My experience with Children of God/The Family
Originally posted on ExCOGnet between September 17, 1998 and May 6, 1999.
September 17, 1998
This is a true story in most every detail except the names of some people have been changed to protect the innocent. Any opinions expressed are mine alone as to how I thought or felt about the situation I was in. These opinions are not necessarily those of the FACTNet organisation. They have kindly and simply provided me with a place to share my story and perhaps help, if possible, anyone who may have been through a similar situation and felt confused and alone in their experience.
First of all, let me tell you that I am 44 years old and a mother of three children. They are two boys, aged 22 and 19 and a daughter of 17. I am separated from my husband right now. I had married him 6 years after I had left the group. We are still dating.
The group I `would like to tell you about is The Children of God, now called The Family. I was an idealistic, mildly rebellious young 17 year old girl when I met the COG. I came from a good family, middle class, a brother and a sister.
It was late January in downtown Toronto, on Yonge Street. I was several months from getting my High School diploma. My best friend Marylin and I were cold, broke, and bored, wandering around on a Friday night.
We happened to meet up with an old friend of hers, a young 19 year old, long-haired boy, who very excitedly handed us a newsletter, `The New Improved Truth` and invited us to visit a coffee house, down on Queen street and see a really great "live band". Who could resist, a free coffee, lots of good-looking guys and a live band!
The first thing greeting us at the door, was a long wooden table covered with a white sheet, a small box that said "donations", and staring across at us from behind his thick glasses was a long-haired, bearded face. He was a smiling widely, this young man named Jubal. He stood up, stretched out his hand and in a thick american drole said, "Hi, y`all, where ya from?" I`m the greeter tonight!" He mentioned how he wanted us to sign in to their guest book too.
I remember Marylin and I giggling and asking what his name was. When he told us, it took several tries for us to get it right. We both figured he must be of some other nationality or something.
The place was very large, maybe 150 to 200 people in it, mostly young hippy types, but here and there was a person in their 30's or 40's.
The band started playing and we were very impressed. The songs they played were sort of folksy and some were like rock and roll and some were gypsy music. What surprised me the most was that I only recognized one or two songs. I figured they must be great songwriters, to write all their own music.
As the evening went on, a few guys smiled at us and struck up some light conversation. Then the strangest thing happened! At the bands break the best looking guy in the band marched right down and sat directly in front of me, facing me and smiled at me!
Jason was smart, whitty, and knew how to discuss everything; politics, family issues, and even religion. He was emphatic about how wrong the US was to be in Vietnam, how communism was a Satanic idea, anti-God. It seemed like he was so well read, he couldn't have been more than 19 but quoted this article, that expert, and even knew bible verses by heart!
I felt a little intimidated because I could not quote all these books and experts to express my opinions, so I finally got very frustrated. I challenged him, "Stop quoting the Bible and tell me your opinion!"
It was the first time I saw him falter. Then all of a sudden we had two other boys sitting down and joining in the discussion. By that time Marylin and I were outnumbered. You could say I was a believer in Jesus, but not an avid church goer. I believed in evolution but also believed God created the first cell.
In the end I was exhausted and we had to hurry to make the last street car or we would be left downtown at night. That was when we left, with them begging us to return as soon as we could and the biggest surprise of all. Jason held my hands and looked deep into my eyes and said, `You know, I really love you.'
All the way back to Marylin's we argued about which one of us he was most interested in. I could not sleep that night, all I could remember was how beautiful his eyes were and how when he looked into mine, I felt all warm inside. I thought I must be in love. It was definite that I would go back.
When I got home and told my parents about this place where it was all young people, Christians and they were not doing drugs, or drinking or any free love, my parents became upset. Most of the time my parents were pretty trusting and good with me about my judgements but this time, they were very worried. They told me never to go back there that these people were strange and might be perverts and that I should never go back alone.
That made me angry because these people seemed to be the friendliest and nicest people I had ever met in my whole life and they seemed to care so much about me.
September 17, 1998
I tried to discuss the whole idea of God and Jesus with some of my close friends. Some of them scoffed at me. Others talked philosophically in order to appear cool (people talked about everything in the sixties). But there was only one friend who seemed remotely willing to give the thought an honest chance. Karen was 15, very pretty and talented. She played guitar, and was good at everything she tried. She agreed to go back and visit with me again. We even bought a Bible and tried to read it, from Genesis of course. She liked the people but was not interested in joining.
It was not very easy to understand. A guy we knew even brought a copy of a book called "Chariots of the Gods" to the high school to discuss the possibility that Ezekiel's Chariot might have been a sighting of aliens.
When Karen and I did visit again, the band member Jason was nowhere to be found. There were two other fellows who spent the whole evening talking with us, Barbabus and Adriel.
They quoted the Bible for every arguement and actually scared me a lot by showing me the verses in Revelations that talked about the end of the world.
Barnabus said,"There has never before in all of earth's history been the capacity to totally destroy the earth, like now, with the atomic bomb. What more proof do you need!"
That night I had nightmares about a holocost and went into the bathroom at home and actually got down on my knees in the bathroom and cried, praying for Jesus to forgive me my sins and help me to have the strength to know what to do.
After two more visits I had a complete breakdown at lunch time at my highschool. I actually hallucinated that the whole school was the tool of Satan to teach us lies against God. This is what the group members had been emphasizing to me.
I stood up on the lunch room table in a crowded cafeteria and shouted that they were all believing and living lies and I was going to leave this evil and serve Jesus.
With a small crowd in tow, I went to my locker, dumped all my books on the floor and walked out of the school shouting, "I am going to serve the Lord Jesus."
Nobody did anything, not the teachers watching, not my friends, no one.
I marched home, almost in a daze as if I were in a movie, where my mother fluttered about frantically, talking a mile a minute about, "How would I support myself, and what if they were perverts, where could she contact me... etc. etc." Finally, with tears in her eyes she begged me to call her that night just so she would know I was alright. She told me she would tell my father nothing until I had really decided.
"Why are you doing this?" She said. I answered, "A high school diploma is worth nothing in Heaven, only what you have done for God." She implored, "Why don't you let me take you to a convent where you could serve God, if you are that sincere." My answer was simple, "This is where and when God called me and like his disciples on the beach, I must go."
At the commune they were just beginning supper. One young man of the group got up and got me a plate full of food from the big vats lined up on the set of long wooden tables, while Barnabus and two other guys read to me from the Bible.
There were mashed potatoes, mashed turnips, brocholi, squash, green beans and a tiny piece of chicken. Then they offered coffee and some bread. There always seemed to be lots of coffee, and everyone would form long lines to get the food. The thing I found unusual was that one line was guys and the other girls. The guys line went first and the girls after. When I casually asked about that, they changed the topic.
When it came time for the coffee house to close around midnight, the fellow who had first greeted me, Jubal, at the front desk, who also played lead guitar in the band, told me I had to leave or decide to stay for good.
I was wavering because I thought maybe it was a bit fast. "I could always come back tomorrow," I said. "If I am going to stay, I promised my mom I would call her." Jubal smiled, "We don't have a phone here. You'll have to go down the street to a phone booth to call."
I was worried. This was downtown Toronto on a Friday night and it was a dangerous place for a young girl. Besides, the last streetcar was about to go. If I did not catch it, I would be stuck here. "Couldn't I just spend the night and decide tomorrow?" I asked.
"NO, that's not what God is asking of you, he wants total commitment, he that forsaketh not his father and mother, yea, and all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."
"Well, couldn't one of the guys walk me to the phone booth and back then?" Jubal smiled and laughed,"There you go again, we must serve the Lord, let the dead bury their dead. Don't you see what God is doing with you?" Jubal asked. "Just as the Psalm says, yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil! He is testing your faith that He loves you enough to protect you!"
I suddenly felt that either I prove to God that I trusted Him totally with my safety, or I was a complete phony.
With that I raced down to the restaurant and called my mother to tell her that I was joining and not coming back.
When I got back, everyone was gathered around in a big circle holding hands, with their eyes closed and chanting something in a strange language. They looked ecstatic. I was a bit frightened. Truth be told, I felt like turning around and running.
Jubal smiled when I came in and hugged me. He locked the door behind me and took my hand to bring me to join the circle.
One of the very pretty ladies, Kezia, who also played violin in the band began praying for me, using my name. I was shocked because I could not figure out how she knew my name. I had never even spoken to her.
She asked the Lord to accept me into his fold and put an army of angels around me to protect me from Satan and his demons who would try to snatch me away. This frightened me.
Then she asked me to pray with her out loud to accept Jesus into my heart and to have the Holy Spirit descend upon me.
The thought of a Spirit descending on me also frightened me. I had to go to the bathroom also. Instantly there went a tremendous shiver through my whole body and I became literally, high! My heart was pounding out of my chest and I felt like everyone could hear it.
When the prayer was done, all the girls gathered around me and began group hugging me. I remember I felt like I was suffocating, as if they were hanging on to me for life.
Then they brought us upstairs to the "girls' room". This is where 8 of us girls were to sleep. Another two or three rooms were for the couples. Two couples per room.
They told me I was to sleep in the big bed between two sisters. Bethesda and Sunshine were to share the bed with me. I noticed a bathroom on my way up the stairs. I also noticed that at the bottom of the stairs was a door to the street. I imagined that after everyone went to sleep I could leave through that door.
I mentioned that I had to go to the bathroom. Bethesda shot up beside me and tossed her arm around my shoulder, telling me she was from this moment on to be my "Buddy", a sort of spiritual guide to make sure Satan did not get me while I was so fragile.
I remember flinching away from her and running into the bathroom. She raced after me, almost getting her big nose caught in the door as I slammed it. I was sweating and confused.
"What is going on?" I thought,"What if they are all lesbians!"
Then she called to me from outside the bathroom door, "I am going to share some great Bible verses with you while you wash up." She sat out there for the longest time reading me the Bible. I felt like I was in a bad movie.
As things got a little quiet, she had stopped reading, suddenly, there was a pounding on the door. I thought I would have a heart attack. A loud voice boomed through the room, a deep voice told me, "You come out of there now young lady, it is lights out, we're all going to bed."
When I opened the door, a man with fierce shining blue eyes, thick black hair and beard peered down at me.
"I am Amaziah," he said and pointed me toward the bedroom, as if I was a bad dog. "Bethesda, get her to bed," he ordered. She quickly and humbly grabbed my arm and shuffled me into the room.
"Who was that!" I asked. She smiled and said, "That's Amaziah, he is our Shepherd, you make sure you listen to him, The Lord speaks directly to him, he watches out for our souls."
It took a while to sleep but I finally could not stay awake any longer.
