Posted by on March 05, 2021 at 12:55:36
I hope you'll forgive this likely very long post, I just wanted to give an alternative view of growing up in the Family than some of the abusive horror stories I hear. I born in the Family in 78 and we left in the early 90s when my parents refused to send me to the victor program.
I'd say a majority of the people I knew were lovely and kind hearted. Some weren't and were pretty awful. From what I've seen most of the 2nd gen managed to do ok when they left, albeit after a period of going off the rails and struggling. Most seem reasonably well adjusted people especially when I consider how many sad, stupid, nasty or thuggish people there are in society at large.
Some undoubtedly were messed up, I know of a few tragic stories and don't wish to minimize the damage caused by the family or it's leadership as a whole. Perhaps I was just lucky.
I was aware of some of the more insane beliefs in the cult when I was young (from what I hear its got even worse with the weaponised prophecy and Mo the friendly ghost)but I don't recall them really having much of an effect in my daily life. The sex thing was in hindsight pretty weird but at the time it didn't seem especially so(perhaps if I was female I'd have a different view) and I can't say it effected me negatively. I remember much of the hypocrisy of the leadership and the blind fanaticism of many of the adults.
Unlike some, I just kept my head down and usually didn't question and got very good at reading people and presenting a good front. Those that couldn't or wouldn't keep their mouths shut had a much harder time of it.
I think maybe all that end-times nonsense meant I didn't really consider the future much and just took things day by day. I know I never really saw myself in the family as an adult and when my family left I was old enough to stay in and was asked if I wanted to but didn't hesitate for a moment.
My primary memories are of a group of generally well meaning if misguided people who were usually genuine in their faith and their desire to do good and love each other.
Other memories are of how much I despised going witnessing, the soul crushing tedium of devotions and reading the "word", and the frustration and anger at my regimented lifestyle. Incidentally, I always preferred Mo letters as they were at least a little colourful in a bat shit crazy kind of way compared to the mind numbingly tedious and conceited Maria letters. GNs were sheer bloody purgatory.
Looking back, I suppose time has dulled much of the stuff that made me angry and I can look back with a kind of fondness at what was a more or less happy if highly unconventional childhood. I know I am a very different person even now than I would have been if I'd grown up somewhere else but I'm not convinced this would have been necessary better or worse. I am what I am I guess.
I guess if I have a point its that while the Family was undoubtedly a very strange place to grow up in I know for a fact that the majority of those I knew weren't abusive or mean people and just did their best. The world has more than 1 way of beating you up and I don't consider my childhood was necessarily any worse than that of many others I know.
I hope this doesn't upset anyone, I know plenty people had a really tough time in there as teenagers and I don't want to minimize what they went through.
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