THE BROCKHOEFT REPORT
Vol. 1 Issue IX ........ Federal Prison, Ashland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
"The journal for narrow-minded, intolerant, absolutist antiabortionists -
just like you and me. And if anybody else doesn't like it, that's tough."
A few months ago you were forewarned that a future issue of TBR
might consist of a short story with a moral pertaining to the abortion
issue. The following one was submitted by our friend Joe Bartlett.
You will recall from your high school and/or college literature
classes that, by definition, short stories are works of fiction.
What follows is submitted as no more than that. Yet, at least
some of it is definitely true. If nothing more, at least the moral
of the story is true. It is left to the individual reader to determine
however much else to believe. Making matters more difficult to
sort out, the named characters are real people in real life, for
example Paul deParrie. Nothing has been changed. These people's
real names have even been used. Some of you know some of these
people. Some of you even are these people. So the characters are
actually available for questioning to help determine how much (if any)
of the account is purely fictitious. Without further ado, here is what
Joe claims happened.
[World War II martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, speaking of the slaughter
of the Jews to abortion clinic bomber Johnny Brockhoeft and
prolife author and historian George Grant:
"These poor people are being killed in Europe even
right now as we speak! And I don't mean soldiers. I mean
civilians, including women and children! They are no threat
to anyone, yet they are being killed! They are helpless. Why
are they helpless? Because of pacifism, pacifism! Because
of their own pacifism only? No, no, no, no! We cannot even
accuse them of pacifism. Because they are powerless to resist.
Their oppressors are an overwhelming force. So to call these
poor Jewish people pacifists would be as nonsensical as calling
unborn babies pacifists. "...
So rather than an ideology this kind of pacifism would better
be called 'idleness' or 'non-involvement.' It is a pseudo-pacifism
that is born of indifference, lack of love, apathy, pitilessness....
"Pacifism defeats its own purpose. By discouraging defense, it
encourages offense and aggression.
"I thought, 'Oh, dear God, if I really were the victim, oh,
how easy it would be for me to see that the use of defensive
force is justified! And if I really were the victim, and saw a
man in the middle embracing pacifism, oh, how easy it would
be for me to see that his pacifism was unjust! Then I would
feel certain that the man in the middle was embracing pacifism
ONLY because it was MY life in danger and not his own.
Oh, dear God!"
--- "Dietrich and George and the Time Machine",
Dietrich and George and the Time Machine
by Joe Bartlett
"The Nazis executed Bonhoeffer before you were even born.
What do you mean, you spoke to Dietrich Bonhoeffer twenty days
ago?" George Grant asked, suspiciously looking at John through
narrowed lids. "Listen to me, John Brockhoeft, if you're going to
stand there and call yourself a Christian and then tell me you've
been dabbling in occult things, seances, or consulting familiar spirits...
well you can just leave my house right now!"
"Calm down, George," John tried to reassure him. "I agree with you
wholeheartedly. I would never engage in those forbidden practices.
I'd never have anything to do with anything that had even a hint of the
occult in it. I mean I spoke to Dietrich while he was still alive! I tried to
tell you, but you took it as a joke I have a time machine that can take
us into the past and then bring us back to the present!"
Here George grabbed John by the shoulders and shook him, exclaiming,
"Now you listen to me, Johnny, don't go crazy on us now! You don't
have a time machine! There's no such thing as a time machine! There is
no such technology available today! Don't go crazy on us now! Your
writings have helped the movement understand the need to reject all
compromise from our attitudes. If you flip out now you'll destroy your
credibility. We may be on the eve of total victory, so grab hold
of yourself! Stop talking this nonsense!"
"Some of what you've said may be true, George; the technology
probably is not available to build a time machine right now. But so
what? What does that have to do with anything? There is something
you're not taking into consideration. It only matters whether the
technology ever will be available! Because, in that case, what is
there to stop someone, from the future, from coming back and letting
us use his time machine? In fact, that is what has happened!"
"Oh, nooo!" George moaned. John was losing his mind, it seemed.
He wouldn't give up on this time machine claim. "John, please,
you don't have a time machine!"
"Well, there's no sense in us standing here and arguing about it.
You can't prove I don't have it, but I can prove I do. I parked it in
a friend's garage on Pompano Beach, just a few miles from here.
Come with me, and give me fifteen minutes to present my evidence.
Fifteen minutes from now, if I haven't proven it to your complete
satisfaction, I will say, 'Well, George, I guess you were right. I don't
have a time machine after all!' Let's go!"
"I'm not going anywhere," George insisted.
"I've come all this way, and you can't give me fifteen minutes of your time?"
George was defiant, "I'm going to Washington tonight. I won't be
leaving for four hours. I could give you four hours for something
worthwhile, but not to go on a wild goose chase."
"Only give me fifteen minutes to prove my claim. Then, if I fail, I will
forfeit any right to the rest of those four hours, and I'll leave you alone."
George was exasperated; but the amount of time asked for was so little,
the request was so reasonable, and John seemed so sincere, that George
threw up his arms and exclaimed, "What's the use? Okay, let's go. Fifteen
"Don't try to pry any information out of me about things to come,"
the man from the future had told John in 1986. "Ask me nothing.
I have not come to give answers about the future but to seek answers
from the past. Nor will the machine I am leaving with you allow you
to travel forward into your generation's 'real time' future. The
machine's computer has been programmed to prevent that. You will
only be able to explore the past and then return to your own 'real time'
present. Before the machine will take you anywhere you'll have to
allow it to perform an HMX analysis of your skin cells. Then it will
know your date of birth and your exact present time. You won't be
able to go beyond that point. Knowledge of the future must come only
by studying the Bible, or by direct revelation from the Holy Spirit, or
by studying past history. See? That's all I'm doing studying history.
This time in which you live, which seems, to you, to be the present time,
is, for me, actually in the past. This might sound confusing right now,
but you'll get the hang of it. When we get to the cornfield where the
machines are hidden, I'll show you how to operate the one we'll be
leaving with you. Then the other pilot and I will use the other machine
to return to our own age."
