The Myth of E. Marie Tolbert


Our unexpected meeting with Marie in Bowen’s Mill, Georgia proved what many of us have always believed is true. That being, that Marie Tolbert is incapable of genuine self reflection or heartfelt inspection of her own motives. She is unable to judge herself or even admit to having anything other than righteous intentions. The fact that that particular quality is reserved solely for Jesus Christ himself, completely eludes her. While everyone in ISOT is mandated to be judged and scourged for their spiritual shortcomings Marie  denies she even has shortcomings. She has deluded herself into believing that she is not capable of behaviors or actions that could be judged as selfish, cruel, egotistical or anything else that may spring from deep within her carnality. She honestly believes that she operates from a divine place and simply will not acknowledge her humanity.


 It is her arrogance that has caused such an enormous disconnect between the ISOTs and the ex ISOTS. Marie will readily admit that “we made many mistakes”  but, when questioned about specific decisions and issues she responds with snide ness, derision, defiance and a holier than thou self-righteousness that belies her elevated opinion of her place among God’s called. Doesn’t it ever occur to these people that you cannot claim God’s blessing while behaving in such an ungodly, arrogant manner? 


      On the contrary, when she is given the opportunity to demonstrate the love of God, she instead resorts to her usual pattern of attack, insults and dismissive self-importance. She sat there in Georgia and adamantly refused to consider anything except her version of the truth. At the same time, she repeated her earlier explanation of the rage of the ex-ISOTs as “myths and false interpretations.”



Ron Hassler just sat there, mostly silent, nodding in agreement like a bobble head doll with no personal opinion about anything. Just thrilled beyond belief that he was chosen to be Marie’s flunky for the week. His entire purpose was to agree with anything that Marie said and support her dishonesty no matter how preposterous. Ron has devoted the best years of his life to bearing false witness to Marie’s “ministry” and condoning her inexcusable, destructive  behavior. The man has no personal convictions about anything.




 The true “Myth” is really the yarn that has been spun over the many decades of Marie Tolbert’s ministry, if you can call it that. She has proclaimed to be God’s special messenger, called to deliver a unique, end-time message that has been revealed only to her. Her “prophetic” teachings have been rejected by the elders throughout the body because they recognize the remarkable lack of Christ-like behavior of Marie and her disciples. (In one of her emails, when Cara Cobb made a reference to Ray Mandel’s “confrontational style,” she was unable to hide her distaste for his unsound, unchristian, self-indulgence.)


  Marie has gathered a rag-tag congregation to support her while she debased them and their families daily. She has managed to keep them blinded to her inconsistent, corrupt and scripturally unsupportable behavior for over 3 decades.


 Ultimately, it is this very lack of Christian principles that  Marie and her followers will be judged by.


 Marie has taught the “death to self” message her entire adult life. This presumes that as a person relinquishes their “carnal nature” it is replaced by a Christ like nature, lead by God’s spirit. It requires, among other things, purging, scourging, self denial, introspection and judgment.  The majority of ISOT people have submitted to this idea and have dedicated themselves to being better people and to live the principles of Christ. For the most part they are a sincere, devoted group, genuinely committed to their beliefs. Each day they subject themselves to judgment and correction and suppress their natural desires. They have, over the years, become use to constant abuse, rejection and scorn. This has become their life. They are not nurtured, praised, respected or appreciated. Every aspect of their life is invaded and criticized. They have no privacy, security or sense of approval. They know that at any moment, their life can be turned upside down on the whims of Ray, Darla or Marie. They live with the fear that others control their destiny and they cannot impact even the smallest detail of their life.


 This is E. Marie Tolbert’s idea of a loving, supportive Christian family.


 It is a myth.


 You need only to speak with Ken and Frieda Franklin and feel true Christian love come forth with each word they speak. In their eyes you see empathy, support and understanding. They stand as testaments to those who love God and love his people. Brother Buddy Cobb has a sparkle in his eye and warmth in his voice that embraces you when you are in his presence. Sister Lee Fife carries herself with quiet dignity and through her devotion to her husband’s legacy she manifests her love for God’s chosen.


 Marie Tolbert has, over the years, dismissed these very fine people with her contempt and her elitist viewpoint that they are her spiritual subordinates.


 The precise opposite is the truth.


 During our meeting with Marie she showed again and again her true nature and a complete lack of Christian principles.


 She blamed Joseph for everything bad that happened and had convinced Ken Franklin that he was the reason ISOT never submitted to the Eldership of the Body (It was Marie who always refused to submit to anyone, Remember the Brother Moore story?).


 She uncovered Dale Merrick to us and announced that he did not speak for the elders, in effect distancing herself from a “veteran of 35 years ” who believes he is one of the “elders” and will be surprised to learn how easily Marie threw him out of her private club.


 She had not seen her daughter for almost 20 years, yet she didn’t ask Joyce a single question about her children’s well-being or even mention their names.


 She claimed she was surprised by Hannah Payne’s anger and her claims of abuse. Forgetting perhaps, that she had Hannah’s mother’s head shaved, took her children away from  her, isolated her from everyone else and generally treated the entire Payne family like 3rd class citizens.( Except of course when Marie needed Carol to sew some new clothes for her).


 Her excuse for not meeting with us when we visited Canby last year was she was “just too busy and had a full calendar.” I told her that she didn’t have anything to do that was more important than facilitating the healing of those she abused.


 Vintage Marie Tolbert….the world revolves around her, no one else matters.

She will not hear the screams of the ex-ISOTs who struggle, she won’t even acknowledge they exist.

She rejects the judgment of others. Her motives are always above reproach and will never subject herself to the criticism that she made many decisions from a wicked, self serving heart.


 When you put Marie Tolbert and Ray Mandel up against genuine Christians who actually behave like they love others,……… the myth is exposed.

Ken Franklin was interested in our concerns and expressed his support and desire for resolution and the end of the suffering. It was his hope that we achieve our righteous goal of accountability from those that abused us and our family.




 Marie Tolbert did what she always does, she blamed others, sidestepped responsibility, refused to hear the accusations against her and denied any sense of obligation to help others get passed their sorrow.


 It proves that Marie Tolbert’s teachings, beliefs and behaviors are not borne of a Godly nature nor from a devotion to the Principles of Christ.


 She instead manifests her true nature, that being that she loves herself and her self image more than anyone or anything on the planet.


 And that’s no myth.


 Ed Abdallah