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Born or Raised in a Cult
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: March 15, 2005 12:59AM

I have personally met with Kiri Jewell and other Davidian victims and families.

No doubt that Koresh did sexually abuse Kiri and others. He sexually expoloited underage girls in the group, some bore him children.

He was a deeply disturbed and destructive man.

Many people within the group didn't know all the details. But others did and then essentially denial became an important part of their emotional psychological life.

The Texas doctor (child psychiatrist) that examined the 21 children released during the standoff filed a report and stated that they were all abused.

Do your parents continue to deny all this?

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Born or Raised in a Cult
Posted by: Toni ()
Date: March 15, 2005 04:52AM

Was I so controlled that I didn't realize the extent to which I was being abused? Or, are people who try to tell me these things actually the ones doing the manipulation? That is the issue I constantly find myself struggling with. ........... Being raised in the group with no comparison of "norms," I probably accepted things that would otherwise be considered abuse. ........Everyone has their own experiences that they have to deal with in their own ways I suppose.

Angela :

Welcome aboard this rollar coaster of recovery. I honor your courage to speak forth your truth of your background, and ackowledging that you don't remember abuse in your background. As you state, w/o any norms around you, how could you know?

Your experience of watching your loved ones die on TV, while you sat quietly in school... that IS abusive! I am so very sorry. You probably remember with fondness the love and care of everyone taking care of one another, and helping w/ life's day to day needs. That group sweetness will never again be replicated, to my knowledge. How terrible to watch them die and be called evil, when you remembered their goodness. Yes, like you, the cult of my childhood was my dear family of loved ones.

Likewise, in my experience as a cult kid, I did not believe I'd experienced abuse. There were other kids around me who were abused... to the point of suicide.

It was decades later, long after leaving the group, that I was forced to acknowledge that I had normalized psychological abuse and manipulation as "love."

My daughter was the same age as you were, ten, when we left our group. I was 30. Like yourself, she's still dealing with issues of her childhood cult issues. We are recovering together. My parents however, are still in denial, and make their decisions based upon external 'guidance'.

It must be also painful for your parents to face what they had chosen as family lifestyle. And how painful for all to realize that by some good fortune you all were out before the disaster!

You have a valuable story to share. It may come out in bursts, or slowly over time. Hopefully you find the support and encouragement here, and elsewhere, to do so.

toni :D

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Born or Raised in a Cult
Posted by: Angela ()
Date: March 15, 2005 05:24AM

rrmoderator ~

Kiri and I are about the same age. I have watched the footage of her testimony to congress, a thousand times. I'm not her though, and I've never had the opportunity to speak to her about what happened. So really, anything I can say about her is only the speculation of another child.

That's why I generally try to speak about my own experiences, while recognizing and acknowledging that othes may have had different experiences. We all share a common lot, as the "children of mt. carmel" - this is our life, this is our past, and we all have to find ways to deal with our own personal experiences. I guess that can be extended to all "cult children." *sigh*

My parents don't really talk about any of what happened to us. They basically shut down emotionally after the events of 1993 and I don't honestly know if they've dealt with any of the issues or not. They dutifully shipped me off to psychiatrists, who either tried to convince me that I had actually repressed memories of being sexually abused by Koresh, or admitted that they didn't really know what to do with me *lol.* Eventually I found my own path in life, and it's not easy, but I'm making it.

Toni ~

Thank you for the kind words. :)

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Born or Raised in a Cult
Posted by: Toni ()
Date: March 16, 2005 02:33PM

Angela :

Your experience is YOUR experience, it does not require justification nor comparison to the experiences of anyone else from your group.

Sorry that you had such negative experiences with therapists. That only makes things more confusing. Even cult recovery therapists/ exit counselors have very little experience w/ folks raised in cults. It IS different from having been recruited. In many ways we are on our own out here. Your parents' experience will be different from yours also. Glad your parents are 'out' also, even if they still have not recovered.

Like your parents, I simply did not discuss the past w/ my children for a long time - about 15 years - only because I did not understand it myself. Only in the last two years or so, when I (finally!) had sorted through what happened to me and my upbringing, and what I'd brought them into the world with, did I start discussing all to them.

It's terrible that you've had to hold up to others' judgements about your former 'family', the abuse that when on to others, etc. Sorry that people are so judgemental. And it is a loss that society is not aware of the cult phenomenon in general. Even therapists' training lacks the education. Must have been so hard for you have such ugliness put into your face consistently, when your experience was one of tragic loss and confusion.

Without the 'in your face publicity' that you experienced, my kids got out fairly unscathed as they were young when we'd left. Turns out, that I had more 'issues' than they did as I'd been in from childhood until age 30. My youngest was just a babe when we'd left; he remembered NOthing, only knows that 'grandma & grandpa are kinda weird'. When I started telling them details, and his older sister remembering some scenarios from her early years the teenage son - high school tough football player & boy scout - grabbbed the sofa cushion over his face screaming "OH no! I was born into a cult!!!" That's how unscathed he was...

Realisticly, maybe if you found a cult exit counselor /therapist that could help. Or reading some of the books on the booklist here or on Self educating helped me a lot, and also helped to undo the further confusion created by other well intentioned but clueless "good therapists"

Glad you are in college and moving along!

