The Black Glove
“With knowledge doubt increases.”
The single most discordant note for me during my time in Edmonton was a seemingly trivial one. While I was driving home after a meeting with Kesh, he pointed out the movie theater that John had rented to screen Avatar for his congregation. Kesh referred to the movie as “Blue People” and it took a moment for the penny to drop. I had tried to watch Avatar some months before and found it moronic. Hearing that John—the living embodiment of truth—endorsed it caused a brief moment of cognitive dissonance in me. “Taste,” wrote Pauline Kael, “is the great divider.” Was this the great divide?
I had taken a guru. I had pledged my allegiance to the King. But was I in full agreement with myself? John had said to me in Bristol: “What you give your heart to isn’t the same as the deepest that you know the truth of in your heart.” If there was a division in my heart, it was inevitable I would eventually start to act from that split. Even as I was exalting John, was I secretly plotting to bring him down to my level? I wasn’t cut out for complete subjugation to another; sooner or later I was bound to begin questioning the guru’s goodness and infallibility. I had already done so in small ways: his on-going smoking habit (still unconfirmed); his preference for first-class air travel.
When Kesh had mentioned that John didn’t dance, I had argued that an enlightened being who couldn’t dance was not an enlightened being. But it wasn’t until I was confronted with John’s taste in movies that something in me—that old “trouble maker” persona—was fired into action.
I initiated a debate at the Birds of Being forum which went on for several days, until one of the long-time John-ies, a man named Baba, made fun of the discussion, and specifically of me, suggesting that I was an egomaniac interested only in showing off how smart I was. “Smart: good,” he wrote. “Too smart: not good.” I replied curtly, and Baba received a flurry of support from the women in the group, who “lined up” to kiss him on the forehead for his wonderfully childlike sense of humor (of which I was the butt). I was chastised for wasting people’s time with trivialities that did not “support realness.” I meekly apologized for being a smart-ass. Since I knew I was regressing to a former personality, I was willing to admit it and come clean about my mixed intentions. That effectively ended the discussion.
After the seminar, I had been ninety percent convinced I would be moving to Edmonton. My wife and I had a very comfortable set-up, and besides John and the enticing prospect of being part of a community, Edmonton had very little to offer. My wife had lived there for over three years and felt like “a prisoner” because of the landscape (around Edmonton is a visual wasteland). While she wasn’t eager to move back there, she wasn’t completely opposed to it. I was planning for both of us to return for the winter seminar, and take part in the Oasis New Year’s celebrations.
For the previous year and a half, I had been running an online group for “existential detective work, pattern recognition and identity deconstruction. Some members of the group were intimidated by my association with de Ruiter, others were turned off. The oldest member was suspicious of my gushing descriptions of John and Oasis, was convinced our group was rapidly turning into a cult, and did all he could to convince the others. A private female client (who was not part of the group) underwent a similar crisis: John gave her “the creeps” and was obviously a conman. Both of them ceased dealings with me soon after.
My work with them and elsewhere had become increasingly informed by John’s voice and teaching. I considered myself a kind of “energetic extension” of de Ruiter. I had even considered asking him about it at some point, to make sure he approved. Now I began to have doubts about whether I was in any position to guide others when it was becoming increasingly apparent how lost I was. As the doubts mounted, I began to consider ending my business and taking stock of everything I had done until then. An eerie symmetry was revealing itself. I recorded a final podcast in which I admitted having abused my power and authority as a quasi-guru. I expressed the disturbing possibility that I might have unintentionally turned my clients into prisoners as a means to secure a steady flow of income, and for the ego-gratification of being “a somebody.” I had fallen into the guru trap, I said, and it was time to climb out before it was too late. Two nights after I aired that final podcast, I had a dream.
I win a six-month stay on an island, as the only inhabitant, in a large house. The island is British, very flat and green. After I install myself in the house, John shows up. He is to live there too. He lies beside me in a double bed, close but not touching. He tells me something about energy grooves that I can’t even begin to describe. He energetically places his body around mine. It is like a hand inside a glove, his body being the glove and mine the hand. I arrive at a school where John is constantly instructing different groups. I seem to be moving about a lot, on the edge of activities more than part of them. I have the sense that somehow John is only there when I am not, and vice versa. I get repeated glimpses of him, but no direct contact. A group is sitting at long tables chanting. I sit opposite an Indian guy and join in chanting, but the session ends. John arrives and comes over to my left side. He puts his hand on my shoulder to signal that the class is over: I arrived too late. There’s a black glove in front of me, it’s supposed to be mine but he gives it to the Indian because I have no use for it. He leaves the room.
