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Getting Support : Speaking Out

a look into the 'madness' of TF parents - by a former Fam parent

from Eva St John - Monday, December 22, 2003
accessed 4458 times

There’re several different ‘types’ of personalities who join cults for different reasons. This article started out as a response to comments by ‘1984’ and others on my first article here, but as I was writing I realized it was probably going to be useful to go into more detail so as to give other SG’s further insight on how my ‘type’ of FG got involved with TF in the first place, and what on earth was going on in our heads while you guys were going through all your stuff as kids. I can’t say that my case was necessarily ‘atypical’ of other FG’s. I find I relate far more to the experiences and sentiments of a lot of SG’s on this site, for instance, than to those of other ex FG’s. (In fact, the ongoing ‘desensitized ignorance’ or ‘selective denial’ of some FG’s re the plight of the SG’s just makes my blood boil!) Perhaps because I was barely 16 when I was recruited, and could never completely give up my youthful propensity for ‘honest questioning’ (and still haven’t). Anyhow, he

Perhaps it was because I had to stand up to a lot of violent bullying as a kid and learn to ‘fight back’, I don’t know. But for whatever reason, even though I got completely brainwashed in TF by the constant control and indoctrination and was just as ‘on fire’ as others, I was also kind of an ‘involuntary conscientious objector’ – especially around the treatment of my own and other children by the leaders - and as a result spent much of my time in TF being publicly torn to shreds and scape-goated, and getting punishments such as ostracism, isolation, fasting, confession sessions, exorcisms, being repeatedly raped (fucked by leaders against my will), victors programs, etc, etc.

I also can’t say how ‘atypical’ I was as a teenage recruitee, but I can say that it’s very common for teenagers even in the System to begin to realize that what is expected of us once we hit adulthood is a kind of mindless conformity to our society’s thousands of ‘unspoken rules’, ‘expected norms’, outdated conventions, illogical beliefs and a lifetime of virtual economic enslavement to the entrenched corporate tyranny of our western economy. As you would well know, when you don’t have access to any alternatives but the life you're being forced into, it can cause a young, budding free thinker to experience an ongoing sense of underlying depression and hopelessness.

This often invisible - or secret - teenage depression is extremely prevalent amongst teenagers to varying degrees (depending on how restrictive and controlling, or dysfunctional, or abusive their living environment is), and is often what drives a young free thinker to try to escape their current environment and explore other alternatives. This is why groups of ‘alternative thinkers’ (whether they be a left wing political party, a self help group, an internet collective, a bikie gang, a terrorist organization, or a cult) are constantly springing up to ‘meet’ that need.

The problem is that a depressed teenager with no understanding or information about what they’re going through and why, and what the solution is, is extremely vulnerable to being preyed upon by those offering ‘answers’ or a place to belong. In my case, growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s in tiny, backward New Zealand, the alternatives were few and far between. Although my parents obviously and openly loved me, it somehow just didn’t make up for their own very depressed, over-stressed and dysfunctional state which naturally cascaded down to me. I was also subjected to a lot of bullying and violence, plus sexual molestation (from males outside my family) to the extent that I was so miserable I ran away from home at 15. At that age back then I knew less about life and human psychology than the average western 10 year old knows today.

Today we have so many words in our general vocabulary to describe psychological states and abusive behavior which just were not in our vocab back then. Even terms like ‘self esteem’ and ‘self assertion’ were unknown to me. (For the most part TF didn’t have any of these types of words in their vocab either, of course). They say that if a tribe does not have a word for a particular color, that color literally does not exist for them. The same goes for things we have not yet found words for, either individually or collectively. I had no words for, and therefore little or no understanding of, what I was feeling or experiencing both before and after I was recruited into TF at 16 except for Berg’s ‘explanations’ for everything. I don’t think I had even heard of the term ‘cult’ let alone knew what one was.

