Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Marriage to the Torah

The "Marriage to the Torah" was a new and interesting concept when Jack first introduced it to his followers in the late 1990's. He often spoke of what made us different from other "Jews", and this was one of them. Bar and Bat Mitzvahs were a relatively new creation, and not as deep and meaningful as being "Married to the Torah".

The following pages are the background that Jack provided for the Family on this ritual. It is interesting reading, as he delves into Revelations, martyrdom, the Family's "history" and who should prepare for this. The idea was to have everyone possible participate in this, and then it would become the "regular" thing for all youth to participate at the age of 13 in place of the Bar Mitzvah. The Bar Mitzvah was never required and only done sporadically by families who were already Jewish, and others who just pretended to be. The bar Mitzvah was seen as a merely a rite of passage.

This is now expected of every youth in the Family. The age at which it must be completed is loose, but it is to be done at some point before adulthood. During the ceremony, your forehead is marked. If you also refuse to take the mark of the beast in the future, you will be among the first resurrected after you die as a martyr.

I don't know if there is any validity to Jack's claims that this is an ancient ceremony only practiced by the Essenes. Who knows. However, none of us are Essenes, nor were we ever, so it doesn't  matter. This really sheds some more light into the mind frame of the Family either way.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

An Interview With Abba (circa 1980 or 81)

Some old stuff I have come accross. It might be interesting, a touch ironic, or a little nostalgic.
 Maybe none of the above. Either way, it is a little glimpse into the earlier days and who Jack was to the community.
If you click on the image it should expand it and make it readable.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Moving Forward

Recently a reader posted a question regarding the cult: What do I want to happen moving forward? I haven't answered because I needed to think about that. At this point I am not exactly sure.

My purpose in writing this blog has not changed significantly, though I have lost sight of it along the way. In the beginning, which was only a few months ago, I wanted to add another voice to what already existed. I was reading other blogs and simultaneously coming to terms with my own realizations as well as gauging the reactions of the members around me. It appeared the other bloggers were too easily marginalized by the group; there are only one or two, they are "bitter", they are just the ones with screwed-up families, they never really belonged anyway, they are liars, Abba always said the unrighteous would be weeded-out, this is what we have been warned about, stay steadfast- we are being tested... I heard them all. It made me angry. Even more than that, I knew what I read was mostly the truth. Maybe not every one's truth, but the truth for those who spoke it. This was THEIR experience in THIS group, with the same people that are here today.
I spent years and years suppressing my own voice, so much so that I literally suppressed my whole self. I still lived my life, but I was a walking shell. That was an interesting period of time which is difficult to articulate. Each time I finally accepted that something I had believed my whole life was a lie, another small door to my self opened. I didn't have a clue how to reconcile or make sense of my life, my experiences, what I was taught, what I realized now.
For years, for too many years, I was screaming inside. Maybe no one will understand this, but I had built a wall around what happened to me. Over time it became just completely impenetrable. The pressure, or the obligation to keep quiet was so ingrained that it eventually became virtually impossible to do anything else. My mouth does not have the ability to say the words, I just can't do it. My heart starts pounding, I can't catch my breath, my mouth feels glued shut. But I found out I could write it, or type it. I wrote the words, I posted it, and finally the sense of impending doom started to diminish because guess what? Nothing happened. Even though I wrote it from behind a veil to be read by a bunch of faceless people, it was still cathartic. It was a relief. Saying it to a person wasn't possible, and writing it in a journal didn't have the same effect, but a blog was the perfect medium for me at the time. I didn't really care what anyone who read it thought.

It was also infuriating. Infuriating that I was ever even put in the situation to be raped and infuriating that I spent so many years of my life stuck. Everything has been on hold since seven. I never moved past that. I was never allowed to, first by others then by by own doing. My life has been lived through the filter of being raped and the Family. I hate that I hated myself for it for so many years, and I hate that I feel pathetic for not "getting over it already". But that is another thing about this cult; you can't reach out for help. parents won't reach out beyond the group to help their kids. The Family will take care of it. We are told that going to a counselor or therapist is okay, but it should be with someone who is a member, like Philip or Richie. There is an inherent distrust of  outsiders in that function- they lack the understanding of our spirituality and they are trained to be a part of the "system". So it doesn't happen.