Word from God
“I bought a million lottery tickets. I won a dollar.”
The day after the dream, I received an email from a young guy I’d met in Edmonton who called himself “God.” A friend of Kesh, God had joined us for lunch in downtown Edmonton during our October visit, while I was visiting a back specialist for help with my sciatica. God was an outsider to Oasis and was considered a trouble maker at Birds of Being. According to Kesh, God (formerly Paul) considered himself not only to be enlightened but the most enlightened being on the planet, superior even to John. Because of his cheekiness and unpredictability, his posts were monitored at Birds of Being (Kesh was the moderator), and he had recently been “silenced” at the Oasis meetings, according to God by none other than Leigh-Anne herself. (Apparently God had a habit of “laughing inappropriately.”)
The email I received from God was sent to undisclosed recipients and included an attachment of documents from a court case, currently in process, between Benita von Sass and John de Ruiter. Benita claimed her employment at Oasis had been terminated without due cause or notice, that this was a breach of contract, and that she was suing for damages. Though the case began in February of 2010, this was the first I’d heard about it. God claimed not to have read the affidavit but pointed out that, in his testimony, John denied having had intimate relations with Benita, meaning that he lied to strengthen his defense. I read the document with interest but I didn’t find any solid evidence of John’s lying, and told God as much. I then read Benita’s testimony.
It took me several days to realize the full impact of this affidavit. At first I didn’t feel as though anything much had changed. Having read it, I felt more on a level with John. I no longer regarded him as a father figure so much as a “brother” and a friend. I also thought he was in trouble. I wrote a letter to him to offer my hand of friendship and support. In the letter (the draft I sent), I said that I wanted to get to know him better, and mentioned that Oasis, as well as the world, might be headed for difficult times.
At first, like my wife (though not to the same extent), I took Benita’s testimony, damning as it was, with a pinch of salt. I told myself that the word of a woman spurned was not reliable. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that, even if only half of what Benita said was true—if only a tenth was—then John was not what he appeared to be. If I’d had a less lofty idea of him, hearing about his strange behavior would have been easier to take. But how much margin for error does a living embodiment of truth have? The actions Benita was describing not only contradicted John’s teachings; they were completely at odds with his public persona. The picture she painted was not of a soft, gentle, surrendered paragon of love, kindness, and “core-splitting honesty,” but of a Machiavellian manipulator with a runaway Messiah complex. It depicted de Ruiter as less a man of knowledge than a spiritual psychopath.
Besides the affidavit from God, there was another intervention that helped me in coming to my senses. Although this person prefers not to be included in this account, in the interests of transparency I feel obliged to mention his role in this story since it was such a key one. I’ll refer to this person as “Charlie.” Like John de Ruiter (though they could hardly be more different), Charlie is a spiritual teacher, one I met (in the flesh) the year before I met de Ruiter. We stayed in touch on and off over the next couple of years and exchanged words here and there about de Ruiter. (Charlie had crossed paths with John on several occasions.) I didn’t try too hard to hide my belief that Charlie was not in the same league as de Ruiter, though I put it in more diplomatic terms by stating that Charlie had had a relatively small impact on me compared to John. Charlie said something about how I had come to John via my wife, and that this had primed me for the experience. That made sense to me, but I was still convinced that, whatever level of awareness Charlie had attained, it was kid’s stuff compared to de Ruiter.
Immediately after my mother’s passing, Charlie and I spoke via Skype about de Ruiter. Until then, I’d suspected that Charlie was in competition with John, even that he felt threatened by him. During our conversation, however, I realized that Charlie was more than merely skeptical: he was actually suspicious of de Ruiter. He asked me questions about my experiences, and told me anecdotal stories which he’d heard from some of his own students and other people he knew. Questioning de Ruiter’s goodness was unthinkable for me at the time, but I was too curious not to want to talk to Charlie, and I did my best to cooperate.
