Thursday, November 13, 2014

More of the Same

An obvious factor in the "cult" status of Jack Hickman's group is the lack of information a person can find about it's current activities, accounting and membership.
The group has non-profit status for it's various "organizations", yet there is no accountability within these organizations. They are run by the cult, albeit by different members in different areas of the country. None of these organizations admit any ties whatsoever to Jack or his cult, or even to other members or businesses. But they are all connected, all part of the web of the Family.

The only organization that publicly shows some of their names and faces is UMI. Of course, no cult connection is obvious unless you are aware of "who's who" of the group. I will point out some of the connections in this post.

First, though, here is a link to UMI's YouTube channel where you can get a small glimpse of who is involved, and the philosophy behind the groups meditation practices:
UMI Youtube channel

As you can see from the website and the videos created by UMI, it is headed by Emmanuel Sam. and Robert Tar.  Both of these men are elders in the family, as well as clan heads.They are a part of the Colorado group. They often travel around to different family areas for meditation "roundings" or classes.
Some people may take issue with my exposing certain identities and connections, but I will not use full names, only abbreviations. If you have your own knowledge of the group, you will know who I am talking about. If not, you won't, and it shouldn't matter. I want to point out how intertwined the different clans and families have become in one generation. Also, it illustrates that the leadership has not really changed at all. The same names make up the hierarchy now as they did then.

Emmanuel S has several children. His youngest daughter Ket married Kat, the eldest son of Philip R.
Kat is a priest (A captain, I believe), and Ket is now an Elder. They have at least 4 children and live in Maine near Philip.
Robert Tar has a bunch of daughters. One of them, Tamar, is married to Adam Van- High Priest and brother of the King. They also have a few kids and live in Maine near the rest of the Vans.
What about another prince, Richie? Richie has 3 daughters and a son. His eldest daughter Rachel is married to a priest, David Jo. They have children and live in Maine. David Jo. comes from a large family of 6 children. His mother is Suzanne Jo, who is an Elder. Several work at Parsifal, or at the school.

How about Gary? We all know that he married Lynn Gat. Her father became clan head, taking the place of someone else who was in line for the position. Her brother committed suicide a couple years ago. They live in Maine, have a child and run Parsifal.

Another Elder who has been around from the beginning is Bob Fin. He and his wife Sylvia have 4 children. Their eldest daughter Abi is married to Mike Van, the King. Jack really encouraged this union when he was still alive, and they were married at on of the big Family retreats in Estes Park, Co. They have 3 or 4 children and live in Maine. Mike is the CEO of Parsifal.
Bob Fin's son Obed is the Ephraim, or 2nd King of the Family. He is married to the daughter of another prominent family, the Botts. They have children and live in Maine.
Bob's other son is married to the sister of Obed's wife, B. Bott. They have children and live in NH.
There is one other Bott child, a son. He is married to the youngest daughter of Don Smestad, one of the original Lutheran pastors. They have several children and live in NH.

Don S has several children who married within the Family and serve in prominent roles. His eldest daughter married Vinnie Cos, an Elder. His son, Tim, married outside, but his wife is a full and active member of the family. They have around 6 children and live on the Corinna complex in Maine.
Vinnie Cos and his wife have several daughters. The eldest 2 are married to Van men. Of course, they all live in Maine with their children.
Another Elder from Colorado, Dimar has about 4 children. His eldest daughter married David de, son of George de. They have a bunch of kids. His next daughter married one of Emmanuel's sons. Dimar's son, who is a priest captain married Sara G, the daughter of a Maine clan head Steve. Sara is also the "Miriam" of her super-clan, which is basically equivalent to the High Priest. They have children and live in Maine.
Surprisingly, almost all of the Hicks kids married outside, and brought their spouses in to be "finally adopted". Almost all of them live up with the rest of the Corinna folks with their families.
I know, it gets confusing. I need a chart to keep it together myself. This is just a small example of the interlacing of families and leadership roles from the top of my head. There are so many more- I could go on for pages, but you probably get the idea. I suppose a previous commenter was right, at this point, so many people are related in one way or another. Before the 3rd generation start marrying each other, I hope somebody figures out who is cousins with who, and so forth.

