The letter spells out what the religious group teaches, clears up misunderstandings, and addresses public perception of the organization.
Hawkins is awaiting trial on bigamy charges. A trial date has not been set.
Below is the text of the letter mailed out this week. Click the attachment link at the very bottom to view a scanned copy of the actual mailing.
To the citizens of Taylor, Callahan, and Jones Counties,Reactions to Receiving the Letter
I am writing this letter to you in hopes of bringing some enlightenment to this area about our cause. I would like for you to know what The House of Yahweh is all about, what we teach and why we teach the Message that we do. I would like for you to understand why our Message is so contrary to what you are accustomed to hearing from other religions. Please don’t think that I am trying to get you to leave your church, I am not.
Neither am I condemning the news media. I am sure they are doing what they think they must do to sell their broadcasts and publications. But they truly are misleading the people, causing a lot of hatred and distrust. We tried to be open with them and allowed them interviews but they distorted the truth, told blatant lies, and many times slandered our members. However, we hold no grudges. We decided that we would not be drawn into hatred and retaliation. We teach and practice to quickly and to completely forgive.
We know that you, our neighbors, have been misled about The House of Yahweh’s teachings and people. Since we know from past experience that we cannot trust the news media to be accurate and unbiased in its stories about The House of Yahweh, and since the evil reputation the media gave us is continuing, in order to sell their product, we decided to come directly to you. We are only asking for your understanding of our cause and our right as American citizens.
Every religious organization has its share of problems. The members are not always aware of these problems, but they do have problems, every last one of them.
The letter cites examples from a sermon of Dr. Don Greenway of Northside Baptist Church in Abilene, a newspaper article about McMurry students arrested on aggravated sexual assault charges, a chat of ACU crime statistics, and an snippet from an article following the arrest of a Plano pastor during a sex sting.
People normally choose a religion so that they can straighten out their lives, find peace, and achieve salvation. Sometimes these sample people have very serious problems that they have not yet worked through, so much so that police sometimes get involved in their activities. However, the news media rarely reveals what religious organization they belong to, unless they want to demonize that religion or, of course, they are members of the House of Yahweh.
Even if a person visits The House of Yahweh for the first time, and somehow gets intro trouble and is arrested, the news media will portray this person as a typical long-time great standing member who follows all of the teachings of The House of Yahweh.
Like all religions, we have people come to us who have problems. We do not turn them away. We help when we can, and we have helped many. No matter what a person’s ethnic background is, we do not turn them away. Many people have come to us in desperate need. Some of them are now successful businessmen and women in Abilene and the surrounding areas. I know that you know of some of them.
We ask everyone who comes to us for help to repent of sin and start practicing the Laws of the Creator just as the Savior practices the Laws of the Creator. We see this as what the Apostles taught also. Conversion takes time and many simply give up and leave.
Contrary to the rumors about us, we absolutely do not teach, nor would we ever tolerate child molestation, underage marriage, or multiple marriages. We do not force our way into people’s homes to see what they do in their own homes. But we do teach against breaking the Laws found in your bible. This is the same thing that the Savior and His Disciples taught.
I do not believe that churches, schools, or hospitals are responsible for criminal action of their members. If that were so, every preacher, teacher, doctor, and nurse should be arrest now.
We teach against the use of illegal drugs. Such drugs are never allowed on The House of Yahweh property if we know of them. We ask that anyone who may have a problem in this area to get help in overcoming this dangerous habit. We have even sent some who have come to us for help to other center like Alcoholics Anonymous when we realized that we could not help them.
Like the Savior and the Apostles, we also teach that we must obey man’s laws. We diligently strive to convince all people who come to us for teaching to do so. Those who refuse to repent and convert are asked to leave and to not come back unless they are willing to repent. Most do repent because they came to the House of Yahweh for that reason. However, there are some who won’t repent so they leave. Some who leave get angry and say things about The House of Yahweh that are misleading.
Another rumor that we would like to dispel is the one about The House of Yahweh grounds being a compound where people are forced to stay. For security reasons, there is a gate at the entrance but no one is locked in, everyone is permitted to leave any time they please. They come and go at will. ACU has the same security and so do many apartment complexes, but the media tries to make this look bad only with The House of Yahweh.
Our local members either own or rent property in or around the Abilene/Clyde/Eula areas. Many other members live in other state and only come to Texas for the Feasts, or they visit during holidays. We do have some furnished shelters for new comers-single men, women, or families. These are temporary until the person finds a permanent home elsewhere. We also furnish food and clothing to anyone in need when they come to us for help. To the best of my knowledge, we have never denied anyone. Nor do we send anyone away who wants to stay, learn, and overcome.
