Oct 20, 2018

Court rules Universal Medicine founder is running a ‘harmful cult’

Jane Hansen
The Sunday Telegraph
October 20, 2018

FRESH warnings about a former tennis coach who preaches eating only foods with good “vibrational” values and recommends “treatments” such as esoteric breast massages have been issued after a court found he was running a “socially harmful cult”.

Universal Medicine (UM) was set-up by former tennis coach Serge Benhayon, who has no formal health or medical training but has invented alternative treatments such as ovarian readings and chakra puncturing, prescribes a diet to followers based on the “vibrational” values of food so as to not “hinder the flow of light of the soul”.

Mr Benhayon lost a defamation case against blogger and critic Esther Rockett last week, with the court finding UM to be a “socially harmful cult”.

Mr Benhayon also told the court he had lived over 2300 lives, one of which was as legendary Renaissance inventor Leonardo da Vinci.

Mr Benhayon has told followers they only need to eat once a day and recommends avoiding “pranic” or bad energy foods such as dairy and all grains.

In June, The Sunday Telegraph reported on several cases of children presenting at Lismore Base Hospital with diet-related illnesses from this, including a 10-month-old baby.

At the time, a Lismore paediatrician issued a general warning to parents of the consequences of putting babies and young children on restrictive diets.

Dr Chris Ingall told The Sunday Telegraph a baby was weaned onto a diet devoid of any carbohydrates and went into ketogenic crisis.

“The baby was on a diet with zero carbohydrates … and when the breastfeeding stopped, that baby fell off a cliff because suddenly the carbohydrates stopped completely, so the baby had no option but to start breaking down his own fats to get energy to the brain, Dr Ingall said.

A number of children with diet-related illnesses reported to Lismore Base Hospital in June. Picture: Luke Marsden

The Sunday Telegraph can now reveal the baby’s parents were members of the Universal Medicine cult.

Professor of Public Health at the University of Wollongong and former president of the Public Health Association of Australia Heather Yeatman reviewed the diet chart of Universal Medicine said it was “a public health issue” when children were placed on such restrictive diets.

“It’s not surprising the baby fell off the rails, if a child is not having dairy or cereals they are likely to be low in energy intake and there could be the risk of stunting if children are not getting enough energy. It is critically important there is a balanced diet, especially at the weaning stage because it can impact overall growth and cognitive development. It’s a public health issue,” Prof Yeatman said.

Lance Martin is a vocal critic of UM who blames it for breaking down his marriage in 2012. He said he had raised concerns with the diet because he did not want his then three-year-old following it.

The former tennis coach has no formal health or medical training. Picture: Supplied

“They don’t have carbs and really restrict protein and I was concerned my daughter would be dairy-free and gluten-free when she was growing and it would impact on her development,” Mr Martin said.

Another parent, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said his sons were always starving when staying with his ex-wife, a member of Universal Medicine.

The principal of the boys’ school had reported the children to Family and Community Services because of the restrictive diet, he said.

“They were put on this crazy diet and the kids couldn’t concentrate at school and the principal had been buying my son food because he was so hungry,” the father said.

Family and Community Services refused to confirm how many reports they had received about children regarding Universal Medicine.

Mr Benhayon and Universal Medicine were approached but declined to comment.


https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/court-rules-universal-medicine-founder-is-running-a-harmful-cult/news-story/0bda4d34cca49375f852c4053fe4cc32

CultNEWS101 Articles: 10/20-21/2018

Universal Medicine, New Age, Book, LDS, Robert Augustus Masters, Cult Dress, St. Matthias Church, Exorcism, Play

"A wealthy NSW spiritual healer has suffered a significant defeat in his defamation case against a blogger after a jury found many of her posts were true, including that he's the leader of a socially harmful cult."

"Former tennis coach Serge Benhayon, who claimed to be the reincarnation of Leonardo da Vinci, sued ex-acupuncturist Esther Mary Rockett in the NSW Supreme Court over her 2014 blog and tweets."

