TRANSCRIPT – Interview with former members of Gospel Assembly Church in Des Moines, Iowa
May 20, 1991
Russ: Today's date is Monday, May 20, 1991. From the statement given at: Casson Services office at 3703 Douglas Ave. This would be regarding cult activity case. Go ahead; state for the record your full name.
Kimette: Kimette Terese Parks.
Russ: Okay. Why don't you go ahead and just give me a brief explanation of your involvement. First of all, why don't you give me the church that you were attending at the time this happened?
Kimette: Gospel Assembly Church.
Russ: Okay. Can you give me the address of the church?
Kimette: 72nd and Meredith.
Russ: Okay. Why don't you go ahead and give me a brief narrative as to your experiences with the church and why you left, the people involved and why you left the church.
Kimette: Well, I was very involved in the church and very supportive of the church. And I believed, due to a course, of things I came upon some reason of some things that happened in the past and possibly still going on today and it caused me to seek some answers for myself whether what I was doing was right. I chose to not go back to church for personal revelation that the Lord had given to me. And when presenting that to my pastor, he was very upset and became very irate and told me that I could not fellowship with Wanda Mason. Um, told me that I was full of the devil and under the influence of demonic spirits. And through the course of this, his temper was just rising. He also told my husband that he was free to divorce me and really worked on him to feel that he should and also told him that if I was to continue to fellowship with Wanda Mason that he was to divorce me.
Russ: Okay, did he say this in the open church in front of others.
Kimette: No, he did not. We were. My husband and I were at their apartment, which is on their church property, my husband, Leander Ray and his wife, Alice Ray. We were sitting in their living room.
Russ: Do you believe that he meant what he said?
Kimette: Yes, I do.
Russ: Are you at all fearful as to what might happen out of all this?
Kimette: I believe that they are capable of trying some, something, anything to save their skin.
Russ: Because of this have you and your husband had a breakdown in your marriage?
Kimette: Yes, we have; my husband, shortly after, asked me if I would just leave and he made arrangements for me to stay with Robert and Wanda Mason.
Russ: Okay, how long have you been residing with the Mason's now'?
Kimette: For approximately one week; one week.
Russ: Have you completely moved your belongings out of your house into the Mason residence?
Kimette: No, I haven't. I've took a few personal belongings and clothes and stuff.
Russ: From your discussions with your husband, what is he telling you?
Kimette: I'm… He's telling me that I'm full of the devil and that he doesn't… I've tried to tell him some truth of things that have happened and he doesn't want to hear it. He's very much under their influence. And he told me, after I very plainly exposed some of the things that have happened that were true, “Well if I had the choice of believing you over that, then I'm going to believe Brother Goodwin.”
Kimette: Which he does not really even know this man, except for from over the pulpit and he knows myself and he knows Wanda very well and he knows that we are sincere and honest and we just don't cook up these things like this out of the blue.
Russ: Okay, how many years have you been around the church?
Kimette: For four years.
Russ: Okay, what are some of the beliefs that they have in the church? Can you briefly go over those, some of the things that the church set out? Did you have rules that you had to follow?
Kimette: Well there are a lot of them. They had made laws that we are to follow. We were to wear our hair up, the married women wear their hair up and you're not to wear makeup, because, well a little foundation or powder if you want to; but, no makeup and you can't really make yourself look nice. No pants; the women have to wear dresses and skirts. The men all wear white long sleeve shirts to church, all of them. And they're to always; all of us are to always wear long sleeve shirts. Women can wear 3/4 length, but he, at one time the men could, but he took that privilege away also. They're to wear long sleeve shirts buttoned down.
Russ: Would the acronym of “rule by fear” be accurate for this church?
Kimette: Yes, it would. If you leave the church, you'll die under the judgment of God. You'll go down, you'll go to hell, your life will wind up in the gutter. I can say that my life has never been better since I left the church.
Russ: So over at the church, you did in fact believe that could happen?
Kimette: Yes, I did.
Russ: And that's how they kept you there.
Kimette: Yes, I believed, well I believed that what I was doing was right. I believed I was serving God through that church, but I can see now that I was – all I was doing was laboring to build the kingdom of Brother Goodwin.
Russ: So it would also be acronym of brainwashing in the fact that they change your way of thinking to theirs would be accurate?
Kimette: Well, we sat on a bench for hours at a time, four days a week. And you'd hear these messages over and over and over and over again. “You're nothing but a worm. Women are silly and stupid and can't think for themselves.” And, “You listen to your husband no matter what he tells you to do,” these kinds of things. You wind up in a very low self-esteem and you feel very dependent, a I felt like I really needed that church.
Russ: Before you came to this church, what other church did you belong to?
Kimette: I didn't belong to a church before. I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church. My childhood and my younger adult years were very traumatic and very troubled and I was a very unstable person. I came from a divorced home and this was something sure and secure, I thought. It made me feel safe and, like I didn't have to worry about anything anymore.
Russ: Are you provided with a list of numbers when you join the church? That would be like a directory.
Kimette: No, we're not.
Russ: What other beliefs, do they also believe that you're not to vote but that God will take care of them?
