Workers, Friends, Home Church, The Truth, The Way, Meetings, Gospel, Cooneyites, Christian Conventions, Hymns Old & New
Preserving the Truth
The Church without a Name and its Founder, William Irvine

Introduction Index of Chapters
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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O Bio Truth?

Chapter 38
Revised June 30, 2017

1954 - 1979
The THIRD Exodus

1954: "A Spiritual Fraud Exposed" is distributed
Aftermath of "A Spiritual Fraud Exposed"
Fred Hanowell
Virgil Simpson
Claude McHenry Picketed Convention Grounds
1976: Irish Worker Tells Americas about Sect's Beginning

 1954: "A SPIRITUAL FRAUD EXPOSED."  To defend himself and also because he felt he should share the startling information he had discovered, Doug Parker published the results of his investigation in 1954. It was printed on 13" x 17" paper, folded like a newspaper, and was called by many terms: a paper, pamphlet, circular, newspaper, booklet, etc. The Exposé was titled: "A Spiritual Fraud Exposed."  This was the start of the Third Exodus from the 2x2 Sect.

It is quite remarkable that Doug personally conducted his investigation in 1954-55, when he was a young man about 24-25 years old. The Exposé contained written text, as well as copies of letters, newspaper articles, statements and photographs. His purpose in publishing his research was provided the first paragraph:

"Having completed a world-wide investigation of a religious sect that claimed amongst its victims myself and family, I now feel it my duty after discovering what has been so cunningly concealed, to circulate this challenging exposure. Thousands of people the world over are being deliberately misled by this bogus religious sect that is hidden under the cloak of 'he Truth,' and where origin can be traced to an unbalanced Evangelist, William Irvine. The endless pathway of destructed lives, caused by the activities and misinterpretations of this man, who classed his spiritual enterprise as an experiment in Christianity, is most certainly a pathetic tragedy...

"These men have circulated that my money was too big a sacrifice to relinquish, and was the consequent reason for my severance from their company. This is just another lie, and I challenge Mr. John Hardie (the Australian leader) or any other person to prove otherwise. Because of the amazing response to this exposure, with letters of appreciation from so many people who have suffered through this tyranny, I now take pleasure in going to press once again."

Suffice to say, the Senior Workers did not welcome the information in Parker's Exposé. Some even intercepted and destroyed the envelope containing the pamphlet which was addressed to their younger companions. Ruth Miller wrote about her husband, Fred Miller:

"Fred was a young Worker at that time. Printings came out to all the Workers in most areas. His companion kept the mail from him and prevented his learning of it then. He simply knew 'something' was going on. And, of course, he knew he wasn't supposed to ask" (Ruth Miller Letter to J. S. dated July 4, 1988*). Fred Miller wrote: "I was in the work in 1954 when the newspaper from Doug came out. I heard nothing but bad and evil things about him…" (Fred Miller's letter to K. Lewis, June 18, 1995*).

The FIRST EXODUS occurred in 1914 when Wm. Irvine was removed from leadership his loyal followers left with him.
The SECOND EXODUS was the Division of 1928, when Ed Cooney was put out and his loyal followers left with him. 
The THIRD EXODUS was caused by Doug Parker in 1954 when he published "A Spiritual Fraud Exposed." 
TheFOURTH EXODUS occurred after Parker published the book The Secret Sect–and is still in progress, assisted by the internet, and publication of many other books.

THE AFTERMATH OF THE EXPOSE':  After reading Parker's pamphlet, some Friends and even some Workers questioned the Senior Workers. Some Friends left the 2x2 Sect, and some Workers left the Work. Some Workers left both the Work and the 2x2 Sect altogether. Many of those who left or were forced out in the 1950s formed a loose-knit support network, as did those of the Fourth Exodus via email and the internet. 