"Don't worry," John had replied. "I won't try to get anything out
of you about the future. I know the Bible forbids fortune-telling
and consulting fortune-tellers. I doubt that it would apply in a
situation like this, but I'm not taking any chances. I'm sure that
what the Bible prohibits is the occult, supernatural sort of
fortune-telling such as star-gazing, witchcraft, horoscopes, palm-
reading, and stuff like that. Whereas your knowledge is only natural,
not supernatural. But still, I won't take any chances. I go straight by
the Good Book. So, no, I won't ask you anything. I don't want to know.
Only, I'm very curious about why you would choose such an obscure,
unknown fellow like me? It cannot be possible that I'll be remembered
beyond my own generation, with the possible exception of my own family.
But no, no, don't tell me anything!"
"I can tell you this much, because you'll discover it on your own in
just a moment anyway. The pilot who brought the other chronomobile
and who is waiting right now for us in the cornfield, so eager to meet
you, is Shawn Brockhoeft, III, your great, great grandson!"
"Well, how about that?!" John had exclaimed. "How 'bout them apples?!"
Twenty days before the trip with George, John had gone alone to
visit Dietrich, spending nearly ten hours with the martyr. Then he
returned to his own place in time and space.
Seven children were gathered, sitting on bales of hay, at one end
of the big barn on Mike's and Sara's farm. The farm is in southern
Ohio. Tim's and Stella's daughter Elisabeth was being entertained
by five of Mike's and Sara's older children: Emily, Mindy, Stephen,
Jared, and Caleb. The littler ones were in the house. The Myer
children were also hosting a little girl named Tori, but I can't recall
her parents' names. They were all expectantly looking toward an
empty, enlarged (double) stall twenty feet away. This was the
Coincidentally, the time machine had also begun its return flight from
a barn, an old, deserted, dilapidated one, not far outside New York
City. The time craft's computer screen showed the following data:
DESTINATION GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATES:
NORTH 38.7690541 WEST 83.7380096
PILOT REAL TIME (PRESENT)
So those geographic coordinates coincide precisely with that point
on the earth's surface occupied by that corner of the big barn toward
which the children were watching in eager anticipation. The time craft,
now invisible, was hurtling toward its destination at the speed of 186,000
miles/second. So, of course, the distance was crossed in much less
time than you will have required to read this sentence. The tremendous
speed and invisibility resulted from the fact that the material of which
the craft, and its pilot, consisted, had been briefly transformed from
matter (that which takes up space and has weight or mass) into a
form of energy.
"Beep, beep, beep! Beep, beep, beep!"
"He's coming back!" Mindy cried. "Beep, beep, beep!" Beep, beep,
As the rematerialization began, a seven and a half foot diameter
sphere-shaped space within the enlarged stall seemed filled with
swirling, sparkling twinkles of light.
The swirling, sparkling phase lasted only a second. Then the sphere
was an indistinct, translucent blur. And finally, there it sat, solidified,
like a giant, matte-gray bowling ball on the barn floor. A pfft!-sound
was heard as the pneumatic seal was broken, and then a twenty-four
inch diameter circular hatch thrust forward on one side. The hatch's
uppermost edge was attached (internally) by a single hinge to the end
of a hydraulically-operated runner which carried the whole hatch out,
all the way around, about four inches above the craft's surface. Then it
could be swung out, up, and back, locking itself into the open position.
With the seven youngsters looking on in wide-eyed wonder, the
forty-five year old pilot emerged. At six feet, one inch in height;
green-eyed; with short, light brown hair; sharp features; and a
scraggly beard growing wild in all directions, he was wearing baggy,
brown, woolen, cuffed pants; a plain, white shirt; W.W.II era jump
boots; and a full-length, army storm coat (olive drab). Before
embarking on the journey from which he had just returned, he had
wanted to dress in a manner which he hoped would not seem peculiar
to people in the summer of 1939. So, of course, when he had gone to
that time, he had left the coat inside his vehicle before emerging
within the old, forsaken barn.
"Hi, Mr. Brockhoeft!" the seven youngsters called out in the big barn
as he stepped out into the stall.
Advancing a few steps toward them, and bending forward sharply at
the waist to minimize his height, he addressed them, "Hey, you kids,
I know your parents tell you to call me 'Mr. Brockhoeft.'" And now
wagging his finger for emphasis, he continued, "But they don't
understand. They think I'm one of them. They think I'm an adult.
So listen, kids, whenever there ain't any grown-ups around, you can
call me 'John', okay?"
"Okay, John," they replied, laughing.
"Aren't! Aren't!" a girl exclaimed.
"You're supposed to say, 'when there aren't any grown-ups around,'
not ain't", she corrected.
"Oh, yeah, that's right. We're in Ohio, I forgot. But whenever you
come see me in Kentucky you can say 'ain't' all day long...if there
ain't any grown-ups around."
With this grammar lesson completed the octet walked hand-in- hand
through the length of the barn, emerging at the other end, and started
across the barnyard toward the sprawling, cedar log farm- house.
"Are you staying for supper?" Emily asked. "Carl and Marcella are here.
So are Tim and Stella and Nancy."
"Dad is grilling hamburgers and hot dogs on the back porch," Elisabeth
"That settles that," the pilot answered. "Tim knows just how I like my
burgers...all brown and well done and even charred on the outside.
You're cotton-pickin' right I'm staying for supper."
"We're having baked beans too," Stephen added.
"That's what I wanted to hear!" the pilot chortled, "That's what I
wanted to hear!"
Arriving in the kitchen, John was greeted by Sara with a steaming cup
of black coffee. "Did you see anyone we know?" she asked. "Or anyone
we've heard of?"
"Uh huh. Bonhoeffer."
"Bonhoeffer!" the name was murmured in hushed tones among the
adult pro-lifers throughout the house. "John saw Dietrich Bonhoeffer!"