I had never heard words like ‘control’, ‘manipulation’, ‘indoctrination’, etc, being used in terms of human interaction. I had no idea that was what was happening to me in TF because bullying, manipulation, childhood sexualization and later sexual exploitation were what I grew up with as ‘normal life’. So when these behaviors were then legitimized and backed up by much prophetic and Biblical authority in TF as ‘wonderful, new, life-changing truth’, (even though they gave me lots of ‘trials’), I dutifully accepted it. I had never been exposed to any other information on these subjects. To be ‘uninformed’ means you don’t have access to information that could allow you to make a better decision. You can only make decisions based on the information you have at the time.

Even so - even when in my mind I was supposedly in ‘complete agreement’ with ‘the Word’ (Berg’s garbage) and was ‘on fire’ - when abuses happened, try as I might, I often couldn’t help but say something or question stuff. And for me, although I dutifully did it from time to time, FFing and ESing was soul destroying stuff. And even though my brainwashed mind ‘theoretically accepted’ Berg’s teachings on child sexuality, I could never bring myself to have sex with a minor. (However I have to say that, with TF pubs and lifestyle keeping me perpetually in an unbalanced, disturbed, vulnerable and disempowered state, and desperate for love and acceptance, had I been bullied or coerced into it like some other sisters, I sometimes wonder if I might have had a sadder story to tell in that department. But I was pretty ‘rebellious’, and the idea really grossed me out, so I don’t know).

I was almost never in a leadership position (apart from pioneer Home shepherd) because no matter how ‘good’ I tried to be I couldn’t play along with the hierarchy’s party line for long without having to bring something to their attention which I could see was wrong, but which they were refusing to see. I was also a single mother during my last several years in TF, and (minus a few exceptions to the rule) single mothers had about the same social standing as the kids did. A lot of the time they had no rights over their own children or their own bodies, and were treated like slaves. (If you want to know why we stayed, that’s a whole nother subject to cover, but the psychological description of ‘the battered wife syndrome’ comes close).

Consequently, single mothers were generally more stressed and unhappy, which would always be interpreted by the leaders as ‘murmuring’ and ‘passive rebellion’, so they were often under some form of punishment like a lot of the SG’s. And the more I experienced these things (in my uninformed and disempowered state), the more I sympathized with the SG’s going through the same or even worse stuff. I remember being ‘banished to isolation and writing confessions’ several times for standing between a child and a leader (who was about to bully or belt them) and blatantly questioning the leader’s wisdom or right to do what he was about to do. (That was the ‘heinous crime’ of ‘questioning leadership’ and ‘demonic pride’).

What hurt the most was that the more I questioned, the more my own children would get targeted for punishment and abuse. The last straw was when my son was belted across a room by my shepherd, causing my son’s head and face to become swollen, and I was not permitted to take him to get checked by a doctor. Even though I was already being ‘silenced’ and on a ‘victor’s program’, I was in a fury and wrote a long letter of protest to the higher ups (something virtually unheard of in TF at the time) saying that this was totally unacceptable.

What was the response? To make it look like they were doing something about it, the offending ‘shepherd’ got moved to another Home. They then waited a week until I had received a Social Security payment of $600 (for my new Jesus baby) and I had handed that money over to the leadership. Then they summarily excommunicated me for the ‘crime’ of being an ‘incorrigible independent thinker’ and literally put me out on the street penniless with a new baby and two little children, knowing no-one and with no place to go. Meanwhile, (unbeknownst to me at the time) the leaders knew about a ‘brother’ in the same Home who had been repeatedly sexually molesting the little girls. He just got ‘prayed with’ and remained in TF. (I don’t know his whereabouts now, but I’d sure like to!)

During my first year out of ‘drifting’ in a confused state, the leaders visited me and re-instated me as a ‘live out’ and I began to get the pubs again. This was around 1986 – 89 when the Japan Combo books were coming out and the full-on victor’s camps atrocities were happening. Fortunately my own children were spared from it all, but even so I was shocked and horrified at what I was reading. I remember one of the last interactions I had with the then Oz leaders who were visiting and staying with me. I brought them into my bedroom, shut the door and spent about 2 hours reading excerpts out of the latest pubs which were relaying what they were doing to the kids, and saying to them, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me! Please say this isn’t true. Please say you’re not really doing this to TF kids! How can you possibly believe this is going to bear good fruit?’ etc. Later, I walked in on the two of them praying together to curse me for my ‘demonic doubting’. Not long afterwards, I broke away from TF altogether. But it still took a few years of self education to even understand I had been in a cult, and to become informed and empowered enough to speak out publicly. And the fight goes on.

