Date: July 26, 2005 06:57PM
I've tried to write this several times and failed. The 'cult' that my parents were in, and I grew up in, seems so mild when compared to some of the other stories read here.
As children we were not forced into religious practices or certain ways of thinking. In fact we were taught to think for ourselves. Although there was a general unsaid opinion that the 'outside world' was inhabited by ignorant and stupid people, and that we were more gifted and intelligent than they.
As children we were pretty much the light of the community and were barely aware of what our parents got up to.
As far as I can gather this consisted mostly of a hierarchy where members competed to be closer to The Boss. The Boss would often pick on one individual and battle them mirthlessly until they admitted some fault. In the minds of the members this was all part of trying to become a better person by facing your faults. This was often done in front of other members creating a rather humiliating and angry experience. They never knew when the attack might come. Members were also encouraged to read certain books, watch certain movies etc. If you didn't like it you were considered inferior for not understanding its meaning. If you did not conform with other members you were considered an outsider. The Boss ousted many people from the group for diagreeing with him.
He arranged several marriages within the community like my parents. However when I was about 9 he decided that my parents shouldn't be together anymore but that my Mum should be with another man. My mum and this man were attracted to each other but would never have considered getting together if The Boss hadn't ordered them to. So my parents divorced and my dad went with another woman that The Boss reccomended.
The Boss was very seceretive and as children we only knew him as some distant frightening figure.
He only became more visible in my life when the group had diminished so much that he decided to draw us together. So we went to move in the same house as him. As children we were told to be quiet and stay out of his way. We barely saw him except the odd occassion. He was always on his office 'working' whatever that may be.
However things really came to when he started trying to separate my step father and my mother. My mum was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the situation but didn't dare leave because of her husband who she loved. She was not getting on with The Boss and this was creating a strain between her and her husband. Finally The Boss told her she had to leave. My step-father refused to go with her.
So my Mum lost her job (she worked for The Boss's business consultancy businnes), her friends (they were not allowed to talk or have contact with her) and her husband.
She has now found a new partner and managed to leave the past behind but it was very hard for her and for us having to see her go through so much pain.
My dad is still with The Boss and although The Boss allows us to visit he won't allow other people to visit like my step-father's children. I am very good friends with my step-sister and she is very angry with The Boss for taking her father away and not allowing her to see him where he lives.
My feelings towards The Boss are confused. When we left I was very angry with him and hated him a lot. But when I went to visit my dad and saw him, I remember thinking:
"He's just a man. How could he have so much control over people when he is just a man."
He hurt many people who had already left. He is like a shadow over many people. When we see other people from the group there is a bond because we were all there, but a reluctance to speak about anything that had happened. Everyone that has left has tried to bury him.
I wish I could bury him to but because my dad is still there I never will.
The Boss never recruited anyone. Everyone joined of their own free will and could leave of their own free will though it meant losing all contact with the others.
It is hard because it seems like there is so much more that I want to say. But I guess this is all I can say at the present.