PART FOUR– Bernalillo to Moon River (cont.)
I found myself incessantly having to get Archie to express himself. He was always withholding his thoughts. One day, Archie said the Lord spoke to him saying, “If you don’t tell Victor what is going on, I’m going to send the devils in again.” I solemnly warned Archie to heed those words with all his heart, that it would be a great tragedy to go back to where he had been. For a time, it seemed he made the effort, confessing doubts, disagreement, and resentment toward me.
Believing the counsel of Scripture to corporally discipline children where necessary, though not limited to physical chastisement, we moved Archie and Cathie to enforce spankings. There would be many spankings for all of the children. They were so often disobedient. I look back at those times in great regret.
While we didn’t witness the spankings, and didn’t know their extent, we’d get reports from the children on occasion that they were sometimes severe. Did they do any good? God alone knows. It doesn’t at all seem so. I do believe that unless punishment or discipline is administered with wisdom and love, it can do more damage than good.
There were times of stress with all of us in a small home and with Archie and Cathie resisting. Marilyn and I needed to get out. That winter was often mild enough to go golfing at Bridge Valley and Henderson Lake. We spent several hours at it, sometimes taking Chris and Elizabeth with us.
One day when Chris was having his problems secretively picking on Danny and continuously soiling his pants, I was led to pray for him. Archie and I sat down with him on the couch, I laid hands on his head and rebuked the enemy, asking God to heal and deliver him. Archie then spoke up and said, “I saw a vision just now. I saw two devils coming out of a house, one was a vicious one, cursing, while the other was shitting itself as it was leaving. Both were going out into desolate places.”
By this confirmation Archie had received of God, we knew Chris had received deliverance from two devils. Chris was never again found to hurt Danny or soil his pants.
Who says there is no God?
Paul called us, saying the Lord had told him to come to Montana, and he had arrived in Great Falls. Marilyn and I headed out that day from Lethbridge and met him at a seedy motel. His condition matched that of the motel; he was a deplorable mess, grubby and dozy, physically and spiritually.
Almost immediately, he began speaking of the sorry mess America was in. I said, “Never mind America! What about you? Just what kind of condition do you think you’re in?”
We immediately sought out a better place for Paul to stay, nothing fancy, but decent and reasonably priced. We looked at a few places, one of those being Fox Hollow Inn. I expected it would be at least twice the price of where Paul was staying. Then the Lord spoke to me saying:
“You can live expensively at the bottom or inexpensively at the top.”
Returning to Fox Hollow, we were met again by the young, pleasant manageress, asked the price of a light housekeeping unit, and discovered that we would have to pay little, if any, more than the old motel Paul was in, because we were renting longer term than a night at a time. It was nice and clean, and there was even a room off the suite to separate us for privacy, which Paul could use. It was a wonderful arrangement, complete with cooking facilities, dishes, and cutlery.
The Lord was teaching us to raise our sights, to think bigger, and not to have the mentality that one must scrounge for a living in back alleys. Can He afford to provide for us? Yes? To what degree? While it may appear wise to live within our means, are not our means vastly, unimaginably lesser than His? How about living within His means?
Is that not what faith is all about? What faith does it take to live within our own means? Little or none. Shall He not provide for His sons and daughters? Surely! By faith are these things apprehended, yet as it pleases Him, lest we should tempt Him with selfishness and unreasonable extravagance.
For the next one to two weeks, if not more, we talked much and prayed for Paul’s deliverance and cleansing. I recall addressing some spirit at one point and Paul jerked. I don’t know if anything happened.
While we had been mildly aware that the Lord had destined Paul to be in ministry with me one day, we didn’t know when, how it would come about, or how it would look. Then the Lord said:
“You will not come together until the enemy is removed.”
Now, of course, came the question, “Who or what is the enemy?” We had many ideas. Was it a demon in Paul? Was it his father, who was in great enmity toward us, to the point of murder? Was Satan holding us apart? We had no answers, only questions. And when would we come together? Again, no answer.
While Marilyn and I were in Great Falls, Lois received papers from Howard’s lawyer for divorce proceedings and custody of Jason, her youngest and most prized son. The things she had feared came upon her, and all I could ever do was encourage her to face them head on, but mostly to face herself.