With the circulation of A Spiritual Fraud Exposed, the legend began to crumble that the 2x2 Sect started on the shores of Galilee; or had been in existence since Jesus sent out his 12 disciples; or began with the foundation of the world, etc.  When Workers were questioned about Wm Irvine, they soon came up with numerous explanations discounting the role he had played in starting the 2x2 Sect, none of which overcome the documented history. Some of the Friends were persuaded to believe them, while others, such as the people in the following paragraphs, were greatly troubled:

FRED HANOWELL was born in Germany, and immigrated with his mother to Canada at age 13; then later immigrated to America. He went in the work in 1919 in Washington, and was sent to Germany in 1922-23, where he was in the Work until 1935. He then married Hanna, one of his converts. At the time of their marriage, Fred was 41 and Hanna was 24. Their plans to preach together as a married couple did not materialize. Hitler had been in power for two years, and Fred was forbidden by the German government to continue preaching. Meeting in Germany were held clandestinely, and Conventions were discontinued until 1946. Three children were born to the Hanowells.

It would be an understatement to say that Fred was very disappointed when he learned the American workers had registered an official name for the group, the Christian Conventions. His son, Dr. Manford Hanowell, wrote his recollection of the time when they learned in 1958:

“...of what had happened in the U.S., when the workers there had a number of years previously assumed the name of Christian Conventions…the news was a shattering experience for us, and at first it seemed as though the firm ground on which we were standing was, as it were, being drawn away from under our feet….For Fred there was never any other name but THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST. In several discussions with Workers and Saints alike, he pointed this out very clearly. However, hardly anybody would listen to Fred, certainly none of the Workers. Unfriendly letters were written, the Saints were warned not to have any fellowship with us, and we were more or less shunned….Over the many years we have both experienced hostility from various quarters and heard about similar experiences of others. When my father visited America in 1960-61, word had obviously got around, and he was virtually ostracized by many of his former friends and even by those who had heard the truth through him. It would seem that one of the main reasons for the name-giving was the idea that the workers (as 'ordained ministers,' so to speak) should be exempt from military service."

Manford has in his possession a letter on Christian Convention letterhead dated Feb. 22, 1933 written by Jack Carroll to his father. It was “an invitation by Jack Carroll addressed to Fred Hanowell, in which Jack says that he is very glad to hear that Fred is planning on a visit to the United States and he assures him of a hearty welcome to Washington." This shows the name of Christian Conventions had been assumed well before WWII began. Fred was 77 years old when he wrote a long informative letter around 1964 to Fred and Ruth Miller about his life. His eldest son, Dr. Manford Hanowell, has also written an Account of Fred Hanowell. Click Here to read these items.

VIRGIL SIMPSON has been a somewhat mysterious figure of the past, and verifiable data has not surfaced regarding some of his alleged activities. Virgil Simpson's parents, Thomas O. and Nancy Simpson, were living in Springersville, Fayette Co., Indiana, when they professed in 1914. The 1910 census listed two children: Virgil O. (born Oct. 27, 1900) and Charlie Ceber (born Jan. 21, 1903). Virgil entered the Work in Indiana in 1922-23 with Fred Croft and his brother also went in the Work. On the 1926-27 Workers List, Virgil is shown on the Michigan staff.  He also preached in Michigan and Kentucky. After World War II, Virgil and Alexander (Sandy) Scott from Scotland went to preach in Italy.

There was much criticism and negative talk against Virgil. One rumor was that Virgil started his own church and drew some away from the Meetings. Another story is that he turned the Workers in to the IRS for tax evasion. Another rumor is that a young Brother Worker attempted to murder Virgil while he was visiting his home state of Indiana, and afterwards the Brother Worker fled to the UK.

After being in the Work many years in the USA, in 1942 while he was in Italy, Virgil discovered that the Workers’ ministry had not started with Jesus sending out the 12 disciples. He was staggered to learn it was an idea generated by some men in Ireland, as described in Geo. Walker’s letter to the US Selective Service. When Virgil returned to preach in America (at least by 1947 per Indiana Workers List), he found himself on the wrong side of Andrew Abernethy and Malcolm Graham, possibly due to his being vocal about the 2x2 Sect's short history that he discovered while in Italy. Around 1950, Virgil was forced out of the Work and excommunicated from the 2x2 Sect. Subsequently, Virgil married Bernadine Howard, from Fayette County, Indiana and they had a son named Ceber Thomas (aka C. T.).

