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The Family's Culture of Death

Posted by CB on June 21, 2006 at 12:49:29

I've not been able to shake off the feelings of sadness and outrage I experienced over the most recent news of an SG suicide. The recent SGA death I'm talking about is the one where JLM got judgmental and led the board into a few rounds of Kumbyah. I didn't comment on anything about that situation largely because my only thought was, Oh God, not another one.

In the 5 years or so that I've been reading various exer boards, I've heard about the suicides of at least 10 people. They didn't all commit suicide since 2001, but many of them did.

By comparison, I have not heard about a single suicide among the cohort of young people who grew up with my children in the System, went to college together, and are now starting families of their own.

My sons' cohort is not a small group of people who barely know each other. They grew up in a tight-knit rural community of fairly large families, so there are lots of brothers, sisters and cousins for each friend and associate from high school and college. The entire county where they grew up has a population of 48,000; the villages where my children and their wives were raised have 5,500 and 4,200 residents respectively. Their high school graduation classes numbered around 190 people. Their university has a population of about 50,000 people, with graduating classes in the thousands. The friends and associates from college all came from similar rural communities surrounding the one where my kids and their wives grew up.

If you asked four SGAs to identify how many suicides they knew about among a total 190 Family members, how many would they name? I know of at least 10 from reading the exer boards. If you ask my Systemite sons and their wives to name how many suicides they know about among the 190 families who had a member in the graduating class of 1993, how many would they name? ZERO!

Rather than try to calculate what it means to say the suicide rate of SGAs is significantly different than the general population and get into arguments about the validity of my methodology, maybe this example makes the point. In 2006, four 30-something adults raised in the System cannot identify anyone among their friends and acquaintances or siblings and cousins of friends and acquaintances who have committed suicide since 1993. That's a fairkt accurate representation of suicide rates in the general population of young adults in the middle class of the midwest.

By comparison, almost any SGA you ask is able to identify a suicide among their peers and siblings. The fact that SGAs can identify more suicides among themselves is not because the Family is more closely-knit than Systemites and therefore SGAs know more about each other's lives. Even in an urban area where people don't know each other very well, suicide is not an easy secret to keep.

The fact is, if you grew up in the Family, you're more likely to commit suicide than if you grew up in the System.

Part of what prompted me to post something on this subject was an article at MO called "I Write This in an Effort to Endure" I found a comment by Nancy in response to the article particularly striking:

"...My pain, anger, frustration and rage find a sharp focus on the very cult that is the common denominator among the list of names of those who slipped away and that is the creator of the despair that is endlessly making its rounds, showing up uninvited, unexpected, leveling years of effort and work with a single visit.

It's as real as the shadow that took the first born son of every household in Egypt. We speculate about its origin. Some say it was born in Macau or a Victor Camp in Japan. Some say it was a school in Mexico. It's one part isolation, one part hard labor, one part silence restriction, one part public humiliation and torture and ten parts hopelessness.

But, whatever its genus/species, there is no lamb's blood antidote. It seeps past gates in upper class neighborhoods. It pours into locked dormitories. It overcomes time and physics. It's invisible to strong, watchful spouses. It's deceptive to medical professionals. It gets to us wherever in the world we might hide. It's a ravenous monster that feeds on our peace, our happiness, our comfort, our souls and our lives.

It was created by David Berg, and it feeds on the children of his followers. It was made strong and protected by the leadership of the cult, who deny its very existance, but to whom they secretly sacrificed their own children. It lives on after Berg's death and will be here long after our generation is gone.

1969 was the year it was born, and every year we write articles and post memorials for another victim of this immortal evil. And like I said above, tommorow is the anniversary of another of its conquests. Next month is another."

Should I dare to hope that the current silence from TF's leadership is a related to some realization of the terrible legacy they've spawned on a generation? Like somehow or another, the Rick's ghost really has hounded his mother into the silence of a guilt-stricken conscience?