In Reply to: Re: Questions for critical thinking posted by Potzreebee on July 28, 2005 at 08:42:58:
There was definitely a generation gap that was part of the late sixties, or heigthened then. But I don't believe in karmic generalizations. I believe the gap happened for a reason and that it did not actually exist for many during that era.
Those of the "counter-culture" who were youth against parents who supported a war then taking a terrible toll on their peers who were drafted and forced into a war they did not believe in. The youth had a very different perspective of what was going on. It was a period in time when arts and music were taking dramatic turns from the Norman Rockwell standard as well.
"Free Love" was one of the sayings of the time, but I can honestly say that many people who joined the Family at that time were young and often inexperienced at that. Some were addicts, some were college students, most were from upper middle class families and the family did NOT have a free sex environment, in fact quite the opposite for some years except for whatever a handful of "selah" sisters may have experienced when Berg, unknown to most members, reached out and touched them.
Berg was really into stats, and one of the stats he polled on early family youth was that membership was primarily consisted of youth from upper middle class families. Interestingly enough, thought the family did scrape some people off the sidewalks they also screened people. They were not that interested in the down and out in Beverly Hills that were not kids from parents that lived there..unless they had some sort of "potential".
My mother used to throw out the curses of "You will have children that will treat you bad like you do me".. What she left out was she was extremely abusive and self centered, stealing from the budget for our school clothes to swell the CLOSETS full of her clothes and shoes. (I generally never had more than five changes of clothes and two or three pairs of shoes.) She blamed a molestation of me by a military man on me when I was eight. She made up stuff or irritated my drunken father to beat me from earliest memory. She left us in the hands of abusive brother who was a teen when I was three. I don't ever remember having been hugged by her.
My father was extremely abusive and allowed abusive stuff done to me by my siblings. so no, I don't believe in the karmic generational curse and it is not very scientific. Sometimes patterns of behavior are repeated, and that is a sort of generational pattern. It did perhaps play a role in my vulnerability to the cult proliferation of that era and my becoming a part of one.
Well, I did not abuse my children like my mother did. I was probably more like Rosanne. "Dysfunctional" with some fun and love in it. But a whole lot more struggle. Most of our personal family gap came from resultant poverty in leaving the family when they,(my children) and I were young and not having support or resources as well as no clue where to search for any and most likely nothing was available for a parent with children and meager resources.
Nevertheless we (my family)are all close today and don't have to deal with the generation gap of 1G vs. 2G.
The reason for that is largely because of the time I got OUT, and what I did after getting out.
What I have is empathy for both g's including the parents that got out later because I see them as people who for many individual reasons, were unable to get out when I did. I see few that I would consider so dedicated to the cause and to Berg's growing insanity at the time who stayed and enjoyed it. I do believe some did. I can't imagine how.
I also believe that when the sex revolution started in the family, it attracted people who were after other things besides a spiritual lifestyle in many cases. Especially once children were broadly sexualized. The stories of pedophilia even after the forced charter are horrible. The family at that time would be "heaven on earth" for pedophiles and hell on earth for children. I am glad I got out before that and sad some were stuck in.
Perhaps a good topic would be what kept people stuck?
I can't compare alcoholism *completely* with cult membership. I think the more apt comparison is with battered women. The reason being when a person started to drink and have a problem with it, they may be in denial about having a problem, in fact usually are.
Most would never call themselves alcoholics in even the direst stretches of the ravishes of the dis-ease. With battered women, at least initially, the person they are attracted to is often very charming, warm and generous but that changes once the ring is on the finger or the woman moves in.
Also, when a person consumes alcohol, they already know when they start to drink, that to do so excessively is viewed as "bad" by society and most religions. Even the church of Satan considers it a weakness and a bad thing to be a drunk.
When youth were joining cults in the sixties, it was a result of the times and a draw towards spirituality and meaning in life. The climate was ripe for the proliferation of cults AND for alcohol and drug abuse.
The "Children of God" did not consider itself a cult being "Christian based" and classes were even taught on "Cults and Isms". Watchman even made up a song about cults like the anti-Khrisna etc. parodying them, to the tune of Simon and Garfunkels "59th St. Bridge Song".
So in the early days of COG, most articles and churches saw it as a positive thing, if not edgy due to the infrequent "vigils" held. Those cutting edge things kept us in the news, but overall, we were highly thought of by many churches and businessmen.
Bottom line, the difference is knowing something is wrong or potentially wrong when you start doing it, and having societal support and belief that what you are doing is GOOD when you start doing it. People know alcohol in excess and illegal drug use of any kind is considered "bad" by society and education galore is out there about the damaging effects of addiction. At the same time I do realize that alcoholics and addicts in general get into the process of becoming an addict with no awareness that this is what they are doing. Certainly alcohol is a symptom of underlying issues.
I do believe it is helpful for all leaving a cult to examine that past, individually and do whatever helps to overcome that past. Just as an alcoholic in recovery would need to concentrate first on just not taking that next drink and building support before delving into the ravages of the behaviors and fall out from whatever was done, even if just to harm self. Often people who are recovering alcoholics find that one to be the hardest hurdle to overcome, forgiving oneself.
But even moreso would be the recovery process of the battered woman (or man). That is the closest comparison I see.
I have seen many FG express regret for the past and what they participated in that was damaging, or what they were involved with even if they did not participate while in. And for having been involved in something and not getting out when ____(fill in the blank) started. Where does one go from there?
In recovery from alcoholism, the addicts duty is to make amends for harms done after carefully reviewing the past with a sponsor or counselor (12 step model). Part of that involves telling the persons harmed you are sorry and doing whatever is possible to help them. Sometimes the most that can be done is to verbally and sincerely apologize and then the result, whether the harmed people forgive you or not is NOT the business of the alcoholic.
Cleaning up your individual side of the street is the duty of the alcoholic. I agree that for healing, the same is needed for those involved in a cult.
Then there comes a time to move on with life when that has been done to the best of the individual's ability.