An underground Christian 'cult' have laid bare the harrowing abuse that they suffered at the hands of its leaders. Former member Tava Zahorka Nicholson is seen

The bizarre religious movement - which has no official name but is referred to as 'Two By Twos' by ex-members - was started by a man named William Irvine in Ireland in the late 1800s

Daily Mail, UK/August 29, 2023

By Lillian Gissen

When Christian officials heard about what he was up to, they announced that they wanted nothing to do with his ridiculous teachings and kicked him out of the church - but that didn't stop William.

The group continued to hold meetings - but moved underground - and instead of doing so publicly or in a real church setting, they had their events at members' homes.

For over 100 years, the religious sect has continued to grow in secrecy - even after William died in 1947 - but now, a series of ex-members have come forward and lifted a lid on what really goes on in the controversial organization.

They claimed that many of the preachers in the group sexually assaulted its members - and that top officials have done nothing to stop the abuse.

Tava Zahorka Nicholson, from Colorado, who grew up with parents who were part of the 'cult,' told Daily Dot recently that she was molested by four different male members as a child - one of whom touched her inappropriately 'over 100 times.'

She claimed that her childhood was so traumatic she blocked most of it out, and it wasn't until she spoke to a therapist years later as an adult that she remembered what had happened to her.

'I did not and still do not remember my childhood to this day, I remember bits and pieces,' she said.

She also alleged that none of the men who touched her inappropriately were being investigated by the police or the group's leaders - despite 'multiple people' speaking out against them.

According to the outlet, it's believed that there are currently around 75,000 members of the group, but there's no way to really know the exact number since it's shrouded in so much secrecy.

There's no official website or formal name for it, and it's unclear who is currently leading it.

One former member, named Heather, who asked to keep her last name hidden for privacy reasons, explained that every state has something known as an 'overseer' - who assigns a pair of preachers, known as 'workers,' to each area of that state.

Workers are expected to 'divest all their worldly possessions, not to own cars or homes, and remain celibate,' Daily Dot added.

Since they aren't allowed to own their own house, the workers usually stay in members' abodes. And because two of them always travel together, the organization is often referred to as Two by Twos.

'Conventions' are held once a year, and involve thousands of members meeting up to 'worship together' across multiple days.

Back in 2013, an overseer named Jerome Frandle pleaded no contest to 'knowingly failing to report suspected child abuse or neglect.' He was sentenced to four days in jail and 100 hours of community service.

One man, named Jason Lennox, who was an active member of the organization from 2012 to 2015, was convicted of second-degree sexual conduct with a minor and sexual abuse of a child in 2018.

He admitted to raping a 'very young child at least three times from 2007 to 2011,' a local Arizona news outlet reported at the time.

Another former overseer, named Richard Schober, told Daily Dot that he voluntarily cut ties with the group in the '60s because he 'knew he had a problem.'

'I knew I had a problem and I stepped out because it was not the place for me to be in the homes of children,' he said.

He was later convicted of indecent liberties and admitted to molesting his daughter.

Earlier this year, a letter that was written by an overseer named Doyle Smith leaked, in which he confirmed that he had discovered that another overseer, named Dean Bruer, who passed away in June 2022, had been a 'sexual predator.'

The letter was reportedly meant for other higher ups in the organization.

'It has come to the surface in recent months, and more so in recent weeks, that Dean was a sexual predator,' he wrote.

'He had another side to his life that none of us, except victims, ever witnessed or suspected.

'Victims have come forward, and there was very confirming and incriminating evidence found on his computer and phone.

'His actions include rape and abuse of underage victims. He totally abused his authority as an overseer in order to control, manipulate and threaten his victims.'

He insisted that 'none of them' had 'any idea' that 'such terrible things were happening until several weeks after Dean's death' and that they felt 'betrayed' by his actions. Dean worked as a minister for over 40 years.

Daily Dot reported that there's no record of criminal charges brought against Dean, but said that police confirmed there was a case file for him. They didn't divulge any other information.

According to the outlet, the letter was made public after an anonymous person sent a photo of it to Kari Hanks, an ex member who runs a Facebook support group for others who have parted ways with the group.

Kari shared the image to the group in March, and she told the publication that it inspired tons more to come forward and speak out about the sexual assault that they endured as part of the group.

She said that she now receives around 12-15 messages from people who claim to have been abused in Two by Twos 'every day.'

A private investigator, named Cynthia Liles, is now looking into the group, and she told the publication that over 1,000 members of the group have come forward in total, and accused 550 different men of sexual assault.

Cynthia said most of the victims claimed the abuse happened in their own homes while the workers were staying with them, many of whom were minors at the time, while others - around 20 per cent - said it happened during the conventions.

The investigator - who said she's currently working 'with a number of law enforcement agencies' - concluded: 'I think it’s beyond our imagination. We’re at the tip of the iceberg right now. It’s just thick with abuse.

'My big question is: How can there be this many pedophiles in a relatively small church?'

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here