The following is a personal testimony from Josh Bennett about living under the harsh control of self-proclaimed prophet "Brother" Stair.
My name is Josh Maxwell Bennett. I'm 34years old, married, with three children and live now in Alabama. I work a very good job and have just recently purchased my first piece of property here. It's taken about three years to get back on our feet since leaving Brother Stair's Overcomer Community in 1997.
I am a carpenter by trade, taught me by my father who was a product of the sixties. I found Bro. Stairs broadcast while channeling through S.W. radio. At that time we were living in the San Juan mountains of S.W. Colorado getting ready for the holocost that was about to take our country by surprise. In his broadcast he made sense of a better chance of survival through communal living, cooperation, and spiritual preparation for the return of Christ, in which I believed we were in need of most.
He said in his broadcast to just come as we were and he would know us when we arrived. So we did just that, selling what we could at great loss and leaving our earthly possesions behind, we set out for Walterboro S.C.
Upon arrival we were only allowed to attend tabernacle on Fri. and Sat. where we were subjected to extreme degredation by this one who calls himself a prophet. What we were experienceing was much different from the picture painted to us by his radio show. And thats just what it is--a show.
The people there seemed very afraid and no one would speak to us for weeks. What we did not know is that they were not allowed to until we were checked out thoroughly by his chief men, whom he calls pastors who report to him on the thoughts and actions of the residents there.
There is no trust between the occupants of this community. They all suffer from mental abuse that is given to them on a constant daily dose. Nowhere on the grounds can you escape. The program is broadcast through loud speakers in every building and across the grounds.
At first the victims of this madman feel that its neccesary to subject themselves to this insane torture to cleanse themselves from their former lifestyles of which they never plan to return because the return of Christ is so near there is no time to waste in their reformation process. They fear the door of grace may close before they get in or their robes made white through their sacrifice and self persecution.
No one escapes his daily dose of degradation. Even the children are slammed into by his psycological and verbal abuses which are dealt out at every meal. Food is a great weapon he uses against his followers also along with water. He is in control of every basic human need and wields it as a weapon. In his eyes, he is the center of all their needs.
There is so much to say. I don't have the time or space to write it, so i'll just give the basic facts. No one has a dime exept chiefmen. Everyone is forced to work and attend tabernacle even if they are very ill. Doctors are permissable but if used the patient must leave and not return. No jewelry. All attire must be plain and simple hiding any natural beauty. No sugar, no t.v. All entertainment is provided by the prophet and that consists of popcorn and gingerale on wed. night and dessert on fri. night.
Fraternization is strictly forbidden between opposite sex's. Communal kitchen, communal bathroom, no food in living quarters, limited and sometimes no hot water. Sometimes no heat in winter. No A.C. exept for prophets family. Anyone who communicates with friends or family outside are enemies of the commune and eventually blackballed even though he ecourages it on the air. Laughter is not permitted and is associated with exodus 32:06.
Sex between married couples is discouraged unless approved by prophet which is then discussed in open forum with the rest of the community as well as the children concerning the couple which is to enguage in the act. In the event that a child is conceived without prophet's blessing then coception occurred as a result of lust therefore the child is born with a spirit of anti-christ.
Prophet is the word made flesh. Prophet is Elijah reincarnated. Prophet is mediator between GOD and man. Prophet has power to condemn souls to hell. Prophet has power to read the thoughts of man. Prophet's daughter Naomi is a gift from GOD and will be taken as a sign to begin the tribulation at which time the community will disapear from public view never to be found by the anti-christ.
No one has need of traveling outside the grounds exept prophet. Prophet has authority to separate man and wife and give the wife to another man. Prophet and bro. Kirk will be the two prophets spoken of in Rev. and will bring plague upon earth. Bodies of the deceased community members are buried in unmarked graves around the farm. Prophets wife is a whore from Boston college and associated with gays whom he rescued while preaching in the methodist church there and shortly after they bare the child Naomi.
Community members are not permitted to speak with any form of media. Sickness is a manifestation of ones sin. It goes on and on, and yet everyone there will deny every word I have said here but prophet will tell you I was there for almost a year. What I say is the truth and so would many other ex-members if they weren't so ashamed of themselves as my wife and I have been for so long. Denial of these truths by now-members of his community ensures their salvation and possibly their next meal in peace.
Please have pitty on these poor people for they are trapped and see no possible way out until he has used them up like water and throws them out at which time they are homeless and unemployed and most of all alone. It took me three years to get back on my feet after that stupid mistake just like hundreds of others like me.
Hopefully there will be some of the others that will come forward if they see this posted. Some of which I know have left the community about a year ago. One of them was one of the pastors whom the prophet prophesied to be pastor of the post tribulation church. He and his family were thrown out after he defended his wife from one of bro. Stairs attacks on her. She had such a lovely spirit the two of them had six wonderful children that ranged from 12 yrs. to 26 yrs. Pastor Mike if you read this please contact me.
One more thing i would like to add is that i am not seeking vengance. I would just like to find some understanding in all of this.
Josh M. Bennett
Other articles and testimonies regarding Brother Stair's false teachings can be found here: Stair
© April 16, 2000