After the funeral I flew back to Canada; a few weeks later, on the verge of physical, emotional, and mental collapse, I emailed Charlie a one-word message: “Help!” I didn’t really expect a response, and I didn’t get one at first. Then, while I was in Edmonton for the seminar, we resumed our dialogue. Charlie was curious to hear anything I had to report about my experiences and provided short, pithy comments by way of feedback. (When he heard that I was not feeling ballsy enough to approach John, he said simply, “Grow some.”) He was particularly interested in hearing my impressions of the Oasis community, and I kept him informed within the limited time I had between meetings. Perhaps a week before the affidavit landed in my inbox, Charlie contacted me again and we embarked on a series of dialogues about de Ruiter. Again, I felt threatened and defensive, and again, Charlie seemed disappointed by my lack of openness. I was still in crisis mode concerning my back, my marriage, and other matters, so I consulted Charlie in a more professional capacity. John had dismissed my cry for help by telling me that all I needed was myself. Charlie had responded to it by providing me with the one thing de Ruiter couldn’t or wouldn’t give: a personal connection. It is no coincidence, then, that the ostensible reason for this personal connection was to lead me gently but unerringly to question my belief in de Ruiter’s “goodness.” And Charlie’s character was the polar opposite of de Ruiter: he was fast-talking, meandering, irreverent, and refreshingly ordinary. His guidance was also much more down to earth and practical than de Ruiter’s vague and abstract statements.
The first clue I had that something wasn’t right was in my responses to Charlie’s questions and anecdotes. When Charlie brought up evidence that de Ruiter might be less than “straight” or “clean,” it seemed absurd to me, because my mind was already rigidly convinced otherwise. John’s goodness was beyond question, and that was the extent of my “argument” with Charlie. I was threatened by the mere suggestion that de Ruiter was less than perfect, and my response was essentially: “Why are you questioning John when I already know what John is?” It wasn’t that de Ruiter’s behavior was irrelevant to me; I wasn’t that far gone. It was that I rejected the context in which Charlie was scrutinizing it: his skepticism and doubt. To me it was all right to question de Ruiter’s behavior, but only in the context that he was the living embodiment of truth, because that belief was beyond challenging. Based on my conviction, whatever he did, there had to be an explanation for it. In the past, I had always fallen back on the belief that de Ruiter was a surrendered being, and if he seemed to do anything dodgy, it was because he went passively along with what other people wanted. Why? Because he had no preference. He was literally “beyond good and evil.” By this logic, any suspicious behavior became further evidence of his surrendered nature.
Charlie was suggesting a different point of view. He was suggesting that de Ruiter might have a hidden side that was fully in control of his actions and decisions. Charlie wasn’t saying de Ruiter was up to anything dodgy; he was merely asking if that could be the case. He was asking me to look at the evidence before making my mind up. The trouble was I had already made my mind up. Since I couldn’t allow the idea that de Ruiter was untrustworthy or deceptive to enter into my mind, none of the evidence mattered. The case was already closed, and I blocked Charlie every step of the way. Ironically, it was this very act of blocking that allowed me to see that something wasn’t right, and after a couple of conversations, things began to shift in my mind. I realized I was preventing myself from seeing something that was right in front of me.
It was at that precise moment that the affidavit arrived.
An Empire of Self-Interest: The Document that Overturned the Rock
“It is an empire of self-interest. It’s obvious. All the usual suspects: power, control, self-interest, money, glamour, sex.”
What follows are the pertinent parts of the affidavit which landed in my inbox that decisive day in November of 2010. I have italicized the parts which I consider especially relevant, and to which I may refer later on.
I, JOHN DE RUITER, of the City of Edmonton, in the Province of Alberta,
MAKE OATH AND SAY AS FOLLOWS:
- THAT I am the Defendant in the within action and as such have personal knowledge of the matters hereinafter deposed to, except where stated to be based on information or belief.
- THAT I was trained as a shoemaker. I was drawn by profound spiritual feelings to the study of theology, later serving as assistant to the Pastor of a Lutheran Church in Edmonton. Continued study led to my separation from the Church, eventually becoming a philosopher and teacher. I earn my living by speaking at meetings of people who are interested in my ideas and insights in Canada and throughout the world.