* * *
At three o'clock the following afternoon Brockhoeft made a phone
call to his U.S. parole officer. The ex-con had not been out of prison
very long when these things happened and was still a federal parolee
under strict supervision, including severe travel restrictions. Nineteen
days before the trip with George he asked for, and received, permission
to go to Fort Lauderdale to visit George.
"How long do you want to be down there?" the P.O. had asked
over the phone.
"Just the one day. I'll be returning the same day," John replied.
"Obviously, then, you intend to fly down?" the P.O. dug for more
"Okay then. But be sure you call me the minute you get back."
"No problem. See ya."
Eight hours later John was sitting at a corner table in a pancake
house on Vine Street in Cincinnati. Now dressed in his camouflage
fatigues and spit-shined jungle boots, and with his hair cut to military
(boot camp) specifications, but incongruent beard, he realized that
to those not familiar with him he might appear a lunatic. This he
did not mind at all.
Actually, many years earlier, even before his arrest by the feds,
he had deliberately decided to cultivate just such an image.
Among other things, this image was disturbing to those who killed
babies and to those who supported the baby-killers. It made them
want to deal with him with a certain kind of "respect." With this
kind of "respect" he could get confrontational with the killers,
reviling them in the most contemptuous terms, and the confrontations
did not escalate into violence because his opponents maintained a
Whenever he appeared in Hamilton County Circuit Court to
answer misdemeanor charges of "disorderly conduct" or "trespassing",
incurred in the course of anti-abortion, public demonstrations,
the judge was always polite and found him not guilty or dismissed
the charges altogether.
In those years Brockhoeft often spoke openly, but hypothetically
(not conspiratorially), about the use of force in the fight against
abortion. He maintained that it was right and just to destroy
abortuaries by fire or explosives.
One Saturday in the summer of 1986, all these circumstances
caused some pro-life moderates to backbite John in his absence.
It was after a picketing session and a few had met at a restaurant
nearby. A whining moderate was saying, "Could he be an infiltrator?
Look at the way he always dresses. And always talking about
blowing up clinics! And how come the judges always let him go?
He's never found guilty. He must be an undercover agent trying to
But Nancy O'Brien Simpson was there. A friend of John's, she
was an absolutist, not a moderate. She defended him, saying,
"No. He can't be an infiltrator. He must be for real. He could not
speak such words unless they were being given to him by the
Back in the pancake house, January 2, 1996, John had pointedly
chosen the corner table. Whenever he was in a public establishment,
he sought to sit with his back to the wall so as to be able to observe
everything going on. Call it caution, call it paranoia, or whatever you
like. It would be unfair and inaccurate to label him paranoid
though, because paranoia is only genuine if the belief that
"they're out to get you" is imaginary.
As the figure in camouflage sat, awaiting the arrival of his perpetually
tardy friend, he had an urge for a cigarette. Jim Condit, Jr., was
always late. It must be overlooked though, because he is in fact
always busy with something of real importance. Moreover, the
political intrigue in which he was involved that night was of
consequence to our national security. There was a cigarette machine
right inside the pancake house's entrance, but John set his jaw,
resisted the urge, and renewed the resolution made in prison never
to smoke again. Then Jim walked in.
Every article of the newcomer's attire was coordinated except the
scarf or muffler or whatever you call it. Navy blue, wool suit.
Immaculate, white shirt. Neatly knotted necktie with broader
alternate maroon and blue stripes separated by narrow, white
stripes. The diagonally arranged stripes ran downhill from (the
viewer's) left to right. Why do diagonal stripes on men's ties
always run down from left to right? Have you ever seen them
run the other way? I haven't. There must be a reason. Soft, black,
leather gloves. Black, wing-tip shoes. The shoes weren't a total
disgrace, but anyone could see Jim hadn't shined them for at least
a week, probably longer. The neck scarf was the lone protester
against the somber, power-imagery of Jim Condit, Jr.'s remaining
clothes. It was every color of the rainbow plus maybe eight or ten
other vivid hues. It seemed almost alive, as though it could have
crawled up his leg, up his torso, and wrapped itself around his
neck on its own initiative.
Jim, who always stands and carries himself uprightly, is about the
same height as John. Neatly trimmed, very dark hair. Steel-gray eyes.
Round face, Irish nose, Roman mouth. Slight pudgy above the belt
line. At forty-four, he was a year and a day younger than John.
Standing within the entrance, by the cigarette machine, and taking
off his gloves, Jim cast glances around until he met John's eyes. Then,
with that typical impish grin on his otherwise cherubic face, he strode
over, sliding onto the booth's bench opposite John.
"Where do you keep the batteries for that scarf, Jimmy?"
"I was already late and couldn't find mine, so I grabbed one of
"What have I told you about the shoes, Jim? You're going to feel
humiliated if I start getting down on the floor and shining your shoes.
You're headed for big things. Scuffed-up shoes detract authoritativeness
from your image."
"When have I had time? I'll shine them tonight before I go to bed."
Suddenly there was a smiling, aproned, thirty-something waitress
standing beside the table holding an order pad in one hand and a pencil,
poised above it, in the other. She took their orders for cheese and onion
omelets, ground steaks, hash browns, grits, buttered toast, and orange
juice, and left for the kitchen.
Besides the friendship the two shared, they were one another's closest
"What's going on with you right now, Johnny?"
After glancing around to reassure himself no one else was close
enough to hear, Brockhoeft leaned forward and, in a low,
conspiratorial-sounding tone, replied, "I took the machine out last
night. Went on a little flight." With that he fell silent and leaned back,
leaving it to the other to draw out the details.
Jim didn't tolerate that treatment long. "Well? Well, what happened?
Where did you go?"
"Oh, just New York." came the flippant reply with a slight shrug,
followed by more silence.
"Well? What time? Any particular date?"
"Yes. July 5th, 1939."
