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Posted by on August 10, 2005 at 16:08:38

Dear ex family members I wanted to share with you a writing I have posted, it took me some time to write it as some of the things I have to share are difficult. I have shared this writing with some ex members and have had some very favourable responses and reactions so I thought it would be worth while to share it with you.
I am loathe to use the word ex. member as I myself do not look at myself as an ex.member but rather as some one who is older and perhaps a little wiser, every thing we do in life is a learning experience and my time in the Family I count as just that.
As I state in my writing I believe the Family has some sincere and dedicated people and it would be my hope, prayer and desire that the Family would continue to exist, thrive and prosper provided they come clean, and be willing to renounce the many harmful doctrines, beliefs and practices they continue to hold on to.
The death of our beatiful 13 year old daughter was and still is very difficult for us to come to terms with but if anything beautiful and posotive can come from such a tragedy then it is my hope this writing is able to convey that.

I am sharing here one reaction to my writing from a former member who used to be in leadership here in U.K. her name was Ruth.

Shalom Steve and Susan, (do you prefer I call you that?)

First of all I want to thank you Dave,(oops!) for entrusting your letter to me. I truly cried when I read it.

I can identify with so much of it, I hardly know where to begin. We are all well programmed so that even when we are not in the F., its hard at first to say anything negative about it isn’t it? Its taken me years to face the negative things that I’ve experienced and my time at Workshop continues to help me in the healing process. There is also a new venture called `Crucible’ Church on the margins. It is an offshoot of workshop. It is specifically for those who are un-churched either because they don’t trust the church or they’ve never tried it. Check out the website I would love to take you both there one weekend, its so good just to get refilled. I was a bit afraid it would be too churchy at first but actually it’s a bit more academic.

I have found it great to meet all these other Christians at Workshop and through these last years I have been at first surprised and then inspired in finding others who are sincere in their faith, want to know more, and want to do something for the Lord. One of my friends is due to go to China, initially for a year, in September. Another friend, who is past retirement age, goes regularly to visit the Keren on the Thai/Burma border. I’m really blessed. I really do have a burden to help ex family members, but seem to lack the time or motivation………or maybe I’m just lazy. I find I have so little time to fit things in!

I still refuse to allow anyone to tell me what I ought to believe and I even tell people when I’m not sure about something…. I usually use the adage about `wrapping it up in a bundle of faith and putting it on the shelf.’ Perhaps this is a cop out on my part, but I am a simple person and it doesn’t bother me than some things I will find out when I get `there’.

(I think my marriage to John Mark was typical of many Family marriages, which is probably why it didn’t last `in the world’. I sincerely hope that all you guys have gone through will draw you closer together.)

Your writing was so very touching and doing it is perhaps part of the healing process. From someone who has been out of the Family a few years, I found some of the abbreviations a little puzzling, as I’m not familiar with the `newer terms’. You may want to either write them in full or put in a `key’. I thought having an introduction was good…..bear in mind this may be all very busy people read. (I don’t know if you had thought about editing it slightly.) I definitely think you should share it! I can well believe you may be `blacklisted’ after this but it is very disturbing and relevant reading. I could well imagine a local rebuttal being brought out warning family members not to engage you in conversation!

On a different note, I was talking to my eldest John a couple of weeks ago, and he surprised me in talking to a friend of mine about his time in the Family. He talked about all the good the Family had done, and he had good memories of him playing guitar on the street at Christmas. He defended the family quite strongly. I was surprised because he now has a bit of a dead end job because of his lack of qualifications, and a wife and handicapped child to support. I think it’s important to be able to discuss things that happened to us in the past with others who have been in the same situation.

I think Oli and Liz would be very interested to hear from you or to read your letter if and when you post it on the website, I feel they are trying to get their lives sorted since they came over from England. They also had a bit of an epiphany. I think Liz was thinking of going into education but I haven’t heard from them for a few months.

What are your plans for the future? It will all become clear in time.

One thing I want to stress is that you are two very special people and I do believe Romans 8:28. What you have been through is painful and I can’t say I know how you feel because that would sound trite and patronising. However. I DO feel that the Lord can use what you have gone through to help others. I think that we are similar (and I feel this through your writing) that you are not bitter about the past, only wiser. Unlike some things posted on the websites I’ve checked out, you are not ranting and spewing negativity and poison, but rather delivering a heartfelt message.

Certain scenes from Joanna’s funeral have stuck vividly in my mind, and one of the major things I felt coming from you, was dignity and compassion for others in the midst of your grief. Nick (who was only about 15, felt it too and it had a profound effect on him.)

Don’t give up!

In Jesus’ name

Jill xxxxxxxxx

P.S. Sorry my letter is so disjointed, as always, I wrote it in a bit of a scramble.