So the blog was a way to voice things I couldn't voice any other way. Also, I wanted to expose as many of the "secrets" as I could. I didn't do that out of vindictiveness, rather it was to just put plain facts out there. No more hiding the truth and no more lies. People who grew up in this cult have a right to know it's history. They have a right to know who their leaders are, and what they have done in the past. What someone does with that information is their choice, but at least it's out there. I wanted information to be accessible. There are people who wanted to read the Foibles article for years, but could not find it. The more people out there who link to it and speak about it, the easier it is to find if someone is looking.

Some people don't agree with this, but if you don't have all the information, you are not making a choice. Also, if the family really is what it claims to be, what is the purpose of being secretive and hiding it's history, and suppressing information under the guise of lashon hora? Be honest. Answer questions truthfully. Invite questions. Are they really afraid of persecution? Well, stand tall in the face of it. If you cannot stand for what you believe it is not worth believing. If you are killed for being steadfast in your faith in the face of persecution, then THAT is what makes you a true martyr, not hiding like rats in the sewer.

But to answer Aaron's question, no I don't expect everyone to move away and break all ties with their friends and families. I have not even done that myself. I am happy that there are people like him who are independent and make their own choices. There are a number of young people like him. But like he said, the fringe is basically everyone who are not north. That is exactly right. The people I am talking about when I refer to the Family are those people, the Maine group. This is the core group of the Family, as well as Colorado. Most of the group is in Maine. Most of the children being born and most of the leadership is in Maine. The cult's "home" is Maine. There have been the calls to move to Maine. Some heeded these, some haven't. But it is what is happening in the family now, with all of the "prophesies" and stepped-up preparations and secretiveness that worries me. The people who aren't in Maine are slowly falling away, while the ones there are becoming stronger as a group and more focused and extreme.

Most of the "youth" in Maine won't even read the blogs. A large majority of them haven't and won't even read the Foibles of article, or even discuss it. But, most of them do stay in contact with the members who are not in Maine. Most stay in contact with the ones who left and who have read the articles and know the truth. My hope is that they will hear enough and see enough to know there is more to the story and that the info is out there should they ever choose to seek it out.

Of course people have the right to believe anything they choose. They have a right to raise their children however they see fit. But you cannot make a choice without having ALL of the relevant information in front of you, good and bad. I expect that many if not most current members will remain a part of the Family. I hope, though, that they will be aware enough to make healthy choices for their children. I hope that their eyes are open to the influences around them, and that they don't raise their children with the shroud of secrecy that I was raised with. It may be perfectly legal, but it is unhealthy no matter which way you spin it.

I don't want to see families break up and completely transform their lives. However, acceptance of other's choices would be nice. Again, I am speaking of the core groups. The hierarchy is ridiculous. No one has a right to tell someone where they are or aren't allowed to go to college, whether they can or can't marry, whether they are allowed to buy a house or car, what profession they are allowed to pursue. These things happen on a regular basis in the cult. It is a part of the covenant. Obviously no one can physically force an adult to do anything, but there are many factors involved in coercion and they are used constantly. A kid should be able to make their own choices without the threat of being excised from the kingdom, shunned by their own family, made a pariah in the community, made to feel guilty for turning away from the right path, threatened with losing their positions, threatened with forcing God's hand to use them for his purposes despite their choices, as well as many other tactics. And if your family is among the more extreme, the tactics are more intimidating and forceful. Maybe you don't experience that within your own family out there hundreds of miles away, but that is not the reality within the group.