"1939. Not so long ago, historically," Jim mused, "Less than two
and a half years before the U.S. entered World War II. Was there
any particular reason for going to that specific date, or did you pick
it at random?"
"No, not at random. I especially wanted to visit that time and place,
not only for my own curiosity, but to fulfill a promise to the man who
came from the future to leave the machine with me. He had asked
me to seek out a certain individual to try to unravel a mystery to one
of history's unanswered questions. Thank God, I found this
individual, and he was able to answer the question."
With this, John fell silent once more, but only to collect his thoughts,
not to tease his friend further.
Sensing the pensive mood John had suddenly fallen into, Jim dealt
mildly with him. "Can you tell me who this 1939 figure was, John?"
"Surely," John agreed. "At that time this man was on his second and
final visit to the U.S. It is a matter of historical record, known to us
now, that he was to leave the U.S. to return to Europe on July 8th,
1939, so I wanted to see him three days earlier, when he might not
have been too pressed for time making preparations to depart. It
"Dietrich Bonhoeffer!" Jim blurted. "You actually spoke with Dietrich
"Yes," his friend replied, and lifting his head a little higher, John
boasted triumphantly to his Catholic friend, "Don't forget, Jimmy,
Bonhoeffer was a Protestant!"
"That may be true," Jim acknowledged. "He may have been
Protestant throughout his life; but at the very last moment, surely,
the truth was revealed to him; and he was given a last opportunity to
convert. Surely he converted and died a Catholic."
"Well, Jim, we may not see eye-to-eye on every theological point,
but I think we can agree: Dietrich is with Jesus now. And that's the
bottom line. Am I right or wrong?"
"You're right," the more sharply dressed one agreed, "and don't
forget, sir, Curt Beseda is a Catholic!"
"And don't you forget, sir, Shelley Shannon is a Protestant!"
"And don't you forget, sir, John Dennis Malvasi is a Catholic!"
"And don't you forget, sir, Don Benny Anderson is a Protestant!"
"And don't you forget, sir, Father Edward Markley is a Catholic
and a priest in the bargain!"
"Excellent!" cried Brockhoeft, and with the good-natured, denominational
one-upmanship concluding, the two friends laughed and shook hands
as the waitress approached with their late-night meal. With the feast
spread before them, the two gave thanks with bowed heads and dug in.
Between bites Jim managed to ask, "Are you still keeping the machine
out on Mike and Sara's farm?"
"Definitely. They can be trusted implicitly, and their farm is so
isolated and remote."
"This question, whose answer your future benefactor asked you to
pursue...exactly what was the question?"
A far-away look came into Brockhoeft's green eyes. "The question?"
He paused briefly, searching for the right words, then proceeded
haltingly, "The question was...how does a man...a Christian man
who...who otherwise is decent and upright, and yet who...who
nevertheless ideologically embraces pacifism at every turn, under
every circumstance... how is such a man converted from rigid
pacifism into a soldier? A fighter?"
"Fascinating!" Jim cried. "Did you get to spend much time with
"Yeah," John sighed, "Too much, perhaps. Almost ten hours. In the
end I was ashamed of my own imposition. I robbed him of a whole
night's sleep. He sat up with me all night! When I stood up to leave,
the sun had risen."
"Did you tell him your point of origin?...In time, I mean?"
"Yes. Even beforehand, before meeting him, I felt he would be
owed an explanation. I tried to rehearse, beforehand, how to explain
it. How do you tell somebody something like that, Jimmy? How
do you tell someone, without sounding like a fruitcake, that you've
come back, in a time machine, from some point in the future, to
visit him? I was intending to break it to him slowly; but when the
time came, I just blurted it out right up front!"
"Incredible!" Jim, Jr. remarked. "How did he react?"
The house guest from abroad was a balding, thirty-three year old
man. Wearing his wire-rimmed glasses, he sat reading the New
York Times in his host's living room, while awaiting a visitor of
his own. He read two or three newspapers daily, anxiously
seeking news of the building conflict on his home continent of
Europe. Feeling he had made a mistake in coming to the United
States a month earlier, he had decided to return to Germany.
Three weeks earlier he had explained to his host, "How will I have
the right to help rebuild my country, after the war, unless I go back
and share the trials of my people in this present crisis?"
Even as he presented his host with this point, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
had felt guilty, almost dishonest. Yet, was it not true? Otherwise,
indeed, what right would he have? His sensation of deceitfulness
lay in the fact that...he knew he would not be able to help rebuild
after the war anyway. He would be dead, and he knew it. It was
understood that for him to return to Germany was to die. He would
not survive the war. He had accepted this understanding in peace of
spirit. So wasn't it kinder to offer that explanation to his host? The
alternative would be to say: "You are seeing me for the last time in
this world. I must go home to Germany and die."
His scanning of the paper was interrupted by a gentle knocking on
his host's front door. Since he was expecting a solitary visitor of his
own he laid the paper down and answered the knocking himself.
Upon opening the door, his gaze fell upon the unfamiliar face of a
green-eyed, bearded, forty-five year old man slightly over six feet
in height. In his left hand the s stranger was holding three books with
the spines downward, so a casual observer could see only the edges
of the pages, not the titles.
"Ah! You have come!" Dietrich exclaimed in his strong, German
accent. He held out his right hand to the stranger, who eagerly
accepted it in his own right, pumping furiously.
Deliberately telling Dietrich only his first name, the stranger said,
"Rev. Bonhoeffer, my name is John, and I can't tell you how
pleased I am to meet you. However, there must be some mistake:
I cannot be whoever you were expecting. So, since you seem to be
expecting another visitor, perhaps I have come at an inconvenient
time and should return later."
"No, no, not at all," cried Dietrich, and, firmly taking hold of the
newcomer's forearm, pulled him inside, adding, "Come in! Come in,
and let's get better acquainted! If there is some mistake, it will
solve itself with time!"