- THAT my teaching gradually became more popular during the 1990s and by 1999 I was employing several people and had about 60 volunteers. I began to hold weekend retreats at a rural venue (a lodge) near Edmonton at the invitation of its owner, Peter von Sass, who, I understood, was a financier, and had previous experiences with other similar speakers and philosophers.
- THAT I met the Plaintiff in 1996 at a meeting in Edmonton at Mr. von Sass’s lodge. She was a student in Calgary where she lived with her 2 boys. At the time I was married to my wife, Joyce. The Plaintiff began to volunteer at various meeting that I held in Edmonton and Calgary over the course of several years.
- THAT the Plaintiff applied and was admitted to the Faculty of Law of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, in the fall of 1998, on the basis of a BA 1997 from the University of Calgary.
- THAT my marriage to Joyce broke down at the end of 1999. We have 3 children, and generally, at that time, very little assets. The Divorce proceedings took 3 years.
- THAT I began to have an intimate relationship with the Plaintiff in 1998. I commenced an intimate relationship with her sister, Katrina, within the year. I told the Plaintiff about that relationship, and she was not concerned about it.
- THAT the Plaintiff had told me during our entire relationship that she had not gotten over her experience of deep love for her youngest son Felix’s father, and she often spoke of wishing to have back what she had with him. She traveled to Tokyo in October 2008 and visited with him there, I believe, in hopes of rekindling their relationship. The Plaintiff virtually refused all intimacy in our relationship from 2002 to 2007.
- THAT the Plaintiff did not object to my relationship with Katrina. She supported my relationship. When Katrina was having some difficulties, I stayed with Katrina for 3 months at one time. I also stayed longer at Katrina’s when I could not face going back to the Plaintiff’s house.
- THAT I never promised to marry the Plaintiff. We never had a domestic contract. We did not own anything jointly.
- THAT during the last several years of our relationship, the Plaintiff would confront me with issues that she perceived were important. She continually denigrated staff, her sister, her children, and her parents. I found this very upsetting, and could not respond to her remarks.
STATEMENT OF DEFENSE
- On or about August 8, 2009, Oasis terminated the employment relationship with Von Sass for cause. The particulars of the cause included:
- a) Misappropriation of funds;
- b) Misappropriation of business records and equipment;
- c) Insubordination;
- d) Insolence;
- e) Breach of trust;
- f) Harassment of staff;
- g) Mismanagement and Incompetence;
- h) Misrepresentation of her position within Oasis to other employees of Oasis.
I, BENITA VERA VON SASS, of the City of Edmonton, in the province of Alberta, MAKE OATH AND SAY THAT:
- In response to paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Defendant’s Affidavit, the Defendant speaks of the interest that people have demonstrated in his ideas and insights. This is an understatement. Many people have moved to Edmonton from other countries to be near the Defendant further to his suggestions that a close proximity to him is desirable because of the benefits that his “energy” will have upon them. Accordingly, the Defendant’s popularity grows with followers believing it is desirable to become a volunteer or staff member to increase their spiritual growth. The Defendant’s insights, whether positive or negative, are taken to be directives that come directly from truth and God, and become those of his followers.
- It was extremely painful when the Defendant announced shortly after moving in with me as my husband in early 2000, that he now also knew from God that my sister would also be his wife. I struggled emotionally and mentally coming to terms with this arrangement. I cried many hundreds of times over the years following, learning to cope with the daily psychological pain, and enduring what the Defendant insisted came directly from God. I obeyed the Defendant’s instructions to “let the pain be what it is” while believing that a greater good was being served in my submission to him. The Defendant’s claim that I was not concerned upon hearing about his new relationship, is completely untrue.
- In response to paragraph 9 of the Defendant’s Affidavit, the Defendant stated that God had directed him to buy a million dollar house in Westridge. The Defendant stated that “it stirred from God” to purchase this home with a large indoor pool. He told my family that for educational purposes, to teach Katrina about power and responsibility, the house would need to be entirely in his name. The entire intended down payment of $410,000.00 came from Katrina’s life savings alone. She obeyed.
- The Defendant assured me that giving up my law degree and developing/managing his company was the best use of my skills and time, stating conflict of interest would prevent me from ever being able to defend him if I became a lawyer anyway, and stating that what I had already learned in law school would still be of great use in the coming years. I obeyed, and began to receive a salary in April of 2000 far below my actual worth, working 12—18 hours days on average, 7 days per week.