Kimette: That's correct, you are not to vote. You're encouraged not to vote at all and not to get involved in the community. You don't worry about what's going on in the world and what's going on around you in your city. God's in control and he'll do what he wants to do with it.
Russ: The amount of money do you give to the church? What do they ask, how much, percentage of your income do they ask you to give the tithe.
Kimette: Well, we're told to give 10% tithes. And also, constantly, you hear, “That's not good enough. You give till it hurts. You just give till you can't give no more.” I know when my husband and I first moved here, we could barely even feed ourselves and we were giving 20% tithes, plus offerings. They… It's a large assembly; they receive quite a large offering, I'm sure. It seems to never be good enough because every time an activity comes up they are still hounding and pressing for money. You feel like you have to give till you bleed.
Russ: Okay, does this cause a lot of great difficulties among people that belong to the church, have you heard anyone talk about this at the church.
Kimette: Yes, I've, I've heard people make comments before. Like for instance: I was just made an usherette. They decided that all the usherettes would have to wear the same exact suit, the same exact color and many people were going to have to go out and buy two new suits. A lot of them could not afford that. They heard murmuring and complaining, “Well how much is this going to cost? Well I can't afford this.” I myself was one of them.
Russ: The church did not provide this for you then?
Kimette: No, they did not.
Russ: Yeah, so since you've left this church, you feel that your life has been a lot better then?
Kimette: Yes, I do.
Russ: You feel relieved that you're not under this pressure?
Kimette: I feel very relieved. I feel like I'm out from under bondage.
Russ: Okay, getting back to the church. They also have their own school, do they not?
Kimette: Yes, they do. I worked in the school.
Russ: Are they pretty adamant about having the children of the church go to that school?
Kimette: Yes, it's only for their children that are in the church, no one else. No other children can attend that school.
Russ: So if you don't go to their school, you can't belong to the church?
Kimette: If you don't go to the church, you can't belong to the school.
Russ: What happens if the family members choose to not send their children to the school?
Kimette: I'm sure that they would receive some criticism and hounding for that, if there was no apparent reason. Most of the children that are not in the school are children that have gotten kicked out of the school. It is an honor and a privilege to have your children in that school. You're lucky.
Russ: Did you work as a teacher there in the school?
Kimette: I was a teacher's aid, I was a monitor.
Russ: Okay, how long were you in that position?
Kimette: I was – I worked off and on at the school when we first moved here. I worked that first year, the majority of that first year. I worked this past year, up until the last two weeks of school, then I quit going to church.
Russ: Okay, were you a paid employee of the school?
Kimette: Pardon me?
Russ: Were you a paid employee of the school?
Kimette: No, I was not. All the monitors are volunteer workers. I worked two days a week at the school; and one on one, you're one on one with those kids. And you really work hard.
Russ: And is there anything else you want to add to this statement?
Kimette: Yes, also, a couple days after I had talked to my pastor about not wanting to come back to church, I felt a desire to see several members of the church that were very dear to me. So I decided to go to church one night and I had a little makeup on and I had my hair down and I went in. June Goodwin, the Senior Pastor's wife, evidently somebody told her that I was there, she came flying through the doors and just threw her hands on her hips and glared at me and the next thing I knew he was coming up the aisle full steam and started in on me, telling me that I was trying to tear up his church and that I was full of the devil and under the influence of Wanda Mason and that I could not come back to that church until I repented to him and the church. I asked him, what I had done that I needed to repent for because I had not done anything to this man or anyone in the church. He told me that because I was fellowshipping Wanda Mason that I could not come back till I repented to him and the church and told me to get out and have my husband take me home.
Russ: So you were physically removed by your husband from the church.
Kimette: Well, I went peaceably, but he would have dragged me out if he had to. My husband would have.
Russ: There again, ruling by fear. Have they ever hurt anybody that you know of?
Kimette: I've never seen anyone physically harmed but I do not put it past them. They use intimidation. My pastor: every time my husband and I went to him for counseling, he would use intimidation before he would begin counseling. He would just burn a hole right through you. He would sit there and stew for a few minutes and make you nervous. And before he could talk to you, he had to beat you down that way and intimidate you.
Russ: What kind of things would he say to you to burn a hole in you?
Kimette: He'd just glare at you. He'd just burn a hole right through you. He'd just stare right into your eyes very hard. There was a very cruel manner about him. The last time that my husband and I went to him to – all we were going to him for was to tell him that I had some cleaning jobs that I wanted to give up this evening to somebody that needed them and he put his head down in his hands and starting turning his head, like, “What do they want now?” When we got right up in front of him, he just turned around and burned a hole through me. I said, “What was that look for?” He said, “Hurry up.” Or it was more stern you know, like, “Hurry up,” like, “Get this over with.” I even confronted him with that and he lied and he said that he did not do that and he said, “Hurry up, Hurry up,” and that's not that way that it happened. These are the tactics that they use to break you down. I just believed that anything that they said was from God. But I just don't believe that anymore. I just – I think they are out for themselves.
Russ: Okay. All right, that will conclude the statement at 9:08 a.m.
