In Reply to: Tough call posted by Miguel on November 26, 2003 at 10:32:58:
When I joined there were very few school aged kids and not many babies yet. Even at that time, some of the few parents, I would say the majority, were very strict with the children and seemed to spank them hard. I remember thinking I hoped that I would not have kids because I didn't want them to live like that. At this time, there was still corporal punishment in schools (paddling) and society at large allowed for a lot to be "acceptable". So mostly I thought of it as something I would not personally want to be around. Later, when my kids were born and I was in Scandinavia, I saw situations were children were in schools and those schools, depending on who were the leaders, had either harsh discipline in the form of spankings on the butt, but hard. Others were more positive, and the abuse was more along the lines of children and parents separated. When my oldest was one yr old, he was sent to a school in a nearby country. Had I balked at that, I would have been severely dealt with myself and had no access at all. When I was finally allowed to go the the school where he was at, there was a severe disciplinarian named "Argob". Also a woman named Thorny Rose. I remember my son got spanked one night for crying to be with me and hearing her pray with him afterwards saying that they (school staff) were his parents in the Lord. This was horrible. Had I "rebelled" i would have been expelled and lost all access. I guess it was like battered women's syndrome but before all the education about it. I honestly felt like there was no outside recourse to take. I went to Schillingsfors school and saw less harshness in punishment, but found it still not to my liking. The family way of teaching there, regarding childcare, was that kids should be i.e. given a pop on the mouth if they said something bad or disrespectful, or if they grabbed at something dangerous, pop their hand. Basically, "pop" the offending part. There were reports to fill out on discipline, which ways, how many times etc. Although I was at the same place as my two small children (1 toddler, 1 baby and pg with the 3rd)I was not allowed to spend time, except very little, with my own children. I was very sad about this and as a result I was almost sent to "pioneer" Greenland. Instead I was sent to Gothenburg where I was separated from my oldest. My youngest was born there. The home had young severe leadership (Jabez and Pearl) who frequently had mock break ins in the middle of the night to keep us on our toes, and also dealt with us as a group. One guy freaked out and had a break down, was dumped and ended up in the salvation army. There were times that my oldest son was supposed to be brought by lit providers that brought lit for the home. They would "forget" or have to go after only a very brief time. I remember my oldest crying and grabbing the rail going down the stairs..screaming. He did not want to go. I did not want him to. But I could do nothing. I was convinced that not only God would judge me, but so would the family and society at large would hurt us too.
Then I was moved to Germany. My kids went to the school in Bremen four days a week and then came home (the two oldest) for a three day weekend. I know that I was separated alot because I was sent out to litness and make money and bar/club sing.
When in one town, the Visiting Servants (shortly after the de-throning of other leadership with kings letter)dealt with me alot and criticized me harshly for having gained weight with my last child. I was dealt with on a daily basis. I don't remember much about this time. But I did not see any physical or sexual abuse. However it was beginning without the awareness of the intent. The VS's had the children dance with each other like little adults dancing together, and i thought it was really weird. Then I was sent to Berlin. It was a sudden thing. One of those, you need to pack a suitcase and leave in 15 min. type things. I didn't know we were going to Berlin until I was there. It was right after the big German police raid occurred there. We stayed in the home there and I can't remember if my kids were there all the time or not. If so, I was sent out alone a lot to sing all evening and night, and out in the day to litness. I remember living in lots of hard situations as the product of being dealt with for resistance. At one point, I told off the leader at the Berlin home at the time. I was drinking alot. He was riding another girl about how she should dress, think, walk, act, what she should NOT do, etc. I told him to leave her alone and can't remember all that I said to him, but he shook his head and reported us. As a result the VS's came and wanted me and a 17 yr old to hitchhike to Turkey with the kids! I refused. they left us there and the home leader let some heroin addicts move in. I walked in on them shooting up one time. We had to get out of there, and in fact, had to literally. That night I went out singing and told people that we needed a place to stay it was the middle of winter...
A woman I had met in this one bar said I could stay with her. I said i had three kids. She hesitated and said they could come too. Then I said I was travelling with a german couple..bring them too, and that the woman in the couple was pregnant...uhhh okay, well they can come. And, we have a cat! Well we all went there. This woman was a severe alcoholic and we helped her out awhile as she helped us with a place to stay. Then we got a place as a reference from a couple in Germany. While there we saved funds to go to Asia. When the Ditto book came out, I remember it. It was shocking and it was definitely compartmentalized, but also definitely family doctrine. Sarah and others were living WITH berg and those books were officially sanctioned. They weren't Sarah's idea. First sex was natural and shouldn't be hidden from children. Well, lots of Europeans live like that. Then children were starting to be taught to act sexy. And the letters came out about Marry Time. I travelled with one couple, mobile for awhile. I saw the daughter being fondled in a rough and sadistically humorous (not humorous to me or her) way. She was screaming loud and I screamed back for him to get his hands off of her. I cut my hair off short. Something also not allowed. I was told that he was a "spiritual thermometer" and a measure of others spiritual condition and for me to react to him as I did showed my spiritually weak and sick condition. Now i was on the road travelling daily to towns all over Switzerland often alone, singing and making money to turn in. Then I got to a point that I felt like i was going over the edge completely, I took the money from funds saved up to go to India (ours) and left on an impulse. I returned to America with only 3 bags, medium size, a guitar and three kids. I left my books and lit behind. I sang in restaurants and rented hotel rooms for two nights prior to our flight back to the USA. I felt like God would kill us all as we boarded the plane. But I was way past burn out.