Allegations of Apologies
Note: This started out as a post and grew too long. The original article to which it would have been attached is: "Official Apologies Tendered by Family Leadership to Current and Former Family Members" found at: http://www.movingon.org/article.asp?sID=4&Cat=24&ID=3594]
Any Family writing that I quote not otherwise identified is pulled from that link. Nay Sayers and Family members, please refer to your own hard copies in your own home libraries before slinging accusations of "pulling out of context".
Like Chinese water torture, it gets so very, very tiresome to hear the same dripping from Family members about Maria's and Peter's supposed apologies.
A genuine apology would be a start, not the end, not a cure, but a start at healing deep wounds. As former cult children, we don't even have that. No, in spite of repeated claims to the contrary, Maria and Peter have not apologized.
Just so there is no misunderstanding here is the definition of apology:
- an acknowledgment expressing regret or asking pardon for a fault or offense.
For the slow-witted: For it to be an apology, a fault or offense must be acknowledged. Therefore, "I'm sorry you were hurt," is not an apology. "I'm sorry I threw the stone at you and hurt you," is an apology.
There is a twist on the journey to receiving an apology from Family leaders and that is, to date, as far as I am aware, everything they have ever published and continue to refer to as apologies have been printed in their own internal, for-tithing-members-only-you-will-be-excommunicated-if-you-give-this-to-someone-not-giving-us-money publications. I realize that Family leadership seems to be a little slow when it comes to logic, but that slow? Come on!
"Maria": We…have publicly apologized and have asked for forgiveness in various Letters or other publications.
How does one publicly apologize in a classified document (a Letter)?
Even if we as former cult children were allowed access to their very secret regurgitations, do we have time or would we want to spend innumerable hours wading through the ranting of lunatics to find another trite, "I'm sorry you were hurt" buried in the pablum?
Considering the numerable times I have been smugly informed "Maria and Peter have apologized" I really thought there would be something in the list of alleged apologies that applied to me.
As it is, all but one of the alleged apologies were written circa 1996 or prior – back when I would venture to guess a good 95% of us now former cult children were still drones in the group, myself included. Therefore, they were not written to us, were not intended to be applied to us and were in actuality as is evidenced by the wording and context of them, directed primarily to former members (ie, first generation), not former children.
That said, there is only one of these alleged apologies that actually applies to their children. It is written in response to accusations of leadership's crimes and is titled, "None of These Things Move Me." I do believe the irony of that title for a supposed apology is lost on Family leadership.
1) It's interesting to note that after the alleged apologies to the first generation adults and in the letter to Lord Justice Ward were written, that no new apology has been forth coming in spite of the fact that the stories told and charges laid against leadership have been increasingly accurate and in more damning detail. In fact, in response to this Maria says,
"We are very sorry that anyone was hurt, and have publicly apologized and have asked for forgiveness in various Letters or other publications. (See the 1992 Statement on Child Abuse; "Our Beliefs Concerning the Lord's Law of Love," ML #2858:50-51, published in 6/93; "An Answer to Him That Asketh Us," ML #3016:18-20, 52-56, published in 9/95; Mama's Letter to Former Members in "Bridging the Gap," ML #3068:101- 108, published in 8/96; "An Open Letter to All Current and Former Family Members," ML #3091:3,10h,15-22, published in 12/96.)
In other words, go read what we wrote your parents and see that we are sorry. Everything goes back prior to 1996. This does not apply to the second generation, never did. It does not resemble an apology to us on any count.
2) "Maria": We have also included clear rules and punishment in the Charter to ensure that no harm of any kind related to sexual or physical abuse happens, and if it does, that those who caused it can be disciplined."
The Charter was instituted in 1995. What about everything that happened before 1995? Did the Charter suddenly erase the damage that was caused? What about the ones who caused that damage? Is there no need for discipline because it happened prior to 1995? And what the hell kind of discipline is excommunication !?!
Inferentially, because there were no protective rules in place prior to 1995, the abuse meted out was perfectly acceptable. That actually makes sense when one considers that you, Zerby & Kelly, and most of your current cronies were the ones responsible for the hell that was going on in the Family around that time.
This definition of the changes by the Charter is something like, "I committed crimes against children, and my cronies committed crimes against children. But as of 1995 we no longer commit crimes against children. See how sorry we are?"
This is not an apology.
3) "Maria": Our apologies were not only words, but actions which have significantly changed the governance of the Family.
You know, Zerby, I'm really happy that our younger brothers and sisters are no longer being beaten with wire hangers and sent out on the streets to beg instead of getting an education, that they are no longer spending weeks and months in isolation and silence restriction, having forced exorcisms and having their 12 and 13-year-old bodies approvingly handed over to the household pervert to be violated. What I want to know is, how is that supposed to make any difference to those of us it happened to? You changed the family structure and now all of the abuse we suffered is inconsequential?
For those of us who suffered at your instigation, your alleged apologies ARE only words. They have made no difference to our lives outside of your movement. Your words do not put food on the table, they do not pay for remedial education, they do not give us back the inheritances turned over to you by our parents while we were left to fend for ourselves on the streets.
4) "Maria": As I said in "An Answer to Him That Asketh Us," we should have had rules in effect much earlier that would have prevented any of our young people from being hurt. We didn't, and we're sorry we didn't because it made it possible for some young people to be hurt.