 I would also love to see the school in Corinna shut down. Despite popular belief, the teachers there are not licensed teachers. They are just cult members. Maine is very home-school friendly. You do not have to be a certified teacher, nor do you need to provide any sort of curriculum. They are being indoctrinated. They are being taught the same things as the kids who went to Bet El were, and outside of math and language arts, no it was not a regular curriculum. These kids are living in an area that is only Family members. They have an entire street in Corinna that is all owned and lived on by the cult. Those kids are exposed to almost no outside influences. They are taught that they are meant to be martyrs, that they are destined to be persecuted against, that the world will end before they grow up. There are young kids who are having prophesies, and get hysterical during prayer meetings, and this is encouraged.
Again, I am sure this is all perfectly legal. However it is not healthy or productive. I hope that the people having all the babies (and there are lots) make different choices for their children. Look at the complete picture, look at the issues the older youth have dealt with as a result of growing up the same way.

I would like to see members actually follow the law, especially as it relates to children. If you are going to choose a profession that makes you a mandated reporter, you have an obligation to follow through. You do NOT have the right or moral authority to decide your convictions supercede the responsibility to follow the law.

Moving forward I would like to see legitimacy. Some people don't like the label of "cult". Well, that is easy to fix. Become transparent. Provide independently audited financial statements for the cult-run organizations. Provide financial disclosures of expenses and budgets. If this is done, there would be no room for speculation or accusations. If these organizations are only doing positive things, that will be apparent.

Make the leadership accountable. Right now they are accountable to no one and nothing. They would say they are accountable to God and that is good enough. No, it isn't.
Better yet, let leadership be elected democratically by members. That does not happen now. Leaders were hand picked by Jack. Their heirs are next in line. Adam became High Priest because he had a prophecy stating he should be. People are "prophets" because they had prophesies. How is this legitimate leadership?

How about acknowledgement? Insisting that Jack didn't have sexual relationships with boys is counterproductive. Everyone knows he did, and now they know you can't admit it or lie about it. That doesn't help the Family's cause. If you honestly believe that it was a spiritual thing, then stand by that. Don't lie about it. All the hiding and lying delegitimizes everything the Family claims to stand for.
Also, acknowledge some of the bad things that happened, and strive to change those things. That would mean more than saying it is lashon hara to mention them or claim it's no one's business. If a known sexual predator is a member, it's everyone's business.

There are many changes that could and should be made that would legitimize this cult, and hold people accountable. I don't think it will ever happen because the leadership is not interested in this. If these things were done, though, I don't believe anyone would have a problem with this group. We live in a country that provides freedom of religion. Go ahead and practice anything you want. Believe anything you want. Just don't steal money or manipulate your members. Don't dictate people's lives. Don't rape or abuse anyone. Don't look the other way if someone does. If you have children, be a parent. YOU are their life-line. It is YOUR responsibility to keep them safe and healthy. It's really very simple.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blood Moons and the End of Days

Article on the Blood Moons

There has been talk recently about the natural phenomenon of so-called blood moons. Many people, mostly religious, believe they signify huge changes in the world, and now the end of days.

It is interesting that they happen to take place concurrently with significant events in history, mainly regarding Israel or the Jewish people.
There are several other places to find information about this besides this article, but I think it was explanatory regarding both the phenomenon itself as well as the different interpretations of it.

There are many members of the Family who believe this is a sign or a precursor to the doomsday they have been preparing for. There are also those who still believe that the prophecies are happening as Michael Van stated them when he read them during that January meeting in Maine.

The next several months might be quite interesting.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

More Perspective, and response to comments

I was responding to some comments and learned that Blogger has a limit on the number of characters allowed in the comments box. Therefore, I will respond as a post instead of trying to respond to each comment separately in the comment section.

I notice that there are some very firm perceptions by people as to the nature of this cult. Some of them are old ideas or incorrect in my opinion, so I wanted to address them. That being said, there is quite a bit of variation of experience among members. Your experiences are somewhat related to which group you live among, and which clan and/or family you belong to.