With this he closed the front door, and, still grasping the visitor,
led him a short distance through the bright, oak-floored foyer and
into a study covered with an enormous Persian rug and richly hung
with tapestries. Once inside the study, still pulling, Dietrich led the
bewildered visitor to an over-stuffed, richly upholstered, red
velvet arm chair and urged him to be seated. Yet the one who had
simply introduced himself as "John" remained standing.
Seeking some clarification, Dietrich asked, "Is there some particular
way I can help you, John? And may I ask what your last name is?"
"With all due respect, sir, can we just say my name is John? But yes,
I hope you can help, Rev. Bonhoeffer."
"Please call me Dietrich," the theologian interrupted.
"Thanks, Dietrich, and perhaps this won't take long, and we'll be
able to resolve the matter before your expected visitor arrives.
We... that is, my colleagues and I ...we were hoping that with all
your formal theological training you might be able to clear up a
certain point for us. We..."
"Aha! I knew it," Dietrich interrupted again, "You are him after all,
John. You are the one I've been expecting! Please sit down!"
John started feeling light-headed. After taking a few deep breaths he
insisted, "No, Dietrich, you don't understand. I cannot be the one
you were looking for. Let me explain. I'm going to tell you the
craziest thing you've ever heard! You might not be able to believe me.
If not, I can prove to you I'm telling the truth. If you will only let
me take you for a little ride in my machine, you will believe."
"There! See! I knew it was you, John!"
In exasperation, to prove there was a mistake, the visitor blurted it
all out, "Dietrich, Dietrich, I can't be the one you're waiting for! I
haven't even been born yet! I won't be born until 1951! I have come
from the future in a time machine to visit you. Dietrich, can you believe
such a wild thing as you have just heard?"
Dietrich softly replied, "Of course I believe you! After all, I've been
expecting you all evening,...Mr. John Alan Brockhoeft!"
Here Brockhoeft's head began swimming furiously, and his new friend
helped him into the proffered chair. This time travel was mind-boggling.
"WHAT?" Jim, Jr. almost shouted. Then, embarrassed, he glanced
around the pancake house to see if he had attracted any attention.
No one was looking. Almost whispering, he asked, "How could he
have known who you were?"
"That's a long story in itself," the federal parolee responded. "As I
said before, I spent ten hours with him. I almost made a mistake.
Actually, I did make a mistake, but hopefully no harm will come of it."
"What would that be? What did you do wrong?"
"Let me put it this way. The man who left the machine with me... oh,
by the way, he is a future Chief Curator of the Smithsonian Institution...
this guy solemnly warned me..."
July 22, 1986.
There the three men stood, outside the two chronomobiles, parked
in the middle of a vast cornfield, a few miles outside Georgetown.
They were two from the "future" and one of this "present". It was
time to say farewell, but no one wanted to admit it. Turning a little
to face John directly, the museum-keeper issued a final
"Please remember, Mr. Brockhoeft, please, never forget...you must
change nothing! You must not tamper with the past, nor try to change
the course of history...uh, that is, past history...the history of events
that took place before your own time! Although the machine will not
allow you to explore your own future, or your generation's future, you
must even be careful in exploring the history of earlier generations.
From the time these two machines were made operational, until
they were mothballed and hidden in the Smithsonian Institution,
very little experimentation was carried out. We do not eve know,
for sure, if, when you visit the past, you will be there only as a
spectator, or if it will be possible for you to be an active participant.
Who knows how little it would require to alter history when we
can go back? When you step into the past, world events might
depend on how lightly you set your foot down!
"So please use the machine only as a learning device, without
attempting to alter past events. The temptation may be great.
It might be within your power to save Bonhoeffer's life, but is that
what we would actually want? The Lord our God has always been
ultimately in control! Bonhoeffer was executed before you were
born. The Lord could have kept him from it. Bonhoeffer was
willing to die defending others. He volunteered to die! He became
more powerful in death than in life! Had he survived the war,
Christianity and the world may have forgotten him. Do not rob him
of his voluntary and glorious sacrifice! Do not rob us of the legacy
he handed down to us!"
An unseasonably cool wind blew through the cornfield, rustling the
tall plants' long leaves. Somber, dark clouds roiled in the western sky.
"I'll do my best to safeguard your trust," John assured the others.
The sky was growing darker. There was a flash in the west, followed
by rolling thunder.
"And, Mr. Brockhoeft,... John,..."
"Hey, I don't mind if you call me John, but that other young
whipper-snapper better not try it," Brockhoeft joked, winking at the
youngest man, who grinned at the remark.
"John, give our best regards to great granddad Condit and to
Michael Bray as well."
"Michael Bray! I've heard of him. Are you saying then that I'll get to
"Oh, I forgot," moaned James Joseph Condit, V, for that was the chief
curator's full name. "This is still only 1986, and you still have not met
Bray! I should have been more careful. My mind was made up not to
reveal any of your future to you, but here I've done it! Yet, it's just as
well, perhaps, because it reminds me to caution you strictly to follow
the same practice. If you decide to use the machine please exercise
caution in revealing any of the 'future' to people from the past. This year,
1986, seems like the present time to you in your 'real' time. But, for
Bonhoeffer, this was somewhere in the future. And for your great,
great grandson here, and for me, this is the past.
"The thing to bear in mind is that, with the Lord our God it is all
the same. He who set time in motion is not constrained by it. As
Jesus said, He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the
End, the one Who was, and Who is, and Who is to come. With the
Almighty One the future is as clear as the present is to us. But no!
That's an understatement! Surely He sees the future even more clearly
than mankind sees its own present moment.
"From what point in the future have you come back to visit me?"
"August 7th, 2076 A.D.," Shawn replied.
"Are you trying to tell me that this feeling I have had throughout
my life...this feeling that I live in the present...has been an illusion
and that I've been living in the past all along?"
"No. It means only that you are living in your own present time.
To tell you the truth, we're not sure how it works ourselves."
"Now that this has happened to me," John noted, "since you have
come back and paid me this surprise visit, how can you be sure
the same thing won't happen to you? What if there is someone
even further up the road than you?"
