We know that your abuse came in many forms and it must be very difficult to deal with so many wrongs. Some were sexually abused, some were physically abused, your abuse was in neglect to give you good things you needed, like an education, socialization, safety and security, and a personal family that you could call your own...A family that wouldnít change by subtracting or adding parents, or splitting up you and your siblings.
I had a very good childhood with loving parents, who did their very best for us. That has helped me even at my age to start again. You had to start over without support, preparation, or an education. Those you loved most possibly tried to make you feel guilty and fearful of your decision to leave and broke contact with you. You have had many wrongs and few rights. We raised you in a community that preached love, God, mercy and the importance of children, but our interpretation was a perverted form of those virtues. As a mother, this breaks my heart to think of a whole generation orphaned by a corrupt set of ideals that we embraced.
We have 11 children and soon 18 grandchildren. All out of TF. Most of them live nearby and we
all help each other. All but one is married, most have children, and all are starting over as well. Weíve believe that originally the most important thing to do was to be here for our children and grandchildren and address their questions and issues with their past. Weíre doing that on a daily basis.
We are so grateful to have "seen the light" while we still have time to enjoy our children and get to experience the joy of being grandparents. We are also very grateful for all our kidís unconditional love and forgiveness. We realized we needed to finish our education and we each graduated with a degree hoping to teach. This has been difficult considering our past, and we are reconsidering. Mostly our first years out of TF we've just been in "survival" mode, finding a way to pay our bills and put food on the table. All issues I know you SGA's had to face when you left as well.
We understand the principles of reaping what you sow. We could never pay for what weíve done and what weíve allowed. We have also had to forgive, and thatís easier to do when you want to be forgiven. FGA's have a lot of hurts as well. You canít be in TF without being abused, and weíve also had to yield ourselves in ways that was against everything we felt was right. There was fear, manipulation and control, and a willingness to do anything to survive in a world that has no standard or stability and that much of the time made no sense according to what we believed before. It screwed up our minds and hearts and dulled senses. Iím sorry, but I hope youíll bear with me. We get very angry too, but have no one to blame but ourselves.
It seems most of our generation stay for fear of leaving. They fear they will "fail the Lord," they canít face having so many years go down the drain, but most of all, the communal living provides security. They fear they canít make it on their own at their age. This is also what keeps FGA's from coming clean with their children and being there for themÖ.they feel they have to take that stand against their kids to be in good standing with the cult.
I donít know if there are many of us who donít have serious things we regret, so if leaving and starting over is so difficult, itís all the more reason not to. We know we could not have made the break and get started out here without so much support and help from our children. I believe our SGA children can testify of the change in our lives and our clear statements of regret and disgust of our lifestyle while in TF. We did have some good times with our children in different countries, but it was generally when we were by ourselves. We canít undo what weíve done. So many times we think about it and canít believe that was really us.
Please, SGAís, forgive us. If this is difficult, please believe that we are sorry and that we realize that what happens in our lives is our own responsibility and a result of our actions. There are comments on the site about ďhow can we tell if they have actually leftĒ, wondering if people who make statements might actually still have some association with the group. When we left we broke all ties and burned our bridges by what we wrote to the leaders and to friends in the group. When we first arrived where most of our children are living, every day felt like Christmas realizing we were finally out after so many years. Our first Christmas with our family was cold and I was watching all our boys playing football in the back yard. I freeze framed the moment as it was unbelievable to have that experience.
I know it is difficult to trust anyone with your heart and your life. We found a counselor who helped us feel very safe. She had remarkable insight into our situation and hearts, and is helping us and some of our children get rid of some baggage. We could recommend this person and her team, and we believe there is help out there. We want to help.
(I took a break before reading over this. My daughter had lent me, ďNot Without My SisterĒ. I opened toward the end and started reading. I think it was Celeste having a phone conversation with Davidito the week before he killed himself. He told her how difficult it was to move on and why. He mentioned Mene being tied in the basement and molested and how he couldnít do anything to help her. I closed the book and wept. My first reaction was that it couldnít be true. I always felt like David Berg was misguided and deceived by his own pride about his connection with God, but I didnít see him for the beast he was. I know this apology doesnít do the subject justice. Iím sure Iíll have more to say now that Iíve broken the ice. Itís been very difficult for me to face some of these things.)
Thank you for allowing us your time. If you want to write to us personally, please use this e-mail address.