Editor's note: "Still around" is the last article Ricky Rodriguez posted on MovingOn, where he discusses his difficulties in transitioning after leaving The Family and his desire to make contact with like-minded people who are also interested in the search for "some semblance of justice".
--By Ricky Rodriguez, August 14, 2004
I haven’t really visited this site much for a long time. At first, when I wrote what I felt I needed to say about what happened to Mene, I figured that I would keep writing about what happened since then, up until the point when I finally left. My main goal with that idea was to let people know that everything bad that they might have heard about Berg, Mama and Peter was true, and probably a lot more as well.
After I wrote the first article, however, I felt that what I had written was enough, and that if someone would read that and still believe that Berg and Mama and Peter were good people and God’s prophets etc, then there was no hope for them and nothing anyone could say would change their deluded minds.
I also was under the mistaken impression that having written that, I could leave it all behind, start a new life that had nothing to do with the cult, quit talking to anyone who had anything to do with the cult, and really “move on” with my life.
I know now that will never happen. I can’t run away from my past, and no matter how much longer I live, the first 25 years of my life will always haunt me. I accept that, and am dealing with it as best I can. I don’t care a whole lot about the opinions of other people, but having said that, I feel I should clear up a few issues that are unresolved.
When I first decided I wanted to leave, I was still so brainwashed with 25 years of shit that I had no idea which end was up. I just knew I needed to get away from my mom. I was at her home with Nicole. We had been together for a few years by then. I had no idea where to start, but since my mom was so scared of me going to the States and getting “stuck” or “polluted”, the prophecies suggested I go to Mexico—to the CRO home, of course. Well, I didn’t like the idea of being stuck there, so I wanted a car so I had a way to leave when I wanted to. I made up a prophecy about how dead Berg wanted me to get a car or truck and they needed to give me the money.
They did, reluctantly. What could they say? I used the “new weapons” against them. John A. (Peter’s kid) was a big help in giving me some advice. He had them wrapped around his little finger, thinking that they were reforming him, when all the while he was just fucking with them. We had some great discussions prior to the whole Y2K thing and the thousands of dollars we were spending on generators and fuel and food and water etc. and how it was such a joke because nothing would happen. Anyway, they had spent, to our best guess, about 80 or 90,000 dollars on a luxury motor home bigger than some busses, and had it shipped from the States all the way to Portugal. So I figured that they could certainly spare 8,000 dollars for a car. They sure bitched about it though! There was no “cheerful giving” here.
It was decided that I would go to the States and get the car. Nicole wanted to visit her father in the U.K. Then we would go down to Mexico. After I got to the States and met Jason and Cedar again, I saw that I would not last a week living with them. I decided to leave the Family and get a job. I didn’t even know how to open a bank account or write a check, make up a resume or how to lie about having even a high school education. It was very discouraging when after many tried and failed attempts to get a job I realized that there wasn’t even a good chance that Nicole could get into the country because she had a Venezuelan passport. I had no money after I bought the car, and felt quite unwelcome in the home I was in, having announced that I was going to leave the cult. I felt that the best chance for survival was to stay in the cult. So I went to the U.K. and lived in the Activated home there with Nicole and her parents. After several months we moved to Venezuela where Nicole’s biological mom was.
We found out later that the main reason the home agreed to let us come there was because they wanted us to take care of their kids. After awhile I wrote my mom and asked if she could send us $400 a month to help with our home and puppet show ministry etc. She agreed.
After about 6 months I decided that it really was time to leave the cult, and found out about the fishing boats from Seattle to Alaska. I figured that was my best hope, because not only did I not have any clue as to how to go about getting a normal job and living a normal life, but also the chances of Nicole getting into the country were pretty slim at that point and I figured that we might need to live abroad.
After I got off the boat, I found out that she had been able to legally get a Spanish passport from her step dad, and so she was able to get into the States. I was really happy that we could stay in the country, but since my self esteem was pretty much down the shitter after my unsuccessful job searching from before, I figured I might have to work at Burger King making minimum wage.
I knew my mom owed me more than she could ever repay for all the shit that she put me though. I figured I could extort her for at least a little money and thereby ensure that we would survive until I could find a decent job. I would never have considered this if I was on my own, but since I had my wife to take care of—actually I felt more like a parent because her mentality was still rather cult-like in it’s simplicity—I felt it was the responsible thing to do even though it was not morally “right”.
I told her that unless she gave us $750 a month, what I figured we needed for rent, then I wouldn’t tell people where they were. I was warned against demanding money from them because it would “damage my credibility” etc. I knew that was true, but at the time, I figured it was the only way we would survive. After a year, they said they wouldn’t send me any more money. I don’t know if it all added up to $36,000 or whatever the hell they said it was. I really don’t care.
Anyway, that’s basically what happened. If I could go back and do it over again, the Family as we know it would basically not exist, but at that time I was not prepared to do what I know now is necessary. Something has to be done to stop these child molesters, and it would be nice to find some people who think the same way. Every day these people are alive and free is a slap in the face to the thousands of us who have been methodically molested, tortured, raped, and the many who they have as good as murdered by driving them to suicide.
It would probably involve a great deal of sacrifice, and would best be accomplished, I think, by people who have nothing to lose, such as myself. I think of that Aesop’s fable about who will bell the cat. If someone doesn’t “bell” this cat for good, it will keep devouring people. I think someone needs to put an end to it because only then can we feel some semblance of justice, and maybe be able to start putting it behind us. I think there are others who feel this way, and I would really like to get in touch with them and exchange ideas.
Originally posted on movingon.org