September 17, 1998
I was awakened the following morning by the blast of a trumpet, playing the revilee song from the army. I shook the sleep out of my eyes and looked around the room. To my right was my buddy Bethesda, smiling at me, saying, "Well God bless you sleepy head, it's time to rise and shine for the Lord." One girl was standing beside the window doing a sort of stretching exercise with her leg up on the ledge as if she were a dancer. On the floor below her was a 3 X 5 small binder notebook from which she was reading or memorizing something. Most of the others had folded up their sleeping bags and were sitting around the room reading or reciting something from the same exact type of black, 3 X 5 binder notebook.
Bethesda smiled again and said, "Today we are going to get you set up, with your revolutionary bag, note book and 3 X 5 Bible, and pen." " No revolutionary for Jesus is properly armed without their sword of the Lord." She patted her Bible with her hand. "The Bible", she giggled, "It's your spiritual sword to fight Satan's lies."
The morning went by in a flurry of activity which I can still barely remember. I must explain here how the hierarchy goes in the Children of God, or did at that time in 1972. Each of us had a buddy, one person who would be with us at all times. The two of you were part of a "tribe" which were usually named after one of the twelve tribes of Israel, in the Old Testament. Each tribe was divided into 10 people. Each tribe had a tribe leader who was to report to his higher up who would be in charge of overseeing about 50 people I think, I never knew exact numbers and this took me several months to find out anyway. We all wrote a "tribe report" every night before bed. This consisted of you telling a bit about your day each day and how you felt about it. It had to be a full page from your binder.
Over all of this was the commune or "colony" Shepherd, as they were called then. This Shepherd and his wife, the Shepherdess, were to report to the Regional Shepherd and his wife, and they in turn to the country shepherd and above that was the ministry leader. For example, one person, usually one of the top leader`s family was in charge of worldwide music ministry, or in charge of all printing and distributing of the leaders letters to be published. Another member of his family was in charge of all writing and rules about child care. etc. etc. All permission was given, after authorization of a top leader if the his under-leader could not answer.
The colony ran on a very strict schedule, just like an army training camp. In fact, they called it boot camp. We arose about 7:30 am, had an hour for prayer and memorization, (quiet time). Then there was a schedule with everyone's name printed on it as to who could take a shower or not. Each of us got to brush our teeth, shave, put on deodorant and so forth. But we were only allowed two showers a week. When the commune was very large like this one, it was once a week. This commune had 150 people in it. You can imagine the organization needed! We also had on the kitchen wall a schedule for who would help the cook, Abba, prepare the meals, each of the two daily meals was listed, and there was a clean up schedule for the dishes and mop up. You never worked without reciting Bible verses, or listening to a tape of the Bible verses being recited or a letter by our leader. They believed idleness of the mind would invite Satan, causing you to doubt God. While the group chosen prepared the meal the rest of us gathered in the central coffee house downstairs where there was a sing song with several of the band members. This was where we also had the leader pray with us for the day. By this time we were expected to have our two verses from the Bible and sometimes one small quote from the overall leader Mo memorized. Then we would have to sing the song to thank the lord for the food and line up to eat. While the clean-up did their work, the rest of us sang a few songs with the band and then the commune leader would sit us all down for a Bible reading or Mo letter reading. It was during these times that the new recruits, or Babes, as they called us were taken downstairs and given our intensive Bible training. This usually lasted 6 to 8 hours a day.
While we took our training, the rest of the commune grouped into the chosen teams which the Shepherd chose and went out into the streets to preach and win souls. By the time they got back, the team that came back early had the supper just about ready. We were finished our training and helped to set the tables. Then we had supper all together and they would clean up. After a bit of admonition from the leader, we would open the coffee house to the public. The evenings ended usually with closing the coffee house and the leader would have a big prayer session and people would give testimonies of their soul winning that day or how many pieces of literature they handed out. It would end with the shepherd reading us one the top leader's, Mo's, letters to us.
At first I asked who this Mo was, I was told he was just a nice old preacher whose kids started this youth movement. He cared for us as if we were his own kids and would write letters to encourage us. After several days I began to notice that a lot of his letters were also spiritual visions, and Bible stories expounded and explained and stories of Mo and his family's experiences in being evangelists in the U.S.A. Then one day, someone told me that Mo was actually the chosen prophet for the last days of the world, to lead God's children in to the Promised Land of Heaven. This was very hard to swallow at first, I just thought, "Yea, this person is a little fanatical, over zealous, we know Jesus is our savior." I should have listened more closely. Paid more attention to the signs. They kept me so busy all the time and I just never got the chance to ask about my family or friends or anything else. They put me on kitchen detail with Bethesda, and then it was wash-room cleanup and also full time babysitting one of the Regional Shepherd's babies, Little Josh, was the baby's name. I was never allowed out of the colony.
Finally, I asked one of the leaders if they had heard anything from my parents or friends. They told me no, they had not had any one try to contact me. I was very puzzled by that. The leader said, "Maybe they just don't care, or love you now that you live with dirty hippies." That hurt me. I asked if I could call them and was told no that I was not ready yet spiritually to face the battle with my fleshly hang-ups. They would tell me when they felt I was ready. Sure enough after about 6 weeks the leader brought me in to his office and told me he felt I was ready to go out for my first time "witnessing".
Preaching and handing out literature was considered like going out on to the front lines of battle in a war. It was both an honor and a fear. What I found out about this period years later after I left the group was that for this period of time my parents had called, come and even sent friends and people claiming to be my friends to try to see or talk to me and the commune leaders had repeatedly said they had never heard of me. That's it for Part III, more to come later.
November 11, 1998
The first big event that was used to change my thinking was about food. I had complained to someone that I found the food boring and yucky.
Suddenly one night the Regional Shepherd, Uriah woke me out of bed and brought me downstairs into a car with several of the brothers. He told me the Lord had shown him how He could use me to help his people. The Shepherd explained that murmuring was what the Children of Israel did in the wilderness against Moses when they did not have enough food. God was angry, he told me.
I sat in great anticipation and fear as to what I was about to find out about how the COG got their food.
We pulled up back behind the local shopping centre behind the grocery store. To my shock and disgust, one brother stood on top of the car as a guard, look-out while two other brothers rummaged through the huge garbage container behind the store. They brought out unopened sandwich packages, boxes of donuts, and packaged food which had been thrown out because of expiry dates on the packages.
When Uriah looked at me, I felt very confused. I was angry and baffled as to why we had been eating garbage all this time while being told, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus". "God will multiply the loaves and fishes.."
I must have had a frightful look on my face because Uriah said quite angrily, "Sister, if you feel God`s children should be eating better, maybe the Lord expects you to do something with your idea and get us all some better food!"
This is when my new ministry began as "Provisioner", which is another way of saying raiser of donations.
Starting the next day, I was dressed up in a dress, allowed to shave my legs, wear nylons, fix my hair and loaded into the van to go to the local market place to raise donations of food.
I was a cute, slim 18 year old, happy-faced girl who was telling these merchants that if they would give us a crate of tomatoes or apples, to help our Christian organisation, God would bless them. I told them we were young Christians trying to get the kids off drugs and into worshipping Jesus and leading clean lives instead.
I actually believed every word of this when I was telling them. I also truly believed these fellow brethren deserved to eat clean healthy food, so I was pretty convincing. We were greatly blessed to say the least. The local business men were very happy to help us and even told us to come back from now on each week.
Never once, did I get any credit for this however, it was simply the Lord working through me to provide for His family. It was right for me to accept this humbly and not expect praise.
However, something inside me wished for a bit of appreciation sometimes. I kept saying to myself, that Jesus asked not for any praise for what He did for people but said to them that they should praise God. I feel if nothing else I learned there a few lessons in humility.
Suddenly it seemed, now that I was playing guitar and singing with other brothers once in a while and doing provisioning, I started getting called in to the Shepherd, Amaziah`s office and yelled at more often.
He accused me of lusting after him, a married man and of being proud and rebellious because I wasn`t giving God all the credit for what I did.
I was labelled as vain and arrogant and a jezebel when I wore shorts one day on a hot day. One of the other brother`s wives was about 7 months pregnant and she was freaking out at me that I had been trying to tempt the married men and turn them away from their wives, causing them to stumble.
The girls were not allowed to wear skirts, shorts or anything that would appear sexy. However, the odd thing was, we were not allowed to wear brassiers because Mo said they were unnatural, nor were we supposed to shave our legs unless we were doing a job for the Lord in public.
Then it was simply to become all things to all men that we might winsome, as the good book said.
January 26, 1999
When thinking about who you are it is very important to look seriously at what you believe about sex and love and marriage and children. Your attitudes and feelings about these issues are a very important part of who you are as a person and how you will react to relationships, especially sexually.
I say this because it is through sex, and/or relationships that many cults break you or change you as a person. This is a very strong form of controlling you emotionally as well.
I guess this began with the time that the leader's wife blew up at me and cursed me out for wearing shorts on a hot day. I mentioned this episode in my last installment to my story but that, you see was only the beginning.
It caused me to not only feel embarrased and ashamed, but at first I was angry to be accused of something I neither felt nor thought. She accused me of deliberately causing the married brothers to stumble, or lust after me. I never even thought about the brothers, to be honest, I was simply sweltering from the heat.
When a leader tells you something, you are not allowed to doubt them, because they are the voice of God. God has put them there to help you to come closer to God and to grow spiritually. So when they accused me of this, I was stumped. I was then told to fast for a day and be alone in a bedroom all day, and pray for God to show me my sin. My very anger and refusal to admit what I was "really" doing, was my rebellion and arrogance.
So as you can imagine, I cried and prayed and begged God to make me feel the guilt and forgive me and help me to repent. By the end of a day of not eating and agonising over this, I actually began to doubt myself, and believe what they had told me.
From there it began to escalate. During the summer months the leaders would gather the whole commune together and load us in to the buses to go to the beach.
We prepared a big meal to eat there, hot dogs and salad and onion rings, koolaid, etc. When we got there we were asigned to a team of 4 to 6 people, girls and guys with whom we were to stay together.
No one was allowed to stray too far from the main group, where the leaders were. We were to spend the day praying and reading the Bible together and discussing our spiritual life together, but no "vain babbling". That was the term used in the group for talking about anything personal or anything except the doctrine of the leader or the bible.
None of us were allowed to wear bathing suits, just jeans or long dresses. Many of the guys brought their guitars and mouth organs or flutes etc.
You can imagine, there were different brothers and sisters that had developed crushes on each other, that were eager to try to be picked to go in to the same team as them for the day, etc.
Tabitha, the regional leader's wife, whose boy I babysat, told me I was asigned to the team with the band.
So, much of the day the guys taught me to sing songs and how to play several songs on the guitar with them.
Everyone was instructed to meet at the lighthouse at about 3 pm. When we did, they organised us in to a big tug-of-war in the water.
There was a contest between several teams. It was actually a lot of fun.
Then they set up a huge bonfire and we lined up to get our suppers. We used paper plates. We toasted marshmellows on the fire and sang songs together .
