Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Good-bye USA

The frequent search for some illusory correlation, i.e. looking for the reasons for random events, took a fair bit of time and introspection. We had to find out why a person, perhaps ourselves, "deserved" what they got. "Nothing happens by accident to one of God's children," or so said the "prophet." The concept of randomness did not fit into the parameters of a "just world" where everything happens for a reason.

Being busy was an important feature of the life of a cultist. This provided us with the illusion of importance, which of course fueled the idea of us being the "called out elite army of the lord." (In retrospect, the absurdity is baffling.)

To keep us even more busy and stressed, we had intermittent "attack times." These were periods of weeks when we were on "high alert" for some perceived threat or imminent disaster. (I wonder if Berg was consciously aware of the effect that a high-stress atmosphere had on people; if not, he must have had an innate sense that it would serve his purpose.)

These attack times would usually be in the form of long hours on the streets, passing out pamphlets and collecting donations. In later years, this would leave those at home who cared for the children busy 24/7 caring for large numbers of children who were divided roughly by age. A room full of 12 toddlers night and day can be quite a challenge.

It was during one such period of impending doom, just before July 4, 1976, that I, at the tender age of 19, moved to the opposite side of the world in my quest to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." The farcical truth was that the "gospel" we were preaching was nothing more than the teachings of the cult - but we believed they were one and the same.

From time to time, deep down inside me there was a hint of embarrassment of the cult's beliefs and a desire to not let on to outsiders how really weird some things were. Not a strong enough hint to even consider leaving, though.


  1. As I remember it as a colony shepherd at the time, attack days were enhanced fundraising days when the leaders wanted more money. They were often presented withhigh sounding reasons like the world need to be warned, but in reality it was because Rachel of (insert any leader's names) wanted a new tennis court or something.