Being from out of town, when I first picked up your paper, I noticed the quote you apply to yourselves, "We sketch your world exactly as it goes." But as I read the article against the House of Yahweh, my disappointment about this quote grew to shock. This article paints nothing but one unproven allegation after another.
How can I say this with such conviction? I have been a member, along with my wife and family, of the House of Yahweh for six years and have served as an elder for the past two years. My wife and I are also kin to Kay Jordan, whom you quote in this article, Kay being married to my wife's brother for the past 10 years. Having knowledge of both the teachings and the workings of the House of Yahweh and the past dealings of Kay Jordan, I can tell you that the pertinent facts about her story do not appear in this article.
Speaking as an elder in the House of Yahweh, I tell you the House of Yahweh has never accepted food stamps or any other form of government assistance as tithes. My own family struggled financially at times and we received food stamps, but we never gave food stamps as tithes.
Despite what Anah Jeffries (whose real name is Carol; you should get your facts before publishing an article like this) quoted to your staff writers, Yisrayl Hawkins, or any other elder, never advised, never even suggested that we pay tithes with food stamps, nor even that we go on food stamps.
Furthermore, there are no offering plates passed around in the House of Yahweh. Tithing is purely voluntary and we only teach what the Bible says about it, as all churches do.
The House of Yahweh teaches ALL, whether rich or poor, to be honest in all their dealings. We teach complete Law-keeping, not only the Laws of the Bible but the laws of man's governments as well, just as the Savior and Apostles did. I personally help out in the House of Yahweh prison ministry and many of the chaplains at the prison we visit tell me that the prisoners who convert to our teachings become model prisoners.
Having known Kay Jordan for 10 years, my wife and I both know that her troubles with the welfare system began long before she came to the House of Yahweh. The pending charges against her in Mississippi are the result of her own negligence in filing the proper information. In fact, she boasted to both my wife and myself that she had gotten one over on the "beastly system," as she called it.
I guarantee that she did not learn this behavior at the House of Yahweh, and in fact would have been ashamed to admit to the elders what she was doing concerning her dealings with government assistance.
Furthermore, Kay Jordan was never a steady, stable member of the House of Yahweh, and certainly cannot be considered a representative of those who are. On more than one occasion she left the House of Yahweh, only to return, and we always welcomed her back after she supposedly repented. She was never a regular tithe payer and, in fact, paid very little tithes to the House of Yahweh. Her accusations about the House of Yahweh are completely fictitious. For instance, wine, although permitted for the Savior's Last Supper, as in most churches, is NOT sold by the House of Yahweh.
Kay Jordan insinuated that she was concerned about her personal safety. It's not only against the laws of this country but it's against the Laws of our Heavenly Father to commit murder. No one loyal to the teachings of the House of Yahweh would ever commit this heinous sin or even consider threatening bodily harm to another human being.
The article stated that Yisrayl Hawkins has not responded to repeated requests for interviews. If the Abilene Reporter-News would truly "sketch our world exactly as it goes," you would not even go so far as printing only one side of the story. If you would quit twisting and distorting statements and agree to print the truth, then Yisrayl Hawkins would grant you an interview.
We challenge the Abilene Reporter-News to rise above the hatred being displayed by the former members of the House of Yahweh, whose only stated desire is to ruin an innocent man, and return to the principles of responsible journalism that you claim to follow. All we have seen printed so far is merely allegation and lies concerning the House of Yahweh and Yisrayl Hawkins. I am only stating these things because I know my sister-in-law, Kay Jordan, and I know Carol Jeffries; the facts are, they both lie to cover their own sins. The only reason that they have to hate Yisrayl Hawkins is because he scolded them continually for the many sins they practice.
(Jody Beard is a member of the House of Yahweh in Tylertown, Miss. His remarks, signed and notarized, were delivered by hand to the Reporter-News.)