It was very romantic. Yet everyone was walking on eggs and you were not allowed to show any one person more attention than anyone else.
Then they herded us onto the peer, where we were huddled beside the lighthouse, while Tabitha read the newest Mo letter to us, about the destruction of America. The letter was called Flee. It told of a terrible catastrophic war on the USA by Russia, that this was what the Mo letters predicted as the fall of Babylon the Whore. The United States was labelled as Babylon the whore from the book of Revelations.
We sat mesmerized, terrified as we believed we were listening to an actual prophesy, just like the predictions in the Bible. Mo told us to write our families and loved ones and do all we could to get our passports and money and flee to higher ground, to escape the destruction.
It felt so ominous. I remember when we started the long prayer session afterward, people were speaking in tongues and seeing visions. My hair was standing on end.
I was very confused. When was I to know, when it was God speaking through me? I had had visions and they were said to be false.
Near the end of the summer something very decisive happened. I had been put in charge of writing articles and taking photos for the newsletter that went around the world, to all the communes.
The big honour and thrill of this was that Mo and Maria, (his new wife, secretary) read these entries and approved or disapproved them for distribution. It was like our information link to each other all over the world. It was called the New Nation News. It was my chance to actually communicate with the Prophet of God, Mo.
I was also babysitting Tabitha's boy, so had access to go in to the food storage room and the fridge to feed Josh.
One day I was alone in the commune, I thought, and went in to the storage area to plan Josh's menu from there.
Once inside, the door suddenly flew open and there stood one of the young good-looking brothers who had just come up from Texas.
His name was Nathaniel. He rushed forward and threw his arms around me, squeezing me tight. I was in shock. He started telling me he had prayed and God had shown him that I was to be his wife and he knew I loved him too.
I started pushing him and saying, he must have been mistaken. I did like him a bit but we were not allowed to do anything like this, not without leadership's permission.
Suddenly at that moment, Amaziah burst in and stood there with arms folded, glaring at us, as if he had caught us red-handed committing a terrible sin.
He roared out, What did we think we were doing! He quoted scriptures about lust and sin and Sodom and Gomorrah...
I tried to explain but he pointed his finger and ordered me upstairs to the girls room. As I cried and ran away, I heard him yelling and threatening the brother.
Again I was made to fast and pray and was punished by peeling potatoes and the biggest insult of all, was no longer allowed to mind Josh. I was not responsible enough.
This broke my heart because I really loved this little boy. The brother was banished out of the COG altogether. I was blamed for the falling of one of God's sheep.
The next event happened near Thanksgiving when for no reason at all, I was called in to Amaziah's office and given a lecture about not lusting after him. This really made me feel angry because I couldn't stand Amaziah. I was terrified of him.
He had become the figure that replaced my father in my life. The thought of lusting after him, God's servant and Keziah's husband, horrified and disgusted me.
I began to feel hopeless and very unhappy with myself. It was as if I was an evil woman, a Jezebel. I felt even worse because I wanted a husband or boyfriend so bad. It was everything I could do just to have a shower, I was so ashamed of myself for making guys lust after me.
My parents came to visit me at the coffee house we were at now in Chinatown, in Montreal. They brought me three warm woolen dresses and some chocolate cookies as a gift. My mother was upset because I was not dressing warm enough for the fall weather.
The truth was, I absolutely loved these long woolen dresses. They looked great on me too. The next day, the leader's wife, Keziah came to me and told me that , it said in the books of Acts, that all things belong to all of us because we are God's family. She and two other leaders took my dresses for themselves and they threw the cookies away.
I had to pray for forgiveness because I was supposed to be happy to share with God's servants. The cookies symbolized Satan, using my parents to make me miss the old life, to backslide from God's great work, to make me want go back into the selfish life of the flesh.
The next movement forward for me, or should I say backward, away from reality, was that Mo wrote a letter, saying we had to go visit our families because he was being accused of brainwashing us. He wanted us to prove to them we were not brainwashed.
Tabitha woke me up one morning, saying she had been given a message from the Lord. She said, "Jubilee and Jubal don't you see how similar, how close these names are?" I said I saw the resemblance. She said, "I think Jubal loves you and the Lord could use the two of you as a team for Him, a married team, pray about it and let me know."
I was praying for God to tell me if I should go home, or go overseas, as Mo had instructed us concerning the fall of America. Should I try to save my parents and loved ones before the end, or was it hopeless?
When Tabitha threw this at me, I was even more puzzled. I kept trying to picture me and Jubal together and I had no feelings for him. I was still a virgin and wanted to stay that way for my real husband. Then I would agonize, asking God to show me if it was His will. After all, why would He show the leader and not me?
I tried to talk to Jubal about this and he just kept saying to me to pray about it. He was the lead singer in the band and the fellow who I had first met when I walked in to the coffee house. He had been behind the greeting desk that first night.
Instantly, I began having dreams about being with Jubal and being in a band in South America, where our group were making albums and doing radio and TV shows.
When I told Tabitha, she was overjoyed. I was only 18.
In the morning Tabitha's husband, the regional shepherd, Uriah, loaded myself and the band in to a van and drove us to another city to live at the house of what we called "a King".
This king was simply a young couple with a house and jobs, that were thinking of joining but not quite ready to leave their lifestyle. The couple had accepted to let the band live at their house for several months, until the band raised their money to go overseas. They provided us with rooms to sleep in, and food and even let the band use their recording equipment to record demos of their music.
I was there to be assistant to Uriah, type his reports and write new articles for the New Nations News, and to get to know Jubal before they married us and sent us off to South America.
It was nice, but felt very uncomfortable with this couple because the husband liked us, but the wife didn't. We were to keep most things secret from them, and just pretend to be innocent Christians.
Uriah was the one dealing with them.
Jubal and I were spending days together, handing out literature in the town nearby and spending our free days together. I still felt nothing for him except friendship. I was in torture, praying every night for God to give me the desire to be with him.
One day when I could stand it no longer, I spoke to Uriah about my problem. He said maybe it was because I was so young. I told him how much I wanted my parents to know I was going away and getting married. I wanted them to at least meet him!
Uriah allowed me to phone them and they actually came to visit us. They took us to a restaurant and frankly, were furious with me and especially Jubal.
It upset me so much that Uriah shipped the whole group of us back to the Toronto commune in the morning.
In Toronto again, Jubal and I were called to Amaziah's office and blasted for our rebellion against God's will. Only this time, it was Jubal getting all the flack for having caused all this confusion.
The next morning, Amaziah told me to pack everything up in a backpack and get ready, that we were being sent on a mission for God. Everything was silent in the van as we drove off. There were about 10 of us, including Keziah but Jubal was not there.
It was forbidden to question or ask why. That would be a breach of security. We drove for several hours and when we stopped, we had arrived at a farm, at the end of country road.
This was the Dunnville survival farm. I had been sent here to prepare a survival farm for the coming destruction of America. We had rifles, and we stock-piled blankets, food, supplies etc. The farm was heated with a woodstove and we used a hand-pump to get water from the well.
By now it was mid-November. There was a couple at this farm with a little baby girl. About 5 brothers and two single sisters already here. We brought others to help.
Keziah put a single brother Nehemiah and myself in charge of the commune. I was to get on the phone and get the local businesses and farmers to donate supplies.
I was to pretend we were just young Christians collecting goods to send to missionaries overseas.
I had never been in charge of anyone before, so I was very worried. I kept wondering what happened to the plan for me to be with Jubal, but I was not allowed to ask.
Things started getting pretty well organised except for the baby and his parents. They were fighting all the time and the baby was always sick. I asked advice from the Shepherd, Nehemiah as to what we could do to help. He said he had prayed and God showed him that their marriage might not be of God which was why their baby was always sick.
We were so self-righteous with this poor couple. One of the girls here at the farm, Hepsiba had a medical condition, which meant, if she did not take her medication, she could fall gravely ill. Because of this her father had tried to kidnap her and so she was sent here for safe keeping.
A strange thing started happening.
Every night after supper,Nehemiah, the leader, would gather us all in the livingroom and have Bible and Mo letter reading. Then he would follow this with a long hysterical prayer session, in which one at a time we were made to go down on our faces pleading and confessing our sins and asking God's mercy.
It was getting wild and out of hand. I was scared. It was as if he was going nuts. By now it was mid-December and it was starting to snow very heavily.
About one week before Christmas, I discovered that we were very low on food and firewood. Nehemiah was supposed to have been keeping all of this organised so this would not happen. He was clearly out of control.
When Keziah came to visit I told her what was happening. She ordered all the brothers out in to the woods to look for fallen trees to use as firewood.
That night was a terrible storm and freezing rain. The sisters sat worrying about whether or not the brothers would be alright with just an axe and a small chain saw to chop trees, in the storm.
The door flew open and a wild-eyed Nehemiah raced in, saying God had performed a miracle by felling a tree exactly as they asked Him to.
Later that night, before daylight, Keziah ordered Hepsibah and myself to pack our backpacks and set out for the Toronto commune, hitchhiking.
Luckily for us a truck driver stopped, almost right away. We could have frozen to death.
Amaziah called me in to his office and said solemnly, "The Lord has shown me that it is His will for you to obey the Mo letter, to return home, to show your parents that you are not brainwashed. You will stay there for two weeks and then I will call you to come back. Remember, this is a mission from the Lord, as a good soldier, do not fail!"
It turned out, that several nights before that, I had had a disturbing dream, in which my father was pictured as a little blind boy, whom God was reaching down to and was trying to lead. Every time God's hand brushed up against him, he batted it away in fear, not knowing it was The Lord.
We wrote tribe reports, still every night, and I presume that after Amaziah read this, he figured I must have wanted to go home to preach to my family.
And so I will end this portion here, because this began a new chapter in my life, as a revolutionary for God, A Child of God.
It was not me that went home, but the prophet of God, Jubilee. My parents were in for a big surprise.
January 28, 1999
Most people would say, "Once someone has left a controlling group, they are free. Obviously they are not brainwashed or under mind control, they could just walk away and get on with their life."
How I wish this had been true...
When I went home to visit my parents at Christmas, it is important to note that in my mind at that moment I was NOT leaving the group. I was simply obeying my leader Mo, to go home and preach the final message of salvation to them before the destruction of America.
When I arrived at my parents' home, I gave them a customary hug. This hug was not the relief hug of, "Oh, wow, it has been so long, I have not seen you and I missed you Mom and Dad." No, it was a compulsory goodwill pastor-to-the-flock hug of God Bless You, my poor sinners.
When I arrived, I did not sit down relaxed and confortable with them and try to catch up on all the news of everyone, or see what they had that was new, etc.
