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Getting Through : Dealing

Age of culpability

from lisa - Thursday, June 22, 2006
accessed 1104 times

I have a question…actually I have many, but the one I have today is:

If you were abused by someone who was born and raised in the cult, (with all the indoctrination that entails), are they still guilty, or as guilty? I get that as a 5 year old its irrelevant if they're 15 or 50, but considering how they were raised and what they were taught can they be held accountable?

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from mia1
Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 11:13

I think personally that growing up in the family and being so naive you really wouldn't be acountable. I noticed that the sexier u were or were precieved to be the more privalages were given to u. Even when postering, we were encouraged to dress sexy to sell more. And didn't think it was wrong. It was when I left and things became clear that I had to deal with issues like shame.
(reply to this comment)
from Rain Child
Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 21:29


Considering how many children were encouraged to have 'love-ups' from ages like three and four, and how many were told they were now adults at age twelve, and how strongly child sex was advocated in the early eighties, I don't think children from that age group can possibly be held accountable for behaving in the way they were taught, indoctrinated and encouraged in. If the child was, say, 14, in the year 1990 and they were doing these things to a little five year old girl, they would have known it to be against the rules of that time but still probably thought it was fine in the eyes of God as per their earlier training.

If they were 14 in the year 1998, however, that would be an entirely different story, as they probably never would have had that behaviour encouraged. I don't know what happens to minors who commit child abuse in the real world, I think they go to juvenile detention centres. I don't know what would happen if you tried to prosecute one who was now an adult for something he did as a child.

But of course, to the child, the trauma and pain is the same. And the crime is still with all parents concerned for raising children who don't know right from wrong.
(reply to this comment)

From Big Sister
Friday, June 23, 2006, 10:31

My sister is one of those TF parents who has difficulty with right and wrong choices. She has a learning disorder called Non-verbal Learning disorder which makes her unable to read other peoples body language, facial cues and other subtle but important communications. This made my sister particularly vulnerable to suggestion and it made it easy to get her to join TF. She has raised eight children in the cult, three out, one in, four are minors and still in. In spite of my sister’s learning disorder, which explains how she got stuck in a cult, my sister does know right from wrong. She just choses wrong when it is convenient for her. The cult provides the excuses.

I have observed that, although my sister is morally challenged, she has children who know right from wrong. But not ALL her children! I have seen some of my nieces and nephews steal or lie to get what they want. I have had to clarify what right and wrong behavior looks like to two of them. Yet, I have seen their brothers and sisters very clear that these actions are wrong. They will even state out loud that they will not cheat to get ahead, as if it is important for them to take this stand.

My nieces and nephews were born over a long period in the history of TF, from 1977 to 1995. So their childhoods have been different in ways I don't fully know. But by observation I can see that among them are people who have chosen to act morally (by the standards of western culture, I mean) and those who have failed (so far) at living ethically. My sister hasn’t taught right from wrong by example so it is interesting to see that some of her children managed to learn it anyway. I think that is at least partly a matter of choice.
(reply to this comment
From afflick
Friday, June 23, 2006, 10:53


I remember years ago hearing on the Sally Jesse Raphael show, "The kids don't know right from wrong" and thinking that was not a true statement. I was in the cult, am now out and still do not think that statement is accurate. As we all are aware, what is "right" is easily subjective. Look into any government workings and you will find issues where one side believes they are acting for the right and the other side strongly believes the motives are for ill.

That being said, I do not believe there has ever been a time in The Family where children did not "know right from wrong" in the context of stealing, lying, etc. If someone stole or lied or manipulated, I am pretty sure they knew what they were doing. It is just a human trait to justify questionable actions so that they become easier to live with.

If these same children were to lie or steal from the Family home in which they resided, they would be dealt with sternly. My point is, children in the Family do learn Western ideals of right and wrong but interpret them as best suits their needs, just like the rest of society.(reply to this comment

From ErikMagnusLehnsher
Sunday, June 25, 2006, 09:29

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 agree that stealing, lying, etc. within the context of Family Home life would be SEVERELY dealt with and unambiguously "wrong". However, as far as dealing with the outside world I think there were many instances where we were trained to be "deceivers, yet true" and would shamelessly lie in order to get a donation, "protect security" and takes steps to "spoil Egypt" that in retrospect could only be described as morally wrong. Such contradictary logic was confusing for me at times so I agree with you on the subjectivity of "right and wrong" behavior especially from a child's perspective. (reply to this comment
Friday, June 23, 2006, 23:04

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(

Hmm, I might say that "children in the Family do learn Western ideals of right and wrong but interpreted as best suits the cult's needs."

I remember rebelling as I saw that they said one thing while doing another. I did not want to do as they did. If I was raised in the group to learn "Western ideals of right and wrong," it was the ideals of Western grifters and con artists. These twisted "ideals" motivated me to rebel at great personal cost.

BTW, when you say "Western ideals of right and wrong," are you distinguishing it from? Eastern?

I found when I got out into the world of the west that many values, such as independence and self sufficiency, pride, privacy, had been considered horrid in the cult.

The cult has more than one set of "morality," depending on who you are and who you are dealing with.

A child to an "adult" has to be obedient and truthful. To the outside, the same child can, and in some cases must, lie and manipulate. An "adult" has to be obedient to leaders, but can manipulate those subservient to it, as well as systemites. Of course cult leaders can not only lie to the world and screw it over, but can also do it to their own "flock," *of course* it's for the good of the cult, which means the good of the flock or sheep.

Something that complicates morality for a 2nd generation person is the fact that to retain some personal integrity against assault and invasion, one has to learn to defy the rule that one be an open book to cult superiors. But since they control your time and body and behavior, you have to become VERY skilful if you want to conceal your true thoughts and avoid trouble (in my day that "trouble" you got into for being a dissident was crushing).

Some of us tend to think that whatever the cult likes is bad, and vice versa, so we want to be good and true with "systemites." Some others seem to have decided that all family and system people will try to dominate and control you, and employ the techniques they had to develop to protect their self. Sometimes this entails preemptive dominance.

Reality is a mixture.

"Big sister," I totally hear what you are saying about your sister's kids. An awful thing about how we grew up is that the people who screwed us over and screwd us were our supposed caregivers.

A "system" kid might learn that there are some safe and some unsafe people. We were taught that Family people were safe and systemites were unsafe. But guess who was beating, molesting and terrorizing us?(reply to this comment

From Rain Child
Friday, June 23, 2006, 20:14

When I said, "who didn't know right from wrong" I was talking about the area of sexuality. I clearly remember thinking that sex was something I should be doing as a child. Even though my mother had never given me that impression, it was 'grounded' into me through all the 'word' we used to constantly read.(reply to this comment

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