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Getting Out : Inside Out

Was I a FF target?

from Cypher - Tuesday, January 18, 2005
accessed 1611 times

After a bit of research, I think so.

I first heard the term "Flirty Fishing" in the '80's. I'd only heard a few details about it...I suppose from newspaper accounts. Having been in a band at that time, I even mentioned the concept in a punk song that (not surprising) went nowhere and was soon forgotten.

Having read about the recent events concerning Mr. Rodriguez, I've been doing a little studying for the past few days. By mid-day today, it hit me...I do believe that I was proseletyzed to in a rather unusual manner which appears to be quite familiar to people on this site.

Before I go there, I'd like to thank the people in the chat room who led me to this spot to post my experience. I'm sure that the sudden influx of "outsiders" you must be experiencing right now must be a bit discomfoting, but it's my hope that the majority of us outsiders have taken an interest because we feel that we might be able to pitch in a bit. The things I've seen and read about COG the past few days have been disturbing, but having read a lot from this site, I'm sure as hell glad to see that some people are taking the initiative and fighting back. You folks have my sincere respect for your fortitude.

Quick background on me...brought up in a very liberal Mormon Family, left that church at age 17 simply because I didn't believe in it (with full support from my parents, whom I still love unconditionally). They supported me when I decided to go to college instead of going on a "Mission" for the Mormon church. After college, I landed in Santa Cruz, CA in 1984.

During my time in Santa Cruz, I spent the worst night of my life when a bunch of EST knockoffs tried to convert me to their little cult, but I was having none of it. One of the jobs I took was as a musical director at a non-denominational church that should remain unnamed at this time. I should make it clear that I had the same level of interest in joining a religion then as I do now: None. It was a part time job working with a lot of nice people.

From the very first day on the job, an absolutely beautiful young woman (actually a year or two older than me at the time) made a singular impression on me. I'll refer to her as "M".

At the very first choir rehearsal I accompanied, she sat on the piano bench with me, gave me lots of big hugs, sighed contentedly at the conclusion of every song, praised my mediochre work and vociferously welcomed me to the fold, as it were. Without belaboring the details, "M" and I got to know each other fairly quickly and she ended up stopping by my home regularly to work on the weekly music schedule.

Having read the posts on your board, I assume I'm allowed to be a bit descriptive. It didn't take long for us to end up in the sack. I'll be the first to admit that I was an utter dog at the time, being a wannabe rock star. However, "M" was not exactly resistant to any of my advances. We were soon deeply engaged in private pre-choir rehearsals, if you get my drift.

After a few weeks, I was invited to visit the place where she resided...out of town, in what can only be described as a communal environment. One guy,("P", who played guitar and sang quite well...for a folk wimp) and four or maybe five women, all attendees at the non-denominational church that was employing me. As time went on, I was often invited to come out and "share" with them, and these "sharing" sessions held exactly zero attraction for me. I had no interest in religion, and that was where they were headed. I should mention the term "play" was often used...sometimes interchangeably with the "share" term. Sometimes it meant getting together to eat veggies and talk religion, sometimes the sexual connotations were implicit. I was obviously more receptive to the latter applications than the former.

Well, rumors started to spread in the church, of course, and I was eventually replaced by a very honorable man I'll refer to as "M...the Dude Version", who may very well have been into the same deal. Keyboardist, singer and nice guy.

The communal bunch also split from the church and was slated to go overseas on some mission...I don't recall where to. The last experience I had was with "M" and another woman who lived on the commune that may have resulted in the other woman becoming pregnant (I later found). As always, there were attempts to talk me into joining them in the blissful communal life they lived, but it just didn't fly for me.

They were great people. Very loving...ahem...and certainly always smiling, always positive no matter what the situation. But there was that "something" that made me a bit uncomfortable. I should point out the fact that no kids were involved in their little commune at the time and they were all over 20 years old, but in the end the whole concept started to creep me out a bit.

I'm not here to judge, nor am I in a position to do so. As I've said, I was a dog back then and sex was about as casual as sharing a beer at the time.

From what I've read, I'm convinced that these folks were COG, and it's my sincere hope that they've gotten out since then. I've been more verbose than I should be, perhaps. Maybe I'm imagining things. But I don't think so.

Reader's comments on this article

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from Vicky
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 10:15

Cypher, are you still planning on posting that link to your discussion forum? I think people might be interested in seeing the ripple effect. It's nice to know that more people are becoming aware.
(reply to this comment)
From Cypher
Wednesday, January 19, 2005, 10:50


Sure. I posted on this in another forum here:

I don't mean in any way to step on peoples' toes here and apologize in advance to anyone here who may be offended by that post.