One day the word in tongues “rabbith” came to me, along with a prophecy that there would be many people coming, as many as the hairs on one’s head, the hair being of pure gold. Solomon was mentioned as well. Because the word sounded Hebrew, I looked it up in Strong’s Concordance and found it to mean “a multitude” from a root word that meant “to be multiplied by the myriad.” I knew it was a promise from God that our work was not in vain, that there would eventually be much godly fruit.
As I edit this material years later for publishing, I realize that multitude would be pure gold in God’s sight, people “doing and speaking right because they want to” (The Work of God).
At some point I had a vision. I saw Paul wearing a large pair of hobnail boots. He was walking on his own head, his legs extending behind, up, and on his head. He had a foolish look on his face, as though I was supposed to admire him or be amused at what he was doing, though it was quite disgusting. He was in great spiritual confusion and trial, doing his utmost to impress me.
After about two weeks at Fox Hollow, we three returned to Lethbridge to Archie’s, where we met with Tibador Klein, who came visiting; he was Marilyn’s half-brother by their mother, Laura. We all testified to him of the reality of the Lord and of the fallacy of so much religion in the Lord’s Name (his mother was still attending John Cunningham’s Cambrian Heights Baptist Church in Calgary). We later heard from Laura that Tibby had been highly intimidated by what we said, though it didn’t seem that way while visiting.
Paul had a dream, related here, with circumstances: “In this dream I was together with Victor and Marilyn, and it seemed there were other people around. Suddenly a man appeared, disturbed, coming at us, particularly after Victor. I stepped in between, intercepting the man, though I didn’t need to do anything physically, other than come between them.
The day after the dream we met with Tibby, Marilyn’s half brother, who was noticeably agitated; he attacked Victor verbally, accusing him of doing evil. I answered Tibby by testifying of the truth that countered his accusations and lies against Victor.”
I wrote a poem on Truth in March of 1986, at which time I had a vision of Truth personified. Truth was represented as a young male judge – slim, handsome, and well groomed, with short, dark hair. He was dressed in black robes, sitting at his bench with a gavel in hand. Along with this vision, I had words describing Truth’s role.
Here is the poem: Truth
I also wrote The Vices’ Voices.
Around this time, the Lord said to us:
“You will be on the road ministering for a while, and then you’ll have your own home.”
Because of this prophecy of ministry, we expected to be seeing many people, perhaps groups or crowds, but no such thing happened. Our ministry was to Archie and his family in Lethbridge, to Paul in Montana, and to Lois and the boys in Stettler, although our testimony was also to various others as we went along. We would be staying with these named, not having our own home.
I had a vision in the mid to late ‘80s of Lois, naked, small, thin, and panicky, standing on a spindly wooden chair, which had no back on it. In her hand was a toy sword. She was trying to fend off a sea of demons entirely surrounding her.
In 1985 or ‘86, Lois had a vision of me as a watchman, with medieval weapons and armor, on the walls of a city.
While Paul, Marilyn, and I were staying with Archie and his family, Paul continued in a state of doziness. In prayer, I received that Paul was worshipping me, looking to me for life. Cathie then said that, as we prayed, she saw Paul at my feet, worshipping me. I said, “Paul, I can’t accept people worshipping me. No more; you have to go.” I was upset.
It was a shock to Paul, so much so that he fell to one knee. He left on May 11th, 1986. Somehow, I knew it wasn’t the end between us, but what was happening had to be.
Lois faced further trials. Howard insisted that Jason in particular was his son. He pointed to the fact that he and Jason both had similar birthmarks, thus “proving” Jason was his. While he intended full custody of all three boys, he didn’t press for Trevor’s and Mark’s involvement with him as he did with Jason’s, Lois’ favorite; he often took Jason out for weekends and travel.
On the May 24th long weekend, Trevor and Mark went to visit Howard at his one-room cabin at Red Deer Lake. They found him sleeping with a woman, Joy Baker, while Jason was there. Jason was about seven years old.
We all decided to get a court order to have Jason withdrawn and saved from further exposure to seeing a strange woman in bed with his father. The judge’s reply was, “I will not play God” (words to that effect). While Lois was angered, there was nothing she could do. How was this not child abuse? It makes one wonder what the judge was rationalizing in his own private life.
Once the case became a formal legal matter, the court appointed a “friend of the court” to investigate the divorce case to see who should gain custody of the children. Penny Lazarowich was that appointee. In effect, her judgment was to determine the judgment of the case in court. At her request, Lois, Mark, Trevor, Marilyn, and I met with her at the Benson home on June 25, 1986. We also met with her once in Lethbridge at Archie’s home on July 30th.
