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The Copypasta Apocalypse
From Jesus to Gendron, via Brother Stair

[1]

Brother Stair

3,321 words

“Gendron appears to have copy and pasted Tarrant’s manifesto.”[1] [2]

“Noodles, though you’ve been hiding in the asshole of the world [Buffalo], we found you. We know where you are.”[2] [3]

O brother, where art thou?

It didn’t make the major news outlets outside South Carolina, but readers here at Counter-Currents know of the passing over, last year, of The Voice of the Last Day Prophet of the Lord, The Overcomer himself, Bro. Ralph G. Stair.[3] [4]

And though buried for well over a year now, Bro. Stair continues to fascinate and inform (at least some of us). In fact, with the death of the prophet, the ultimate question arises: How would this real-life avatar of primitive Christianity react to the world outliving the prophet?

So far, the community’s response is in line with the classic accounts of “When prophecy fails [5]”:

In some cases the failure of a prophecy, rather than causing a rejection of the original belief system, could lead believers to increase their personal commitment, and also increase their efforts to recruit others into the belief.

In other words, when in doubt, double-down. While associated with religious cults, from primitive Christianity to the latest in grey alien worshipers, this “cope” seems ever more frequent in modern American “culture” in general, from the aptly named Covidians [6] on the Left to the Q-Anon 4D chess players [7] on the Right.

But the response, though unified, has two distinct parts, an inner and outer: that directed at those on the inside, the members of the farm community, and that directed at the outside world, a rich pool of potential converts and monetary supporters.

As I have observed before, Stair never required or even encouraged anyone to sell all they had and follow him down to the farm, saying that God would tell them what action to take; when people did show up, they were frequently turned away. [4] [8]

In the manner typical of all true believers, the smallness of the group — never more than 200, and down about 90% at the time of his death — “akshully” proved the validity of his calling, since “many are called but few [loudly emphasized] are chosen,”[5] [9] and he delighted in mocking the megachurches and million-member congregations of the “smooth-saying” evangelists. Moreover, the big waves of defections, in response to two arrests and jail time for a ridiculous amount of crimes, were smoothly converted into yet more evidence: for it is written, the End will not come until after a Great Falling Away [10].[6] [11]

Someone named Dennis Larevee and his wife have emerged and taken over the leadership (apparently the reward for allowing his wife to live with and “take care of” Bro. Stair over the last few years), and one Pastor James Rice, from a branch of the cult, arrived with his cohort to boost the numbers and take over preaching after Bro. Stair at the Sabbath gatherings.[7] [12]

Wait, Bro. Stair is still preaching? Isn’t he dead? Well, that’s a good question, but first, let’s remember that he’s left us an archive of almost 50 years of preaching, so the Overcomer Ministry not only uses these internally, in meetings or blasting out on speakers like some North Korean prison camp, but — and here we shift to the outer directed developments — continues using them for broadcasting 24/7 to the entire world, as they proudly boast.

[13]

You can buy James J. O’Meara’s Mysticism after Modernism here [14].

Of course, there are some . . . anomalies. First off, Bro. Stair continues to hawk his trinkets — gifts in return for an “offering”[8] [15] — such as various Christian conspiracy tomes, “The Gay Agenda [16]” (of course), prayer cloths, hand-crank ham radios, and so on. Undoubtedly, almost all of these items have been out of stock for years, if not decades; even if the money is returned, the Ministry has captured their contact info for years of begging letters to come. It’s an astonishingly cynical practice that gives new meaning to the notion of “grifting.”

And what about all those failed prophesies? That “Mr. Reagan won’t live out his term,” or that “The stock market will never rise above 10,000 again,” or that Stair’s death would be a beheading at the hands of the “Pope of Rome” himself, followed by the Apocalypse? And, of course, the Big Enchilada [17]:

“That’s what I’m telling you. Now, in essence, what I am telling you is that Jesus is coming before the year 2000! That’s what I’m telling you! No doubt in my mind about it.”

Here’s where it gets interesting. You might think early Christianity had it easy: messages from heavenly visions, supplemented by a bagful remembered “sayings” (the Q Source); no canon yet, no Bible to thump, only the Hebrew scriptures (suitably “interpreted”): a theological Wild West, essentially free rein to write up anything they wanted to say and give it “authority” by attributing it to some revered dead guy.[9] [18]

By contrast, in the oh so modern world, supposedly everything is “on the record.” We often hear people smugly say that whereas in the olden days, a politician, let’s say, could say one thing at home and vote otherwise in Washington, today, however much They try to craft The Narrative, it is subject to instantaneous, crowd-sourced rebuttal — millions of trolls croaking “But actually . . .” — to say nothing of the self-appointed “fact checkers,” both private and governmental.