Also, thanks for correcting me on the photo, Vicky. I was unable to edit the original post but put up a correction.

(reply to this comment
from Maybe, maybe not
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 07:28


It's kind of difficult to say, because some of the terminology is right, but other things are not.

For example, most FFing was aimed at wealthier and older people. I believe, if I'm not mistaken, there was even a rebuke in one of the (now burned) Mo Letters to one girl who was FFing younger men (those her own age). I forget the reasons for it, but it either had to do with the fact that they didn't have money, or weren't respectable leaders of the community (eg, city councilmen).

In the 1980s, contrary to what was mentioned below, the Family was full swing into the "visit the churches" ministry (where they would go from church to church giving their "testimony" as a way to get money from the unsuspecting church members), so that there would be Family members in a church would not be surprising.

However, during this same time period when Family members were visiting churches, it was generally, without exception, husband/wife teams with their flock of children.

In the 1980s most Family members had children, either as singles parents or as couples. There were, of course, singles with no children as well, but these were much fewer and further between who also tended to work together or flock together with families.

Although your story is definitely out of the norm and could easily seem like the Family and FFing, there is just a part of it doesn't seem like it possibly could be.

There have, however, throughout the entire Family history always been offshoots, little groups here or there who go off on their own and sort of implement one part of the doctrine, so it's also possible that's what you met.

Or it could be that someone was onto the whole same thing and was starting up their own cult.
(reply to this comment)

from Tim R
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 00:12


The term to "Share" in regards to sexual activity was very typical of the Family. Does anyone know if other people used this too?

In the early '80s a lot of people were going overseas, and raising money for "home support". I wouldn't be surprised if this was some Family group, trying to get some money out of a "Non-denominational" church.

(reply to this comment)

from JohnnieWalker
Tuesday, January 18, 2005 - 21:58


Hey Cypher,

Thanks for posting here. As far as I'm concerned, you're welcome to stick around and listen, discuss, learn, or whatever makes your tennis shoe squeek.

Generally, the only types of folks that don't receive a very warm welcome from the members of this site are those who feel they need to preach at us or talk to us as if we are still little children (most of us are in our middle 20s to middle 30s).

About your article: My initial reaction would be that the group you met does sound a lot like the Family during that time period. But there are some questions that, if you know the answers to them, might help to clear up if they actually were or not.

By the time the 80s came around, the Family had pretty much denounced the churches and would have had nothing to do with them. So that one throws me off a bit.

I am almost positive, however, that you would have seen, or been presented with, some form of literature from the group--most likely a letter or pamphlet written by "Moses David". Do you recall reading, or being asked to read any such literature?

They would also have been pretty intent on getting you "saved", meaning having you repeat a prayer after them that starts something like "Jesus come into my heart, forgive me for all of my sins ..."

Any of that ring a bell?

Hope you find some answers.
(reply to this comment)

From xolox
Wednesday, January 19, 2005, 10:00

I know you're just trying to help cypher... but that just chilled my spine. It's like the mantra of my childood.(reply to this comment
From Cypher
Wednesday, January 19, 2005, 09:55

Thanks all, for taking the time to respond.

"Maybe/maybe not", I was certainly not wealthy or an "upstanding member of the community". With regard to offshoots, Santa Cruz was certainly teeming with religious offshoots of every conceivable flavor at that time. My impression is that they were perhaps "flirting" with the COG at the time and then committed, leaving as a group to (I think) Australia.

Tim R, it was more my impression that they were looking for more people to join up with them rather than getting money by attending the church in question.

JohnnyWalker, thanks for your kind words. I am certainly not hear to preach, condescend or judge in any way...rather to learn a bit. As far as I'm concerned, in terms of credibility, the people on this site seem to be far more believable than the spokespeople from COG.

Your questions: The church in question was a "Unity Temple", which I DO NOT IN ANY WAY intend to link to COG. It was more a spiritual meeting place for people of very diverse beliefs (some a bit loopy in my opinion) more so than an established church in the usual sense.

They certainly had literature, prayers and other materials, but I frankly ignored those for the most part. This is not a burning issue for me, though it does bother me that I may have been close to getting sucked into the COG.

At any rate, I'm getting the word out about this in other forums and I hope that your efforts to expose the abuse and those who meted it out are successful.
(reply to this comment

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