Shawn and Jim looked at each other, then smiled at each other,
and finally burst into uncontrollable laughter. John was at first
startled at their reaction, then puzzled, wondering how come
people always laugh at him when he is being serious? But finally
the hilarity of the moment was so contagious that all three men
were roaring. It was some time before they could regain control.
Jim was the first to try to compose himself, his voice quivering with
glee, "We...HA, HA, HA!!... We think... HA, HA, HA, HA!!!"
And all three men broke down again.
Finally Jim was able to go further, "We think there must be some
point in time which is the absolute present moment, a point beyond
which no mortal man has yet gone. We can't be sure, but we believe
that that time is...HA, HA, HA!!...our own time...HA, HA, HA, HA!!!"
All three men broke down again.
"I'm having second thoughts about something," Jim, V, said, finally
in complete control.
"Perhaps you shouldn't even mention me to great grandfather Condit.
When he holds me as a newborn baby in 2026, perhaps he should not
know I will be Chief Curator of the Smithsonian as an adult. I'll leave
it to your judgment whether to say hello for us. But in any case please
use the greatest of care in revealing any of your natural knowledge of
their future to those who lived before us all."
With the conclusion of all these exhortations and the joyous
fellowship, there was another flash of lightning, closer now,
and a louder crash of thunder. Heavy drops now pattered on
the corn's leaves. A squall was beginning to blow. All three men
were loathe to depart, but it seemed the right time.
"Well, sir, God bless you and keep you. We should leave the
other machine with you now and return to our own age."
With that said, the yet unborn Condit touched the keyless entry
system on the nearest of the two chronomobiles, and a previously
unnoticeable hatch was hydraulically raised the usual four inches
above the craft's exterior. Grasping the under-edge, the museum-
keeper tilted it up and back as one might open a car's trunk.
The two men from the yet unborn generation exchanged glances,
as if to ask: "Who wants to get in first?"
Then, suddenly sensitive to the fact that the two blood relatives
might want to spend the last moment together, Jim stepped in first.
The instant he sat on the far seat he computer's screen showed:
Turning quickly to John, the younger Brockhoeft cried, "Good-bye,
great, great Grand-daddy!"
"So long, son!" And the two fell on one another's necks and wept.
The rain was falling harder. It was time. As the young descendant
(thirty-six years old) stooped to enter the craft his ancestor slapped
him on the back. As soon as Shawn sat down the sensor in his seat
sent a signal to the computer, whose screen then showed:
From inside, the pilot pulled the hatch down to the four-inch position.
It was then drawn in with a "pfft!" sound as it pneumatically sealed shut.
Inside, the two men's faces were dimly illuminated by a bluish glow from
the screen which now read:
PILOT: PLEASE INSERT ANY FINGER IN RECEPTACLE
PASSENGER: PLEASE INSERT ANY FINGER IN
The two men followed these instructions. Seven seconds later the
HMX analysis of their skin cells was complete, and the screen then
showed the limits beyond which it would refuse to take the occupants:
PILOT DATE OF BIRTH: MARCH 31, 2040 A.D.
PILOT REAL DATE (PRESENT): AUGUST 7, 2076 A.D.
PILOT REAL HOUR (PRESENT): P.M. 4:31:54
PASSENGER DATE OF BIRTH: FEB. 3, 2026 A.D.
PASSENGER REAL DATE (PRESENT): AUGUST 7, 2076 A.D.
PASSENGER REAL HOUR (PRESENT): P.M. 4:31:54
PLEASE TOUCH KEY MARKED "ADVANCE" NOW.
The instant the pilot touched the appropriate key, the above
data disappeared and was replaced by:
CURRENT GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATES:
NORTH 38:9107612 WEST 83.9850539
IF SAME COORDINATES ARE DESIRED FOR DESTINED
TIME, PLEASE TOUCH KEYS 1-A-1 SEQUENTIALLY NOW.
IF DIFFERENT COORDINATES ARE DESIRED, PLEASE
TOUCH KEYS 1-B-1 SEQUENTIALLY NOW.
(The inventor considered great precision, in selecting coordinates,
important, to allow the pilot to place the vehicle in carefully
concealed places where it might not be seen by people who could
be frightened by not knowing what it was. The machines could
actually be maneuvered into a space as small as a one-car garage.)
PLEASE SELECT PRECISE COORDINATES (IF KNOWN)
TO NEAREST TEN MILLIONTH OF ONE DEGREE. IF
UNKNOWN, PLEASE TOUCH KEYS 1-B-2 SEQUENTIALLY
NOW TO CONSULT "PATHFINDER" MEMORY.
Since the pilot already knew the exact figures for a particular place in
the Smithsonian's storage area, he keyed them in.
IF RETURN TO PILOT REAL TIME (PRESENT) IS DESIRED,
PLEASE TOUCH KEYS 1-C-1 SEQUENTIALLY NOW. IF
EARLIER TIME IS DESIRED, PLEASE TOUCH KEYS 1-C-2
The pilot touched keys 1-C-1.
THANK YOU. PLEASE TOUCH KEY MARKED "ACTIVATE"
The pilot did so.
Outside, John heard a low hum and took a few steps back, never
taking his eyes off the craft into which his descendant had disappeared.
Suddenly it seemed his vision was blurring. The vehicle was becoming
indistinct. Then the space it occupied was translucent, then filled with
swirling, sparkling twinkles of light. Finally, it was gone, and John saw
only corn being pelted by rain.
As if to reassure himself he had not imagined these things, he turned
quickly to face the remaining machine; but, yes, it was still there.
Stepping the few feet to the craft's exterior he gently poked it with
his toe as a man might kick the tires on a used car he's considering.
In the pancake house Jim asked, "So you revealed the future to
Bonhoeffer? That's the mistake you made?"
"I didn't mean to," John protested, "I just wasn't thinking. George
Grant's publisher will be doing another printing of Third Time Around.