But really? Sure, it’s easier to confront someone with evidence of his previous actions or statements, but momentary embarrassment aside, does it really affect anyone? When have you ever heard someone say, “Gosh, I’d better act more in accordance with my previous statements”? Probably about as often as you’ve heard someone at a debate say, “You know, I think you’re right after all!”[10] [19]

Indeed, it’s arguably easier than ever to rewrite the past entirely and create a plausible new narrative — a Deep Fake, if you will — using modern digital technology.[11] [20] For example, I can’t wait to see the new, grittier Batman starring Adam West [21].

Unlike the crude, literal cutting and pasting (along with good ol’ fashioned burying and burning) practiced by the early Christians, which has been exposed and unraveled by two centuries of Biblical scholarship, today the “other gospel” Paul warned against[12] [22] would be just as believable as any other fake news.[13] [23]

Be that as it may, now that the broadcasts are also being padded out by playback of listeners’ messages,[14] [24] we can test the results, and they are remarkable.[15] [25] Just about every cope is there; some people, either fooled by the recordings or overcome (!) with desperation, seem not to realize Stair is dead; others see this as a test of faith; the cleverer ones try the reinterpretation strategy, or offer their own ad hoc calculations to shift the dates ever forward. Most creatively, some reconcile his death and the timetable by postulating his very own Second Coming.[16] [26]

Perhaps sensing that they have come to the end of what mere hope and hermeneutical dexterity can accomplish, the Ministry has now moved into high tech deep fakery and censorship [27]:

Now the Overcomer Ministry has turned to perverting the words of Brother Stair to say something else. To the point of taking the time to edit the messages to say what they want them to say — by editing what is said — so that they don’t expose obvious false prophecies.

An example of this editing is the recently aired message of Pastor Brunner’s preaching. First of all Brother Stair would never air Pastor Brunner because he . . . departed, and Brother Stair had plans and hands for his daughters. Thus Brother Stair damned and cursed him because of this (Prov 16:27-29 [28]).

In the message that Pastor Brunner preached talking about Hope Deferred, he mentioned how Brother Stair said that within six months of his death that Jesus would return. You don’t hear that statement now. They edited it out. No longer do they believe in the words of their prophet when speaking about the return of Jesus Christ. Think about that. The ministry that claims to be based upon heralding the coming of Christ by the Voice of the Prophet has now turned away from that Voice in regards to the return of Christ.

They have lost their hope in following the actual words of Brother Stair and they have made their hope in what they think it should be — or want it to be. Or as James Rice says, they have turned from the trap of Brother Stair’s words to holding to what he said by the spirit [29]. Therefore they can now make what Brother Stair said into anything they like. What spirit was he then speaking by Dear Rice? God’s Spirit brings true prophets’ words to pass. By whom then was Brother Stair speaking?

[30]

You can buy James O’Meara’s book The Eldritch Evola here. [31]

The old spirit/letter, “what he meant was . . .” gambit. The irony here is so thick that even a postmodernist would choke on it. For this was Bro. Stair’s own teaching — in a further irony, itself rather similar to the most up-to-date secular scholarship — that Jesus’ original apocalyptic message had been subjected to a process of censoring, distorting, and addition as cult members struggled to keep the stern faith (Sell all you have! Don’t marry or have children!) while slowly, inexorably, making accommodation with the secular world in order to survive: first by the Catholic Church — the Whore of Babylon — and then by the Protestant denominations — the Daughters of the Whore –, and most recently by the megachurches and million-member congregations of the “smooth-saying” evangelists.[17] [32]

And here is where we come back to the Recent Unpleasantness in Buffalo. Not only do we have the hapless Gendron and his copypasta [33] manifesto, we have the by now rote response of calls for the Final Solution for ideas we don’t want to deal with: just cut them out of the Internet! As the inestimable Jim Goad says [34]:

With any event of this sort, whether it’s 9/11 or 1/6, I find it much more useful to realize that no matter whether or not the feds planned or enabled this massacre, there is no doubt that they will exploit it. Legislation will be drafted to ban the mere expression of every last idea contained in Gendron’s manifesto, despite the fact that most of the material has nothing to do with direct calls for violence. This has been part of the propaganda war for generations now — because a violent person expressed a certain idea, forever shackle that idea to his act of violence and call for such ideas to be banned because, well, this guy held that idea and then got violent, so why are you complaining if you have nothing to hide, hmm?