It was rumored that Montestal Wood and possibly Ceber and/or Virgil reported the American workers to the IRS for failure to pay income tax. Reportedly, they provided the IRS with names and addresses of the Workers and a full-scale investigation was launched in 1949.  In some states, it was said that every single Worker in the state was called in for an interview. One source reported that when the investigation was completed, the conclusion reached by the IRS was that all the money received by the Workers qualified as non-taxable personal gifts, and no tax was owed by anyone. This information was included in official letters sent by the IRS to the Workers, although Virgil tells the story somewhat differently in a letter he wrote to Fred Hanowell (letter to Fred Hanowell, Germany, Jan. 22, 1960*):

"... Hope that you and your family are well as this leaves me and my wife and boy of nine. We are living in Washington State and I have been working for Boeing for near seven years. This is a nice part of the country and we enjoy it here very much, especially the fellowship of the few that are still seeking to keep true to the Truth as it is in Jesus.

“As soon as I returned from Italy, I began to ask questions about things we taught that I felt I should be clear on before I taught them to others. Then they began to get suspicious of me and began the usual persecution as they do to any they feel are not whole given to their teaching. The thing that opened my eyes was when in the year 1942, Geo. Walker gave me a copy of the document they sent to Wash. D.C. I read it over and it changed my whole life. I was taught that anyone to be saved had to come in contact with the true preachers and I had always preached it so strongly. When I read how these like Geo, Jack, and all the others who were in the different denominations felt dissatisfied and this led to conversations, then led to meetings, then finally some from this group went forth to preach this way.

“It hit me like a hammer, HOW DID THESE MEN GET SAVED? They got saved different from what I was taught. Since we have met some who knew Geo. in some of his first Missions, and he used to tell them he was in the Methodist Church, but he doesn't tell that now. Then many other things began to open up to us. The thing that brought the climax in the year 1949 was when the Government investigated them in Indiana and found they were far from honest in their money affairs and some were putting money in the lock boxes for thing we are very glad for is they treated us like they did and many others, for it drove us to the Lord and we thus got to know Him for ourselves as we would never have done where we were before.”

Virgil died in Oct. 1970 and Bernadine died on Feb. 17, 1965. Both died in Kent, WA and are buried at a Cemetery near Brownsville, Indiana. Virgil's brother, Ceber Simpson, died on Nov. 2, 1973. Monestal Wood died in Florida at a relatively young age, cause unknown. Apparently, Virgil and family had located some others of like mind with whom they had fellowship in Washington, for Ralph Derkland wrote Jack Carroll "…and told him that since none of them were gracious enough to answer any of my letters that I was opening up our home to the Simpsons, as well as any others who were unwelcome in 'the truth.' "  Ralph wrote Malcolm Graham and Willie Jamieson:

"You have so many verses to substantiate things, where is the verse to substantiate your action against Virgil Simpson?  For, when he came out West and went to about three meetings at Dyes, you and your sword caught up with him and told him he was no longer welcome until he got right (whatever that means) back where he came from; and he asked you what he should do and you told him to WRITE BACK there which he did, and Andrew refused to answer; then he came back to you again to ask what next and you told him to GO BACK there, which he did, costing him a great deal and after he got back there, Andrew refused to see him.

"Then he came back to you again; and you told him the rest was up to him but to stay away from the Meetings; and YOU WERE THAT NOBLE PERSON who claimed you never came to a decision without hearing both sides of the story…even the law of our government was more just than you fellows in your communistic practices, which we found out later because you both claimed he turned the Workers in to the Internal Revenue Department, which he did not do, but was called in later to testify as to the workings of the Christian Convention system, and you and your doctrine expected him to lie to his government (who, when your kind cast him out and never even asked him if he had enough money to buy himself a cup of coffee) who gave him money to live on while they paid his tuition in a watch school and bought him tools and put him in business while your kind was going about telling that he had stolen the Saints' money…"
(letter, Sept. 5, 1957).

