My eldest son remembers, me being yelled at (LOL I can’t remember being personally shouted at, me? ne’er, I only remember the leader shouting from the front at everybody). My son wondered why I bothered listening to a delusional fruit farmer / religious zealot / cult leader, but looking back he remembers I used to like the singing. Well there was a bit of dancing too son, but no matter. For he remembers learning to ride a bike, picking blackcurrants and eating cheese rolls on a hot day whilst swinging sunburnt legs in the cool breeze from the back of a tractor, surrounded by nutters. Geez! Even back then he knew it was crazy. Thankfully I was a round peg and the cult only had square holes. My son worried about me a lot whilst he thought I was stuck there, he felt it took a while for life to get better after we left, but it did. For quite a while, I did keep a little of the brainwashing shite rattling around in the cul-de-sac parts of my brain and hours of training to be an idiot takes time to shake off.
Oh yes, this UK based cult church was a far cry from the worthy aims it portrayed. With all the happy clappy, romantically portrayed back story and the open sharing. Truth be told it was an old rogue from the pulpit surrounded by drilled thug “Brothers” and abuse going on in the houses. I reckon the old guy had delusions of prophet. He walked around in old clothes with holes in, that he wouldn’t allow to be mended (false humility) and was totally free from doing anything useful. During the hours and hours long sermons, he look like he was going to bust a blood vessel over his sweat splattered front row. With those hours and hours (where mothers could come and go with their kids, but single people just had to bear it out) came preaching of the same ol’ same ol’, along the lines of: “You’re all shit and worthless, don’t fall asleep or you will go straight to hell, you really are shit, stand up if you think you will fall asleep brother and you’re a worthless sinner and now you’re all saved, so on your way to do better and get more people in or you are going to be in even worse shit the next time I see you! Go in peace, you’re job is to Fill Up Empty Living spaces and work hard to keep this utopia going”. Thankfully I never became a full community house member and we only visited community houses, so there’s a mercy! For at one point I heard tell, that the serial murderer Peter Sutcliffe actually stole a car from one of them houses called Honeycomb (not far from where we would stay) and later dumped the car with one of his victims in it!
Anyways, not being fully in it, it didn’t stop me from arguing against things openly. Like the disgusting gestation crates for sows in the farm. i could see with my own eyes the suffering and said how it was bloody cruel for the poor animals. So I got lectured at about how animals do not have souls, and even though I was immature and often foolish, I never give up my point of view on that. I later heard there was a fire, they didn’t try to save the pigs and all burned to death in that hell hole! I was a very immature young parent, but hated how other people’s really small children were taken to one side to be bullied by their oh so clever “righteous” parents. All the children were so undervalued. Some were put at risk from abuser in community houses, where kind and joyful parents were unsupported compared to the dictators. Pressure, pressure, pressure… No sugar in tea, no coffee, no icing sugar and birthday cakes (so we used milk power and syrup) and the list is massive of manmade rules. Sometimes when I went there without the kids, there was fun to be had with all that “righteousness” pomp by giving out immature and stupid “Disciplines”. Taking the piss out of the religious clap trap and being an arse towards those that thought themselves to be superior can be fun. People believed it all and yet I questioned everything and got dangerously annoying. Sadly, I once saw an elderly women get shouted at in walk-in pantries by a really young know~it~all “Elder” for what seemed like an age and for what? No idea because I was bellowed at to leave as soon I opened the door, but I wouldn’t have if the woman hadn’t nodded in agreement with the shite. Gentle souls when happy, were undermined often by whispers on passing. Oh and I daydreamed into space once, only to be accused of looking at someone in a lustful way (in their dreams mate) and that was evil apparently. To always be questioning, you got sent packing or legged it or maybe worse and I smelt real danger towards the end before I totally left.
About others that left, for a while I wondered about the lives of some of those beloved~round~pegs I left behind in that cult and it bothered me. I once got a letter from one who had left, but I didn’t get in contact through fear of being roped in to that new thing they’d got themselves into. Did those I left behind though measure up ever to [Always being weighed and always found wanting] to the religious square-holes they where letting themselves be hammered into? Over the years my self preservation and the safety of my family, prevented me from being too openly curious (it’s a cult, go figure… dogs might have been send to bring in the “lost” sheep perhaps). Talking of dogs, beloved pets were to be discarded before their owners were allowed to join into a community house. Hence of course I took on a young couple’s dog, for I was in the privileged position of still living in my own home. I now realise that kept my kids safe from assault! Anyways, I still wonder about the gentle first family I met as a little child before it all began. I wonder about my “Sisters” and “Brothers” I loved through my teens and the ones I met later as an adult. Oh but the façade people, the bloody façade. It was all peace, love, understanding, flowing skirts, singing, dancing, cooking together, sharing and love in community. As a child, as a teen, as an innocent young person I didn’t get to see the hell it covered over and now I’m so much older and wiser. Others who have left, have openly said they think members actually topped themselves and maybe they did? Some wonder if an accident / an open verdict of their loved one wasn’t actually a murder. There were some weird deaths in the fellowship and I’ve heard of deaths of those who had left too, which really spooked me into keeping my eyes open to what and more over who is around me!
Near the final turning point, for me I recall seeing several “Brothers” holding a bloke face down as he screamed and them spouting some “casting out” shite. I thought I best ask this leader a few questions and as I walk up towards him to talk, he was suddenly surrounded by “Brothers” and swept away. Oh and another thing that happened just before we left, I recall after the leader had finished his spouting and he saw the tape recording being turned off, then and only then, he bellowing out about burning scrolls [Going To Hell] above the heads of anyone who leaves the fellowship covenant. Yeah, well son, I never believed that nasty shite from a [God is Love] any day of the year and it was just under a year we stayed around prior to that stupid man’s megalomaniac spouty moment. My promise is to the gentle souls to love them and I do. The self appointed spokesman for god, that bloke that said that bollocks died in 2009. To be honest I get the feeling that not only was he bonkers, but that he may have been intoxicated at times (by his own hand or others) and was perhaps just a puppet. I love that my son typed this about it: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7/15-16) (If you need a bigger clue the fruit was blackcurrant).
Conclusion I’ve learnt that you only sniff out and get a small glimpse, but ultimately catch a full eyeful of the worst of the shit when you turn over your shoe where shite lurks to slip you up! Once you do open your eyes, allowing yourself to witness the truth hiding underneath that’s at least the start. For behind the curtain you will see the wizard of Oz turning the handles, killing hope and life, then you’ll pray to whatever you hold dear, that you have the balls to say it’s not right and in the case of a cult, to leave! How awful for those that didn’t made it past the initial inquisitiveness. I don’t just mean those that stayed, but include those that got abused or actually died there due to the religious zeal. I’m convinced that combined with undiagnosed and untreated mental illness, some vulnerable people topped themselves there! We as a little single parent family made it out, because I wasn’t the right shape peg and refused myself or my kids to be totally hammered! As of the late spring 2019 that “Church” voted to revoke its constitution (only once the illegal shite came in the light and people got convicted of crimes) and that’s it’s end? Unfortunately most of us thoughtful and knowledgeable folk, will have experienced and know all about big smelly abuse of power) shite, for what it is: “If it’s big and won’t drown, it’s hard to flush down!” Therefore I might need to talk more about this, maybe?
For those gentle souls who are part of the fallout, you’ll be alright, you’re over the worst and with your uniqueness and precious life ahead of you, go at your own pace beloveds in peace. For you are a child of the universe, this is a kind and wonderfully friendly place once you get used to checking out and questioning all the negative perceptions thrown at us to make us stumble.