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From the mother's perspective

Posted by Jo on December 09, 2005 at 13:50:15

In Reply to: Re: Good quote posted by CB on December 09, 2005 at 09:58:24:

It was an abduction too. Because I was not asked about it. I protested it to leadership. My child was sent out of the country I was in and I didn't know the precise location of where he was sent to. To challenge leadership at that time other than to BEG TO BE WITH HIM which I DID DO and which didn't set well with them either, to protest too much could mean never to see my child again. In a cult mindframe it could mean God could do something very bad to me or my children as well for disobeying.

From the mindset of a leader, it would have been doing God's service as Berg taught early on that one day God may require giving up your child to be taught how to serve God as Samuel was given up under God's orders.

As has happened with other children, whether the mom was in the cult as was my case or out of the cult, since I didn't hand over my child, it was abduction. From a cult mindset, to run and do something like call the law wouldn't have retrieved my son and my son's father was still in the cult so he could have claimed by cult insistence that the son was with him and so on and so forth AND it would have been complicated by the fact that my son was in another country.

We all know what has happened to some children where a person left the family even and had their children abducted by an ex husband and goons. She never was able even with the assistance of the law, to retrieve her children.

I don't believe we were stupid to join a cult. I believe we were young and vulnerable and the cult was practiced (as trained) to throw out an attractive sense of purpose, community, things that were good. People in their teen years lack judgement as to what manipulation is all about. Cults recruit people they can use and they didn't at that time paint a picture of free-wheeling sex or prostitution.

I do not feel angry at Jim so much for what he did under the influence of the cult even though I was very hurt under his leadership whether he ever admits it or not. That is where many of us have made mistakes, some more greivous than others.

What I do feel angry about is Jim's denial and reframing of the whole issue to deny what happened. More specifically in light of the way he pressures people and points fingers at them as if he had never been a member himself and done some pretty awful things while in.

Since i first wrote Jim in January I told him that it was Chen and L. that talked to me when my son had been sent away but I also said he was a leader at the time with Chen and had to be privy to what was going on. To him, it is likely easily forgotten because since it wasn't his child it would have been no concern of his. Within the famiy context it would have been about as important to him as what was for dinner that night. No, probably less important because the latter would have been more important to him. As he said, childcare was not his ministry.

I also remember being shocked from a family standpoint when I would see the few children that were in the Stockholm "Home" at the time when Jim was a leader there, who were bruised from being beaten with a belt (not by him as far as I know but no way he didn't know that). and remember in passing hearing them pray "Jesus forgive us for being foolish" or "forgive us for playing".

I remember that horrified me at the time, but at this time I was also being sent out in winter to litness daily. I had come from the Canary Islands where we had not learned of the Litnessing revolution and were being "dealt with" because we couldn't make our lit quotas. We had to go out on the sts, me pregnant, barely, with a baby and a toddler and litness outside in the cold all day long. By 2pm in the dead of winter it gets dark outside there. We had to wait until after all the stores closed to call in and ask permission to be allowed to come home at NIGHT since we had not met our quotas. We also had to raise money via lit to feed the kids and ourselves while we were out. I suppose it was also criminal way back then by the fact that the funds turned into the cult leaders were not accounted for on any tax rolls or anything neither did we had tax exemption. Neither did we keep a penny other than to feed ourselves while out and buy diapers.

Neither did we have visas to allow us to work there. Jim knew all these things. To deny it is crazy. This was well before FFing got started. Even at his level of leadership.

On the other hand there were people in the cult that as shepherds, and in spite of being in the cult would never have done these things or sent people off in the middle of the night.

I first supported Jim in spite of the past that was so clear to me because it happened years ago and I realized he was out of the cult and fighting for something. But as I got more drawn in to supporting him and reading the way he addressed people and as he denied what happened with me, blaming it on Chen and suggesting things that never happened tying it to her, then I parted ways.

Why do parents, leaders, or members of cults not report things? That is a good question. Why didn't Elizabeth Smart or Patty Hearst run to police after being with their captors for a brief time? Why do battered women stay with a batterer? Is it because they are stupid? I think not.

My whole point of saying anything to Jim to begin with was because of his way of pointing fingers and ranting at different times and his insistence that he left before anything bad happened.
Separating families is bad. Sending them out to pioneer in the winter at night or day time without funds is bad. Beating children for playing too loud is bad. Making them pray for Jesus to forgive them for being foolish is bad. Jim was around that on a daily basis, I only got glimpses. Jim forgets the past except for the one he has etched out for himself. And further I would say that by and large women in the family were more traumatized in general than men. Not on a case by case basis, but in general.

All this being said, what brings this up and makes it raw for me is Jim's denial of it and reframing it to make it all about me. Hey, I have no problem looking back in hindsight and saying that Jim and all of us were duped and looking back it is important to acknowledge things we may not have been able to do at the time but realize now would have been best to do.

I think it is worth examining why people do things or don't do things like report things to outsiders while in a cult.

I have to wonder if Jim remembers being a leader in Stockholm Sweden in the early seventies? Let me rephrase that, I have to wonder why Jim does not acknowledge that he was a leader in Stockholm Sweden in the early seventies.

My reason for stating all this was NOT to get into a blame game but to stop the blame game and realize that LARGELY, FG's were victims of the family at some point and to some extent participated in things that went against our conscience believing our conscience was of the devil. That thinking was reinforced in a methodical way.

But we can hurt each other to deny that something happened that was painful to someone else even if today we hold very different views, having gotten out of the cult.

Also, I would say it was harder for single mothers in the cult. I was a single mother for years within. But I got out long ago too. Not as long ago as Jim. I protected my children even when I felt I was wrong because it was triggering things in me before I knew what a "trigger" was.

Now that this is all said, is it possible for people to realize that all were hurt by the cult, in many cases, in all cases at sometime to one degree or another we likely hurt someone else by the nature of 1984-ish strict obedience to the main leader, David Berg? Because I believe if we could get past this and agree on where we were ALL hurt, and where possible at least acknowledge where someone was hurt saying "I don't remember_______ but within the context of the family I believe it happened to you and I am sorry for that?"

I have already made my amends with my family after getting out of the Family YEARS AGO and after getting years of personal therapy. That is why we don't have the same set of problems to deal with as Jim does. It is why I don't feel the same degree of guilt some may feel for having been a member when victor camps started. It doesn't make me better or worse than any one, it just makes me luckier in a way, that I got out when i did, that i was single and never became a big leader, that I rebelled a lot and was therefore on the outskirts much of my latter family time and even cut off from letters for over a year.