We do have a campground, that is used three times a year for celebrating the three Feasts, with areas for travel trailers and tents. There are even a few mobile homes. We also have separate shower rooms for men and women. The campgrounds are occupied three times a year in celebration of Yahweh’s commanded Feasts. The Laws concerning these Feasts are found in the Old Testament. The New Testament gives witness to the fact that these Feasts were kept by the Savior and His Disciples, and we follow their examples.
People come from all over the world to keep up Yahweh’s Feasts at His House. The Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread is held for seven days in the spring. The Day of Bread is held for seven days in the spring. The Day of Pentecost is a one-day Feast, but many times the people stay for about three days. The Feast of Tabernacles is an eight day Feast that takes place in the early fall. During the times of the Feast, a great deal of revenue is brought into the Abilene and surrounding areas by the many Feast attendees.
Of course, after the Feasts end, everyone returns to their own nations, states, and homes. There are a number of members who have moved to this area in order to be near The House of Yahweh to attend weekly worship services, but as I stated before, they do not live on the campgrounds. They have their own homes, jobs, and businesses that they return to.
We Do Not Discriminate
All people and languages are welcome to The House of Yahweh. To us there is no such thing as “race.” We all came from one people, and at The House of Yahweh we are one people. We do not discriminate against gays. We welcome them and teach them Yahweh’s Way. In Yahweh’s House are many families, single men and women, nuns; people from many different walks of life. All of these people are here for the same reasons, to learn to stop sinning. Sin is the breaking of the Laws.
We do not recommend marriage at this time because of the soon coming nuclear wars that are prophesied, but we do not forbid marriage either, if all is legal. We teach against multiple wives. We teach family planning. We even allow artificial insemination for single women who desire children, because it breaks no law of man or Yahweh. We teach our children to be respectful to all, young and old. We teach our children to be respectful to all, young and old. We teach against abuse of children, spouses, neighbors, and even enemies. We know that everyone is in training and they do make mistakes, but as long as they are trying to overcome their problems, we are there to help. Practicing the Laws of Yahweh makes one Righteous.
History shows that crusades were started by rumors. A group would start a vicious rumor about another group in order to turn people against it. As a result, hatred spread. Then came fighting and crusades ensued. Millions of people-men, women, and children-were killed. In Germany alone, six million people were killed. Surely, this is not what we desire in Abilene, a city named after Abel, the first Righteous Priest of Yahweh. Surely, we of the great United States of America, a nation founded on the right to worship as we choose, are above that in this age.
It was the freedom of religion that brought our ancestors here. Do we really want to go back to the Dark Ages, a time of witch-hunts, crusades, burnings, and stoning?
Our phone lines are always open to calls if you have questions about is, The House of Yahweh. Our gates are open to anyone who would like to come to services or to just say, “hello” or “shalom.” See for yourself what we believe and teach, and the simple way we conduct our lives.
Who Are We?
We are called by some a Hebrew-Christian sect. They called the Apostles, who kept Yahweh’s Laws and followed the perfect example of Yahshua Messiah, the same, as many call us today. We believe in practicing and teaching the Ten Commandments among ourselves and to anyone who would like to learn, we teach.
We are not asking anyone to leave their church and join us. In fact, we are in hopes that we could just be left alone to live and worship the way we see the bible teaches, so we may teach our children to practice the Ten Commandments and keep them free from the curses caused by sin. We believe that soon everyone left alive after the coming nuclear wars will be practicing the Laws in their bibles.
We will never retaliate. We teach as the Savior did, to quickly forgive and to live your neighbor as yourself. Yes, even your enemy.
We do not pry into the lives of our members, or behind the closed doors of our members. This was part of the persecution of the dark, evil days that our forefathers fled from. If anyone comes to us wanting to know the True way to Righteousness, we will teach the Laws in the bible. Those who desire to repent and practice Yahweh’s Laws do so. But they are the ones who make the choice.
Our desire is to serve one another in the Righteousness of Yahweh. Tell us what you would like to see of us, that we might be able to fit into this community more readily. We will strive to do it, if it does not break any of Yahweh’s Laws.
Those who have turned away from following Yahshua’s example have brought many false accusations against our people. We hold no grudges against these people. We want only that they would repent and return to following the Savior’s example.
The only thing we would like is to have peace in the community and the right to follow the example of the Savior.
In closing I would like to quote our President George W. Bush, a fellow Texan, “something we have been doing all along, is urging the government to understand that minority rights are a vital part of any democratic society.
Call if you like. Your calls or letters are welcomed.
In the Love of Messiah,
Pastor and Overseer
The House of Yahweh.
"I read it all, every word of it, and I had mixed feelings," said Jack Chamberlain. "It didn't change my mind on the place whatsoever."
Chamberlain said when he first saw the letter he thought it might have been a letter seeking donations.
A woman wished to remain anonymous, said she laughed when she first got the letter, and wondered why they'd send her a letter in the mail.
"I don't think they're being treated unfairly," she said.