This is not an apology. Zerby, the only thing you are acknowledging is that you should have put rules in place to prevent young people from being hurt.
What do you mean by hurt? Are you saying you should not have published the DTR series? The separation letters? The School Vision? Are you saying you should not have published the Mene series? What about the Victor Series? Are you saying you should not have had fed Berg's pedophilic appetite and provided him little girls and blindly looked the other way when parents were writing in asking about unapproved sex between adult men and their children under 10 years of age? Are you saying you were wrong in supporting Berg's pedophilic doctrines? Are you saying you were wrong in allowing the Davidito Book to be published as a guidebook on how to raise children? What the hell are you acknowledging here other than that you should have had rules in effect. For whom? Yourself?
There is no personal acceptance of responsibility nor acknowledgement of actual faults or offences. This is not an apology.
5) "Maria": Any sexual crossovers in the Family are considered sin and they remain an excommunicable offense.
Zerby, sexual crossovers in the Family are not sin, they are crimes and the perpetrators of these crimes against children should be reported to the appropriate authorities; anything less than this is a whitewash and an attempt at appeasement.
6) "Maria": We've been accused of flip-flopping in our stance on adult/minor sex…."
"… 14 years ago, in 1986, Dad and I put a ban on any adult/minor sexual activity"
"… In 1988, 12 years ago, we made it excommunicable and it has remained so since then."
"… While the theological discussion may have continued, the fact is that any adult/minor sex was excommunicable."
" In 1995 the Lord spoke explicitly on the subject…. Once the Lord said it was sin, we announced it to the Family and that has been our stance since that time."
In essence, what you are saying is that until 1995 the official stance of the Family was that even though adult/child sex was excommunicable, it was still a theologically accepted doctrine.
NINETEEN NINETY-FIVE!!! In the middle of the English court case.
God approves, but if you do it you'll get kicked out. Until 1995.
That, Zerby, is most definitely flip-flopping in your stance on adult/minor sex. I refuse to accept that you are stupid enough to believe your own spin on this matter and as such proffer that you are being deliberately duplicitous.
"Maria": I want to emphasize this point, because I don't want any of you thinking that our stance on this issue is ambiguous.
You know, honestly, it's a little late for that. You were ambiguous all the way through to nearly 1996. The damage has been done.
I also want to say something about the two freakin' years it took for you to ban adult/minor sex in 1986 and making it excommunicable in 1988. Two years may not seem like that big of a deal to you when you're sitting high on the hog up at the apex of leadership. But when you are a lowly 12 and 13-year-old peon down at the bottom, abandoned and powerless and your developing form is being handed over from one pervert to the next with impunity, two years is a lifetime.
Additionally even after you knew of the damage that your pernicious doctrine was having on the psyches and bodies of young girls and boys under your control you still debated the theological merits and acceptability of it and it took NINE years before you conceded it was sin. Not that it was wrong in the past or sin in the past, mind you, but that it was with the wave of a magic wand, now all of a sudden, sin. Not sin in the past. Now sin. Not a crime. Sin.
And yet you say you're sorry about our pain.
Where is the proof of your contriteness?
Words. Empty words. That's all you've ever had.
In reality you revile us, lie about us, twist our words and call us apostates, you dismiss our claims as exaggerations, say that we are possessed of blood dripping demons.
In the words of your Bible, "Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be."
7) "Maria": We are very sorry that anyone was hurt, and have publicly apologized and have asked for forgiveness in various Letters or other publications….Our detractors, however, continue to bring it up and try to document supposed wrongdoing on my and Peter's part.
Zerby, if you want to claim that you have apologized and that you are sorry, then it must be one or the other. Either you acknowledge the fault / offense OR the wrongs brought up are "supposed". One or the other, not both. Either you apologize or you don't. Either you are guilty or you are not.
Do not insult our intelligence and our pain by spending 1,500 words garrulously piping about the window dressing efforts you front as an apology and then turn around and say that these are supposed wrong doings on your and Peter's part.
You are self-righteous. You are a hypocrite and you are a liar.
You say, "We've faced these accusations in many court cases and have won every time."
This is a lie. Not once have you or Peter personally faced accusations against yourself or the accusations of those who have suffered by your decree. You let your people stand in your place. You are a coward.
You say, "We have admitted and apologized for the past, we have asked forgiveness."
This is also a lie. You have not admitted and apologized for any specific fault or offense, nor have you admitted you were wrong in any specific act or decision other than that you failed to establish guidelines and that you failed to keep the second generation safe. This is a cop out and you know it.
8) "Maria": We have moved on from all of this. My question is why don't they?
What you are saying is, "We failed to protect you, we demonized you, we abused you, we sent you into the streets to beg, denied you an education, had you beaten and starved, exorcised and separated from your parents, we broke up your families, we gave your bodies to perverts and stole your future. But we've moved on from all of that. Why can't you?"
You want us to move on? Put it behind us? Try this:
- Spell out exactly what you did and did not do and exactly where you failed us.
- Take personal responsibility for your actions.
- Meet us on our turf and stop hiding behind "we're so busy doing the Lord's work".
- Make restitution for the wrong that has been done by you and in your name.
- Cease from all further slander, name calling and incitement of hatred.
- Cease from misrepresentation of your former children to your current members.
- Cease from claiming "it's all in the past" knowing that we former children live with the trauma daily.
Only when criteria such as the above have been met will there really be an apology.