At this point in time, the largest group by far is located in Maine. This is the center of this cult. Jack stated that the Family's "home" is where ever the "David" (king) is. That person is Michael Van, and his home is Maine. That is one reason the majority of members are there, but there are other reasons also, which I will attempt to explain:

During the 1970's, and possibly even earlier, the "Maine Ministry" was born. This was a secret from the majority of the Lutheran congregation at the time, and involved only the inner-circle; the people who were most devoted to Jack. Princes were chosen from them, and a plan was laid out. Jack had a prophecy and some sort of struggle with the angel that ruled an area in Maine. Jack said that each part of the earth, the "nations" were all ruled by a specific angel (or demon? heck, I wasn't around that long ago). Jack won the struggle with that angel/demon thing. As a result, a very specific 5-mile area of Maine was guaranteed to be safe, and protected from peril in the future. This area is around Caribou Lake, to the east of Greenville, Maine.
 This is the place that the Maine ministry was centered around. Land was acquired, infrastructure was developed, and supplies were bought and gathered. Eventually, people began migrating there for the proximity to the "camps" which enabled them to regularly work on them and be close when the time came to flee there. Some families have lived in Maine since the late 80's. Others moved there during the 90's and early 2000's. There was a more recent large move to Maine since Mike's prophecies.

There has been some interesting conflict within the Family regarding locations. A relatively large group moved to Colorado once Jack and Gary settled there. That began the "Mainers vs. Coloradans" tension, which was never blatant, but a constant undercurrent. The people who moved to CO were those devoted from the very beginning, but not singled out as princes or the inner-most circle. They began making the same type of survival preparations that those in Maine had been for years: buying land, storing goods, establishing their own projects, such as the Colorado-based NERT factions and UMI.
They believed that they were in the "right" place because that is where their Abba was. They were close to him, and they felt they benefited from that. Their children got special face-to-face teachings by him, as well as personal relationships with him and Gary.

In the meantime, the Maine group felt they were in the "right" place because Jack himself pointed out the area and declared it to be safe consecrated ground. They were confident that as Jack stated, a call would go out to go to the "safe place". Jack said some people would hear and heed the call. Some would hear it and choose not to listen, using many valid reasons to justify staying put. Others would ignore it altogether,  unwilling to give up all they had worked for, or to admit they had chosen the wrong path, and have to start anew.
Jack said this many times: that we needed to pursue our projects passionately, but to be willing to walk away from it all in an instant if that is what God said to do. No one was ever to be attached to an area, a home, an idea or any thing  so much that they would be unable to walk away from it.
Jack has specifically said that Maine is the only place guaranteed to be safe. He never said any other place is safe (CO, NY, NC, FL, GA, NH). People moved to those places anyway, and as far as the Maine group is concerned, did what they wanted to do. With all the talk of love and lashon hara, and shalom, there is an attitude that exists as an undercurrent in the Family. It is disguised well, but if you look it is quite palpable.

Over the years, especially after Jack moved to Maine in 2003, more and more members relocated there. That is the core of the group, and by far the largest in number. All 3 princes are located in Maine, as are the majority of the elders and priests.
In the early 2000's , there was a call to come to Maine. Rather, Jack alluded to it by stating that there is strength in numbers, and people should be living and working together. Unity was the word of the day (as in the noun, not the place, though it is interesting that the Van's chose to live in a place named "Unity". Coincidence?).
There are people who did not like this call. As people liked to do, they interpreted Jack's words to fit what they wanted.  Despite the fact that Jack's words were clear, taken in context with his past words and teachings, he left it open just enough for interpretation. I often heard "Well, Abba never specifically said we had to move to Maine."
And so some didn't. They moved to places like Georgia, N Carolina, upstate NY, and began their own projects, which they believed were sanctioned by Jack. Jack made statements that some people in the family are "bears", meaning they generally have a difficult time with authority and working well with others. These bear-people were the type to remain separated from the larger group. Most of the Family considered these people to be "bears". Of course, this was never said outright to them, just murmured among themselves.
They continued on with there plans of creating "safe-houses" along the Appalachian Trail in order to shuttle people up to Maine when the time if that would be logical or possible.

More recently, another "call" went out with the prophesies from various Van-clan members. This call was much more specific, and basically said "move to Maine".  This created a much more apparent divide between the Colorado's and the Mainers. Many listened. Others claimed that the prophets were false prophets (as Jack also said would appear among the Israelites), and that they would continue to follow the ways Jack taught as the "true" Abensurs. People like Bob T., and Emmanuel S. had a major issue with this new directive, as they had spent many years and much money to establish UMI in Colorado. They were not going to move to Maine.  So, lo and behold, another prophesy was had, sanctioning certain projects out west. Of course, there are the Maine folks who believe that those people refuse to hear the call, so they are subject to a "righteous lie". More on that another time.