So, of course:

Politicians have long viewed tragedies and crises as opportunities not to be “wasted.” Most recently, Samantha Power, Biden’s Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, told ABC that they did not want to waste the war in Ukraine [35] as a way of pushing green initiatives. She explained to George Stephanopoulos that you should “never let a crisis go to waste.”

Governor Kathy Hochul (D-NY), adopted the same approach to the massacre in Buffalo [36] in renewing calls for censorship on the Internet. While many drew the connection [37] between the shooting and the need for greater gun control measures, Hochul notably went further to demand the curtailment of free speech protections. Speaking later at a church, she pledged [38] to “silence the voices of hatred and racism and white supremacy all over the Internet.”[18] [39]

“Speaking at a church,” indeed. And yet, it is the Christian watchdogs at Rgstair.com who, this same week yet not apparently in response to l’affaire Buffalo, took the principled stand:

This censoring of truth is showing us how the Overcomer Ministry is walking after the spirit of this age. Lies are never censored. People of truth don’t censor lies, they know that the truth will always prevail and show lies to be the lies that they are. This is why liars censor the truth.[19] [40]

It’s as if, in the wake of John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry,[20] [41] the government responded by censoring and cracking down on those troublesome Abolitionists rather than addressing the problem: slavery.[21] [42] In fact, that’s pretty much what the government did — and how’d that work out for us?

Anyway, “people of truth don’t censor lies” or “only liars censor the truth” are pretty good slogans, which I suggest we copy-and-paste for our own use — and maybe there’s something to this Christian business of not walking in the ways of the present age stuff after all.

* * *

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Notes

[1] [44] Tyler Durden, “Buffalo Mass Shooter Cites “Great Replacement Theory” & NY’s “Heavy Gun Laws” In Manifesto [45].” Jim Goad explicates [34]: “Gendron’s 180-page manifesto is a hodgepodge of personal testimonials, memes, and plagiarized material, much of it lifted word-for-word from his hero Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement [46]If the name ‘Brenton Tarrant’ doesn’t ring a bell, he’s the guy who in 2019 livestreamed his own massacre of 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.”

[2] [47] Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone, 1984). For my reflections on Leone’s film, see “Essential Films … & Others [48].” Again, Jim Goad explicates: “With all due respect to its very fine people, Buffalo is one of those places where you need to be reminded of its existence. It’s always struck me as a dismal little city with perhaps the worst winters in the country.” As for “Noodles” — pasta, get it? — someone has observed that Leone proved you should never give your romantic lead a name like “Noodles.”

[3] [49] I’ve discussed Bro. Stair here on several occasions [50], most recently on the occasion of his passing from this dimension [51].

[4] [52] Or maybe not: “Except you abide in the ship [Overcomer Farm] you cannot be saved.” (Brother Stair, 1998.11.19). RGStair.com, which monitors the Overcomer shenanigans, notes: “The ship Bro Stair is referring to is his Community Farm. Unless you come and remain with him you cannot be saved. All those that leave him are lost. (Acts 4:12)”

[5] [53] Philosophers as well: “After some initial disappointment [Schopenhauer] would attribute the fact that he was receiving no answer from outside to the true value of his philosophy.” Rüdiger Safranski, Schopenhauer and the Wild Years of Philosophy (Harvard, 1991), p. 151.

[6] [54] RGStair.com recalls that Stair said in 2000 “If I go to Jail it is God’s doing,” and notes, “Then, just two years later he found himself in jail. Brother Stair then turned the blame for his jail time on the sins of the people of God. Saying that he was used by God as a sign of their sins, as a modern Ezekiel.”

[7] [55] While, like almost all Christians, abandoning the more inconvenient aspects of the Torah, such as the kosher laws, Stair adheres to the seventh-day Sabbath, as well as Christianized versions of the Jewish holy days [56]; the Feast of Trumpets is perhaps the most important, as he often hinted that the sound of the seventh and last trumpet would herald the return of the Son of God “in flaming fire, with ten thousand of his saints, to wreak vengeance on those who reject the Gospel [i.e., everyone but Stair and his group].” Cf. the “Christian Nationalists” profiled by Robert Hampton [57]: “The Shofar Army took the stage, nine white men and one woman draped in fringed Jewish prayer shawls, each clutching a ram’s horn — the instrument traditionally sounded on the Jewish high holidays. ‘Blow the trumpet in Zion! Sound the alarm on the holy mountain!’ bellowed the leader. ‘The day of the Lord is here!’ [Cazart! That’s exactly how Bro. Stair’s radio show opens, shofar and all!] He blew his shofar three times, and the crowd responded as instructed with ‘Arise, oh Lord, let your enemies be scattered.’ The rest of the Shofar Army blew theirs in unison. So began a two-day, far-right Christian gathering last month called ‘Patriots Arise for God and Country.’”