CLAUDE McHENRY PICKETED CONVENTION GROUNDS:  Claude McHenry was one of three professing brothers from Prescott, Arizona, one of whom (Gordon) was in the work from 1947-1962. Rupert and Claude McHenry were never in the work. Claude learned in the early 1950s about the 2x2 Sect taking a name and that "this fellowship was started by a certain man in the 19th century...and consulted an elder Worker about it and was told it was true." Perhaps Claude come across Doug Parker's "A Spiritual Fraud Exposed" published in 1954. Claude attended Fellowship Meetings until he was excommunicated in 1959. "Tharold (Sylvester) had Ray Hill and Alan Ashmore expelled me in 1959—without telling me a reason!" 
Beginning around 1980, Claude became infamous for PICKETING outside California and Arizona Conventions and Special Meetings. Claude wore "sandwich boards with messages fore and aft, exposing practices of the ministry and its Wm. Irvine beginnings, that many of us thought were absolute nonsense.  But we later learned, to our dismay, that many of his ridiculous claims turned out to be true."  Claude often parked across the street and covered his van with posters containing messages about the Workers and Wm. Irvine and handed out tracts he had written.

Claude's posters contained various messages.  One read: "Human Sacrifice Practiced Here." Another told "about Tharold (Sylvester) trying to swindle elderly Mrs. Compton out of her home in California."  Loren Smit sued Claude because he objected to a poster that "stated a lie which told that Wm. Irvine started this group in 1899, when it was started by Christ."  The Judge ruled in defense of Claude's right to freedom of speech. Another poster read:  "In 1899, Wm. Irvine started 'The Truth' by preaching and self applying absolute believing!  Later, cast out, he said, 'Well, it was a great experiment.' Don't let the sick hope of Irvine's believing craze take your and normal child's life to an early grave, in the work–never to know true love."

In April 1986, Claude wrote, "I've been making a career of sharing forbidden truths with 'The Truth's victims." One of the Friends named James (Jim) Johnston, told Claude, "I have been given the job of getting rid of you, and that's what I'm going to do."  It appears Jim Johnston made a career of getting rid of Claude: "Johnston's gotten me before judges 14 times, arrested a few times, twice sentenced to jail, attempted to commit me so as to nullify my exposing, subjected me to battery, slander, and once missed me by inches with his car." After a restraining order was issued against him in 1986, Claude was prevented from coming near Meetings and Conventions which effectively brought his picketing to an end. However, he lives on in the memorie of many who witnessed him. Cecil Claude McHenry died July 20, 2006, age d 85 in Scottsdale AZ. View his tombstone on Find A Grave.   Read letters by the McHenry brothers and a brief biography.

MORRIS & DARLA HOLT of Citrus Heights, California, were put out of meetings by Morris' brother Sydney Holt, a California Worker, for asking awkward questions. "When your own brother (Morris) countered you recently about your efforts to abolish history of Wm. Irvine, when it is public knowledge in the libraries, you told him in the presence of several others that he can't come to the Meeting. Brotherly love?"  (letter by Claude McHenry to Sydney Holt, March 28, 1983*).

These people, along with those in the previous Chapter, and many more, became dissatisfied in the 1950s when they learned about the history of the 2x2 Sect, the government registration of an official name, and other events and practices. Many hoped for and worked hard to bring about reform and to promote honesty in the 2x2 Sect. Their efforts were misunderstood and not appreciated. Some were arrested, jailed, slandered, mistreated, shunned, rejected, disparaged, despised, ridiculed, mocked and cast out. Did they really deserve such harsh treatment? Did their concerns and complaints have merit?  Should there have been a clean-up rather than a cover-up?

THE THIRD EXODUS began when Doug Parker published "A Spiritual Fraud Exposed" in 1954, and the Communication Age was still in its infancy.  It was rare in 1954 for the Friends to place expensive long distance phone calls. There was no internet and TV was just starting to take up space in the living rooms of ordinary citizens. Parker's Exposé was not in a book format, and could not be easily obtained. After the initial mass mailing, there was no further distribution, except person to person. A few years after the uprising and upheaval due to the explosion of information in 1954 from the Exposé, the rebellion lost its momentum.  Those who took a stand against the deception and made their exits, were soon forgotton.