- In response to paragraph 17 of the Defendant’s Affidavit, I was surprised to read for the first time, the Defendant’s relationship fears regarding my prior invitation with my son to visit with his estranged father in Japan at his place of work. I went to Tokyo because my son’s father, who was married at that time, wished to reconnect with my son. I did not want for this to happen without my being there. At the completion of this trip, my son returned to Canada, but I traveled directly from Japan to Germany to accompany the Defendant to a regularly scheduled Seminar.
- The suggestion that I stopped marital relations with the Defendant at any point beyond what would be considered entirely normal within the day to day course of a marriage is completely untrue.
- In response to paragraph 18 of the Defendant’s Affidavit, in the midst of extreme personal psychological and emotional pain, I did my best to accept the Defendant’s relationship with Katrina inasmuch as I believed it was, as the Defendant told me, ordained by God and therefore true.
- In response to paragraph 19 of the Defendant’s Affidavit, in 2000, the Defendant informed me that we were married and that this was so as per God and the Defendant in his authority as the Christ. On March 16, 2008, the Defendant led a ceremony at the Oasis Conference Centre renewing our vows as husband and wife. He told me that he could not legalize our marriage as this would hurt Katrina too badly. The ceremony took place on the Conference Centre stage, then celebrated at the Hotel McDonald directly after the ceremony in a special suite.
- The Defendant’s allegations in paragraph 22 are a distortion of the facts and completely untrue.
- Strange difficulties and disputes with family and staff members developed during the last two years of my relationship with the Defendant. I came to understand these originated from inappropriate conversations and deleterious comments that the Defendant made about me behind the scenes, and his encouragement that others do the same. Upon finally re-connecting with family members he had, in this way, alienated me from for years, including my parents and my sister, we came to discover that the Defendant had spoken disparagingly behind the backs of all involved, thereby creating deep divisions within the family alone. The Defendant was not pleased with our regained relationships. The Defendant had been successful in isolating me from almost all supports. This, coupled with much of my work being conducted in my home office where the Defendant further did not allow guests, left me in a particularly painful and isolated place.
- When I attempted to address the strange difficulties and then later the disparaging remarks I came to understand the Defendant had made, the Defendant’s response was for the most part a treatment of silence. Later, when accounting concerns and irregularities created by the Defendant were brought to his attention by myself and my father (the Defendant’s business advisor) we both received a treatment of silence. Shortly thereafter we were both terminated.
- During the last 2 years of my common-law marriage with the Defendant, I could no longer reconcile his increasingly bizarre and self-oriented personal behavior with his claims of having no personal interest in power or personal identity. The Defendant’s focus on personal time with his followers and corporate staff, his late night encounters with followers with no explanation, his avoidance of direct explanation with a reliance on others to speak on his behalf, his utter avoidance of home responsibility or caretaking, his elevated personal expenses, his questionable treatment of accounting, and his use of semantics to alter his story when convenient, were in direct contravention even of his own teachings. My concerns and questions to the Defendant became extensive.
- In response to paragraph 26 of the Defendant’s Affidavit, in early 2000, as I have already stated, the Defendant informed me with one witness present, that he “knew from God I was now his wife”. He said this was true in all senses of the word, physical, emotional, and spiritual, and that we would now live together in my condominium with my children as husband and wife. He moved in with me and my sons, whom he encouraged to call him dad for many years.
- The Defendant told me I was the “sweetness he abided in,” eventually telling me we were “two sides of the same heart” and that I alone was “his soul”…. He told me that I alone completed him and that I was the key to his complete understanding of himself on both surface and profound levels. The Defendant maintained that this was ordained by God and that on that level we were profoundly compatible. I trusted the Defendant. For years the Defendant and I walked into and out of seminars and meetings with his right arm around me as a public demonstration of our union, which was recorded on select video tapes of the Defendant’s meetings.
- To read the Defendant’s allegation that there was no marriage and no shared vision, is incomprehensible. My entire life’s work and common-law relationship with the Defendant demonstrate the shared vision we had and my commitment.