[8] [58] Either for theological reasons, or to protect his non-profit status, Stair insisted that he “sold” nothing. Your faith would lead you to “make an offering,” which would fund the broadcast, and in return he would send you some book about the coming apocalypse, or the evil history of the Roman Catholic Church or the Jesuits. If the letter or phone message wasn’t worded in the correct way, he’d make clear he’d ignore it, or send it back, with the money. “You get nothing!” as Willy Wonka would say. As I’ve pointed out before, Bro. Stair was shit-testing long before the manosphere arose.

[9] [59] “Our earliest source, Paul, repeatedly says that the gospel and teachings of Jesus were known only by revelation and scripture — scripture meaning the ancient Jewish scriptures.” Richard Carrier, Jesus from Outer Space: What the Earliest Christians Really Believed about Christ (Pitchstone: 2020), p. 172. Robert M. Price slyly observes that Paul’s epistles finally have no authority, because, being a decades-long cut-and-paste job, they have no ultimate author: see his The Amazing Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2012), pp. 556-58.

[10] [60] Okay, sometimes: “White House Admits It Lied About Vaccines [61].”

[11] [62] Burroughs, of course, took the more optimistic view that, even before digital recording, we had the tools to “edit” a new narrative in place of the one forced on us by Them; see “Curses, Cut-Ups, & Contraptions: The “Disastrous Success” of William Burroughs’ Magick [63],” reprinted in my Mysticism After Modernism: Crowley, Evola, Neville, Watts, Colin Wilson, and Other Populist Gurus [14] (Melbourne, Australia: Manticore Press, 2020).

[12] [64] Galatians 1:6-10: “I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel: . . .” On the other hand, “I have been charged to preach Another Gospel than what Paul preached.” (Brother Stair, 2006 [65])

[13] [66] While εὐαγγέλιον has traditionally been translated literally as “good news” — hence, the Old English godspel, thus gospel –, recent scholars suggest that this meaning had already become a convention, meaning no more than simple “news.”.

[14] [67] Bro. Stair never gave anyone airtime, except to engage in hilarious and bitter mockery of anyone daring to criticism or question him; this was a rare but deeply enjoyable part of the broadcast. As I said above, Bro. Stair was shit testing before Roosh was born.

[15] [68] The aforementioned RGstair.com links to recordings of each weekly set of messages.

[16] [69] Stair from time to time would hint that he was the Paraclete or another Son of Man, or perhaps Christ himself. Stair’s tombstone bears no date of death, and the epitaph reads “I will return.”

[17] [70] A wonderful Stair coinage, which I surmise is a portmanteau of “smooth talking” (itself referring to both the style and content — a gospel of easy going, everyone gets saved, pablum) and “soothsaying,” a perfect description of the Pat Robertson or Oral Roberts style of preaching.

[18] [71] Jonathan Turley, “’Silence The Voices Of Hatred’: NY Governor Hochul Uses Buffalo Massacre To Renew Calls For Censorship Of Social Media [72].”

[19] [73]They Delayeth His Coming — Pt 1 [27],” May 15, 2022

[20] [74] “After the fanatical mattoid John Brown raided Harper’s Ferry in 1859, intending to ignite a race war to the death from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, much of the North hailed the terrorist as a martyr. (The plot failed largely because Brown greatly overestimated the willingness of slaves to join him on a mission of mass slaughter. Say what one will about the violent tendencies of blacks, mattoids are far worse [75].) This event, and of course the Northern response to it, greatly exacerbated the Southern siege mentality. Soon things would come to a head.” Beau Albrecht, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Origins of Wokeness [76].”

[21] [77] “In his inaugural address, [President James] Buchanan called the territorial issue of slavery ‘happily, a matter of but little practical importance.’ Buchanan also explained why he wasn’t actively involved in the secession battle as President [in his 1861 State of the Union message to Congress [78]:] ‘It is beyond the power of any president, no matter what may be his own political proclivities, to restore peace and harmony among the states. Wisely limited and restrained as is his power under our Constitution and laws, he alone can accomplish but little for good or for evil on such a momentous question.’ He had other issues during his presidency, including an obsession with Cuba and a controversy involving a war with Mormon settlers in the Utah territory.”