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Between 1984 and 1985, Elizabeth (Betsy) Dovydenas gave $6.5 million to the Bible Speaks.  She also changed her will, leaving her estate to the ministry and disinheriting her husband and children.  In 1986 she and her family brought a lawsuit against Carl Stevens and the Bible Speaks, seeking to recover the $6.5 million.  The court found in her favor, and this proved to be a pivotal event, as the Bible Speaks declared bankruptcy, lost their property in Lenox MA, and relocated to Baltimore.  

The presiding judge said in his 60-page decision that the testimony revealed "an astonishing saga of clerical deceit, avarice, and subjugation" by Stevens, who "has abused the trust of the claimant as well as the trust of many good and devout members of the church."   He described Betsy as intelligent and trusting, but said Stevens achieved "total dominion and control over her."

Proof of Claim   (initial Dovydenas filing), October 29, 1986

Judge Queenan Decision   May 19, 1987.  After the lawsuit, the Bible Speaks sought the protection of the bankruptcy court In Worcester, Massachusetts. While the entire case is interesting, the most important parts are contained in pages 1-41.

Court of Appeals Document   March 9, 1989.  This is the opinion from the Massachusetts Court of Appeals regarding the lawsuit. It presents testimony from both sides as well as findings of fact by the presiding judge. The lower court had found in favor of Betsy, so this ruling is the final word on the case.