In Reply to: Re: To the Family International (NT) posted by John LaMattery on February 02, 2005 at 04:29:44:
This was posted on the movingon site by my son-in-law.
I'm writing this letter in hope that a third party's point of view might be helpful... My intended audience is first generation members whose children have left the Family.
It is likely that I've met your son or daughter, and in more cases than not, they are doing what society would consider well. Most of the ex-members that I have met are succeeding due to a competitive edge that drives them forward. At the same time, most of them harbor demons that they would rather not discuss, as the people who can help them attain closure are not willing to participate in their healing process. The human conscience is as fragile as it is amazing, and often times the things that drive us to succeed are also the same things that can destroy us.
I know Daniel Roselle. While I know that he is both famous and infamous around here, I can't say I've met a more polite and genuine fellow. John LaMattery and I are also very close, and I can tell you that he is an honest caring father without a mean or vindictive bone in his body.
In all, I've met fifty or so former members, and spent considerable time with about fifteen of those fifty. Of those fifteen that I've had the opportunity to spend a reasonable amount of time with, I know that at least half of them were sexually abused while in the Family. I know this because either they or people close to them have told me, sometimes in painful detail, about the abuses they suffered.
Even if I take into consideration a large statistical error due to the small sample size of the ex-members that I know, the percentage of sexually abused individuals who have left the family is staggering.
So why do I care? Because my wife is an ex-member and many of the people in my new extended family are ex-members as well. Even though I have never witnessed or been sent to Victor's, the lingo and past realities of the family are prominent in my life.
While my wife tells me that she was not sexually abused, not all of her brothers and sisters were so lucky. As the media takes interest in the Family's past transgressions, the abuse that they suffered has come bubbling to the surface of each of their consciousnesses. They don't want blood, they just want to attain closure, and want the perpetrators of these heinous acts to be put on trial for their actions.
As Claire Borowik was interviewed on Primetime, I had trouble comforting my wife as she nervously paced around our residence, telling me that she felt like she was going to vomit. This is far from an isolated incident. On more than one occasion my wife has broken down and told me that she is afraid that she has been brainwashed to the point that she will one day rejoin the family against her own will. All I can do is listen, try to comfort her, and tell that I won't let that happen to her. Keep in mind that my wife is one of the merely psychologically abused, 'lucky ones'.
So what is my point? That if you (first generation members) take accountability for placing your children in an abusive environment, it will go a long way towards helping them put their negative experiences in the Family behind them...
My wife's father, John LaMattery (not to be confused with his son of the same name that I spoke of before) has done just that. I am extremely proud of him, and a somewhat in awe of him for doing that. While it would be easier for my wife and I to ignore the olive branch he has extended, we would like to move forward, as the name of this site suggests.
What John is attempting to do is what I am urging each of you first generation members to do as well. Reconnect with your children. Talk to them about the past, and any abuse that they may have suffered. Be humble, help them, internalize what they say, accept it, and take accountability for your actions.
As a first generation parent, what do you have to lose by following this example?
While only you can answer that question, I can tell you what you have to gain. The respect of your child. My wife, who did not invite her father to our wedding because of his past transgressions, is now communicating with him.
Isn't the respect of your children worth fighting for?
The irony here is that by not working through the past with your children, you will have made the decision that the 'Family' is more important than your biological family.
As an outsider, I cannot see how anyone would make that choice if they put any real thought into it. Furthermore, I cannot see how anyone who claims to be a Christian can not at least put the needs of their biological family on par with the 'Family'.
If you decide not to take accountability for choosing to bring your children into the 'Family', then you are choosing the 'Family' over your biological family, and your kids would be best served to move on without you.
Please make the correct choice for you and your kids...