I hope this has been helpful. Gotta go.

Best wishes, Eva

Reader's comments on this article

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from this girl rocks
Friday, August 05, 2005 - 06:16


I like the name you were going to use just below,i say good on you Eva for trying to write some of the wrong,but dont take it all on your shoulders you dont deserve that,you are at least trying, where are all the other Ex members apologies you cant do it for all of them.I wil say a big thank you.
(reply to this comment)

from Andi-butterfly
Saturday, April 23, 2005 - 14:15


Hello. And thanks Eva. I am probably doing this all wrong because I am very new to this site and this is my first post. Also your original letter was written a long time ago so I dont know if anyone at all will ever read this thread. But part of my reason for coming here is, in a way, to try and make peace in my mind where my parents are concerned, and your letter was at least a gesture toward that in a way. See, i do understand that in their own way they were doing thier best and they were mislead too, maybe sometimes they were as terrified as i was. I believe (would like to think anyway) that in their heart they always really wanted soemthing positive but things got pretty mixed up.

Im not sure that that completely explains away all the strange things that happened, but its a part of seeing them as people, as children really, children like i was, like i am still, and that helps to forgive.

Anyway what I am saying is I appreciated your effort at writing out where you were coming from. Peace.

(introductory aside: my first impulse was to pick a screen name for this site such as:


but i think the thing wanted under 200 characters. hehe. just joking

(reply to this comment)

From Fish
Saturday, April 23, 2005, 18:06

(reply to this comment
from 1984
Thursday, December 25, 2003 - 10:41

dear Eva, just as i thought. i met people like you while in the cult and i always felt sorry for them. because of my independent attitudes, most of the time i had to spend working very hard, among other places, in the kitchen with sis like you. i remember this nice single mother who was asked to leave, and she also found herself out in the street with no money, etc. she always had a nice attitude to me, and it seems that my independent behave did not bother her, on the contrary, she was kind to me. it´s funny, i also was asked to leave, i also found my self in the street alone and penniless, but i guess it was a little more easy: (in economical terms, of course, because in my mind was a total different story) I did not have a family and children to take care of. I feel sorry for your story, but at the same time, your story has proven that single mothers in the cult are a subject in itself which has not been brought up yet in its total implications, and also the way this single mothers are often treated in the cult: the hard work they had to do, sexual molestation, sexual activity against their will (as in Eva´s case), selling out fam "tools" in the street having no idea what was going on with their kids, etc. any way, thanks for your comments. it seems that we all had to go for the same path after leaving the cult, in terms of being educated to see how wrong was the plece where we were. my best wishes and all my respect, 1984.
(reply to this comment)
from juniper
Tuesday, December 23, 2003 - 00:48


You sound like a saint Eva!
(reply to this comment)

From Eva St John
Tuesday, December 23, 2003, 01:20

Oh fuck, do I? lol I sure don't mean it to come across like that. (reply to this comment
From Eva St John
Wednesday, December 31, 2003, 00:08


Yeah, I’ve finally gotten around to re-reading what I wrote here (very hurriedly just before Christmas) and I just want to balance it out and qualify it by saying that as a former Fam parent I am also painfully aware of the abuses I myself inflicted on my own children by a) not being able to fully protect them from abuse from others, and b) being so stressed out and under pressure about them having to be total angels all the time, that on many instances I bullied and disciplined them too harshly myself (because if I didn’t, the leaders would, and that was much worse).

Just the mental/emotional bullying of the Fam indoctrination which we inflicted on our kids daily was bad enough. To this day I still feel ashamed and mortified that my poor children had to go through all that. Thankfully, they were spared from the atrocities the teens had to go through by my leaving when they were young, but they still suffered a lot as teenagers because of their past. Even after I left the Fam it took a little while for me to learn new and different ways of parenting besides ‘spanking’ , ‘demerits’, and over-protecting them from ‘system influence’, etc. So I’m afraid I’m no ‘saint’.(reply to this comment

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