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Getting Out : Leaving

Wishing I had done more in 1970.....

from nengaku - Wednesday, September 06, 2006
accessed 1725 times

My story as a run-away in 1970 at the Farmington Texas Boot Camp.

I was just surfing the net last night and was absolutely HORRIFIED to see that COG still exists! Why haven't I heard about it in the media all these years?

My COG story is a short one. I went to the Farmington, Texas "Boot Camp" in September, 1970 (I THINK that was the year anyway) after getting a letter from a buddy of mine, BobCat, whom I had met in Chicago and then again in New Mexico. He said he had joined the Children of God and that life was wonderful and I should come and join him! I was a Jesus Freak at the time so it fit right in with my agenda.

I hitchhiked from Indiana anxious to see BobCat again - arrived in the middle of the night and was amazed to arrive at this lonely lighted gate of an obviously very large compound surrounded by barb-wire (and I think there was even rolled concetina wire on the top like a prison! - and later I would see armed guards patroling the perimeter on motorcycles "to keep out the crazy cowboys" but obviously to keep us in.....).

I talked my way into the place and learned immediately that, of course, everybody had a different name so nobody had any idea who BobCat was. Then I was stuck there. Have never seen BobCat again and always wondered what happened to him - he was so kind to me when I was a run-away lost in the city....

They made me call my parents and get "permission" to be there (I was 16 years old) then set about my training. I remember I had a list of bible verses I had to memorize before I could take a shower (never did get that shower). We were told we were in God's army - that a war was going to happen and that we had to train for that eventuality. It's been so long ago - but I remember the extremely rustic lodgings - dirt floor, no electricity,- the rotten food (rice with maggots in it), the smell of decaying vegetables, praying, praying, praying, speaking in tongues, some actually pretty good music, long long hours of lectures, classes, late late nights of lectures, singing, praising the lord and "Moses David" of course......

I had only been there a week or so and one day some reporters came to do a story. As we were new recruits and not adequately trained to deal with outsiders we were to stay in our room and study our verses and have no contact with the reporters. From my bunk I could see the reporter's car. I pretended to be studying my bible and when the reporters started walking towards the car to leave I reached behind me and secretly stuffed my few belongings into my bag and suddenly jumped up and ran out the door and jumped in the reporter's car. I hoped nobody would make a scene with the reporters there but I worried that the armed guards would open fire. People were running along beside the car trying to talk me into getting out and staying. I remember one of them told me that God would strike me down with a lightning bolt as soon as I got outside the gate and I actually worried that it could be true! I begged the reporters to just get me out of there as quickly as possible. We got out the gate and I wasn't struck dead! I don't remember much after that except I think the reporters took me to some investigator of some kind, maybe the county sheriff?, and I was asked questions like did I know anything about some deaths that had occurred there - I think a body had been "found" in a pond on the property. Of course I knew nothing about that. I hitchhiked back to Indiana to my family and tried to put it all behind me.

Never heard of the COG again and assumed they had faded away. I remember, while I was there, there was talk of moving everybody to Europe -they had just bought a couple of planes! I wasn't sure if I believed that - if they couldn't even buy non-maggoty rice how could they afford planes? But they said there was too much "negativity" in the United States so were looking into leaving.

Now - all these years later -to learn that they not only survived but MULTIPLIED ALL OVER THE WORLD! And then to read of the horrible horrible abuse that you all have had to live with...... It is too depressing to contemplate! (In fact I had to take a day off my volunteer work today because I was up all night long reading your stories and then was too depressed to work today). Anyway - I wanted to tell all of you that I am SO SORRY that I didn't do more to put an end to things way back then. I don't know what I could have done - but SOMETHING should have been done! (After I left I felt quite certain that if I had not left that day I would probably have spent the rest of my life with them.)

And, of course, I am SO THANKFUL I got out when I did! Also - If anybody has any idea what ever happend to BobCat (from Goldstar Commune, Arroyo Seco, New Mexico). He would be about 55 or so now. Would love to hear from him. Hoping he had the presence of mind to escape like I did!

Reader's comments on this article

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from Ex-member
Friday, September 08, 2006 - 14:18


Holy Fuck! That's crazy but I can totally believe it...I remember hearing about the rednecks...they probably didn't give a rats ass about the hippies. Ggrowing up, I remember imagining Texas as this vast, wasteland with dry cracked earth everywhere and tumbleweed blowing around and "rednecks" riding around firing off six shooters for fun...It's funny now that I live here, hadn't thought of that image in so long....

