with everyone. I invited them to consider becoming a Christian by starting to obey the teachings of Christ and loving other people.
There were about a dozen more jail employees behind the front desk who witnessed this event. I began to witness to them. The others were continuing to do their duty and violence. I demanded to know if they all thought that the money the county paid them was a good enough reason to do evil. I repeatedly invited them all to quit their jobs. I told them that they could get a different job. One of the women behind the desk broke down and was crying as she tried to hide her face. Other desk personnel also seemed to be looking for places to hide their faces. Finally, one of the men handling me said that the Bible says that I was supposed to obey every order he made. I shouted loudly that Jesus is Lord of His Church, and that the State does not command the Church. Once more, they were silent.
They began to force me out of their jail. A nurse thought that I might be injured. I told her that they did not hurt me, that I was praying for them, that I forgave them for their trespasses against me. I walked out the door and into the parking lot. Pastor Paul Revere and other Church people were waiting in the parking lot. Pastor Paul had witnessed to them in the same way. He was given brutal treatment, too, and had at least one fractured finger. Abraham came out 20 minutes later. He also had a similar experience.
Tuesday, February 4th, was the day we got out of jail and a Witch Hunt was beginning. It was five days after the raid. All of the property removed from the Embassy was inventoried and placed at Lile Moving Company. All of the items and Church records testified to a vital ministry of Christ and His Kingdom of Peace. County officials were very needy to find some tangible evidence to support their warlike actions on a Church. Sergeant Fletchall swore out an Affidavit as support for a Search Warrant to seize Church property that was in storage at Lile Moving Company.
Days later, at the very time and place Glen Stoll and I were attempting to obtain a copy of the Affidavit, the Sheriffs Department got an order from Judge Don Dickey to seal the file. What did the Search and Seizure reveal? Only that they had molested a Church. No charges were issued. No surprise.
During the Search and Seizure, about $15,000. in junk-silver coins were seized by the I.R.S. The I.R.S. wanted to believe these coins were the personal property of Pastor Revere. This was my impression as I listened to Agent Mike Fargo at the I.R.S. Office, in Salem. Glen Stoll is the Church's Property Manager. I told Agent Fargo that Glen and I were the proper claimants of the Church funds. Embassy of Heaven Church solicits, on its newsletter, for donations in silver rather than checks. After many meetings and exchanges, the I.R.S. auctioned off the Church funds on March 14th. The funds were earmarked for a new Chapel building as the Embassy's main Church building was converted from a house-type structure. The concrete foundation has already been laid for the new Chapel.
Elyn Lyon, Marion County Property Manager had apparently heard that there was still activity at the Church mailbox. It's a custom locking box, fixed onto a cornerstone built by the Church. Elyn Lyon promptly sent some County heavy equipment to unearth the 3500-pound concrete pillar that extended deep into the ground.
On May 12, 1997 Elyn Lyon telephoned the Church to inform us that the mailbox is County property and cannot be retrieved by us. Elyn Lyon consulted with Michael Hansen before speaking with us.
Elyn Lyon announced that the Church grounds would be auctioned off on May 23, 1997. The market value is $119,300 and the unsealed bidding would begin at $119,000. No warrantee deed is offered and the County will only convey the property through quit claim.
Two property title companies have been helpful in showing that the deed will be clouded if the County proceeds to transfer Church property.
Governor John Kitzhaber's Office staff has claimed no involvement by the State of Oregon. I've been in that Office a few times listening to the denial. After one of these visits, Oregon State Police (OSP) followed us inside the Capitol Building for three hours. Early on, Lieutenant Robert Miller, of OSP informed us in writing that they only received a courtesy phone call on the day of the raid from a Marion County Sergeant. But, it was Governor Kitzhaber's military equipment that was brought to the Church. It was Lieutenant Geistwhite of the OSP that arranged the chain of command with the Oregon Military Department. It was Colonel Pritt who approved the mission. Lieutenant Hays, of the City of Salem SWAT Team, made the request on January 30, 1997, by a verbal order that was recorded on form ORCD-570-003. The mission had a desired goal stated as: Officer Rescue. Did the SWAT Team, the County Sheriff and the State Police really fear that a few humble Church staff would take them hostage? I doubt it!
Marion County's Legal Counsel, in three separate letters dated in February, gave advice to Lile Moving Company and Randy's Towing. Initially, Michael Hansen advised these groups, in writing, to release all property and vehicles to the Church. But, about a week later Hansen sent letters saying he expects these two groups to exercise possessory liens against the Church, and auction property to reduce the billing to the County. Hansen wanted sale of Church property to pay for services that the County requested.
Lile had a bright law firm that quickly showed that Marion County Legal Counsel was attempting to lead Lile, Inc. into a misapplication of O.R.S. 87.152. Possessory liens are only lawful between parties where a contract exists. Lile decided not to unlawfully damage the Church further. On March 5th, the people at Lile made the Church property available for release at no cost and demanded that Marion County pay its bills. They were very helpful. May the Lord bless them richly.
