In February of 2005, Ashley and Diane visited Scott at the monastery. He appeared physically weak and stooped over. Ashley and Diane also had an opportunity to observe Archimandrite Ephraim, and witnessed monks prostrating themselves in front of the Archimandrite, asking for his blessing.
In a letter dated February 14, 2005, Scott again tried to explain the mystery of the “Elder.” “[T]he Elder here does know people’s thoughts and sometimes everything about them;” “there’s a reason why the elders breath smells like myrrh, or why sometimes when he blesses you all you smell is sweet fragrances, or why angels show up;” “I’m here to be healed and I know that it’s done through honesty in confession and obedience;” “lf l blame anyone it’s myself, and the demons are to blame too.”
On March 13, 2005, Scott told his parents:
• When ” the Elder” meditates he levitates and the light that shines forth all around him is so bright it will temporarily blind you if were to walk in on him;
• “The Elder” can’ t visit a zoo because animals will go wild wanting a blessing from him;
• Someone who refused to obey “The Elder” in a disagreement a short time later died;
• “The Elder” ” divined” where to find water for the Arizona monastery; and
• “The Elder” can spiritually ascend to heaven where God is and can report back what he experienced and saw there.
Scott also told the couple that while on Mt. Athos, he had received branches from the “real burning bush that Moses saw and experienced God on Mount Sinai.”
On April 7, 2005, seven months after Scott entered St. Anthony’s, Ashley and Diane wrote to Metropolitan Gerasimos. The letter detailed all the bizarre revelations that Scott had relayed to his family about “The Elder” and about life at the monastery. The couple requested a face to face meeting with the bishop to discuss the practices of the monastery’s leadership, how Scott became involved in the monastery, and what actions the Metropolitan would take. The Nevins asked that the Greek Orthodox Church and Archimandrite Ephraim release Scott, get him exit counseling from a qualified professional; none of this occurred.
On May 9, 2005, Metropolitan Gerasimos replied, suggesting that he, Ashley, and Diane meet with Archimandrite Paisios and Scott at St. Anthony’s. The Nevins replied on May 17, 2005, to the Metropolitan agreeing to this though finding a time and scheduling this would be difficult; that particular meeting never took place.
They also asked that the following items be included on the agenda for the meeting:
• Whether the concept of “toll houses,” as taught by the monastery, was accepted theology of the Greek Church;
• Why Scott was sent to Mt. Athos to be received by baptism instead of being received by chrismation;
• Why Archimandrite Ephraim taught that sex was dirty and that monasticism was superior to marriage;
• Why Archimandrite Ephraim taught that the scripture saying “I come not to bring peace but a sword diving families-father against son … ” meant that “giving up” one’s family was expected;
• Why Archimandrite Ephraim equated reunification with God to absolute blind obedience to everything he or Archimandrite Paisios said;
• Whether the Greek Church taught that it was possible for a person to learn to levitate, to astral project, to glow, and to exceed other Orthodox believers simply by being obedient to the monastery’s leadership; and
• Why local Greek Orthodox churches and religious schools weren’t ‘ pure’ enough and should be ignored.
Communications between the San Francisco Diocese and the Nevins continued for an additional five months, with the Nevins finding it difficult working with the Chancellor in scheduling a meeting time.
During this same time period the Nevins also wrote to Archbishop Demetrios about their concern for the well being of their son. The Archbishop responded to the couple in writing, and said that they were making changes to how they allowed people into the monastery. He encouraged them to talk to Metropolitan Gerasimos because he was a psychologist. Archbishop Demetrios did nothing to help Scott.
Meanwhile, Scott continued to delve more deeply into Orthodox mysticism. He recommended that people visit the Russian Orthodox cathedral in San Francisco to be healed by the ” uncorrupt relics of Saint John” and stated that he knows an “amazing story” about the tomb of Christ. Scott also continued to lose weight, work with little sleep, and refer to himself as a “belly acher” who is “learning sometimes it is better to suffer.” By this time, Scott was nearly unrecognizable to his family both physically and by personality. Even his voice had changed, becoming a mumbling monotone without a trace of his old animation.