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Getting On : Catching up


from myrth - Monday, November 24, 2003
accessed 1525 times

I randomly ran a google search for information on The Family and found this website among others. I have been in a state of shock since reading the articles on This is the first time I have allowed my self to really think about my past life. I have spent the last 13 years trying to pretend it never happened. I would like to find old friends. Here is my story...if you are part of my story...please get in touch. If you understand my story...please get in touch.

I was born into The Children of God in 1974. I was born in a "Colony" in Michigan. By the time I was 4 years old I had three little sisters. The details of my toddler hood are a little sketchy, I know we moved a lot. Ohio, Florida, Illinois have been floated around. My parents were never very specific on the details of those years. I heard from my Uncle that we were living in a Colony in Detroit when the black riots were happening. Now family life makes you a nomad, however we moved around quite a bit more than most family people.

My Father seemed to constantly get in disagreements with "Shepherds" which would result in us leaving the homes and living in our trailer or motor home. We had a lot of independent time away from the family, but still living the family life. I think that was a special kind of hell. It put us in this in-between place, not normal people, not family. It was a very alone feeling. Even though our family was growing by the year. We ended at 9 children. We spent a few years totally out of the family and than had to "for sake all" just was we were getting friends and living into a home of our own. This happened more than once.

We spent several years in Texas, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and "Border Homes". I can't even remember the names of all of the people I lived strange is that? You spend every hour of your life for months at a time with someone and than they are just erased from your memory. I wonder how many people I "grew up" with felt as displaced as I did? I wonder how many are now free? We spent a year in Mexico. Guadalajara to be specific. My sister Sia and I went to one of the first "Teen Training Camps". I think it was called something else though. I was 9 years old...sent off on a train across a third world country with my 8 year old sister to attend a cult camp. How do you explain that and what happened there to your self, let alone your significant other that never lived in a "Home.”? I was nine years old and thought I would never live to be 12. Jesus would come back before than. No need to think about my future. Being a "supernatural hero" would be my future. Now here I am less than 10 months from being 30 years super powers yet.

After Mexico we left the family again and got settled into a little town in Texas. After a few years we had to "forsake all" again...leaving behind friends, our own house, pets, bikes, toys, clothes to move into a home in San Antonio. I wanted to run away. I couldn't. Who would protect my brothers and sisters from the freaks who were "Shepherds?" I couldn't run away until I could find a way to get us all away. I was mad. Mad that I had to leave a life of being 12 and worrying about school work and having to worry about supporting a home where I shared a room with 10 other girls, slept on a home made bunk bed that was so high it could give you nose bleed, cooking 3 meals a day for 40 or more people, postering, taping, busking...begging in the name of Jesus. I was at the age that I knew we were full of crap. I had spent the last few years going to a private Christian school and I knew what missionaries were. We were not missionaries.

I was tired of telling people we were so we could get money. I was tired of having to lie down in the back of a car and be covered up with blankets so the neighbors wouldn't see how many people were living in the house. I was tired of seeing my 6-year-old brother whipped with a belt in front of 20 other kids by our Shepherd because he was being "foolish." A 6 year old child does not deserve to be punished for be laughing and being silly. No child deserves to be hit with a belt so hard that welts and bruises are left. So I said so. This caused me to be sent to isolation. To be prayed over. To be sent away from my family.

I could write for days about the twisted lives we were forced into. The incidents that happened to my brothers and sisters and I that will haunt us forever. All in the name of Jesus.

After a short time in Australia we came back to the states and met a man from a church in a small town in Georgia. I was 15. We went there at his invitation. 14 years later my family is still there. I went through some rough times with my parents as they were holding on to the family and I had let go and was running towards normalcy. I got my first job when I was 16 as a receptionist for a beauty salon. I became very involved in a church there, which did not go over well with my parents. I became more and more independent, was almost gone...than my mother became pregnant and went into premature labor a few months later which landed her and my unborn sister in a hospital 2 hours away. At this point I began working more and more. I took on another job and loved supporting my family honestly. My baby sister came home almost two months after she was born premature. She is number nine.

Through the next few years I graduated and went to a junior college. I tried a few different paths, English major, nursing...I couldn’t juggle working, college, and the emotional struggles at home. There was not a day that went by that I did not fear I would get a call that my parents were taking my brothers and sisters back to the family. This fear filled my dreams at night. My parent’s marriage was ripping apart. They were having horrible fights. I moved out when I was 18 with a girlfriend of mine. I was so proud to be on my own. I knew I would NEVER have to forsake all again or beg for my living...I never felt so in control of my life.

Things went from bad to worse with my parents. Almost two years ago they divorced after a VERY traumatic ending to their marriage. We since have learned that my Father is Bi-Polar. Learning this has helped me understand why he made the choices he made. Which includes the family. I will never blame my Father or anyone for my life or what happened to me. I know that at the end of the day I am in control and can change the direction of my life. I know that I would not be who I am today if it were not for the experiences in my past.

I also know that "The Family" was the worst and best thing that has ever happened to me. The best part about the family was getting out. I believe that "The Family" played on the emotional & mental weaknesses of a generation. That generation has affected the generations following it.

Today I am writing you from my office in Atlanta, Georgia. I have been here since 1997. A few years ago I met my soul mate and 1 year ago we had the most beautiful baby girl. I think most of the people in my life would be shocked to know where I came from. I "blend" in pretty well.