On Friday, May 9th, Randy's Towing finally released the Church vehicles. Randy Cranston had held them for about three and a half months. He was quite hostile toward the Church, at times. We explained that Michael Hansen was giving him bad advice. After speaking with him, we requested an ecclesiastical meeting. Embassy staff brought the matter before Randy and his Pastor, Roger Pederson, of the Church of Christ, in Stayton. Randy's Pastor seemed to sympathize with us, but had little influence on Randy, who was dead set on auctioning off all Church vehicles. Even before they had been released, Farmers Insurance paid the Church for water and mildew damage that occurred to four vehicles while at Randy's storage yard. It seems that it was Randy's insurance company that finally convinced him not to cause the Church to also suffer the loss of the vehicles. Before the vehicles were released from Randy's Tow Yard, the Kingdom of Heaven license plates and Church documents were taken. Please pray for Randy.
Franz Jenniches of ACME Towing and Santiam Towing were responsible for returning the Church vehicles at no charge. Santiam towed all nine vehicles which included a motorhome, a travel trailer and an extra large camper. These vehicles provide housing for Church staff. May the lord Bless the efforts of these two groups.
Every Sunday, at the padlocked gate of the Embassy of Heaven a service is given. Pastor Revere delivers the sermon, plays guitar, and we all sing from the Embassy Songbook. An average crowd is about 30 people, even in the rain. Recently, over a five-week span, three people have come forward to be baptized. One of them was even Pastor Revere's own daughter, Brooke. She said that it was now her own decision to be part of Christ's Kingdom and not just a family thing anymore.
Three letters arrived recently from Dale Penn's Office. He reissued the original charge of Obstructing Governmental Administration. Three and a half months earlier this charge was reduced to a nonjailable offence on the three of us who were jailed. We did not appear on February 24, 1997, and this charge was discontinued. Now the State was demanding again, that we appear on May 15, 1997. The threat of a request for an arrest warrant to be issued has been made by Tracy A. Prall, Deputy District Attorney, should we fail to appear.
Regardless of what men and women of the world do, we will follow the True Sovereign of Heaven and earth. As God is willing, we will continue to teach all nations. We will help the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the dead to rise up and walk. May the Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you as you take your place in His Kingdom.
You and your precious family have been in my thoughts and prayers. We really miss your newsletter and also Skye's. My grandson, who is seven, asked me if Skye had forgotten him. I tried to explain, but I don't think he really understood.
Skye Revere is again putting out her children's newsletter. It is called Kingdom Canyon Press
by William Moore
Once upon a time there was a duck that lived in a puddle, not because he wanted to, but because that was where he was told to live. As a matter of life the duck was told by so many teachers the exact manner in which he should live. Then one day, the duck came upon a book that spoke of many new and wonderful things, many of which the duck did not understand. Fortunately for the duck, a whole new set of teachers came to the rescue and explained the meaning of the book.
Over the years as the duck studied the book, he saw that what the teachers taught and how they lived was different from what the book said. The duck was told not to ask so many questions, but to accept what the teachers taught because they were the ones that had knowledge.
Some years later, after much lamentation, the duck found a teacher who took to heart what the book said. He was committed to living according to the words written therein. Through the words of this teacher, the duck was able to better understand what was written in the book. The duck saw the puddle for what it was - a prison. He also saw that there was a wonderful pond a short distance away. And to his great surprise, just beyond the pond was a beautiful lake. The duck knew that his place was there at the lake, but how was the duck to get there?
Realizing that up to this point the duck had been living a lie, he was filled with grief and mourned for many days. When the time of mourning was over, the duck got up and cried out with a loud voice, "How am I to reach the lake?" Unfortunately for the reader, this is as far as the story goes. Fortunately for the duck, as long as he has breath in his body, he will seek to reach that lake.
Thank you so very much for showing this silly duck more of the kingdom than he ever dreamed of. When someone realizes that he has been living a lie for his whole life, then obtains a view of the kingdom from a distance, the whole experience can be overwhelming. I have been overwhelmed lately. Your faithfulness has been such a blessing and encouragement. I can see that this is a long, hard journey that we were born to, but so few even attempt.
"Paul, I'm sorry about what the County did to you."
I looked over at the counter as I entered the computer store and recognized Gary, a man who had cited me several times.
"Don't worry about me," he said, as he noticed the concerned look on my face. "I'm no longer a cop. I got tired of having to discipline kids that had gone bad. I'm teaching shop at the high school. Maybe I can do them some good before they go bad."
Gary had grown a beard and put on a few pounds after leaving the cop shop. There was a new tenderness in his voice. We talked about the raid and Gary expressed his frustration at our loss. "Why didn't you just pay the County the $16,000 in taxes? Heck! I would have lent you the money. I even thought about contacting you after the County said you could buy back the place for $65,000. Surely there must have been some way you could have come up with the money?"
Then he looked at me and perceived the truth. "Oh," he said slowly, "it wasn't a matter of money, was it? You were standing for a principle."
"Yes," I said, "they tried to tax the Church and then they wiped us out when we wouldn't pay."
Gary listened for a minute, then walked away, a sadder man, but wiser now.
If you believe you receive property and possessions, spouse and children, because of your efforts and abilities, then you will seek to be compensated when you lose these things. You will want to protect and defend your investments. You will call the police or go to court if these things are taken from you.
On the other hand, if you believe that all you have, property and possessions, spouse and children, are a gift from God, then when you lose these things, you will say with all faith and boldness, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes. May His will be done."