I am sure they were bewildered. I got upset immediately with my mother when she called me by my birth name, the one she had named me; and especially upsetting was when my dad called me his favorite nickname. My shoulders went stiff and I corrected them both that my name was Jublilee, and that's who I was now and they should never call me that other name again.
Then I asked stiffly where I was staying during my visit. My mother showed me politely to my old room which was now completely different because the COG had removed all my belongings when we did my "Forsake All." That is what they named the act of collecting everything you have, taking it back to the colony and removing it from your possession. They would either claim it themselves or sell it, etc. There was, sadly, nothing here to remind me of who I really was.
Now, many people who adhere to different faiths undertake a forsaking of this kind. The COG often compared themselves to nuns and priests when they take their vows. But the big difference is that in the other Christian communities, these goods are given to the person's family or distributed to the poor of the community, not to the Church, or the local priest or pastor and his family.
I was very afraid that now I was right in the heart of Satan's territory. This is what we had been repeatedly conditioned in the COG to believe about everything about the world outside our colonies. To the point where even my parents' love for me was considered evil, because they criticized the group, The Children of God.
During the next two weeks, I refuzed to eat white sugar or white bread, considered unhealthy and evil by Mo. The same went for chocolate or chips, which I used to love. I refuzed to watch TV because Mo told us Satan was using it to brainwash us to believe worldly Satanic lies and values.
I did my praying and memorizing of the Bible verses and Mo letter quotes every morning as I used to.
Every chance I got or every time someone visited, including several of my old friends, I would try to preach about Jesus and the Family. These would sometimes start out as simple conversations about music or sports, for example, which I would use as a platform to preach from.
As you can imagine, it was not very pleasant for my parents and my father especially was getting angry. I brought out some literature to give to my friends. Now there was a specific and important separation in the Mo letters.
There were Mo letters which were labelled GP meaning General Public, and then there were DOs, or Disciples Only.
The GP letters told of typical Christian values and quoted lots of Bible verses, fairly harmless non-offensive stuff with no particular details about our group. What we wanted the public to know.
But the DO letters talked about sex and people who were our enemies and about problems that were going on within the COG. These letters were only available to those who had been in the group a year or as long as the leaders deemed you "revolutionary enough" to handle them. Or in other words, to keep them quiet and not question them.
Back at the commune, at the end of the study time before the doors of the colony were opened or unlocked, all of those who had their DO collection of letters would acutally lock them up in suitcases and store them in a vault in the leader's office.
Later on I found there was another level called LO for Leaders' Only. But that was much later on.
The order was that if ever the commune was raided by the police or authorities, these DO and LO letters were to be burned.
Well, the point of all this was that we were never allowed to take these DO and LO letters outside of our communes. Especially to dangerous places like our parents' homes.
So these letters I tried to give to my friends were the GP letters, like the ones we would hand out on the streets.
My father blew up at me and told me never to do that again. He did not want his home to become a pulpit. So I took that as a direct attack on my religion.
Two weeks went by and my leader Amaziah never called me. So when he finally did call me the next week, I was a bit upset. He sternly asked me what I had been doing, had I been faithfull to the Lord, etc. By then I was actually committing the sin of eating chocolate cookies and chips and oh my God, a glass of coke.
He asked me if I felt my work was done spreading the final warning to my friends and family and was I ready to come back. I was starting to feel the pure pleasure of occasionally watching the hockey games on TV with my dad, which was considered worshipping war to Mo. Finally, I told Amaziah that I felt I had more preaching to do.
Amaziah reminded me of the Bible verse, Rebellion is as the Sin of Witchcraft, and what happened to Lot's wife who looked back on Sodom and Gomorrah, she was turned in to a piller of salt. He then told me, quoting Mo, God hates backsliders. By then I felt so guilty, I just told him I was staying home.
And that is what I did. Now I had a dilemma, what was I going to do to fulfil my new religious conviction and not be in the Chosen Family? I still also believed the end of America was coming as Mo predicted. I still believed Mo was God's prophet to tell us God's words.
So I went back to my highschool and asked my principal if I could go into several classes and tell them of my newfound lifestyle.
He agreed to let me talk to the sociology class, the religion class, and history class.
Nobody was really impressed. Then in a few weeks I enrolled in night courses at the school to take bookkeeping courses and typing.
Within a couple of months I got a job working at the bank where my father, mother, brother, and his wife worked.
It was large bank in downtown Toronto, so we never saw each other. I tried to preach to everyone at work, friends, bosses, acquaintances, etc. I even had two friends who prayed with me and started reading the Bible and Mo letters with me at their houses. So I felt I had at least two people to save before I went back.
Then I started reading my Mo letters less, and the Bible, and started going out occasionally with my new friends from work and going dancing, etc.
It was at a night club one evening that I met the fellow who would be my boyfriend for the next year. We were falling madly in love. I though, was still a virgin and he respected my desire to stay that way until I got married.
I absolutely would not attend a church. Mo had told us how evil an hypocritical church Christians were. It was like saying a swear word to call them "Church Christians."
My new boyfriend, we'll call Steve, had grown up out west in a Mennonite Community and left as soon as he got a little older. He completely refused to talk about God or let me talk about God either.
What a switch!! And yet, he was kind and gentle and clean and polite, a real sweet and loving person. My parents thought he was wonderful and practically adopted him.
I tried to reach the commune by phone to see if I could pray with someone about my new boyfriend but the commune was no longer there.
So a year went by with absolutely no contact with The COG. I tried to talk to Steve about my experiences and he simply told me the group was stupid and not Godly.
Then one day, we were walking happily down the street, very deeply in love, in fact we had just bought two matching jackets together, and suddenly I heard a sound that stopped me dead in my tracks, "Jubilee!!! Sister, God Bless You, how are you, where have you been? We really miss you."
I remember Steve's face going dark and distorted. I spun around to look in to the face of one of my long lost brothers. He ran up and gave me a big hug. Within seconds, I was not myself anymore, I was Jubilee. In a short time the brother had given me the newest Mo letter and wrote the address of the commune and the phone number on it and told me how much things had gotten better in the family.
Steve and I fought all the way home to my parents house. He kept insisting that these people were not really my friends and they would hurt me again like I had been hurt before. Everything he said just bounced off me as if I could not hear him.
Suddenly, I was accusing him of not loving God or me and of wanting to cheat on me with one of my friends. He stood sadly staring at me in disbelief at the door of my parents' home. "Please," he pleaded, "don't go back to them."
I loved him so much, I was seriously thinking of marrying him, but I was stuck in the web of the COG. So I broke up with him then and there, telling him I had to pray about it but I had decided to serve God. I told him that the USA was going to be destroyed and I had to be with God's family.
I lay on the couch for the next 3 days weeping and agonizing in prayer, asking the Lord to give me the strength to break up with Steve and go back.
My mother and father were so sad and confused. I had handed in my resignation at work and was preparing myself to leave. I even visited the commune a couple of times to go out witnessing with the brethren. They now called this Litnessing instead because 90 % of your time was spent handing out, selling the Mo letters on the streets instead of preaching. The explanation Mo gave was that God's word through Mo would convert their souls, it was not up to us to do it on the spot. It also reached more people that way, he said.
Unexpectedly during this time, I went out with my good friend from work and her sister to a night club, to sort of say goodbye, to celebrate my sendoff.
During this last night, I met a fellow, we'll call him Leonard, that would affect another great change in my plans.
February 18, 1999
Well, I was at the night club with my friends from work and trying amongst all that noise and the party atmosphere to explain to my friend Carmen why I was quitting work and going to re-join the Children of God to serve Jesus, and why I still believed it was the end of the world.
That's when a young good-looking guy starting bumping my chair from behind. At first I got very annoyed with him and told him off. He kept smiling and laughing at me and insisting I talk to him. In a normal circumstance, I would have probably been flattered but I wasn't. In fact I wondered if it was Satan trying to prevent me from witnessing to this girl who was my friend.
After all, it might be my last chance to save her before the end of America. Now it is important to note here, that this was about 1 1/2 years after I had gone home for Christmas.
My friend Carmen picked up a guy and so did her cousin. They were dancing and laughing and so forth and even invited them to sit at our table! I was really annoyed now.
The guy behind me waited until they all were up dancing and I sat alone at the table and came to sit at my table with me. I told him I wasn't interested in talking to him and he kept laughing and telling me he liked me and insisting on a dance. Then he knocked my purse by accident on the floor.
There were lipsticks rolling around and, there we were on our knees, under the table, with me trying frantically to scoop up all my belongings as quickly as I could. Now I was really mad, thinking he was trying to rob me.
Well, he wore me down and finally got me laughing too with his wit and charm. Since my two friends kept telling me I was crazy not to dance with him, he was so cute, I accepted to dance with him.
We had a lot of fun, he was a great dancer and actually managed to get my phone number out of me. I told him I would never go out with him, not to bother calling. He said arrogantly that he knew I would agree to go out with him because he liked me enough to keep trying.
After several phone calls and arguments on the phone, I agreed to a date. He picked me up at my parents' and took me to a club where they were playing all Beatles music. We had a great time and he truly was sweet but I tried to preach to him. I explained to him that I was about to dedicate my life to Jesus and he should just forget about seeing me much longer. He said he completely understood and he loved Jesus too.
As we continued dating he introduced me to his two buddies with which he shared an apartment. One of them was very critical and skeptical about me. The other was very Catholic and wanted to even visit the commune with me one time.
So we will call my new boyfriend Leonard. I went to the colony and spoke to Keziah about Leonard and his friends and she hesitantly told me I could bring them for a visit.
During this time she told me about a special colony which had several families with children, babies, living there. She asked me if I had anything I wished to give from my "forsake all" that could help these struggling families. "Matthew 99" was at this colony and took me in their truck to visit this colony.
When I visited a very slim girl with big eyes and long black hair greeted me at the door. Her name was Rainbow and she was carrying a baby about 6 months old. She was only about my age. Toddling along behind her was two other children about a year and 2 years old. They were all crying.
Bouncing the smallest on one hip and struggling to pick the second one up, she smiled politely and said, "God bless you." The third child with the runny nose was winning and hanging on to her leg. She invited me in, introduced herself, and asked me to sit down in the living room.
"Are these all yours?" I asked. She laughed and told me only the smallest was, but the mothers were out witnessing and she was minding them.
She asked me about myself and about my stay in the family and so forth, what my Bible name was, who my shepherds were, and so forth.
When she was comfortable with what I was saying, that I was not an "enemy," she began to take me on a tour of the house. They needed diapers, pacifiers, milk, high chairs, carriages, bedding for cribs, etc. They needed everything, basically. I was amazed at how she managed to juggle all three kids, keep talking, and continue smiling all the time and preaching.
I offered to take one of them but she insisted not.
Later on, the commune shepherd and his wife showed up and offered to drive me to the grocery store.
