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Getting Out : Generations

Why people join today

from excat - Saturday, June 05, 2004
accessed 1454 times

A former "catacomber's" experience

As someone who almost joined about 10 years ago (I was a “cat” until my parents banned me from seeing the family), I thought I would share my story and perhaps show how TF attracts new members. I was 13 at the time I met TF, it was a time of transition in my life and I was hungry to find God, having been raised in a country where the doors had just been opened for religion. TF seemed to offer all that and more - they were so wonderful - always singing, hugging each other, and seemingly living in a perfect world. To a naďve, idealistic 13-year old with self esteem problems, it seemed too good to be true (and it was, but it took me years to find out) and I wanted in. I was also led to believe that Jesus would be coming soon, so it was crucial that I dedicate my life to Him (i.e. join the family when I grow up).

What followed was 4 years of slow and careful indoctrination. The first time I read something about FF’ing that bothered me in a “system” publication and approached one of the shepherds, they told me it was a lie. A year later, when I was more indoctrinated and more dependent on TF since I’d broken all previous friendships, I was told about how it used to happen but it no longer does. They waited until I trusted them completely and thought that I was blessed to be one of “the chosen” until they revealed the existence of “Dad” to me, and I swallowed it up. There were a couple of times when the content of the MO letters bothered me, but I didn’t want to admit it because I would be turning into an “old bottle”. When I read in a magazine about sexual abuse of children in TF, they told me it was a lie and that the police would plant videos in their homes to get them in trouble b/c they (the police) are working for Satan and the AC. I thought that I would be weak in faith if I didn’t believe that, and all the kids I met seemed so happy (I didn’t know you guys had to act that way around us, and assumed it was the truth).

My parents, however, took a step. I was very upset to not be able to see TF, thinking they were keeping me from doing God’s will and that I needed to forsake them and receive 100-fold. Thankfully, I was still underage, and by the time I turned 18, I had started to read “system” books again (my parents threw out all family lit), pay attention in school, and re-develop my reasoning skills without thinking that I was weak in faith for doing that. Many others did not have that opportunity and joined as soon as they reached 18. I guess all I’m trying to say is that TF targets vulnerable youth, impresses them with their message of love, slowly and progressively indoctrinates them until they are unable to think for themselves, and, by the time they join, they are so brainwashed they think they’re doing the will of God and that if they don’t, God will punish them.

I never had to go through the horrors you guys have gone through. I applaud you for leaving - if it was hard for me after 3 years as an outsider, I can’t imagine what it was like to leave from the inside.

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from Christy
Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - 17:14

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Very interesting to hear all of this from your perspective. I was one of the teens that was used to help in the indoctrination process of potential recruites in Eastern Europe. Your story sounds very familiar--I wonder if I know you.

At first, I too was often surprised at the way the past was glossed over and only revealed a little at a time. After a few years this became second nature for me and I began using the same tactics. While I didn't mind witnessing to people and giving Bible classes, etc., I hated having to get into TF's past. For one thing, much of it was not my first-hand experience and was not something for which I wanted to share the blame. I also wanted to believe that things had truly changed and that the changes weren't merely cosmetic.

As time went on, as I started developing my own groups of "catacombers", I began to realize that I had no interest in encouraging these idealistic, sincere young people to join TF. It was becoming clear to me that TF was probably not the best place to serve the Lord. It became apparent that TF was not only held back by its past beliefs and practices, but also by current doctrines. These realizations were all part of the process that helped me to eventually decide to leave.
(reply to this comment)

From excat
Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 17:30

Thanks for sharing. I was a little worried about posting on a SG site, since I was never actually in TF, but I have always wondered what family teens thought about us "cats." We were all about the same age and yet we lived such different lives - most of you guys were secretly yearning to get out, while we were hoping to be able to get in. I was in Bulgaria, but I'm sure a lot of people's stories are similar, especially from that part of the world. If you were ever there, I probably know you. Please e-mail me if you'd like to get in touch (same goes to everyone who was in BG or knows someone who was). (reply to this comment
From Christy
Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 18:08

It looks like I probably did know you. I thought your story sounded like one of the Bulgarian "cats". For one thing, your English is extremely good, which was unique among the group in Bulgaria when compared with other EE countries. I was there back in '91-92. I'll get in contact with you later this week. Right now I need to get to work on planning my lessons for tomorrow. (reply to this comment

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