I don't believe any "normal" or mainstream churches or communities have the level of intermarriage as this group does. I do think of groups such as the FLDS, the Amish, and some ultra-Orthodox Jewish Sects. The only difference is this group hides their identities and their beliefs in order to blend in with everyone else.

The communities that are not in Maine or Colorado seem to be dwindling. People are either moving to Maine, ageing, or have left. Most of the NH group has relocated to Maine, to the Corinna and Albion areas. The upstate NY group is dying out, I think. They are elderly or have left. There is a smattering of people in other places, like Florida and N Carolina, but not very many.

The idea Jack put forth was that the 2nd generation would be more entrenched and dedicated to the family because they were brought up in it. The 3rd generation would be even more so. Less and less prior baggage to unlearn, and all that. That is why we weren't supposed to be accepted by the "bigger" Family until the 3rd generation. The 1st generation was only partially successful in bringing their children up to be faithful Family members, but the dedicated 2nd generation has been very successful. That's just my opinion, and it remains to be seen, but the children of these marraiges have a lot to overcome in order to be independent of the Family. A lot of youth may have slipped away, but the ones who actively stayed are even more dedicated than their parents. Marraige between members creates a perfect environment for raising future clanheads, elders and prophets. It keeps the Davidic and Priestly lines pure. It also makes it much more difficult and complicated for one spouse to leave if they begin having doubts.

PS- Please don't use full names of members in the comments, unless they are already identified publicly.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Nothing Too New

I recently obtained a set of notes from 2003. They are dated in May of that year, so I believe they may be from a retreat. Retreats usually occur/ed in May during Memorial day weekend and/or during December  around Christmas. I think this retreat would have been in Colorado, but I am unsure. Either way, it was interesting, as the first page of notes deals with Family business; essentially the structure/hierarchy and how it will stand after Abba is gone. Jack was in poor health at the time and died not long after, so this was quite relevant. The rest of the notes go into the typical Family spiritual nonsense so I am not going to go into it right now, beyond the first paragraph.

First, a little note on some of the terms/Family structure for those who are unfamiliar:

There is a priest from each Mish. They are not in the Davidic line, but the Priestly line, and are consecrated as such. Among the priests, there are Captains, and at the top, the High Priest. That High Priest was Gary C at the time.
Each of the 3 Families also has a Davidic line for the males and females. The first 2 names in the male Davidic line are David and Joseph. So, each Family has someone who is consecrated as a David and a Joseph. These are actual positions in the hierarchy (only males get a position attached to their consecrated names. Women just get a name. Probably just to keep us happy. But I digress...).  The "David", like King David, is in position to be king, however, only one David can be active at a time. The same applies to each position. The reason Mike V became the active king is because he was in the position of "David" for his superclan. His father was the "Superclan Head". 
The "David" of each Superclan, or family, is the eldest son of the Prince who heads that Superclan. If the eldest son is a priest, then it goes to the next son. 
The 3 princes who head the 3 Superclans are Phil R, Robert Van and Richie W. So the Davids in line to be king are Avi R (his older brother Katriel is a priest), Mike Van and Jeremy W. -


Back to the notes:
"when Abba is gone, the High Priest remains High Priest (Gary) and the eldest King remains King-aka the "melachim kadot" (Michael). These positions are until death. Their responsibility (among other things) is to keep the clans and superclans intact.
The position of Joseph (aka "the Ephraim") the 2nd King, also remains until death. This position is held by Obed F.
"The priests will not disintegrate. They are capable enough to do anything. Gary will take Abba's place in the Family"

Funny, I don't remember hearing that Gary would take Abba's place in the Family. He did, but I thought it was just by default- because he was Abba's right-hand-man, and everyone just treated him that way after Jack died. Obviously, I was wrong. It was the plan all along. I suppose I should have paid attention more, like my parents always told me to!