I ended up emptying my savings account, which I had built up over my year of working, $900.00. At the store I bought diapers, sleeping bags, baby food, milk, eggs, a highchair, carriage, etc. I spent over $400 in two stores. Then the leader told me the truck needed repairs and I gave him the rest of the money.
I felt so sorry for those mothers without even snowsuits or proper food for their kids. So they told me God would bless me for helping his missionaries and prophets.
Back at the commune where Amaziah and Keziah were, I was called in to Amaziah's office to talk.
He told me they had been praying about Leonard and believed it was God's will to bring him in to the fold. He seemed like a sheep. Amaziah said God would not want me back in until my mission was fulfilled.
When I went home I was very confused and began praying frantically as to what to do. I liked Leonard a great deal but had never thought of marriage! So I asked the Lord to give me a clear sign if it was His will. Now that meant some sort of magical happening.
The first thing I took as a sign was that I told Leonard that I was definitely leaving him to re-join the COG and he got very upset and said he did not know if he could stand it without me.
Then one day I asked my mother out of the blue what she would think if I said I was going to marry Leonard. She said he seemed like a very nice boy and why, was I in love with him.
That was the second sign I thought God had given me.
The third came when we were talking on the phone and I was telling Leonard about a dream I had and he said he had had almost the identical dream. I took that to mean we were in tune spiritually with each other. Then finally, he actually asked me to marry him.
I got so excited and spaced out I ran out the door and actually began hitchhiking to his place alone.
I felt as if since I was doing God's will, nothing would touch me. A car stopped with two young guys in it. I got in the back and they started driving, asking me where I was going. It is incredible how much danger I was placing myself in. Suddenly I realized we were driving over an overpass straight in to the headlights of on-coming traffic!!! I screamed and so did they. They managed to pull over to the very side and stop. They were so close to the edge that one car passed and actually scraped the side of their car. I think they were drunk or high on drugs to have driven on to the pass in that direction.
So I simply jumped out of the car and ran off the bridge. They sat there yelling at me to come back.
Needless to say Leonard never found out about this. He would have been very angry at me for hitchhiking.
Things moved like a whirlwind after this. He started working double shifts at work to put money in the bank for us to get married. I got another job during this time and started saving.
We were visiting the commune every weekend and even reading Mo letters together and the Bible and going out witnessing with the group. Leonard was in training at his job, how to do printing, and he also was able to play the guitar and sang beautifully. Yet his two friends were not too happy with the change they saw in Leonard and were polite but suspicious of me.
It seemed to bother them that I was still a virgin. One of his friends was making fun of me and telling Leonard that he did not believe me, that at 19 very few girls were still virgins.
I went to a doctor and found out that I was too small and had to have an operation to have my passage opened up and my hymen broken in order to be able to make love. I went through the operation and Leonard was very sweet and brought me long-stem roses in the hospital and everything.
I still was not head over heels in love with him. But I was willing to go through all of this to fulfill my mission to God, to the family.
My parents had no clue what Leonard and I were doing. They did not know that I had agreed to marry him on only 1 condition, that he join with me. He agreed to that.
Little did I know it then, but I was obeying the whole set of new Mo letters called, "Flirty-fishing."
You see, I was allowed to read some of the new material from Mo, but not the DO ones yet.
My parents had a church wedding, my whole family was there, and his. We had a party at my mother's and moved in to the apartment that Leonard had with his friends. They had moved out.
During the next 7 months, we had one or two couples from the COG living with us at all times. They would let us buy the food, give them money for transportation, they would read the Mo letters and bible with us every night. On the weekends they would take us out witnessing with them. Handing out literature, the Mo letters. All money we would get in donations would, of course, go to the couple.
Then it happened. I was starting to really love Leonard, very much. Amaziah sent my first teacher Matthew 99 to live with us. Just him alone.
He spent extra time with me and kept everything so clean and he was so nice. One day when Leonard was at work on a late shift, Matthew 99 told me the time had come, God would not tolerate my delaying any more, I should do as Jesus told his disciples, "Follow me."
I tried to argue that Leonard was not ready yet. Matthew 99 told me that I had done what God told me to do about him and it was up to Leonard to choose now to serve God or not.
I was quite upset but he came with me to empty my bank accounts and stop by my work to give in my resignation and I even had the nerve before I left to hand everyone a Mo letter before I walked out.
My boss told me that I should wait before collecting my last pay, in case I changed my mind. He was truly upset.
When I got home, I left Leonard a note saying where I was going and told him to follow me.
He was going crazy, I am sure. Many years later my mother told me he phoned them upset, crying, asking them what he should do.
It took about two or three weeks for him to hand in his resignation at work, break his lease and sell some of his stuff, but he did come to join me.
I will go to the next stage of this in my next installment. The story takes a deeper and stranger twist after this. My parents were very upset too.
March 10, 1999
As I mentioned in the last part of my story, I was falling very much in love with my new husband. Leonard was my dream man. He looked, smelled, acted and was what I had fantasized about for a long time. I started to adore everything he was and did. It was a foolish type of young love. My first lover, my first everything actually, as far as men went. I longed to be with him every minute of every day. It got to the point that the only time when I felt safe and happy was with him.
The leader, Moses David was now introducing to us the concept of Flirty Fishing. At first he introduced it as brotherly love. He emphasized how Jesus gave us the commandment to love one another as we would want to be loved, that if you could not love a brother who you have seen, how can you say you love God who you have not seen? That Jesus said the way you treat others is the way you are treating Jesus himself.
Quoting scripture, Mo would lead into descriptions of how he and his new wife Maria, his young secretary who he had taken as his wife, instead of his real wife Eve, would go social dancing and use it as an opportunity to preach Jesus to some of her dance partners.
He noticed how much she flirted with them and how they were drawn to her sexiness like a flame.He believed it was God showing him how we could reach people who might not be reachable any other way.
It was all very subtle at first, almost innocent. He would emphasize how it was just flirting, nothing more, in order to get their attention to lead them to Jesus.
Most of us accepted the idea, believing that was all it would be.
That is until we had to see our own spouses flirting with or dancing with someone else to preach to them. All of a sudden it was unbearable. I tried desperately to comply, allowing, even pushing Leonard, to go dance with other girls, in trying to obey God`s prophet Mo.
Then I would freak out with jealousy because I saw him actually enjoying this. I did not do it myself because I was not interested in flirting with any other man but Leonard. I was horrified at the idea of being with anyone else.
Mo continued writing this type of letter, getting more and more explicit with each letter describing in nitty gritty detail how Maria would seduce her "fish."
You can imagine, I am sure, what a house full of single young men and women felt like, reading with intense reverence what we were trying to believe was God's instructions on sexual seduction. Some of us were embarrassed, some of the guys were very excited by this, and I might add some of the girls.Yet we were not allowed to touch each other.
One letter described the seduction of someone to try to get them to join the family worked, even if you had to hide from them that you already were married. The next Mo letter was a severe nasty rebuke against a brother or sister for refusing to "share" their mate with an unsaved soul. Or he would be condemning a sister for not wanting to share with "a sheep" physically. He equated it with not loving Jesus, not being full of the love of God.
He wrote letters called The Girl Who Wouldn't, or Penis or Sword, which described a time when the girls in the group would have to either accept to make love to strangers, or be killed with a sword by the evil armies of the anti-christ, Satan's followers in the end of time.
Suddenly I began to feel very afraid. Afraid of losing Leonard and of being forced to sleep with strangers. Forced to have children with many strangers and having to be totally rejected by my parents when they knew what I was doing. Fears of having sick or handicapped children ran through my head. How could I care for a whole group of children whose fathers I barely knew.
I felt very isolated and alone even within the group. I could not talk to anyone about what I was thinking and feeling because it was doubting Mo, God's prophet, therefore rebelling against God himself. The older sisters and leaders were encouraging us to obey.
Every time I got to go to the toilet or have a shower or bath I begged, cried, and prayed desperately for God to help me to be able to accept and obey the Mo letters in order to not displease him.
The more this went on, the more Leonard was becoming distant and negative, because I was getting jealous all the time, insecure.
Then I found out I was pregnant. The COG do not believe in birth control. It is preventing God's will to prevent a pregnancy, according to Mo. Abortion too is out of the question, it is considered murder by the COG.
I was thrilled that the Lord would give me a baby. In some ways I felt this might solidify our relationship and the COG would allow us to be together more.
By this time also, Leonard had been undergoing intensive indoctrination, "babes training," as they called it.
The day that I found out from the doctor that I was pregnant -- the leader's wife had accompanied me to the appointment -- Leonard had spent the day at the commune drinking wine with a leader and printing up lots of Mo letters to distribute.
Leonard, you see, had been working on printing machines when we got married, so they treated him as a very special person.
When I arrived, I went in to our bedroom with him alone to tell him. Leonard simply looked up at me and said, "So, what do you want me to do." I got upset and said that I thought he should be happy and that he could help me do my breathing exercises, etc. He just shrugged his shoulders and looked unmoved.
This added to my anxiety. The leaders spoke to us that night about our problems with arguing and my jealousy, and mentioned that there was a new Mo letter they wanted us to read together. They said that we were causing trauma and bad feelings among the others in the home, causing the weak to stumble and doubt the Mo letters and slowing down God's work with our problems. They said we would have to rectify the situation or they might have to split us up.
This of course was one of the sacrifices all couples were constantly facing. That as Mo said, everyone belongs to God, including your wife, or husband and or children. If He allows you to be with them, be thankful and make the relationship fruitful for his Kingdom or He will take it away. Our relationships were only allowed as long as they benefited the COG group.
That night I walked right out of the commune, down the white line of the highway, trying to decide whether to throw myself under the traffic heading away from the commune, so nobody would blame them for my death, because I was bringing all this on myself because of my refusal to accept the truth in the Mo letters. Or was I to throw myself in front of the traffic going toward the commune, so they would know I was wanting to go back to God because of my sin. If I did either, the group would be blamed I thought, and I could not be a traitor to God`s prophet like Judas had been to Jesus. I loved Jesus and would not betray Him.
Then a truck driver yelled out of his window, that I was crazy to walk on the white line, it was dangerous for me, especially for the baby I was carrying.
I guess he did not see me crying. I guess he was telling me the truth. I guess he just saved my life. I decided then and there that my baby would not be being given a choice whether to live or not and that was not my right. So I walked back in to the commune and back in to my bedroom and nobody ever knew, except me and the Lord.
The Mo letter we were to read, had a large horrible picture of a monstrous demon on the front named Jealousy. He was stating that people who were afflicted with jealousy were yielding to a demon.
It was not long that Leonard and I were arguing again and I was very tired because they had put me in charge of laundry, the kitchen, and the office.
Now the laundry was tiring because the machines were on the bottom floor, and then I had to run up two flights of stairs to hang everything on the clothes line outside.