"But the four-person jury on Monday completed answers to 58 pages of questions, primarily in Ms Rockett's favour and against Mr Benhayon, the founder of Universal Medicine (UM), based near Lismore in northern NSW."

"The "substantially true" findings included that he "has an indecent interest in young girls as young as 10 whom he causes to stay at his house unaccompanied", preys on cancer patients and "is a charlatan who makes fraudulent medical claims"."

"Other truth findings were he intentionally indecently touched Ms Rockett during a consultation, "engages in bizarre sexual manipulation to make money for his business", vilified people with disabilities, is dishonest and guilty of exploitative behaviour."

"A jubilant Ms Rockett, who had run the defences of truth and honest opinion, flashed the peace sign as she left the court complex with her junior barrister Louise Goodchild."

"Faith healer Serge Isaac Benhayon has been labelled as either crazy or a fraud in court, but, according to his barrister, there is a third option: a man of sincere religious belief."
"The 54-year-old former tennis coach, who founded spiritual healing business Universal Medicine, is suing blogger and former acupuncturist Esther Rockett for defamation in the New South Wales Supreme Court."
"Over the past month a jury of four has heard evidence on wide-ranging issues, including what constitutes a cult, family relationships that allegedly broke up due to Universal Medicine, an "ovarian reading" and other energy-based spiritual healing theories and practices, reincarnation, and alleged sexual misconduct."

"UNIVERSAL Medicine founder Serge Benhayon is "not a fraud” but sincerely believes his teachings and does not make medical claims, a court has been told."
"The defamation trial brought by Mr Benhayon against blogger Esther Rockett was also told on Thursday that the Lismore-based healer was 'not a charlatan'”.
"In his closing argument, Mr Benhayon's barrister, Kieran Smark, SC, said the healer "was not making medical claims” and that everything connected back to his "fundamental teaching” about energy."

"Renee Linnell stood with a friend on the beach near her Los Angeles home, built a fire, and burned everything she owned. Her brand-new Armani leather jacket, her parents’ wedding album, even her bed — everything went into the fire."
"She did this because a woman named Lakshmi, whom Linnell paid $500 a month for such guidance, had told her to do so. She did whatever Lakshmi instructed, however it might destroy her life."
“'The Burn Zone' (She Writes Press) is Linnell’s wrenching tale of falling under the sway of two “gurus” named Lakshmi and Vishnu (referred to in the book by their first names only), taking much of Linnell’s money and years of her life in the process."

"SALT LAKE CITY — A lawsuit alleging sexual abuse and a cover up has been filed against the daughter and son-in-law of the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
"The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Salt Lake City on Wednesday by six unnamed people listed only as "Jane Doe" and "John Doe" against unnamed "Doe 1 Male Defendant" and "Doe 2 Female Defendant." However, Brenda and Richard Miles' attorney publicly disclosed their names after the lawsuit was filed and said they vigorously deny the allegations."

" ... I’ve recently been surprised by a person who’s told me she wouldn’t mind attending church again. Sort of. It’s not that I don’t think this is a nice idea, but WHAT?! And why now— especially when so many people (at least in my world) are making a beeline straight for the exit sign?"
"I’m not quite sure why this individual wants to return. Maybe she wants to experience a familiar sense of community or to hear hymns she once loved or to stoke a nostalgia for the spiritual language of her youth."
HOWEVER.
She’d like to return under these specific conditions:
  • She wants to feel accepted for who she is now, because she actually likes who she is now, even if her life doesn’t look very Mormon.
  • She doesn’t want to do the full buy-in when it comes to her level of activity, which in some ways is the larger issue.
Here’s the deal: Being an active Mormon is time-consuming. Really, really time-consuming. A formerly Mormon friend of mine recalls being with some women who were miffed that the Latter-day Saint women in their neighborhood didn’t seem to pull their own weight when it came to volunteering for community activities. My friend, who’d walked away from the church years before, was able to explain in that moment what the calendar of, say, the average Relief Society president looks like.