It seemed that by Penny’s nature and perspective, the judgment was already established. When Lois tried to present evidence of infidelity as a cause of the breakdown in their marital relationship, such as lipstick and perfume on Howard’s shirts and condoms found in his pockets, which items Lois produced, Penny involuntarily burst out laughing.
She played along, however, as though we were in her favor, and truly, given the facts, we couldn’t imagine how she could possibly find but for Lois. It didn’t take long to perceive her as duplicitous. Not only did she not care about what was right, she appeared to despise it and take pleasure in immorality.
We went out picking Saskatoon berries, and when it came up in conversation, she expressed how much her husband liked them, that he “would be beside himself” hearing about them. She later repeated her husband’s desire for the berries. We thought we should give her some, and she gladly accepted, without offer of payment. Was she suggesting that if we gave her what she wanted, she may render a favorable report? Was she seeking to be bribed?
It wasn’t many days hence that we found out her decision to give Howard all that he asked for, and then some. While the berries won no favor, we found the idea of buying favor repugnant, and her manipulative ways even more so in such capacity of authority.
We have her full report. It amazed me that she could blatantly lie, which she did on many counts, be willing to have it on record, though easily proven to be lies, and expect to get away with it. When reading the report, I was angry that it didn’t matter to her that families could be torn apart by lies (truth is another matter) and injustice dealt to the innocent, while the guilty were defended and allowed to continue their evil ways.
There were two things we could do at the time of her 51-page report. One was to respond to it, which I did with a 67-page rebuttal full of facts to refute the lies. I wrote it while staying with Archie and his family at 1720 Ashgrove in Lethbridge.
In the introduction of the rebuttal to Lois’ lawyer, Kevin Sproule, I wrote:
“Perhaps I am naïve or Utopian-minded in a world of obvious imperfection, but I must confess utter incredulity at many statements made or quoted by Penny Lazarowich in her report. It does surprise me very much that the office of Amicus Curiae can manifest such blatant incompetence and bias. Within the report itself are glaring contradictions that need no further evidence to be proven so.
Second, there are falsehoods that can easily be proven to be such with little or no difficulty by even an unskilled party.
Third, there are other allegations made by Howard Benson which are:
a)lies and suspicions without foundation,
b) allegations which Lois Benson and I refuted when questioned by Penny, yet our refutations and denials are not recorded while his accusations are stated at least as plausible, if not as fact, and
c) allegations which neither Lois nor I were ever called upon to confirm or deny, but which were automatically recorded as again plausible, if not factual, yet are untrue.
Fourth, there are numerous innuendoes that take little intelligence and objectivity to recognize as such.
Fifth, there are gross omissions of pertinent information I believe to be crucial to the final judgment of this affair.
Sixth, there are inclusions of, and inordinate emphasis placed upon, ever so many matters which are irrelevant, petty, definitely non-issue, while major issues go criminally ignored.
Finally, her choice of interviewees is suspect.”
I have both Lazarowich’s and my documents to this day.
The second thing we could do, which was far more effective for our sakes, was to give thanks to the Lord, acknowledging that He ruled over all things, both good and evil. Giving Him thanks, and looking to Him and Him alone for justice, was our salvation and has been so in many circumstances.
We never heard a word about the rebuttal from Kevin Sproule, but when Lois received his final bill, there could be little doubt he charged her for reading it. She could have charged him for disregarding it.
I recall a movie, The Verdict, with Paul Newman, who played Frank Galvin, an alcoholic, down-on-his-luck lawyer. His words to another stayed with me. He said, “The court doesn’t exist to give them justice. The court exists to give them a chance at justice.” We learned the meaning of those words.
I had learned by the Sunwest Cabinets trial that above the courts of the land was the Higher Court in Heaven that determined all things, not according to men’s whims or laws, or according to what seemed right on the surface, but according to higher moral and spiritual laws and destinies appointed for each soul on earth, taking in, and indeed, forming, the greater picture. On that Court’s judgment we can depend, and with that Court’s decision, we can rest, knowing God is sovereign over both good and evil.
Apparently, partly because of Lois’ brusque personality and partly because of her unapologetic profession of faith in Christ, even her extended family supported Howard (though all things are engineered by the Lord for His purposes, without any explanation).
