There are certainly some devastating facts, and as far as I am concerned, you can't read the Newsday article through and still believe. It's clear as day that Hickman lied about his grandfather, and that he admitted to having a relationship with a young boy. How does one accept these things and still trust the man as a "prophet"?
I've heard people within mention the fact that an article was released in Newsday, and that it was a bunch of doubters and naysayers and... well, they didn't read it because they had no interest in such things. Had they actually read it, they may have avoided wasting the better half of their lives. (Wasting is a relative term, as some people within it say even if it's all a sham, they feel a better person for it, and value their experiences).
I have talked to several people who refuse to discuss the Newsday article. They've been told by their parents that it was lie and they choose to ignore it.
So much of what was in it is true. I have questioned a few older cult members and they admit that many of the things in it happened. Many fall back on the Jonathan and David argument.
I wonder what the fallout will be when everything falls apart once and for all. It will happen within the next five years I think. For me it is difficult keeping up the image of being a true believer all the time. When I have dinner with other cult members or go to meetings it is hard not to stand up and just start pointing out the lies.
Emotionally knowing I spent so many years dedicated to lies is very hard.
I think that the psychological abuse that goes on in this cult has caused most of the youth to drink heavily and use drugs to deal with the pain. The drinking and drug use is widespread and kept hidden.