The kitchen was also downstairs and the dining room was on the first floor. This was a commune with about 35 people for which I had to plan meals, do the groceries, organize and oversee all of the cooking and serving, as well as keep up with all the office work, and do the laundry. Now this was on top of getting in a good amount of handing out literature on the street and witnessing. I had a quota of donations to raise each week just like everyone else. Not meeting your quota meant you were not obeying Jesus command to preach the gospel to all creatures.
Needless to say I was strained. Luckily, I hardly had any morning sickness. But it was very hard for me to see my body becoming this big swelled mass and watch Leonard laughing and flirting with other young pretty sisters.
So the day finally came. I was about 5 months pregnant and the leaders called me to their office after everyone went out to witness, or preach. They explained to me that they were going to try to cast out the demon of jealousy which I was harboring.
They laid me down on the floor in the dining room after they moved the table. They closed the drapes and lit candles and Amaziah stood over me, loudly reading the Bible, while a group of 5 or 6 leaders all held on to me praying loudly for the demon to depart from me.
It was terrifying and I started crying uncontrollably. Amaziah kept telling me that I was refusing to let the demon go. He told me I was endangering my baby.
It was very traumatic. I was very afraid. I thought maybe this demon would leap out and destroy me at any moment. But nothing happened.
I cannot remember if Leonard was there or not. At this point some of these details have escaped my memory.
Several weeks later I was called in to the office at the front of the house. There was now a new young leader, Salomon. He was a single brother about 23. The other leader and his wife, who also had a new young baby now, were preparing to go to another colony. Salomon was French speaking and I thought very nice. But he had never been married.
He started asking me how I was doing. I explained to him that I did not wish to cause problems but that my jeans were now too tight with my belly sticking out, and that I was wearing a belt across my belly to hold my pants up, which was uncomfortable. I asked his permission to phone some stores and see if I could get a pair of maternity pants donated to me.
He agreed. Then he asked me how I felt about the Mo letters about sharing and flirty fishing. Now, he told me, Mo was starting to demand that we too obey and not only share with "fish," but also start sharing with the brothers right in our communes.
I was very contained in my reaction. I was trying to be careful because I was afraid to be separated from Leonard. So I said I had been having some anxiety about all of this sexual stuff but I was trying to overcome my system hangups.
He started telling me that the leaders had all been praying together and the Lord had shown them that Leonard and I should have a separation for a while, in order for me to grow spiritually, and accept the Lord's new revelations in the Mo letters.
I started crying and protesting and saying, God said that you should not break asunder what He had joined together, that I felt they were wrong and now that there was a child it was even more wrong!! I was sobbing.
Suddenly, smash, smash, the glass on the office windows began shattering and splintering all over the room. I started screaming and ran on to the bed in the opposite corner of the room. I curled up in to a ball with my arms covering my baby and faced the wall.
I was literally terrified. It felt like it really was the end of the world.
A guy jumped right in through our window and ran menacingly toward Salomon like he was going to attack him. "Where is your leader," he demanded. Salomon said he did not know, there were no leaders here.
Then the guy started swinging at him. He dodged and then the guy started kicking out the glass door on the office. That is when I noticed that there was a gang of about 9 more men smashing down the front door, and kicking our little puppy out on the front porch.
They stormed in to the house and grabbed a couple of guys to beat them up, demanding to see the leader. Girls were screaming and running everywhere.
Two guys grabbed the leader, whose wife had just had the baby, and dragged him on to the front lawn. They were punching him and then one guy ripped out the telephone from the wall. Another two ran downstairs where the printing presses were.
I was crying and praying, "Jesus help us, protect Leonard". Then I noticed one of the girls sneaking out down the driveway.
With tremendous screeching four of the men had grabbed the children of one of the new sisters and were taking them kicking and screaming out of the house.
Their mother ran toward one of them, yelling in French that they had no right to touch her children, and who were they. One of the big men grabbed her by the wrist and held up her arms, checking her for needle tracks. He said her husband had hired them to get his kids back.
She indignantly showed them she was not drugged and threatened them that he would go to jail for this.
They stormed away in two vans.
Well there were piles of broken glass everywhere, and crying women and children and one of the brothers had his arm broken. They had also smashed up all the printing presses.
I felt like my ears were ringing. Each time someone looked in the door, to see how we were, I was hoping it was Leonard, and I would know he was alright. But it was never Leonard.
The police arrived and took stock of all the damage and interviewed everyone. The sister Deborah had run down the driveway, gone to a neighbor's and called the police.
I was numb with exhaustion. I don't think I could speak let alone cry any more. Everyone was comforting everyone, especially the poor sister whose children had been kidnapped. Her children were 4, 6, 7, and 12. Her oldest remained with her.
Salomon ordered all of us to start cleaning up. By the time daylight came, we were all ready to go to bed.
Then I saw Leonard, coming up the driveway with the van. I wanted to run to him and have him hold me and tell me everything would be okay.
Instead he walked straight by me, giving me a stern look as if I was a bad child and walked directly to our bedroom.
I followed him and went in to the room.
"Are you alright?" I asked him. "Yea, yea, I took the brother Paul to the hospital to get his broken arm fixed." I told him what the leaders wanted to do [regarding sex among members]. He simply said in a cold voice, "Well, if it is the best thing for the Lord's family, then we should do it, I think they are right."
I was devastated. I started crying and pleading with him reminding him that we were married and he was a father now and how could he agree to this.
I lurched forward and grabbed on to him begging him not to do this to me. He roughly pushed me away and said, "God, you make me sick, stop acting like this, it is so unrevolutionary."
I knew there was nothing I could do but accept what I was told was God's will. I got angry and took off my wedding ring and threw it on the bed and told him I was giving it back, I would not need it now.
He slept in the living room with the other brothers and I cried myself to sleep.
About 3 or 4 hours later, the leaders woke me up and told me to pack my suitcase, that I was being sent to the colony in London, Ontario.
Salomon wrote me a letter of acceptance and gave me an already bought bus ticket and had a sister accompany me to the bus station to see me off.
I never even said goodbye to Leonard.
But riding on the bus, I went through a type of re-birth. I prayed and promised God that I would give up anything and everything He asked me if He would just allow me to continue to serve Him. I knew that no matter what I had done wrong, God still loved me.
March 19, 1999
As I told you in the last segment, I was put on a bus to go from Montreal, Quebec to London, Ontario to the "Other Sheep" colony. Now at this time in the Children of God, there was a fairly big shake-up of the whole group, from Mo and his immediate family right on down. With his new letters coming out more frequently about "FFing" ["Flirty Fishing"] and "Sharing" and letters about the politics around the world, some people were having trouble with this "New Wine," as Mo called it. He had made predictions about America being destroyed and it wasn't. He had predicted a huge war between the US and Russia and it would be over the oilfields of the middle east. He had predicted that Mohammar Ghadafi was the anti-Christ or his prophet who would bring about the end of the world. He predicted that the comet Kahoutec would signal all these things. It disappeared. So he was always writing letters to explain them away and saying it was not the Lord that made a mistake, it was simply he who misunderstood the messages. These things were not happening.
His youngest son was also found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Europe.
A mysterious death seeing that he had been mentioning that his youngest son Aaron, who was in charge of some of the music ministry, was always spacing out and rambling away and it was sometimes embarrassing. Well suddenly, not too long after that, he was found dead. Of course, Mo wrote a letter and people wrote songs saying he simply walked with God, he was too spiritual for this world. Mo got a revelation that Aaron was acting as a guardian angel, standing in "the gap" for us, as the song went. Mo always had great spiritual ways of explaining things away.
He told us that just as Jesus' doctrines were brand new when he was on earth (the only written scriptures were the Jewish old testament), so Mo's doctrines were the new word of God for today. He compared the difficulty with which people accepted his doctrines to the problems the people had accepting Jesus doctrines when He was alive.
Now this is a very hard argument to dispute. Mo compared Jesus' speech about eating his flesh and drinking his blood, which upset and confused His disciples, to how we in the COG were reacting to his letters about sharing and FFing.
From Moses David's [Mo's] first wife Eve, the mother of his children, to his oldest daughter Deborah and some of the top leaders, there was resistance and confusion about these new doctrines Mo was demanding that we obey. At this time there was a certain pulling away in which some of the disciples who would not practice the sharing and flirty fishing were separated in to what he called "Other Sheep" colonies. He derived this from the passage where Jesus said, "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them also will ye gather."
There were even letters condemning those who had left and would not obey Mo. They sent around warnings not to let so and so in your communes as they were "yielding to the devil."
So terribly hurt and insulted at being treated as a less than revolutionary disciple, sort of a weaker and not so dedicated follower, more rebellious according to Mo, I was now with my authorization letter in hand being in essence shunned.
Here I was, 5 months pregnant, broken hearted at having been forcibly separated from my husband and going with my only possessions, my small suitcase and my briefcase with my Mo letters, to a new colony.
When I arrived at the bus station hungry and tired, nobody was there to greet me. So I found a phone booth and called. The commune leader answered and very suspiciously asked me a dozen or so questions, especially if I had my letter with me.
He told me to stay where I was; a brother would come to meet me. I described what I looked like.
Before too long, up walked a tall very fair haired, light complexioned slim young man with beautiful light blue eyes. He introduced himself as Aaron (not Mo's son, of course.)
We talked briefly and he brought me back to the colony.
I noticed immediately a difference in the way I was not greeted when I walked in. Usually (in other colonies) someone would come up and give you a hug and God Bless you and bring you in to the leader's room to be introduced.
I basically was sat down in the living room and had to wait a bit before the leader, named Jessee, came out and said hello. He told me I would be sleeping in the spare living room on the couch for the time being as they did not have much room.
This commune was administered by Jessee and his wife Rachel. She was short with bright blue eyes. They had two little boys, about 4 and 5, a little girl of about 2, and Rachel was about to give birth to her fourth baby any day. Rachel was a very difficult person to get along with. I think she was basically exhausted.
There was another girl named Rachel, a tall girl with long red hair, who later changed her name to Rain. There were about 4 brothers here who were having some personality problems. Some of them were named Timothy, Ephraim, another blond fellow, who looked like Robert Redford. It seems now as I look back, they were most likely like me, getting frustrated and fed up and labeled as rebellious. There was one brother named Adam with his wife and their two little boys.
They had been in the group a long time and she was leaving and he wasn't. They tried to blame her because her little boys both had long hair and were fat and misbehaved a lot. But I wonder if he simply wanted out of the marriage. He was a very good-looking slim man and was thoroughly enjoying all the FFing and wanted to get in to the sharing with other women, which she did not like.
There were different people coming and going regularly at this commune. I guess the best thing that could have happened to me here was I had my first child, Levi.
We would go and hand out literature just like before, have parties inviting the local young people and university people or those we had met witnessing. But there was no talk of sharing or FFing. Quite honestly, I was relieved.