Interview with former member of Gospel Assembly Church:
Russ: Let me state again: It's Monday, May 20, 1991. The time is now: 9:35 A.M. The statement is given at 3703 Douglas Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa at Casson Services. Go ahead, Bob, state for the record your name.
Robert: My name is Robert William Mason.
Russ: Okay, why don't you tell me what you would know firsthand; what you have heard personally said about your wife at church.
Bob: On Saturday night, May 11, a Saturday night service. Rev. Goodwin made it very plain.
Interruption: Phone call from Bill Verwers.
Russ: Will go off statement just a moment.
Back on record after a phone call from Bill Verwers.
Bob: On a Saturday night, Kim Parks, this was the night that Kim Parks was removed from the sanctuary. Brother Goodwin ordered her removed from the sanctuary by her husband. I witnessed him rebuking her in front of her husband, Lee Parks. I was not close enough to hear any of the words but I knew that all the church hierarchy was in the sanctuary at the time that Bro. Goodwin came in. This would include Sister Goodwin. Lee Ray was sitting in the sanctuary. Alice Ray was in the sanctuary. This is very unusual because these individuals do not ever come into the sanctuary prior to service time except one or two of them looking for some individual, but at this instant, you knew something was happening because all of the hierarchy at one time came in. Lloyd Goodwin came in even without his coat, just in his shirt; this is very unusual for him to come into the sanctuary in this manner. He was very agitated; you could see it by his facial expressions as he had his conversation. Initially, Kim Parks was talking to another lady in the church who she does cleaning jobs with and this is all she was doing, was talking to this lady about the jobs that they co-work at cleaning houses. He immediately removed this lady from Kim Park's area and told her to get away from her and not to ever talk to her again. He then proceeded to say some remarks to Kim. I had at that point gone out into the foyer where Lee Parks was on usher duty and mentioned to him that that Bro. Goodwin was talking to Kim. He was relieved by another usher. He went into the sanctuary at that time to be with his wife. I watched the conversation. She was removed from the sanctuary; Lee took her home. My daughter and I stayed for church. No, I stayed for church; my daughter wasn't with me that Saturday night.
Bob: Then in the service, my wife's name and Kim Park's name was mentioned at least a half dozen different times in conjunction with one another and on one on one basis. My wife's name was mentioned and the fact that she was going to die an unnatural death. The scripture was given, quoted; he made it very plain that she was going to die an unnatural death and he gave a time table on this Saturday night of somewhere, probably, for using the scriptures from the Bible, the neighborhood of one to two months. The service then, Wednesday, May 15th, I was present at this service, my daughter was present at this service where it was, again, the scriptures were used and the time frame was changed at this point. My wife's name was not mentioned because visitors from out of state were present in this service, so no name was actually mentioned but he alluded to everything so everybody was very aware of who it was because of previous services. He mentioned at this point that she was going to die a death and she was going to die a fiery death, her body was going to be charred beyond recognition, and the fact that she would die very soon. He would not say how soon but in both cases he mentioned the fact that she was either going to die or he was not called to the ministry. He was that plain, that evident and he made that statement in both services, uh, on two or three occasions especially, Sat. the 11th. On Wed. the 15th, he made the statement again if this did not happen then he was not called to the ministry.
Russ: Okay and which church did this take place at again, Bob?
Bob: This was at Gospel Assembly Church at 7135 Meredith Drive.
Russ: And you've been a member there for how long?
Bob: Since 1975.
Russ: Is this the first instance of this nature that you've ever heard first hand?
Bob: No. In fact Lloyd Goodwin made the statement on several occasions that he's had people that have threatened his life and that they were on their way to kill him because he had apparently been accused by the individual of having an affair with his wife and the individual was coming to, uh, deal with Bro. Goodwin. He made it like the individual was coming to kill him but the individual was apparently on his way to confront Bro. Goodwin and somehow the man died in a mysterious car accident on the way to Des Moines.
Bob: He very plainly used that evidence on several -occasions to prove that God was protecting him.
Russ: Okay. He does believe he's doing all this in God's name?
Bob: Yes. In fact he backs up everything he's doing by using scriptures and lessons and stories, if you will, from the Old Testament or New Testament. The death of Ananias & Saphira: He said very plainly, it needs to be happening in the church. We need to make the church come under fear to do anything wrong.
Russ: Okay. He does know what he's doing then?
Bob: I would say, without a doubt, he knows exactly what he's doing because he has these scriptures written down. These are not just something that pops into his head. He has notes that he's written down on every one of these scriptures. He has researched everything that he says in his time frame.
Russ: Okay. And you are fearful of him carrying out this plan?
Bob: I feel that Lloyd Goodwin is very capable. In the years that he's been here and the incidents that I have heard: The man that dies in the accident coming to him are, there are a lot of suspicious things that have happened over the period of time that I have known him and I would not doubt that some suspicious things could continue to happen.
Russ: Okay. These are the firsthand. This is your firsthand knowledge as to what's happened. In other words the rest is pretty much hear say at this point that people has told you. Is this correct?
Russ: Okay. This is the end of statement at 9:45 A.M.