I, BENITA VERA VON SASS, of the city of Edmonton, in the Province of Alberta, MAKE OATH AND SAY THAT:
- Since then, the Defendant’s weekly Edmonton meeting audience has grown to over 300 regular attendees, many of whom have arrived from all over the world, with a further extended audience attending his many international seminars. He has held seminars in such places as England, India, U.S.A. (until he was denied entry and work in approximately 2002), Israel, Germany, Holland, Austria, Australia and New Zealand. The Defendant claimed then, as he does today, that he is a spiritual teacher with a supernatural calling from God. He has been holding informal local and international spiritual development seminars for over 10 years. The Defendant offers these in a question and answer format. In this fashion he has come to receive millions of dollars in contributions and seminar fees from his followers. Obviously, the Defendant provides a message and experience that is initially compelling. The Defendant, however, fosters a spiritual obsession and submission to his teachings. Having been drawn in by the Defendant and initially convinced he was an entirely honest man with deep and great integrity and knowledge, I have come to learn that the Defendant is fraudulent. It has taken me years to come to understand this.
- The Defendant told me he knew from God to single me out and teach me about truth, and that this necessarily involved sexual intimacy. The Defendant convinced me to sexually submit to him, reminding me that this was “God’s will”. The Defendant stated he was the “Christ on earth” and that defying him was to defy truth, goodness and God. Accordingly, I obeyed and submitted.
- The Defendant later told me God had willed deviant sexual and other behaviors as well as relationships between himself and four married female followers. He was at that time still having regular sex with two of them in addition to his wife and to me. One of the husbands had been aware of the activity, the others not. The Defendant currently and at that time, publicly preached a message of marital fidelity and honesty. The Defendant explained to me that part of his “burden from God” was to act against his own message and to violate his own marriage so as to prepare him inwardly for his upcoming battle with Satan. He spoke in soft convincing tones, claiming to be a kind of willing victim suffering God’s will. He claimed this preparation was further “profound evidence” of the truth of his “calling” from God to be the “embodiment of truth,” and that what “may appear or may be suffered on the outside” is not “in reality what is happening on deeper and profound, unseen levels.”
- The Defendant preached a strict type of fundamentalism concerning honesty and allegiance to truth during seminars, and most notably at home. He often spoke of “dark forces” and “principalities of evil” that were ever lurking, and that he would one day be responsible for facing and annihilating as part of his role as the embodiment of Truth. He asked me to consider as a mental exercise the possibility of killing my own children to reveal my true “allegiance to truth”. I told him I would be unable to commit such an act, even if it came from God.
- I sold my condominium and in approximately 2001, purchased a house in my name. The Defendant modified my home to suit his requirements, including increasing the size of the garage door opening to accommodate his monster truck, installing an expanded shower, installing security cameras, purchasing a large Rottweiler guard dog and installing a security fence. I continued to pay all household bills from my salary and completed and arranged almost all domestic indoor and outdoor work and upkeep. Oasis Edmonton Inc. (“Oasis”) paid all associated costs, including food, grooming, training, fence construction and surveillance fees. The dog was hit by a car and killed in October of 2008. I purchased another large security dog, a Great Dane cross, in February of 2009 and Oasis continued to pay all associated costs. The Defendant continued to live with me with my two boys through 2009 until my eldest son, now twenty four years of age, moved out. The Defendant’s son came to live in our home for a period during this time as well.
- My office was in my home. The Defendant did not allow the public to know our private home address. Our phone number and address were not listed in the phone book. Social contact, even with my sisters, brother and parents, was strongly discouraged by the Defendant, and we did not have guests. Over a 10 year period, we may have had 5 visits to the house. The Defendant’s former wife and three children moved to Holland with her new husband and had little contact with the Defendant before their departure, followed by strained contact with the children after their departure. I wrote possibly hundreds of letters for the Defendant in his name to his three estranged children, to help him further his relationships with them for many years. The Defendant was not able to type well or formulate his thoughts in the form of personal or business letters.
- …I personally oversaw the receipt of millions of dollars of contributions from philanthropists attending the Defendant’s meetings and interested in supporting the Defendant’s public message of honesty, accountability and higher values of altruism.
- I was the mind and management behind all corporate policy, strategy and operations, including the creation of all corporate forms, reporting and filing systems. I created the entire pricing scheme for public rental of the facilities and advertising vision. I created the entire corporate structure for the new Conference Centre, defining and delegating jobs and hiring approximately 15 key employees, including Leigh Ann Angermann whom I met in Germany during one of the Defendant’s seminars and for whom I prepared work and immigration documents to allow her to work in Edmonton as a Conference Host. [Angermann became de Ruiter’s wife in 2009.]