You shouldn't feel did the right thing for you by leaving, which is all many of us were able to do. The ones who should have done more for us...well, no need to get into that old thread again
(reply to this comment)

from Rain Child
Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 21:33

I remember my Dad telling me about his old TSC days, when they had to take turns on guard duty to keep out the rednecks. This sounds pretty right on, but I had no idea members weren't allowed to leave! And no, they never did get the planes. They had to fly commercial just like everyone else. Don't beat yourself up about it, you couldn't have stopped it. It was the first real 70s Jesus Movement (I think) and the world just didn't have much cult experience yet. At lest you had the brains to get out. Good for you.
(reply to this comment)
From Rain Child
Friday, September 08, 2006, 16:06

Come to think of it, I don't think it was TSC my dad was at, but some other ranch-colony. Does anyone know of another colony where they had guard patrol? Most of my dad's stories from there sound a lot like the ones from TSC, especially about having nothing to eat but stale bread & black coffee, and they seemed to have the "tribes" and the book-binding/printing as well as coffee-cup making & music-recording set-up. I'll ask him where it was.(reply to this comment
From lisa
Saturday, September 09, 2006, 03:01

He was up in the Mountains possibly Virginia? Somewhere cold,but yes with armed guards. There was a photo in one of those books the yellow one I think.(reply to this comment
From vixen
Friday, September 08, 2006, 02:36


Yeah, when I first found out that people were forcibly held against their will, I was shocked too - We were always given the old '10:36ers' spin on things, when in reality the cult was quite clearly dabbling, even in the early 'idealistic' days, in criminal practices with young folks quite routinely being kept from having any contact with their families, even sometimes in the case of minors. My tutor told me that there was a big drama with one of his friends who was held captive at a COG colony somewhere in Wales, years ago.

(reply to this comment

from Phoenixkidd
Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 10:30


Nengaku, a 2nd gen ex-cultie here.

I remember hearing alot about TSC when I was in the cult, they glorified it as a great place to learn the word of God, and if you were an original member that was there during TSC, you were revered as some kind of spiritual "giant". Anyways, I remember hearing about a death, firsthand from a guy that was there, he said they went to swim across a pond, and when they got to the other side, a black guy that was with them went missing. They later retrieved his body from the bottom of the pond,--an accident they said. I honestly don't think there was any foul play involved, they would tell us this story to remind us to always go two by two as the bible says. It's good to hear from you, and yes that cult still exists.
(reply to this comment)

from weegirlie
Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 06:41


No offence meant, but are you sure that was the same COG? Of all the many, many stories I've endured of "the good old days" I never recall any of them involving armed guards or ownership of planes.
(reply to this comment)

From Nick
Thursday, September 07, 2006, 14:45

TSC deff had guards. And they used to parole on motorcycles until Abner Crashed at TSC and they banned the use of them.

I also heard that story about the dude drowning, but as far as I know it was an accident.

The airplane thing sounds like hearsay.
(reply to this comment
From Albatross
Thursday, September 07, 2006, 07:26

tSC had guards(reply to this comment
From Kitten
Thursday, September 07, 2006, 06:47


As far as I'm aware, there were armed guards at TSC. The planes, well, that might have just been hearsay. I'd say there's a good chance it was the COG.

(reply to this comment

From weegirlie
Thursday, September 07, 2006, 08:53


Well hey, it could be my memory is finally slipping away. Actually that's cause for celebration. :D(reply to this comment

From loch
Thursday, September 07, 2006, 10:26

I do remember the story of armed guards to scare off the "crazy cowboys" who would come around to poke fun at the hippies and cause a "ruckus".At the TSC Ranch. I also recall seeing a documentary made about the COG at the TSC. It was considered favorable.(reply to this comment
From Jedran
Tuesday, September 19, 2006, 01:39

I think the documentary was by a TV program named First Tuesday but I can't remember the name of it. It used to go around on the circuit with some mime movie called "The Parable" if anyone remembers.(reply to this comment
From Rain Child
Tuesday, September 19, 2006, 05:11

The video I remember with "The Parable" on it was on a tape with the Fred Jordan story. Now that's an old, old memory.(reply to this comment
From weegirlie
Friday, September 08, 2006, 01:55

Now that I think about it, perhaps with a British mum I wasn't subjected to as many of the stories from an American viewpoint of things.(reply to this comment
From afflick
Thursday, September 07, 2006, 12:08


The documentary was called First Tuesday, I think.(reply to this comment

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