"Author and spiritual teacher Robert Augustus Masters, also known as RAMOS ran two abusive cults for a period of 17 years. He is accused of systemic physical and emotional abuse. Former members claim he has never confronted his own shadow nor has shown empathy or compassion for his victims or remorse for his actions— something that contradicts his so called expertise on “the shadow.” Masters’ history raises important questions about what accountability means for spiritual teachers who have abused in their past."

" ... I asked cult researcher and author Janja Lalich, Ph.D., professor emerita of sociology at California State University, and a survivor herself, to tell me her unfiltered thoughts on the matter: Should anyone dress like a cult member for Halloween?"
"No," she tells me, point-blank. "Essentially, cult members are victims. They are victims of a situation of influence or control that they have been trapped and deceived, and I don’t think it is ever appropriate to make fun of victims. It doesn’t show any kind of empathy or understanding of what that world is really like, and the kind of things that cult members experience and suffer."

"At St. Matthias Church in Trinity-Bellwoods, they spoke in tongues, went into trances and performed exorcisms. When a teenage follower complained of an earache, they tried to drive the devil out of her. Within days, she was dead."
" ... [M]y grandfather embraced rituals that were wildly different from the Anglicanism he’d practised before. He spoke in tongues. He performed the laying of the hands. Sometimes, he’d whip himself into a frenzy, flailing and rolling around on the floor. During sermons, he’d shake and howl unintelligibly. This kind of preaching extended to the home, where his children were exposed to odd spiritual behaviour. His ministry was a patchwork of influences, some of them self-contradictory. He described it as 'Catholic in faith, liturgy and worship, evangelical in Christian experience, biblical in teaching and witness, Pentecostal in ministry, proclaiming Christ in the inner city'.”

"He brought East and West together, inspired with new visions. Thousands of young people followed his call - in search of a new consciousness, spirituality, sexual liberation. The vision of a peaceful world seems palpable. But the dream becomes a nightmare."
"A wise man inspires thousands of people: Bhagwan wants to create a holistic new human being from the eastern spiritual and western material people. First in the Indian city of Poona, from the 1980s in Oregon, Bhagwan's followers want to realize the vision of a peaceful, libertarian and spiritual society. But the dream becomes a nightmare."

The author, D.W. Gregory, has been invited to conduct a post-show discussion and is seeking ICSA members in the area who might be interested in participating on a panel with her.
Inspired by a personal story, Salvation Road looks at the cult experience from the point of view of bewildered family and friends left behind. Where do you draw the line between faith and fanaticism? Between a church and a cult? Perhaps it is that moment when you are forced to choose between your religion and your family?
The performance times are: Nov. 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 7.30 p.m. Nov. 3 and 10 at 2 p.m.
All performances are open to the general public.
If you're interested in serving on the panel, please contact the author at dwgregory2008@gmail.com by Oct. 1.
If you are interested in attending the production, tickets will be available at the door or online at www.wtwdrama.org -- $5 for students and seniors and $10 for general admission.

News, Education, Intervention, Recovery

Intervention101.com to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement.
CultRecovery101.com assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice.
CultNEWS101.com news, links, resources.
Cults101.org resources about cults, cultic groups, abusive relationships, movements, religions, political organizations and related topics.

Selection of articles for CultNEWS101 does not mean that Patrick Ryan or Joseph Kelly agree with the content. We provide information from many points of view in order to promote dialogue.

Please forward articles that you think we should add to CultNEWS101.com.

Thanks,

Joe Kelly  (joekelly411@gmail.com)
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Oct 18, 2018

Leaders of St. Petersburg Church of Scientology to stay in detention for four more months

October 18, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG, October 18 (RAPSI) – Detention of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg leader Ivan Matsitsky and chief accountant of the religious group Sakhib Aliyev charged with extremism and illegal business operations on Thursday was extended until February 20, RAPSI reports from the St. Petersburg City Court.
Investigation was also extended for four months. The defendants earlier refused to study case materials.

In late March, searches were conducted at the premises of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg. The raids were directed to identifying more items and documents confirming the criminality of the religious organization leaders’ actions, the FSB press-service said.