I took a copy with me to show Dietrich, thinking he might come up
with an idea of how to encourage George to amend a couple of points.
I let him read it, not expecting him to read the whole book, which he
did in 3 hours. The book is mostly about history that preceded
Dietrich's time. It didn't hit me until he was well through it that
George even wrote about Dietrich being executed ...hung!...on
April 9, 1945! It was a severe violation of the injunction against
revealing the future to those in the past.
The German theologian sat in a chair opposite his visitor, fervently
poring through the paperback. Several times he glanced up and
discovered Brockhoeft gazing intently at him. Finally the exasperated
reader exclaimed, "John, John! How will I ever concentrate on my
reading if you keep staring at me?"
"Oh! Sorry!" the other apologized. Noticing a KJV lying nearby he
picked it up and busied himself with its contents. where it fell open,
the left hand page began at Joshua 5:13. In his own "real time" present,
Dietrich could not understand the fascination he could hold for a 1996
student of Christian history. He could only see himself as an ordinary
man, not understanding that John was seeing him as a martyred saint.
Another hour passed with both men engrossed in their studies. Then
a look of alarm appeared on John's face. Springing to his feet he
implored, "Dietrich, please hand me that book!"
"But why this sudden outburst, John? Why such a sudden change
"It's all history to my generation, but for yours it records details
of the future. I'm not supposed to reveal these things."
"Oh, is that all you're worried about? I've already read that part.
See? I'm almost finished. The part where the Nazis wring my neck?
That didn't bother me, because I already knew in my spirit they
would kill me before they are defeated. Don't worry about your
blunder. You got away with it this time. It will change nothing.
I won't change my mind. You've given me a great gift! From my
perspective, you have given me a reprieve! I was expecting the Nazis
to kill me within this next year! I will return to Germany a few days
from now. Until this evening, until you showed me this, I would have
considered it nothing less than a miracle for me still to be alive
twelve months from now! So, in a way, you have given me a stay of
execution! I will live until 1945. I still have almost six years to work!
Praise the Lord!"
A lump began to form in John's throat. But it was not, as one might
think, because of the kindness of the theologian's words toward him.
It was because here was this man, this Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who
knew he would be brutally executed at the age of thirty-nine, but
instead of a sense of impending doom he could only rejoice in
knowing he had a little extra time to serve the Lord before being
slain! Brockhoeft took a couple of deep breaths as Bonhoeffer
"John, I'll tell you a little secret. I won't tell this to anyone of my
generation. A few weeks ago, when I began to see that I might die
before the war ended, I prayed to Jesus. Do you remember the
promise in the Bible which says: 'all things work together for good
to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His
John nodded while gasping for breath.
"Well, when I remembered that verse, at that time, I thought to
myself: 'Look! I'm going to be killed! And who knows what I
might have to suffer through before I am even killed!' And I
wondered at first how could I apply this promise of the Bible to
myself? I proclaim the whole Bible to be the Word of God, so I
know it must all be true. Yet, this promise did not seem to be
reconcilable to my situation. So do you know what I told Jesus?"
The listener, breathless now, only shook his head.
Bonhoeffer continued, "I told Jesus I would be willing to give Him
exemption from applying the promise in my case, and I would not
count it as a broken promise. So I told Jesus that if the Nazis subjected
me to suffering, and my suffering worked for someone else's good,
I wouldn't mind if it did not work for my good, but let it help
Brockhoeft began to wail, and shortly his beard was glistening.
Shelley Shannon had said exactly the same thing. Less than three
years earlier (i.e., according to our "real time"), in 1993, while
Shelley was in the Wichita jail awaiting trial, she had gotten a
message to John which included Bonhoeffer's almost exact same
John was feeling lightheaded again. Dietrich spoke on, not knowing
he had lost his visitor's attention, who was now lost in a reverie
revolving around his sister-in-Christ who sat in a prison cell so far
away in time and space. Dietrich's voice was now heard only as
background noise droning on and on saying something about... later
felt foolish about my prayer...was limiting God... God is Al- mighty...
who are we to limit God...my suffering ...help someone else...and
God can still make it work...my good...for my good also...so ...
Shelley...so encourage your friend Shelley...Shelley....
John came to with a start, shaking his head. "Huh?! Excuse me!
What did you say just now, Dietrich? Did you say 'Shelley'?"
"Yes, I was...are you listening to me, John? I was asking about
your friend Shelley Shannon."
"I don't understand! This is getting more confusing! I don't
understand how you could know about Shelley?"
"But it's right here in front of the book! See? Inside the front cover
someone has written, 'To John Brockhoeft from Shelley Shannon.'"
"Oh! Oh yes, I'd forgotten."
"Shelley is a Christian, then?"
"The most faithful of my generation."
At that moment a little door on a house-shaped clock, hanging on the
wall behind Dietrich, opened. A little bird leapt out and announced,
"Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo!"
"It's six o'clock in the morning, John exclaimed, "And we still
haven't resolved the issue! I wanted to ask you about George. Rev.
Grant's publisher will be doing another printing of Third Time Around
soon, and I hope to encourage him to amend these two points. I can't
accuse George of blatant compromise, but there is still a hint of it here.
Dietrich, what can I say to him? What would you say?"
"George is a good fellow, and we must be gentle," Dietrich exhorted.
"I'd like to meet him myself. Why don't you come back tomorrow
night and bring him along?"
"That's it!" John cried. "He may or may not listen to me, but it's for
sure he'll receive from you. If only I can get him to come. If only he
believes me when I tell him about the machine! Understand me now,
Dietrich, I'm not saying George is a pacifist. I don't even think it. If
I were to corner George and ask for his position on pacifism at a time
like this, like your time, he would renounce it with all his heart...and
he'd be sincere. But if I can get him here tomorrow night, and you
can explain to us just what you told me earlier about how you converted
from a pacifist to a resistance fighter I think there might be an answer
for him in there somewhere!"
"It might work," Dietrich agreed.
"I better head home now. I've robbed you of a whole night's sleep.