For example, on a vacation trip, her younger sister, Pat, and husband, Hilliard Yakimishen, came visiting her at her home and Howard at his, wherever he was. They stood with Howard, not on moral grounds (there were moral grounds against Howard, but not Lois) but on personal, social, religious, and spiritual grounds. Howard was a likeable fellow, easy-going, and above all, wasn’t a believer, and they weren’t believers.
Was Lois a hard person to deal with? Her sister, Delores, had once pointed out what Lois was like, demanding Christian conduct of others, yet being entirely hypocritical and contradictory herself, in the extreme. Allow me to relate a few incidents, and then you can judge for yourself.
One day she found out that we had colds at Archie’s place in Lethbridge. She called us and immediately began upbraiding us for sin. “Let’s call a spade a spade!” she said. “You have sin in your life or you wouldn’t be having these colds.”
Now the Lord had taught me that there are many causes for colds, not only sin, one of them being simply the body’s natural cleansing process from the pollutants of everyday living in our environments. Another was not drinking enough water. Lois didn’t know there was sin; she judgmentally assumed there was, and spoke in a brutishly belligerent manner, which I had to address. Little did I know how much of this beast would manifest itself in the future.
On another day while playing with Jason and the boys outdoors at their Stettler acreage, Jason wanted the ball and began screaming for it. Not to tease, but not to support his selfishness, I decided I wasn’t going to give in to his tantrum. Hearing his screaming, Lois rushed out in a mad rage, as a she-bear ready to kill for her endangered cubs. She called me into the house with her boys as though I was one of them, declaring she had expected much more from me.
I had an answer for her: She had been spoiling Jason and using him as her “soother” in her trials with Howard. I said, “You’ve spoiled your child, now he reacts in super selfishness to someone here, abusing me with his attitude, for which you, as a parent, are responsible, and now you’re going to blame the one abused?! You ought to be thoroughly ashamed for his behavior.”
“Furthermore,” I said, “we’re here at your urgent request to help you because of the bed you’ve made for yourself, the consequences of your ways, and you’re going to blame me for them?! How wicked and contradictory can you get, Lois?”
Reluctantly, she backed off and apologized.
On another occasion, we were all sitting at the supper table and the electric kettle was entering its quieter, simmering phase just before coming to a boil. This reminded me of Lois, who often grew quiet, stewing and fretting just before blowing up. I expressed the likeness. What happened next, nobody expected. She took a pitcher of water, sneaked up behind me, and dumped it on my head.
She called me a man of God, a prophet, cried to me for help, which I freely gave, and treated me as though I were what? A misbehaving dog? People don’t even do that to dogs! Yet, I had to remain and deal with her. Or did I? Here is a vision I had of her:
I had a vision in which I saw Lois seated on a low rock, stewing, stubborn, and dark. I saw her heart, which was black and very hard. The Lord was standing a few paces away, looking back, but starting to go on His way. I was still lingering some for Lois, trying to persuade her, to get through to her.
Our families weren’t believers; Lois’ legal defender wasn’t a believer; the amicus curiae wasn’t a believer; the teachers in school and all those that Penny Lazarowich interviewed weren’t believers. We stood alone with all the forces arrayed against us.
Howard even had RCMP friends who harassed Lois on the road at night as she drove to and from work for her night shifts. In the future, we would find out astounding news in most remarkable ways about the corruption of RCMP officers in Stettler and how Lois’ very life was in danger.
Penny mentioned that she had a Pentecostal husband professing faith in Christ, though she claimed no faith for herself. I suppose she mentioned his religious status as part of an approach to win our confidence.
The Bible teaches that wives are to obey their husbands, if what husbands require is right before God. Here was Penny, falsely accusing believers and getting paid for it, while her husband calls himself a Christian, although he possibly had little, if any, knowledge of her doings. One can argue that she had her life and he his, and that he wasn’t responsible for her. I disagree – she was his wife; they were supposed to be one – and it seems they were, but like Ahab and Jezebel, not in what’s good.
The Pentecostals, too, are liars, just like Lazarowich. For the most part, they’re hypocrites of the first order, often flamboyant in their religiosity. Why do I say this? It is to let all know that what today is passed off as true Christian worship of God has nothing to do with Jesus Christ and the fruits of the Lazarowiches are so common to the religious.