I found the hardest part that I could not get along with the leader's wife. She was always mad at me. Her husband on the other hand was very positive and outgoing.
When it came near time to have my baby they fixed up a tiny private bedroom for me at the top of the stairs beside the bathroom where I could be all alone with my baby. They even let me put up some pretty curtains and nice wall paper. I was so excited with anticipation.
Rachel had been helping me with my lamaze classes, to learn breathing techniques. Rain was also very helpful and nice with me.
Finally one day my water broke. I went through several hours of steady labor with a contraction every 4 or 5 minutes. My water had broken right away.
Jessee and another brother called a taxi and began driving to the hospital. Jessee had been in the hospital 1 month before for the birth of his own baby so he knew the way. He was going to come in to the delivery room with me. I was very sad that it could not have been Leonard, my husband.
I was feeling very abandoned by Leonard. I was thinking at least he could have written to me or asked about me to the leaders, how the pregnancy was going. It was all silent where he was concerned and I was not allowed to even ask.
At the hospital I was feeling very guilty at having the baby in a "system hospital." So through all of the Mo letters and childcare literature we were told that taking drugs of any kind was evil and would hurt the baby. We were told not to trust the doctors or hospitals, that they were Satan's domain. Mo wrote stories of babies being stolen and wrong diagnoses being done, absolutely terrifying stories.
So I went in there determined to try a natural birth at all costs, except the baby's safety.
Jessee stood with me for a little while reading scriptures and Mo letters, while I breathed.
The nurses found him irritating. They were looking at him like they wish he would just leave. So after a few hours I told him I was fine, the Lord was with me and the hospital would call him when I was close, he should go home.
It was a long labor. Almost 28 hours of labor. Contractions every 3 or 4 minutes. Finally I was so tired I began shaking. They had to argue with me to be allowed to put in a drip so I would not dehydrate.
Then the doctor came to talk to me telling me that God was helping him to care for me and that if I did not let him give me an epidural, the baby would suffer.
He said that the baby's heartbeat was slowing down, it was too hard on him. So I gave in feeling very guilty.
About 3 hours later Jessee arrived and I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy, Levi. I had to be cut for him to pass through and they used forceps because I was very small. He had an elongated head because of how long the birth took but other wise he was just great!! Once the baby came, Jessee began yelling with his hands in the air, "Thank you Lord, Thank you Jesus."
I was put in a ward with 4 other new mothers. I demanded to have my baby near me to nurse him. So eventually due to my nagging they left his little bassinet beside my bed. I was in a magic moment. I would pull the curtains right around my bed and pick him up and put him on my knees and just stare and stare and talk to him. It was one of the most beautiful love-filled moments of my life.
Jessee sent a telegram to Leonard to let him know he was a father. There was never any response.
Two days later, to my big surprise my parents appeared in my room. The visit was strained and brief. I think they were upset that I was alone with my baby in this situation. I don't know how I acted, I can't even remember, I was so wrapped up in the baby.
April 20, 1999
One of the most important things about this part of the story, about the birth of my baby in a hospital, is that it gave me two weeks out of the commune and in an uncontrolled setting with ordinary people. When I say a normal setting, I mean regular people who are going about ordinary working lives. It gave me the chance to be around other new mothers my own age, who were experiencing the same thing as me but with a different psychological attitude than mine.
When the other mothers' babies cried a lot, they did not react by praying for the baby and immediately assume a devil was attacking it, or that they were doing something wrong or thinking something wrong.
In the COG, everything your child did was a direct result of your relationship with the Lord. If the child was believed to be under attack by or possessed by Satan, that too was because of some sort of rebellion on your part against the leader, who was following the Lord.
Even if your child was sick, it was due to your disobedience or rebellion against the Mo letters, and therefore the child was not being protected any longer. It was as if your obedience to the Mo letters, hence to God, directly insulated your child from everything bad, and your lack of obedience dissolved the ring of protection keeping the child from evil and sickness. So you can imagine the terror and strain on a parent whenever a child got ill or misbehaved, or even was cranky or cried.
Being with these other mothers who calmly asked the doctors questions about the baby's health and reacted by simply giving them the vitamins or a shot or putting cream on the rash, made me feel that perhaps, at times, I was overreacting.
Aside from that, there were a few events that were so funny I was actually allowed to laugh at them without being rebuked for foolish, unspiritual behavior, or "Thinking like a systemite!"
One of these events involved a woman who would wheel a cart full of crying babies down the hallway, to deliver them to the mothers for feeding. I thought it was funny because they were all in little cubicles as if we could choose them to eat for lunch, instead of the other way around.
One day one of the babies was squealing and squealing at an unbelievable high pitch. The lady wheeling them down was Italian with a loud voice and she yelled out, "For lunch today, a squealing pig!" It was perhaps not so nice for the mother but I found it hilarious.
Then the same lady caught me one day hiding pillows to place under me to cushion my hips. She told me off and said, "You, you's the one what stealing my pillows, I gonna get you." The next day I was constipated. She came in and pressured me into eating a whole jar of prunes. Oh my goodness, what a problem. She got me back. I laughed about it. I actually got a kick out of her. What a character! What unrevolutionary behavior!! How normal!
Without knowing it, she was part of the pattern in bringing me back to my old personality, eventually. I used to love people with strong personalities and a great sense of humor. I used to be like that.
Having this time away from the COG influence, even though it was short, caused me to question some things about what we believed. She was helping me without knowing it.
When I got back to the colony I had a nice little room waiting, where I had put up flowery wallpaper and was about to begin life as a mother in the Children of God.
We had specific books to read on the subject, recommended and followed my Mo's ex-wife, Mother Eve, and his eldest daughter Deborah. I believe Deborah had something like six children of her own.
The books ran through everything from cleanliness, to feeding, to teaching, to discipline. We had a very tight schedule to adhere to. Breastfeeding was absolutely the most important thing at this time. The mothers were to take a one hour nap each day, eat three good meals a day, and drink one quart of milk and one quart of juice per day. I must say they were great on caring for the babies when they were very little. We were absolutely to have no alcohol or anything that would upset the little one. For this I am forever grateful to Mother Eve and Deborah for the wonderful things I had learned.
During this time my job was to raise donations over the phone, for whatever the colony needed.
Amaziah told me that he believed God had given me a great gift of provisioner. He believed God had given me a special dispensation of faith that God would provide the needs for his family. Quite honestly, I believe in this one thing. Amaziah was right. I do believe God takes care of us. I have today become one of the best salespeople at the company I work for. I must say also that they were the ones who got me started believing I could provide this way.
So during the next couple of months, I would feed my baby and sit him down in his little chair beside me and call the local businesses. I would tell them we were a group of young Christian missionaries who were raising funds to help missionaries overseas or help young people get off drugs. They donated free carpeting for the downstairs, wood and everything we needed to redo the kitchen floor, enough plastic to cover the windows of the whole house for winter, and material to put curtains on all the windows.
On and on it went. Amaziah was very surprised. He even made a point one day of visiting with Keziah and their two little girls to congratulate our colony on how much money we were bringing in from literature sales and donations of other goods.
Of course, privately, afterwards I was given the complementary rebuke about pride and vanity.
All seemed to be going well. I was actually fairly happy here in spite of having some problems getting along with the leader's wife. I liked being a mother, too.
My parents even came to visit once, and it was a pleasant visit. I went to see them with my son at Christmas time and they were pleased to see the baby.
Then something began to change. Our colony was accepted once again as a full time, full-fledged Family of Love colony. I guess we were doing so well financially they wanted part of the goods.
Then it started happening. Amaziah and his wife and children and groups of other disciples were coming to visit more frequently now. We were starting to read all of the heavier, DO letters again. They were all about Flirty Fishing and about people in the Family sharing their mates with other brothers and sisters. They talked about how the end of the world would be just like Nazi concentration camps, where women might have to give their bodies to their captors to save their families.
Two new brothers arrived from Thunder Bay, one of which I became very interested in. His name was Mictam. He seemed to like me too. My son was now about four months old and it was late spring.
Suddenly they decided to send me to the Windsor Ontario commune. There I spent only about two months and then was shipped to the Moncton, New Brunswick commune.
This was a much larger group, 30-40 people. Mictam was there also. They started sending us on the road again in groups of two or three to hand out literature.
On these road trips, I took my son in a backpack on my back, a guitar sometimes, and a pile of literature to hand out. Our food and lodging had to be donated. I remember one week that it was so hot for my baby out in the sun all day handing out literature that I bought a small umbrella and attached it to my pack to keep him in the shade.
The store keepers were very generous with me, donating milk and baby food, and people would let us sleep in tents in their yards, or trailers, or even their houses. Several times motel owners let us have a room for the night. But through all of this, even going on the road alone without anyone else, Mictam and I never got sexual. I kept refusing, saying without permission from the leaders we would be in big trouble.
I felt like Mary and Joseph sometimes traveling around.
In one New Brunswick town I was nearly raped when staying overnight at an aggressive man's place. In another situation by a roadside, hitchhiking, the brother I was with and I were threatened by a guy with a gun. We narrowly escaped these situations, and I was instructed by my road partner never to tell a soul, especially the leaders. Everyone was afraid to have the event blamed on them.
It was a rough way to preach the gospel. If the welfare authorities had seen me living that way with my baby, they would have removed him from me.
I thank God they didn't, because I was not aware enough to realize the kind of danger I was placing my baby in. Now I see that it is one thing to have a religious belief, but it is another to place your child in a dangerous position while you are doing it.
I know that it was not much of a life for a little baby to be on a street corner or standing at the exit of a shopping center for six to eight hours a day in a backpack while his mother handed out literature and asked for donations, sleeping in all kinds of odd places.
I was always fighting his diaper rash and having to deal with teething while doing this. Sometimes I had to go on the road and leave him at home with another sister while he was ill. I should have been allowed to stay home and look after him. But you see, too much of that would not have been revolutionary. It was called caring too much for the things of the flesh. My duty was to God and it was considered a lack of faith in God to tend too much to the child, because He would heal my child.
According to the Mo, the child was considered a revolutionary who belonged to God and not me. It should not matter whether it was myself or another sister or brother looking after him. I was to realize he was not MY baby.
After several months here and a couple of road trips, Mictam and I had become very close, so much that it was becoming obvious to the leaders, although we tried to hide it. Mictam kept saying we should ask Amaziah if we could get married.
I was still not sure I wanted to. Even though I liked Mictam a lot, I still felt tremendous attachment to Leonard. He was still my husband and my child's father.
Mictam was raising his funds to go to the Australian colony. He was trying to get me to go too. I told him to go and we would write to each other, and when it was the Lord's time, the leaders would okay it.
One morning they shipped us off with several other people back to the Montreal home.
In the Montreal home, I noticed Mictam doing a lot of flirting and vice-versa with the leader's wife Sunshine.