As we know, he stepped down as High Priest after the prophecies began a few years ago, and it was passed to Adam V, the King's brother. Gary's position in the Family hasn't changed, though, as far as taking Jack's place. He is still THE man. Even so, most major decisions are left to Mike.
Gary has never officially become the next "Abba", apparently, the Family is Abba-less right now until a new one is chosen. Of course, the procedure for that is that the next Abba will be visited by his Maggid, or teacher, and told that he is to be the next Abba. Three other important men in the Family will all have the same dream or vision at the same time, and will be told a time and place to meet, and who the next Abba is. Or something like that.

So, what is the state of the Family right now in 2014?

First, there is a lot less information going around. There has been quite an effort, since the blogs appeared, to keep info off the Internet. Very little is emailed anymore. Schedules of events are word-of-mouth only, or printed strictly for the clan heads to share with their mish members.

I am fairly certain that the people who are going to leave have left, and those that remain will be here until the end. It was a self-fulfilling prophesy that the group would be pared down to only the most righteous. The fanatics, as Jack always said we were to become. And as a whole, that group is much smaller than before. But also much more focused and fanatical.
I want to say that the group is also aging, and it is, but there are still a lot of children being born and raised in these core families. The college-age youth seem to be slipping away, as was bound to happen, as they go away for school and meet new people. As a result, some of the groups have tried restricting the youth's choices of schools and careers. The healthier families still encourage and support their children to make their own decisions, and these youth have participated less and less in Family things.

There was a youth retreat this past May in Maine. From what I understand, it was poorly attended compared to the other retreats of the last decade. The new generation of priests are floundering as they attempt to teach and inspire the new youth. In the past, it was Abba, or the recent memory of Abba that kept things going. Most of the kids now have very distant memories of Jack, if any at all.
The leadership has tried to compensate for this by pulling out all of the old videos of Jack speaking and replaying them for the youth, and anyone else who will listen, for that matter.

Sometimes I get just a little bit of a hopeful feeling, and I think, maybe it will just fade into nothing as the older generation gets even older... one can always hope, right?

Yet, from a different perspective, there is a lot happening. People are being "called" to do different things, like move, or live with specific people, or alter projects. Corinna is the center now, for all intents and purposes. It is where the King resides, which is where the "home" of the Family is.
The school in Corinna, which has operated for more than 10 years now, continues to grow. They have outgrown the school building, and moved the younger grades to the "barn" across the street. The school used to go up to the 6th grade. Now you can remain for your junior high years for more intense education.  There is still "Torah Time" weekly for all of the Family children, and due to some issues with proximity to the central location, there are new "Torah Time" groups in other areas. There is also preschool for the 3 and 4-year-olds.

Work continues on the camps "up north". Despite some chatter I have read on different boards, nobody actually lives up in any of these compounds full-time. people will often stay there for weeks at a time for the purpose of working on them, but that is all. While it has never been said or announced, common speculation is that when the time comes, the children of the Family will be sent there to survive, along with some of the older youth who have special positions, or to take care of the youngsters. You won't find that written anywhere, though.
Somebody asked what is going on in Acton Maine. I honestly have no idea. I have not heard of anything in that area. If I do come across any information I will be happy to share.

Another poster mentioned that there are separate ministries consisting of people who claim to have left, but didn't. I don't believe that is the case. Most people who left really did just leave. There are lots of former members who maintain contact with current members through Facebook, but Facebook is not indicative of any sort of relationship beyond Facebook.  I don't think it means much of anything. The only exception is the Colorado group that consists of members who broke contact with the Main group because of issues with the prophecies and ripples in leadership. These people have not left however, and still consider themselves Abensurs. It is a small group, I believe. I am only guessing, but from what I can tell by my own observation is that it includes people such as Jim Weg and family, the Kevin M family, the Frieds, the Leos, maybe. For all I know, it could be resolved by now.

Speaking of Colorado, UMI has grown quite a bit recently. They have expanded by building new meditation and residence halls. They have planned a dedication event this winter which I believe is open to the public.

Basically, they are all still plugging along. I still believe, strongly, that things will not end well for most of this cult, especially as time goes on, and world events are perceived as proof of prophecies fulfilled. For them, we are on the brink of the End Times, whether or not that is reality. I hope I am wrong.