The Family Children of God by insidersChildren of God Family International
Home Chat Boards Articles COG History COG Publications People Resources Search site map > chatboards > genX > archives > post #27276

TF and backsliders

Posted by Passing By on June 06, 2006 at 19:56:42

The exchange below about the different perspectives of two people on a person made me think about my own experience when I left TF. I had been in a selah home and a selah position for quite a while. I had never heard of people just leaving from one of these homes. Of course it was either concealed or maybe the perks were a strong deterrent. But one day, tired of many things I decided to make my move. It is a long story but it took a little time to get all prepared and protect my children. I knew very well that they, the leaders, would not hesitate to force them away from me and my control. Nothing of the sort had happened yet anywhere but I knew the Letters too well not to strongly consider that possibility. Later events and stories across continents and people confirm now that my fears were not unjustified.

But, as part of my preparations, I maintained total secrecy of what I was doing and the cover story was that I had decided that my calling was to be in “the field” instead of remaining in the Hamburger Boat behind the Green Door that these selah homes had become. It turns out they never bought that. I learned later that as soon as I talked to the leader about my desire to move out they set in motion a security plan. Part of that plan was an emergency newsletter to leaders only where they were told to shun me and my little family of four.

I happened to be in a country I had helped pioneer and I knew everybody and everybody knew me. But backsliders are seen as traitors by cults and people with a cult-mentality see them as enemies. I was already a traitor and enemy even though I had not officially left TF yet. I guess I had become the ubiquitous “weak sister” Berg was always warning us about.

And it was at that point when I experienced again the differences among people. As a lowly foot soldier down in the pecking chain I had been active in helping newcomers into that country. This was during immediately after the RNR so the new “Visiting Servants” titles had been freely dispensed to the previous leaders known as District Shepherds and Bishops who were then shuffled around to give the impression that they were the new blood instrumental in change. We were a handful in the whole country, happy not to have to deal with any jerky chain, and had self organized ourselves to make our life easier. I took on the job of showing the best places to provision, litness and all of that. Of course, it was all unofficial as most people on the field never cared about titles.

In that capacity I lend a helping hand to a family with several children and clearly in some sort of financial problems. The name of the man was Jim, married to Shirley, who had come from Turkey after a short fundraising stopover in States. They were one of the sweetest people (and turned out grateful) people I ever met. I will not go into details but I have many times prayed for them that they may see the light and leave the cult.

At that time, another brother, Phineas, was not evening the picture. He had also been a pioneer in that country but had settled down with his wife and children away from the fray. Not only had he semi-disappeared but he was not interested in forming community. This had already been happening for several years before the RNR so that by the time Jim and Shirley came along Phineas was nowhere to be found.

But all of this converged at one corner one day after I had left the cozy life of that selah home. We happened to coincide (talk about those synchronic God arranges for us) and they had their chance. It was then and there where I saw how correct I had been in my decision to leave the hypocritical shell Juan and Faithy had put together.

As soon as they saw me, Phineas, a.k.a. John Sester told Jim to cross the street to avoid me, as if that had been possible in a narrow street of a third world country with absolutely no other people in sight. How much more ridiculous could that get. I had to laugh. I stopped and kept looking at them as they were about to pass by and walked towards the center of the road in a gesture of one who might want to communicate with them. I said something to the effect of a greeting. John started to move faster, and Jim had already slowed down in clear indication that he would talk to me. John kept walking away while Jim was now coming with his friendly smile to tell me that they had been told not to talk to me should they meet me.

He was surely risking a lot because John started calling him loudly. Jim even gave me a hug and thanked me for all the help that I had given them years past. He even said a little prayer for me. At that time, that was extremely important to me, the support and the concern he showed. The dismissive disregard of John was also important. Each had its own place.

But what was clear is that I was a backslider, even though all I did was leave the selah home. I guess that was proof enough to dear Juan and Faithy to declare me a backslider. That was a favor to me.

To this day I still pray for Jim, Shirley and their family. I don’t know where they are or whether they are in TF or not. It doesn’t matter to me. God’s children are everywhere. As far as TF is concerned I am a backslider now, all of us are.

I am sure that to his children, John Sester is a wonderful person, not so to me. I helped him through the many years of his backsliding and still was ungrateful in the end. I am glad that at least me and my little family didn’t go through many of the horrors I have heard about but I am also aware that without me and my participation much would not have happened. I am sorry that I helped people like John Sester and Juan and Faithy get to the place where they are now, good or bad. But we all played a role of something or another. I made mistakes and I learned through many of them.

I am still discovering some bad wounds thanks to my time in TF and to my exposure to people like the Bergs and their sidekicks like Juan Carlos Rosas (if he didn’t change his name yet). At the same time, I am grateful for people like Jim and Shirley. But these are my own personal experiences. I hope others have had good experiences with them too.