A new brother named Aaron showed up at the commune from the USA. He was tall, good-looking, and was talked up to us and one of the best "litnessers" in North America. This meant he sold the most literature or brought in the most donations each week. He seemed quite arrogant to me.
The leaders told Mictam that they were sending him to Australia in the morning. This was a shock to us because he had not fully raised his funds yet. We were whispering in the literature room about how we would write to each other, and Aaron stood there listening.
As Mictam left the room, Aaron grabbed my arm and smiling like a Cheshire cat told me that he was more of a catch that Mictam and he was gonna make sure I went on the road with him so that I could see what a real man of God was like.
I was shocked and disgusted. I felt confused and afraid of the big shot, Aaron. I did not trust him.
Mictam left in the morning, and sure enough that afternoon the leaders decided to send me on the road with Aaron. I tried to find a way to get out of it, saying my son was not feeling good and I had laundry to do. Aaron seemed quite pleased with himself. I think now he must have talked to leaders saying he wanted me to be his road partner.
This lead to a harrowing experience I will recount in the next part of my story.
May 6, 1999
In the morning, Mictam was sent off to board a plane to Australia. We said goodbye to him, promising to write.
Then the colony leader, Asaph, read out who the road teams would be for that week. To my distress, he named Aaron, the new brother, would be going with me.
I did not feel good about the way he acted and looked at me. Now, we were taught by Mo that any negative thoughts, feelings, or reactions toward a fellow Children of God member were evil, unloving, and Satan’s way of dividing God’s flock so he could conquer.
So I was praying quietly inside myself for God to forgive me and to help me have more love for this brother. I went aside, which was a bold move, and double-checked with the leader Asaph, whether it would be possible for someone else to accompany Aaron and myself on the road trip. But no, I was told I should not doubt what God had revealed to the leaders.
So we all prayed for a fruitful trip, with everyone winning lots of souls to Jesus and distributing and selling lots of literature.
As we trudged off down the road with my son Levi in his carriage, Aaron smiled at me and said that I should be thanking God that the Lord was allowing me to go with him, because many other sisters had wanted to spend time with him and had not been allowed.
He told me he met lots of girls when he was out on the road and they wanted to "be" with him, and yet I was possibly going to be the one to get that chance.
This really worried me. I knew now that Mo had been insisting that the sisters "share" with the brothers as we were all "one" in Christ. Mo told us that all of us together were the Bride of Christ -- we were all one body.
I, like all other sisters, was not on birth control, and I certainly did not want to have this brother's baby. Yet I was feeling so guilty for thinking this. It was considered unspiritual and unloving. If I had the love of Christ, it would not matter and I would just trust God about my pregnancies.
So we hitchhiked to the town where we were supposed to distribute literature. We also now had what were called love buttons. These were cartoon-like pictures of a little girl and boy in a heart kissing, and underneath the words, "God's only law is Love." This was the name of the Mo letter describing ultimate sexual sharing in the Family.
These buttons were fabricated in London at a factory that was given to the family when Mo's wife, Maria "Flirty-Fished" and won through sex a British businessman to join the group. He was referred to in the letters as Arthur. The "Arthur letters" tell all about how she seduced him to join the Children of God, now called The Family of Love.
With these buttons, we were able to double, sometimes triple, our donations. The London factory also produced hats, t-shirts, mugs, small necklaces with the famous Children of God yoke symbol, comic books for kids, etc. Mo's son Hosea was in charge of these items. They were called Wild Wind Productions. Wild Wind was the name given to Mo's wife Maria in a revelation he had about her, representing the Holy Spirit of God, the Wild Wind of God.
In a small Quebec town named Bromont, there was a car rally and sort of festival going on, where there would be lots of people. We were doing quite well with our sales. I kept dreading what was going to happen when we had to find somewhere to sleep for the night.
Aaron would not let me move out of his sight. Even when I went to the washroom he waited outside. He was aggressive in his speech and actions. He would grab my son out of his carriage and hold his hand around his neck saying, "You will be cooperative tonight, sister, won't you?" It was awful. I was not supposed to let on to any of the people around me that anything was amiss, because that would cause them to doubt that we were of God. If they doubted that, then they would not receive our witness. And then, if they did not get saved, it would be upon my soul. Before others, I had to pretend he was a wonderful loving man of God. After all, we were preaching to save these people's souls. We were handing out the word of God through Mo before the end of the world.
Finally we met a young man who was interested in our preaching and invited us home to stay overnight with himself and his young wife. To my fear, Aaron told him we were husband and wife. He was pleased to tell me that they had an extra bedroom.
So after spending several hours reading the Bible with them and telling them about salvation, Aaron said we would be going to bed now. I tried to drag on the conversation but it was not going to work.
There I was, trying to put my son to sleep in his carriage and praying he would not sleep. Aaron was standing smiling at the window, reading me quietly a Mo letter about sharing God's love, called Flirty Fishing or just "FFing." I wanted to run out and escape, but was paralysed. I started praying in my heart, "Oh Lord Jesus, help me get through this alright, help me not to hurt or offend him or be unloving, help me not to get pregnant. If there is any way to make him stop, please spare me this time. Forgive my lack of obedience to Mo."
My son fell asleep and Aaron pulled me over to the bed. I started pleading with him that I did not want to have actual intercourse because I did not want to get pregnant. He was getting rough and angry and telling me I had no faith and was rebellious and should keep quiet.
Finally he let me off with just masturbating him. I was ashamed and embarrassed and very confused because I felt guilty for not wanting to make love willingly with him. I felt like I was very far from Jesus’ love because I had disobeyed Mo and not yielded happily. I did not have enough love. That is also exactly what Aaron told me. He quoted me verses out of the Bible about cold and unloving people who said they loved God but could not love their brothers. He also reminded me what Mo had said. I slept very uneasily that night, cried a bit but he never knew, and asked Jesus to forgive me for my lack of love and to help me.
This is what the rest of the next week was like. Near the end of the week, I was so grateful that he was not forcing me to have intercourse with him, I was telling him he was a good man and God would bless his patience with me. You see, saying I love you was a regular occurrence with the COG. We said it all the time to each other in the Family.
At the end of the first week it came time for Aaron, the team leader, to call in and report to the leader Asaph. Aaron was standing in a phone booth talking to Asaph and holding my son Levi in his arms to make sure I did not wander away. I was actually fearful for my son. Aaron was so aggressive. At one point I tried in desperation talking loud into the phone booth to let me speak to Asaph.
Reluctantly Aaron let me talk to him, holding the phone booth door open. I said, "Asaph, something is not right here. Aaron is very aggressive and unloving with me, and I would like to come back to the colony."
Asaph got Aaron back on the phone, and Aaron told him I was simply acting like a big lazy baby and being rebellious, not wanting to do the Lord's work handing out literature. Then I watched Aaron nodding and giving me dirty looks. He was answering, "Amen, Amen."
When he hung up the phone I backed away. He looked like he was going to hit me. "You thought that would work, eh?" he laughed. "We are staying out another two weeks until we straighten out our problem!"
I thought I would die. I was so ashamed of my rebellion in disobeying the Mo letters by not sleeping with him willingly, that I could not tell Asaph on the phone.
That night Aaron found a fellow who let us stay in his motel room. The next day, Aaron picked up the box of literature that was delivered by Greyhound bus. Now, one of the things that I might have been able to do was use the money we collected to take off. But Aaron was no dummy. He collected money from me every half-hour or so. I never had more than a couple of dollars on me.
Levi was cranky and tired and needed rest, but Aaron would grab him off me and hand out "lit" even with him crying. I was distraught about this.
The ritual began all over again that night. I felt like dying. I knew it was only a matter of time before he would force me. Nobody around us seemed to notice, because in front of them we had to act like best of friends, happy and loving. They had no idea, I am sure.
By the third day, he was refusing to go out of the hotel room and had bought a six pack of beer. This scared me even more. He was more aggressive, punching the bureau and swearing. Finally, after being held prisoner here with him for about four days, the motel owner knocked on the door and said his hospitality was up.
By that time, I was so exhausted that I figured the only way to get him to stop being so mean was to act sweet and flattering and loving. Then maybe he would let his guard down. Acting sweet paid off because now he started telling me I was a good girl and he liked me like this and we could go back to Montreal.
Once there, he met up with a person he had been witnessing to before, who had an apartment. I did not have the phone number of the commune; only he had it. I tried a couple of times to sneak it away without success. In this apartment he was drinking even more.
I could take it no longer and one day in a burst of energy I grabbed my son and ran down the long flight of stairs to the street. He was running after me. I yelled and threatened that if he did not stop this I would tell the police, sitting not too far away in a car. He looked shocked and said, "You would go to the Romans with this and cause trouble to fall on God's people!" I was so upset with him, I said "Yes!"
So then and there we went to the centre of Montreal. To my great relief, I saw two brothers handing out literature in front of The Bay store on St. Catherine Street. I ran up to one of the brothers, who did not know me, and threw my arms around his neck shouting, "God Bless you brother, it is so good to see you." I quickly whispered in his ear, "This brother is mean and flipping out on me, please get me to the colony safely." So the brother instantly complied and brought my son and I, with Aaron in tow, back to the commune.
Now it is important to note here that while Aaron and I had been on the road, the colony had moved location and only Aaron had the phone number. I would not have known where to go.
Back at the commune, I spoke to Asaph alone in a room about the whole thing and in the next couple of days, both Aaron and myself separately repeated our stories to three different sets of leaders, on tape. The final conclusion was that Aaron was sent out of the Children of God. I was lectured and told I was not revolutionary and was rebellious against the Mo letters. I had to go through a period of praying and fasting and reading these sexual Mo letters and memorising them. I found out about several months later that in the US, Aaron re-joined the COG.
I have so many stories to tell that they would fill a book. Suffice it to say, living in the COG was a difficult thing to do. We were trying so hard to pray, preach, and get close to Jesus, and we seemed to be wrapped up tighter and tighter in the noose of Mo and his doctrines.
Right after this event, the leaders were pushing me and my ex-husband Leonard to go to South America to be close to each other so my son would have two parents to care for him. It was then that Leonard left the COG for good.
By the time my son was two years old, the COG had started having wild parties with wine and music, and inviting men and women over to Flirty-Fish. I tried everything to get out of having to "share" with anyone, either a fish or brother.
Eventually they got me quite drunk and ordered me to share with a brother. I was humiliated and seemed to become lost from myself after that time. I had truly become, as Mo put it in his letter, one of God's Whores.
Eventually the group, through lots of difficult situations, had me Flirty-Fish a young man into the group. He was 21 and about to inherit $100,000. I only found this out after he had joined and wanted to marry me. I did not want to marry him but had to play the game. So this is where I will begin the next episode, on the survival farm with my fish Joseph.