According to investigators, from 2013 to 2016, the organization received over 276 million rubles (about $5 million) for rendering its services. However, the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg has not been incorporated under the law, an FSB representative said in court earlier.

Three other defendants in the case are the organization’s executive director Galina Shurinova, chief of the official matters department Anastasia Terentyeva and her assistance Constance Yesaulkova. They have been placed under house arrest.

Dianetics and Scientology are a set of religious and philosophical ideas and practices that were put forth by L. Ron Hubbard in the US in the early 1950s.

The scientific community never recognized it as science.

A resolution passed in 1996 by the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, classified the Church of Scientology as a destructive religious organization.
The Moscow Regional Court ruled in 2012 that some of Hubbard’s books be included on the Federal List of Extremist Literature and prohibited from distribution in Russia.

http://rapsinews.com/judicial_news/20181018/289730182.html

Leaders of St. Petersburg Church of Scientology to stay in detention for four more months

October 18, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG, October 18 (RAPSI) – Detention of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg leader Ivan Matsitsky and chief accountant of the religious group Sakhib Aliyev charged with extremism and illegal business operations on Thursday was extended until February 20, RAPSI reports from the St. Petersburg City Court.
Investigation was also extended for four months. The defendants earlier refused to study case materials.

In late March, searches were conducted at the premises of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg. The raids were directed to identifying more items and documents confirming the criminality of the religious organization leaders’ actions, the FSB press-service said.

According to investigators, from 2013 to 2016, the organization received over 276 million rubles (about $5 million) for rendering its services. However, the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg has not been incorporated under the law, an FSB representative said in court earlier.

Three other defendants in the case are the organization’s executive director Galina Shurinova, chief of the official matters department Anastasia Terentyeva and her assistance Constance Yesaulkova. They have been placed under house arrest.

Dianetics and Scientology are a set of religious and philosophical ideas and practices that were put forth by L. Ron Hubbard in the US in the early 1950s.

The scientific community never recognized it as science.

A resolution passed in 1996 by the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, classified the Church of Scientology as a destructive religious organization.
The Moscow Regional Court ruled in 2012 that some of Hubbard’s books be included on the Federal List of Extremist Literature and prohibited from distribution in Russia.

http://rapsinews.com/judicial_news/20181018/289730182.html

Oct 14, 2018

Center sees professionals embracing Transcendental Meditation

John Nelande
Daily News
October 14, 2018

When Transcend, Palm Beach opened in April 2017, many residents were already practicing transcendental meditation. But since then the center has attracted new fans trying to de-stress from their professional and personal lives.

About 150 people have come to the center at Palm Beach Towers at 44 Cocoanut Row over the last year, the directors say, 80 percent are residents who often use transcendental meditation to give them an edge in the business world.

“Palm Beach people are responding,” said Elaine Pomfrey, a co-director and a transcendental meditation teacher. “They know that stress is an important thing and they just want more out of life. It’s natural to want to expand your capabilities.”

A 2012 review published by the American Psychological Association credited transcendental meditation with reducing anxiety and boosting memory.

It has “popped into the mainstream,” Business Insider reported in 2016, noting that 2,500 professionals picked up the technique from 2013-2016 and that 55 percent of them worked on Wall Street.

Transcend, Palm Beach, has “put some feelers out” to business groups, said Ty Brodale, who also is a co-director and transcendental meditation teacher along with his wife, Zabrina. “Right now we’re working on a proposal for a property management company in Aventura. It’s a pretty intense work life with a lot of stress.

“They’re interested in having their employees learn TM so they can make fewer mistakes, enjoy their job more and get along better.”

“It’s definitely been trending up over the last 10 years,” Zabrina Brodale said.

Decreasing stress leads to better work habits and more satisfaction, two Palm Beach participants said.

Margaret Duriez, owner of Lox Farms in Loxahatchee — which sells organic produce — started doing transcendental meditation three years ago after encouragement by Dr. Tony Nader, a neighbor and longtime TM promoter who Pomfrey says was the “inspiration” for Transcend, Palm Beach.

