Hi. That is a good question. While we were never told we couldn't leave, we were told on a regular basis that to leave would be a sin and that we would go to hell. To leave would be the equivalent of saying Stair was wrong, that you don't agree with him. So, we were threatened. Since we gave everything we had, money-wise, we had none. Stair did give us money to leave with and a moving van that someone had brought with them. Some may think that his giving us money to leave shows how generous he was, but you must understand that he had received lots of money, I personally saw the check for over 2 million and money was constantly coming in. So, to give us a couple thousand to move out isn't much. When you give everything and cut your family ties, where do you go with your family after 6 years? It was the least he could have done.
After it became obvious that Stair would not take responsibility for his actions, for it was made known, though most everyone knew what was going on to begin with, it was known that he was misusing his "authority" and having his way with several women and young girls as many as 5 and persuing others, myself amoung them. He lied and said that the women all had lustful spirits and that "god" told him to do what he did in order for the women to get the lust out? Make any sense to you? Right, it didn't to us either. Anyway, my husband and I both knew that he would never come clean and my husband told him that we were leaving. We just couldn't stay there any longer. So, we left.
Now, there have been many through the years who've lived there that weren't able to face Stair and the congregation and have left during the night. We would wake and go through our routine and at breakfast, we all ate together, it would be noted that someone or ones weren't there. They just didn't have it in themselves to tell him and everyone, face to face, that they wanted to leave. A lot of times, especially during the first couple of years there, I and others, never knew the reasons why people left. There was so much fear there, fear that Stair instilled. People were being abused and clearly he was in the wrong, but they would leave quietly while Stair lied about them accusing them of various things. He would often tell us that "God" had told him that he (God) was going to kill someone in his (Stair's ) presence and not many wanted to test that one out. We believed he was a prophet of God and he preached a good word, but he basically uses the Word of God as bait, to lure people in, then he watched to see who he could manipulate. Fortunately, my husband was not (is not) a man easily manipulated.
Somewhat recovered? I don't know that anyone ever is the same after something like that, but I would say that I've recovered fully, in that I maintain a life of service to Jesus Christ and daily press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. You choose what you will do with any experiences you have, they either make or break you. I would say that the most helpful thing to me was staying in the Bible and staying in touch with others who've been through the same ordeal. We've got lots of friends who've come out of that community that we keep in touch with. We compared notes and reasurred each other that yes, this is what is going on and no, it is not right. Another thing Stair didn't want was us talking amoung ourselves for he knew he was the topic of conversation and to discuss his actions amoung ourselves would eventually be the end of his reign of terror.
To some, what I write may seem way out there, but this is the way it was and is.
Thanks for sharing the warning about this group. You sound like you have recovered somewhat from the abusive experience. How did you manage to extract yourself from the situation and what was the most helpful to you in your recovery?