I have been to a lot of places in my life. I feel like I have lived a thousand years. If you knew me, my family...I would love to hear from you. If you are confused and trying to get out...know this...

My family is torn apart, but I believe we will all come back from the places we have gone. I feel that two illnesses have nearly killed my family, bi-polarism and "The Family."

Reader's comments on this article

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from Lilli
Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 16:29



I was only a Friend & never actually a member of the Family, but I,too, grew up with a bi-polar parent. That's a very tough life for the first born daughter. Just like with your dad, my mother couldn't help it either & I know that now. With Jesus' help, I've been getting healed & am learning to forgive her & to forgive myself for being so judgemental of her for all these years. I've discovered Jesus is able to heal even the most devistating of the wounds I grew up with. (those childhood wounds left ugly adult scars that I didn't want to live with or pass on to my own children.) If I can pray with you, I 'd be happy to.

(reply to this comment)

from dolly
Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 07:38

Good for you myrth!! I think that is what most of us are trying to do. I'm only 22 but I have to get on with everything as well. I have to go to collage and think about getting a stable well paid job and they talk about retierment plans?? I used to think "Don't worry Jesus is coming back soon" I never thought I would live past 15! Its very nice to finnally make decisions in your own life for once. My parents got out soon after "Grandfather" passed away. I was in one of the homes raided, and that still has an effect on me. Just wanted to say that its nice to hear a positive story. Take care.
(reply to this comment)
from Sonderval
Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - 11:07

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?)

Wow, fantastic story, I identify with so much of that, the half in half out thing (for those of you who don't know, it is actually worse, it's the worst of all possible worlds).

Fantastic story, and a similar ending for me too, I've been out for 10 years now and got married last year, and my son is now 5 months old, I'll write my story out properly at some point, but not while I'm at work, I'll try at some point.

For now I'll just say congratulations on the life you've built for yourself, and thank you for posting that story, it's always good to know that there are other people around who have finished dealing with their issues (as much as anyone ever does) and living happily on the other side of all this.
(reply to this comment)

from Cultinvator
Friday, November 28, 2003 - 15:02

Average visitor agreement is 1 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

So what do we get from this story.... what's new?

It hardly reveals anything about yourself that is not repetitive of what everyone else has said.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you didn't go through all of that. I'm sure you have, but I'm simply opening the alternative to a more creative approach to dealing with your past and perhaps a fresh perspective to your audience.

Not all is dull, there were some interesting parts.

It's just that when everyone says things that are basically the same we start getting the "I was an alcoholic... were you an alcoholic too?" kind of repetition that to me seems to be more of a judgement call than a descriptive story. Maybe do more "showing" and less "telling" but then again everyone's got their style. Don't let this comment get you down... I'm far from "there" in my writting. It's just that I'm starting to see how telling stories without vivid detail and letting people make up their mind about what is and what isn't is less arbitrary and preachy.

I've learned how "preachy" I tend to get in my vocal and writing skills when I don't show detail and let people draw their own conclusions from what I've said.

Hope that helps.

Not here to put anyone down.

(reply to this comment)

From Anon.
Friday, November 28, 2003, 20:23

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(

Cultinvator, I have to take great exception to what you said. This is not a memoir writing class and myrth did not post this asking for a T.A. wannabe to give her tips on how to write. She wanted to express what she did and I don't think it's your place to come here and say she should have expressed something else.

Myrth, thank you for your story. To me it was very meaningful and gives me hope. I could identify with much of what you said. I didn't post a comment earlier because I didn't even know where to start, but thanks so much for your courage and for writing this. (reply to this comment

From Lilli
Saturday, July 10, 2004, 16:34


Thanks Anon. for standing up to Cultinvator's hardass reply to Myrth's precious posting.

Lilli(reply to this comment

From myrth
Monday, December 15, 2003, 16:56


Anon -

Thank you for your kinds words. It was a big step putting my "story" out where anyone could find out I was once in a cult....

I hope you have found or are finding your place in life...

If you have a chance I would love to know more about how you adapted to life outside.


Myrth(reply to this comment

From JoannaWest
Tuesday, January 13, 2004, 10:37


I can relate to your story as well.(reply to this comment

From Tim R
Saturday, November 29, 2003, 21:12

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?)
I would have to agree, this isn't a writing class, and Myrth didn't post this for anyone's entertainment. The important thing is that it expressed what she wanted to say. Critiquing belongs in Creative Writing, this is the "Catching Up" section. (reply to this comment
From JoannaWest
Tuesday, January 13, 2004, 10:35

I agree with you. This was not posted for entertainment purposes. I have the utmost respect for Myrth for her honesty.(reply to this comment
from juniper
Friday, November 28, 2003 - 05:01

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?)
That is a brave beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it. You are an inspiration and I wish you a peaceful and happy life.
(reply to this comment)
from Jovi
Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 21:43


I'm glad you've found your self, getting out of the fam for some of us has benn the best thing or choice we've made.

Sorry about your dad's illness, people like you have an understanding about life hard to find.I don't know you but your articule did call my attention.Wish you the best.

ps, if you were at the mex TTC I'm sure my wife knows you.
(reply to this comment)

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