“I do it because I’m able to take on so much more when I’m practicing,” Duriez said. “It allows me to take on bigger projects because I feel like the stress doesn’t build up. If I don’t practice I can really feel the difference in what I’m able to cope with, professionally and personally.”

Duriez and husband Franck have four children who are learning transcendental meditation themselves. “We also do farm-to-table dinners, which is like adding in event planning on top of everything else.

“What I’ve seen is that it helps you be the best version of yourself.”

She goes to the Towers center occasionally. “I practice at home but the center is always there to answer questions or help people if they need advice,” Duriez said.

Brenda Boozer, a former soloist at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, started meditating in 2001 and then strayed from it, but picked it back up in 2008.

“I had a very high-powered career in New York,” she said. “This is a very stressful business. There’s so much energy involved in what I do -- singing in five different languages, focusing and knowing the music, and singing over a 110-piece orchestra. It’s very high demand.”

Now a singing teacher in Palm Beach, Boozer does transcendental meditation 20 minutes in the morning and in the evening, she says.

“If my body is more coherent, and the central nervous system is not anxious, everything in life works better — your mind, body and spirit,” said Boozer, who practices meditation at home and anywhere that’s convenient, but also attends group sessions at the center.

Newbies who come into Transcend, Palm Beach pay $960 for four sessions, and after that they are able to come in for refresher sessions and group activities for life. If a couple wants to learn meditation, the second partner pays $720. There’s a student rate of $380.

“People filter in and out” of the three-room center in the bottom floor of the Towers, Pomfrey said, but there are larger weekly meetings and a monthly meeting that draws 20-25 people.

The “biggest demographic for the center is CEOs and mothers,” Ty Brodale said. “They’re both dealing with, and managing, a lot of people and that’s very stressful.

“We have people who come in and say I love my work, I love the intensity and the stress I put on myself. But they’re looking to reduce stress and give themselves an edge.”

Transcend, Palm Beach is run by a non-profit foundation — Pomfrey is the finance director — and is funded through donations and the international TM organization.

Transcendental meditation was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who brought the practice to the United States in 1958. It was thrust into Western popular culture by The Beatles and other entertainers in the late 1960s.

Nader, who has a home on the islandi, was named the Maharishi’s successor when he died in 2008.

Demographics at Transcend, Palm Beach show that 50- to 60-year-olds are the most common age group attracted to it, at least on the island. The second most common group are millennials.

https://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/20181014/center-sees-professionals-embracing-transcendental-meditation

Oct 13, 2018

Ivanka Trump’s Gurus Say Their Techniques Can End War and Make You Fly

Ivanka Trump
Justin Rohrlich
Daily Beast
October 13. 2018

"When the David Lynch Foundation held a gala for Transcendental Meditation at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. last year, it drew a star-studded crowd. Comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Margaret Cho were there. So was the singer Kesha, as well as White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who had recently published a self-help book which included a section extolling TM's benefits."

" ... The organization also takes credit for ending Mozambique’s civil war in the early 1990s, having set up an “international peacekeeping group” of advanced yogic flyers in India. Knock-on effects in Mozambique created by the group practicing roughly 4,000 miles away included a 12.4 percent economic growth rate, inflation that fell from 70 percent to 2 percent, and a zeroing out of the national debt, they said."

" ... In 2014, an independent meta-analysis of meditation research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association for Internal Medicine found “insufficient evidence that mantra meditation programs [such as TM] had an effect on any of the psychological stress and well-being outcomes we examined.” An earlier review of TM data by the NIH also found insufficient evidence that TM lowered blood pressure as claimed."




TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION Related Articles 


https://www.thedailybeast.com/ivanka-trumps-gurus-say-their-techniques-can-end-war-and-make-you-fly?

Ex-Jehovah’s Witness, abuse survivor launches nonprofit

Shomik Mukherje
Times-Standard
October 11, 2018

A woman who said she was repeatedly sexually assaultedthroughout her childhood by a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Fortuna, an experience she recounted in a televised documentary in May, has now launched a nonprofit organization to help fellow survivors of sexual abuse.