Despite being useless information to some, I hope that it adds some further perspective to the Family, and some reasoning to certain comments, such as Aaron's.

On to some comments:

Regarding  "Passing of the seed":

How else would the 2nd and 3rd generations get "good" souls? It had to continue until at least the death of Hickman. i see no compelling reason why it wouldn't be continuing up to today thru Gary and now Adam. Got to have those "good" souls.

The "good souls" of the second and third generation have nothing to do with the passing of the seed, or Jack. Not directly. This goes back to one of Jack's claims: as the 49th Abba of the family, his purpose was to go out and find the "lost lambs" and gather them together. These "lost" were the 1st generation. They had the souls of special Israelites who were destined to fail during each lifetime in order to be reincarnated over and over to live during the end times specifically to bring in the new, adomic souls (the 2nd and 3rd generation), who had been waiting in Guf to be born for 30,000 years. We had to wait because we were special souls meant to be born in the end-times.  This was the sole purpose of our parents, according to Jack. Jack stated this after the regrouping in 1996. Some of the 1st generation had issues with this, understandably, which Jack mollified by handing special positions to their children.
The adomic, pure souls came through the first generation, not Jack. Jack was the one who "found" them, gathered them together, and taught them how to bring these souls in. He taught the laws of Niddah, and gave certain rules about sex, including which positions are ok, and the proper environment, such as no artificial light. These were the only guaranteed way to ensure you were bringing in an adomic soul. If these rules were not followed, you could be bringing in a demonic soul.

Regarding who Jack was:
Is there any evidence that Jack was not born in the caul?

I have no idea whether Jack was or was not "born in the caul". It would not be surprising if he claimed he was. There is no way to prove or disprove this claim, as it is not the type of thing recorded on a birth certificate. I believe that if he claimed this it was because it says somewhere (I have no idea where), that a prophet is born in the caul. However, it has never been claimed that every one born in the caul becomes a prophet. And actually, it is not uncommon to be born this way, especially then, when breaking a woman's water was not practiced as regularly as today. I know 3 children (not members of the Family) who were born in the caul because their parents chose "natural" birth and opted not to have the woman's water artificially broken. 
So my statement stands that it really makes no difference. If every person born in the caul was a prophet, we would be inundated with prophets. 

Regarding Gary:
I also have a question to the younger generation. How come Gary gets to take a break from his position? Now that Jack is dead, Gary is the closest tie to Jack, he was taught one on one by Jack and given this high spiritual position in the Family. How do you get a vacation from that? Can you really compare King Van and Gary? Gary was taught by the Abba and spent many years being groomed and mentored. Hell, he replaced Lou for this coveted position. King Van's daddy's family tree really can't compare. I thought Gary was supposed to keep it all going after the death of Jack. Maybe he distanced himself because with Jack's death he could be free of the scam of it all...
Gary is not taking a break from his position, he gave it up and handed it to Adam Van. Gary's position was Tzadok, High Priest. All of the "youth" who are in high positions were also groomed, their entire lives, by Jack, Gary and other leaders. Eventually all the positions of leadership will be handed over to the 2nd and 3rd generation, obviously out of necessity because of age, but also because it is the rightful positions of the youth, who are new, pure souls compared to the 1st generation. And, the "youth" were born to be in these positions when the messiah comes, according to Jack. 
Gary stepped down and handed to position to Adam as a result of a prophecy someone had that this was supposed to happen. 
Family trees only matter in the Family as it relates to the obedience and devotion of your elder family members. If your parents were inner-circle who devoted their lives and money to Jack, then you will be given a position in the hierarchy. 
Gary has not distanced himself a great deal. He is still intimately involved in the workings of the Family. He is still held in extremely high regard because he was Jack's chosen. Gary is still the unofficial leader of the Family, despite the unobtrusive and discreet role he plays. Besides, he still owns the company that employs many members.