You'll go far w/ your knowledge and compassion,

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Born or Raised in a Cult
Posted by: Angela ()
Date: March 17, 2005 04:47PM


Thank you for the kind words again. I'm glad that your children were largely unscathed by your family's experiences and that you have been able to talk to them about your family's past and work through it together as a family.

We as "cult kids" are pretty much on our own as you said. Even the "experts" don't really seem to know what to do with us, and for all of the information out there precious little of it deals with life after the cult for children raised in it.

I thank you for your perspective on why it took you fifteen years to share with your children. I suppose my parents probably have a lot of issues of their own to work through - and they may be working through them in their own way and just not know how to get around to talking about it.

Obviously given the tragic way that things ended at Mt. Carmel in 1993 I am glad that my parents and immediate family at least is "out." That's one of the things that makes it that much more painful, is that those who didn't get out of the group for the most part died there 4/19/93.

I've been to the shrinks & cult experts & exit counselors. They don't seem to know what to do with me because I was largely spared from the more abusive and damaging aspects typically experience by "cult kids." They all seemed to want to focus on issues of physical and sexual abuse, feelings of inadequecy, isolation, fear, etc. and I realize that is what their textbooks tell them are the kinds of issues that "cult kids" need to deal with.

I also realized long ago that getting any kind of decent, non-judgemental, productive counseling would be about impossible because if what I say, the issues I have to deal with, etc. don't match the pre-concieved notions about the Davidians, the therapist decides that I'm repressing memories or in denial. They just couldn't accept that the kinds of horrific abuse that they heard about on the news did not happen to em. I realize in that respect I was one of the lucky ones but it sure does make things complicated now days.

The biggest thing I have difficulty dealing with is the death of so many people that meant so much to me. You summed it up pretty well when you said that my experience was more one of tragic loss and confusion, than one of abuse and other typical cult issues.

Anyway it's getting late and I'm starting to lose my traint of thought LOL. But I wanted to go ahead and respond to you and thank you for your continued kind words.

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Born or Raised in a Cult
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: March 17, 2005 09:26PM

I am very sorry for your loss and to hear about all that you have been through and endured.

Sounds like you may have had some pretty confusing counseling.

For example, "repressing memories" has become quite a controversial claim/diagnosis and many therapists that believe or treat patients based upon this premise have been sued and/or lost their license to practice.

See []

You might find Wellspring Retreat helpful.

See []

They are a licensed mental health facility with 18 years of experience.

Wellspring provided counseling and care for one Waco Davidian survivor shortly after the fire.

Wellspring has a "Victims Assistance Fund" to cover some care for those in need.

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Born or Raised in a Cult
Posted by: Angela ()
Date: April 02, 2005 09:12AM

Thanks rrmoderator. I am aware of the controversy surrounding "repressed memories" and the things that have happened to innocent families because of the allegations made by grown children who allowed themselves to be hypnotized by a therapist who then abused the situation. IMHO these therapists are no better than any other "cult leader" and what they are doing is the exact same thing - and perhaps worse in many ways - than what typical "cult leaders" do in influencing and controlling another person. Abusive therapists have tools that "cults" don't, as well - legal access to powerful mind-altering drugs, and the credentials to convince you to fill your body with them, and then allow the therapist to place you in highly suggestive states of mind, alone, with no way for you to know what did or did not transpire later, except the therapists' word.

The moral lesson? Your mind is yours, and yours alone. Never let anyone else have an opportunity to control it. I believe some memories can be "repressed" to an extent... but I do not believe that using drugs, hypnosis, and suggestsion is a responsible way to counsel patients.

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Born or Raised in a Cult
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 02, 2005 10:11AM

'Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology' by Lilienfedl, Lynn and Lohr is up-to-date and has a chapter on repressed memories, and describes how to tell the difference between therapeutic modalities that are being properly used and when they are being used in ways that are irresponsible and not supported by scientific testing.

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Born or Raised in a Cult
Posted by: Blue ()
Date: April 06, 2005 12:53PM

I'm sure that in many cases there has been abuse by therapists.However. my memories were repressed and are coming back in the last 4 months with the help of different therapy's including hypnosis. I have verified some of these accounts with those who were there. Not false memories. Real ones. Please don't always assume memory retrieval is an impossibilty. I think I forgot these evnts to protect myself.

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Born or Raised in a Cult
Posted by: Toni ()
Date: May 27, 2005 08:56AM

general notice FYI

A researcher named Marci Hamilton is trying to
bring the problem of cult child abuse to public attention in the U.S. Congress.

She needs one page statements from people who were sexually abused in cults. If you would like more information, or if you would like to contribute a one-page story, please contact her.

She is working under a deadline, so please give your attention to this
matter if you wish to participate.
Her letter is copied below.

Re: children of cults
Thu, 26 May 2005 09:16:30 EDT

I am assisting survivors of religious childhood sexual abuse in putting
together summaries of a number of stories for the purpose of prompting Congress to hold hearings and take legislative action.

Would it be possible for you to send me one-page stories for any of the victims you know who would be willing to contribute?
They can be supplied anonymously or with their name.
We need to get this together by the end of next week.


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