1956:  "TESTIMONY OF A WITNESS FOR THE DEFENCE" was written by Alfred Magowan on Jan. 13, 1956, in rebuttal to Parkers pamphlet: "A Spiritual Fraud Exposed."  Magowan's pamphlet speaks for itself. Click Here to read it. Click Here to read more by and about Alfred Magowan. 

1958: RELIGION ANALYSIS SERVICE, INC. now located in Oakdale, Minnesota, a counter-cult agency, became aware for the first time of the 2x2 Sect and printed an article in their magazine for January-March, 1958, called "The Discerner" (Vol. II, No. 9, Pp 12-15), titled "Who are the Cooneyites?" by Roy Divers.

1960, JUNE 20: EDWARD COONEY DIED, aged 93, in Mildura, Victoria, Australia, in the home of some of his loyal Cooneyite followers, Richard and Emily Greenaway. He died 32 years after he was excommunicated from the 2x2 sect. However, Ed Cooney's influence has lived on through his followers, especially through his well known Hymns: As We Gather, Lord, We Are Met Together, Our God, Our Father, Here We Come, and Jesus Died For Sinners.

1976 - IRISH WORKER TELLS AMERICANS ABOUT SECT'S BEGINNING:  In 1976, an older Irish Brother Worker, Joshua Gamble, uncle of Thomas Gamble, Overseer of Ireland, made the round of Conventions on the West Coast USA, including WA, OR, CA and AZ. From the platform, he attempted to dispel the "continuous unbroken chain" myth and mentioned Wm. Irvine's name, along with the names of several other early Workers. Joshua made it clear that there was no continuous ministry going out in the 2x2 format and no recognizable fellowship of this type before the late 1890s. It was startling information to some American Friends, while others did not seem to take notice at all. Several have reported hearing Joshua Gamble mention this from the platform in 1976. Joshua was happy to answer a young Workers' questions about the 2x2 Sect's history at Boring, Oregon, Convention in the presence of many other Workers.

After Parkers' book "The Secret Sect" was published in 1982, Tharold Sylvester, Overseer of Washington State USA, invited Irving Pearson, another elderly Irish worker, to come and talk to the American Workers about the history of their Church. Tharold had previously heard Irving give an account of the Sect's beginnings at a Convention in South Africa. Tharold told Irving that the young Workers in particular had a right to know the truth, and that times had changed and young Workers were no longer content to just be seen and not heard. Perhaps Tharold thought that coming from someone from "where it all happened" would carry more weight.

Irving was elderly, in poor health and did not want to come to America, but Tharold persisted, and Irving finally agreed. He was supposed to speak first at a Workers Meeting in Washington. On the way there, Irving asked Tharold if he still wanted him to tell the story. Tharold said, "No." The other Overseers had strongly objected and asked Tharold not to allow the story to be told. Irving was upset to have come made the long trip to America in ill health and then not be allowed to tell the story.

1977: BOOKLET "THEY GO ABOUT TWO BY TWO."  Except for a few local newspaper articles, no further information was published about the 2x2 Sect until 1977, when William (Bill) E. Paul published a booklet titled: The TWO BY TWOS, Who are They? What Do They Believe? This was later republished under the title of: "They Go about TWO BY TWO, The History and Doctrine of a Little Known Cult."  Mr. Paul gave TTT permission to reprint this book.  In his autobiography Starting from Scratch: The Story of My Life, Mr. Paul stated: "My fourth book, The TWO BY TWOS, Who are They? What Do They Believe? (about a little known cult) came out in 1977. The type was set, the plates burned, and the entire booklet was printed, bound and trimmed as a class assignment by students of my college class on Printing and Publications. It was later reprinted and marketed by Religion Analysis Service, Oakdale, MN.

Telling the Truth has a hard copy of the documents, books, newspaper articles, references, etc. used in this book. Any exceptions are noted with an asterisk (*).

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Galatians 4:16

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