Please forgive me. I hope I haven't ruined your whole day."
"Not at all. I'll just catch a nap here. This has been a night I'll
"By the way, could I hold on to this book until you return with
"Please don't show it to anyone of your generation."
"Sorry again about taking so much of your time."
"Nonsense. Here, I'll show you to the door."
At the front door, the theologian offered his hand to the departing
visitor, who took it in his own. But the bond was too strong. The
spiritual bond that transcends time between Christians was too
strong, and the two flew together in an embrace.
"See you this evening."
"I'll be here."
Before we return to the scene in the pancake house you may be
curious to know more fully how John came into possession of the
machine. He first laid eyes on it on July 22, 1986. On that day he
had participated in an anti-abortion demonstration held in front of
Haskell's recently reopened abortion chamber.
The group of activists disbanding around two o'clock, he walked
the couple of blocks to where his car was parked. By the time he
had fastened the seat belt and adjusted the air conditioner there
was a man standing alongside the car, right by the driver's side
window, looking in at him with an impish grin. It was obvious the
stranger wanted to say something, so John rolled his window down
a few inches.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Brockhoeft. May I call you John? Please
call me Jim."
John nodded. The guy looked to be about fifty years old. Some gray
showed in his otherwise very dark hair. Erect bearing. Irish nose.
Roman mouth. Round, cherubic face. He wore a light-weight,
"I seem to recall you from somewhere long ago," John remarked.
"Haven't we met somewhere before at some time when we were
both much younger? Could we have worked somewhere together?
Or could we have even served in the Navy together?"
The man named Jim laughed heartily. "No, be assured, we've never
met. I just look like someone you know. I'm not from around here.
I've never been from around anywhere you've ever lived."
What a strange remark! How could he know that, without knowing
everywhere John had been? And if he was not from around that
region, how could he even know who John was? This was strange
indeed. This guy could be a fed (federal agent) trying to infiltrate the
movement or looking for information about the fires.
Seeing the perplexity on John's face, Jim explained further, "We have
some things in common. Like you, I'm a Christian. Also, I'm an
absolutist, particularly so with the abortion issue. Another thing we're
both lapidaries I'm an old rock hound with a special fondness for opals,
just like you."
John had to give him credit. Even if he was an infiltrator, he surely
knew how to break the ice. John's interest in the lapidary art was
nothing compared to his passion for the abortion issue. In fact he
had done no cutting in the previous two years since he'd gotten
involved in this all consuming thing. If the guy had come on strong,
saying he was an absolutist with some explosives for John, that
would have been the end of the conversation right there. And anyone
can claim to be a Christian. But this light-hearted little factor opened
the resistance fighter right up.
"What can I do for you?" John asked.
"It's not what you can do for me, it's what I want to do for you.
I have something I want to give you and something to lend you."
Here the stranger opened his hand, and John audibly gasped at the
sight of what lay in his palm. It was a lightning Ridge black opal easily
weighing over thirty carats, maybe forty. Although its body was black
as midnight, the most intense, vivid red, orange, yellow, green blue,
and purple plays of color every color of the opal spectrum flashed
out from within. He had never seen a Lightning Ridge up close but
has seen photos of them in The Lapidary Journal and Gem and
"You surely know how to break the ice, pal!" John observed,
stunned, and never taking his eyes off the treasure.
"Take it. Pick it up."
"Unh uh, no way. It's too scary. If I fumbled and dropped it I'd
have a heart attack." But he rolled the window down all the way
and the stranger reached in.
"I'm scared to pick it up," John insisted, and cupping his left hand,
said, "Here. You put it in my hand."
Once the stone was in his hand, he laid it carefully on the passenger's
seat, reached over, and, unlocking the door on that side, told his new
friend, "Please get in."
By the time Jim had walked around and opened the door John had
picked up the gem again and was turning it this way and that. From
no angle were there any dead areas. It showed play of color from
any angle an observer looked. You couldn't ask hydrated silicon
dioxide to do any more than this specimen did.
"I don't know who you are, pal," Brockhoeft remarked, "but you
couldn't have come up with a better way of talking your way into
Laughing aloud, just like his great grandfather, Jim, V, replied,
"I know. Let's go get a cup of coffee."
"Is it Australian?"
"No, Lightning Ridge."
"Lightning Ridge! I should have guessed! I've heard of stones from
there going for over 5,000 bucks per carat, and, carat for carat, I
don't see how any could be more precious than this one."
"Let's go get a cup of coffee," Jim repeated.
"Please bear with me a minute. I could never afford a stone like this,
but let me admire and fondle it a moment. I may never again see
one as nice."
"I'll trade it to you for a cup of coffee. Sure, it's a nice specimen,
as nice as they come, but it's not as valuable as you think. A couple
of rich pockets were discovered on the ridge, and now they're not
as rare as they once were."
"Well, Jim, I don't know what kind of cruel joke this is, or what the
catch is, but I intend to find out. You deserve fifty cups of coffee
just for showing it to me."
So John drove them to the Greek diner on Calhoun Street. Halfway
there, stopped at a red light, the driver nervously cast a sidelong glance
at his passenger.
"This is all very mysterious, Jim. I hope you're not a BAT Freak."
The passenger threw back his head and laughed, at which the driver
added, "At least you seem to know what I'm talking about."
"Of course," Jim replied, "I know you're a member of the Army
of God, and that's what you call agents of the old BATF. No, I'm
not one of them."
"This is all very disturbing how you know so much about me, and
you're not even from around these parts. Where are you from?"
[Part two of Chapter IX]
Click for Letter 10 of the Brockhoeft Report.
Back to John Brockhoeft Select Page.
Back to Home Page.
Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed:
for in the image of God made he man.
Numbers 35:33 So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are:
for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the
blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.
To contact e-mail: Glory2Jesus@ArmyofGod.com
Or write to: Rev. Donald Spitz
P.O. Box 16611
Chesapeake VA 23328