…(n) repeated comments over the years by the Defendant assuring me: “this is not my company, it is ours,” “your job security is iron-clad”, “nothing should ever make you feel like your job security is in question”, even if you were to be unable to work you would be taken care of completely”, “I can hardly believe you would even question your job security”, and so on. The Defendant told me his dream would be for the company to be able to run itself and he and I would have the time to ourselves with my no longer needing to work. The Defendant said he did “not relate to the companies or the building belonging to [him]”, saying they were created for a reason beyond personal ownership”. Knowing that staff looked up to the Defendant as their spiritual teacher and therefore held any comments from him in high esteem, the Defendant told staff to treat my comments and directives to them in the corporation as equally authoritative. He told staff to see us as “the same” and to treat my words and directives as though they were coming from him directly.
- As the Defendant’s behavior became less and less consistent with his message of profound honesty and goodness, and as the Defendant began to privately exhibit increasing intolerance to my questions about his behavior and integrity, especially concerning his use of power and persuasion, he continued to publicly preach a message of “dearness, honesty and transparency”. The Defendant adopted a virtual silent treatment of anyone not in direct support of him and his teachings. Publicly and privately the Defendant’s motives and behavior were in direct opposition to each other. The Defendant portrayed himself as a “victim” of anyone not in support of him, enlisting sympathy and support from his followers and creating fear in his followers that anyone opposing his teachings is a direct threat to his organization and is “dangerous”.
- The Defendant was aware that I had no savings, as he had directed all available monies to go directly to the businesses. Over the years the Defendant expressly discouraged my suggestions to find supplementary work for myself to supplement any income, saying it would “split my focus” and detract from the purity of my commitment. The Defendant had for years recommended charging to the company any household or personal expenses (such as dental, home repair or improvement and so on beyond the regular monthly expenses) as part of my salary. I paid taxes yearly on the combined total sum. Many home improvements and other purchases had also been made on my personal visa or line of credit to keep money in the company where possible, resulting in significant visa and line of credit debts. Accordingly, with bills mounting and no reply from the Defendant, after my sudden termination, I continued to pay my usual monthly fees by credit card and cheque, including Voxcom (Relianee Protection) security, dog costs, pool costs and janitorial. In addition, I paid a Westworld computer repair cost for the laptop computer I had been working with, kenneling cost for the Defendant’s dog while he was on holidays, 20 Oasis cell phone use reimbursement (for use from Jan 08—July 09) and concrete pouring cost (as explicitly approved by the Defendant months earlier in the back yard of my home).
- My home security was cancelled unilaterally by the Defendant July 23, 2009 without my knowledge. Two cheques written by me for my usual janitorial services were bounced by Oasis, dated July 28 and August 4, 2009, as well as cheques I had written for our usual pool service, and bills for my security system and cement pouring. I did not receive the usual tithe salary cheques for July nor August 2009 amounting to approximately $2,250 monthly, nor receive reimbursements for any of the expenses outlined in my emails to the Defendant. I believe this was all part of a deliberate tactic by the Defendant to compel me to continue to use my corporate visa and chequing to cover my bills, resulting in “continued spending of company monies on personal items” which was identified by the Defendant in his letter of termination sent August 8, 2009. I have been strong-armed into returning all Oasis materials in my possession by threat that I will not receive a monthly salary cheque beginning September 1st without compliance. As I have been advised by counsel to retain all corporate materials in my possession as the only evidence of my extensive career in the development and management of these companies, I did not return the materials to the Defendant (the content of which he already has through e-mails and hard copy originals over the years, and which remain in the corporation’s possession on the Oasis premises). I had already delivered all personal effects (clothing and sundries) to the Defendant, July 17, 2009.
- Within a three week period beginning mid July of 2009, the Defendant has demoted me, unilaterally removed me as a corporate officer, removed my salary, terminated my employment, ended our marital relationship without speaking a word to me, consummated a secret relationship with one of our staff (for whom I had prepared immigration documents), legally married the staff member, damaged my reputation with employees and College attendees as well as with my bank and some of my associates, and left me with no savings and mounting debts.