Romy Maple has registered SAFE 707 — which stands for Sexual Assault Fighters Elite — as an official nonprofit. She hopes to become a certified life coach in order to aid fellow survivors, especially those who have left behind religious organizations and are at risk, she said, of simply joining another one upon leaving.

“Once you leave a cult, you might walk away but you’re still not free,” she said. Leaving everything behind often leaves individuals without spiritual independence, she said, which further leads some to give into the same type of emotional blackmail elsewhere.

In May, Maple appeared prominently in an A&E documentary series, “Cults and Extreme Belief,” hosted by journalist Elizabeth Vargas.

A&E stated it contacted Jehovah’s Witnesses, which declined to comment on the allegations, but provided producers a copy of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ position on child protection.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse and view it as a crime. We recognize that the authorities are responsible for addressing such crimes,” the policy states. “The elders do not shield any perpetrator of child abuse from the authorities.”

The months following the documentary’s airing have been a “viral” awakening in Maple’s life to the impact of telling one’s story, she said.

Many dozens of other abuse survivors have reached out to Maple, sharing their own experiences, she said.

“A lot of people have spoken to me,” she said. “It was almost overwhelming. I was so honored to know that people trusted me after watching what I said on TV.”

Shortly after the documentary episode focusing on Jehovah’s Witnesses aired on A&E, Maple shared her story with the Times-Standard.

She said she was drugged and raped for much of her childhood by an individual who, like her, was a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Fortuna. At the age of 11, she said, she tried alerting elders in the congregation to the repeated abuse, but all ignored her. For years afterward, she said, she struggled with suicidal thoughts and feelings of loneliness.

The alleged incidents happened far longer ago than the statute of limitations for rape. A few weeks ago, Maple said, she confronted her alleged abuser, offering him forgiveness and asking for an apology. She said she didn’t receive one.

Maple currently lives in Fortuna. The town still carries a culture of silence, she said. She often drives by the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, she said, and wonders if children in there are still being abused.

Despite leaving Jehovah’s Witnesses, which she said exposed her to “God fraud,” Maple said she retains her faith. Observing nature’s beauty, thinking about the people who have come into her life — down to the editor of her book — still convinces her that a larger power is at work.

Maple will soon embark on a days-long retreat, which she hopes will further help in her healing. Her ultimate goal, she said, is to help those who are in danger of “cult-hopping.”

“If you don’t have the training or education, you’re going to fall back into the same type of vibration,” she said. “That’s what you’re primed for.”

Maple has started a fundraiser for her efforts on the website GoFundMe.

Shomik Mukherjee can be reached at 707-441-0504.

http://www.times-standard.com/ets-l-maple-1011

Oct 12, 2018

What's Love got to do with it?

Counterculture Crossover: Growing up in the Love Family
Book: Everything when it came to Arlington commune

Steve Powell

Arlington Times
October 11, 2018

First in a series.

Rachel Israel was taken by her mother to live in the Love Israel commune outside of Arlington in the 1980s when she was almost 7 years old. She lived there for eight years. She has written her memoirs called, “Counterculture Crossover: Growing up in the Love Family.”


 The following is a Question and Answer article with the author.

Why do you want to go by Rachel?

I want to use my community name to protect my privacy, which is hard to do these days. I was just a kid there, so I didn’t choose to join the Love Family, but since I disclose so much personal information, that is controversial in many ways, it could be harmful to my career. Not only that, but when the Love Family broke up, I actually kept my community name for years. So authoring the book in that name is consistent with the time period I discuss in the book.

What was your life like before that, and how did it change?

My mom had dropped out of society, and we were living in the hippie counterculture. There were a lot of adventures that took place before we moved to Alaska, but just before we met the Love Family, we lived in the Alaskan wilderness, in a tepee with just my mom, my brother and my stepdad. It was a simple, quiet life. My room was a loft built up near where the poles protrude out the top. My parents worked at the cannery and on fishing boats. My step dad would hunt with our German Shepherd. My mom taught herself how to tan hides. She ground her own flour to make bread or custard pie in the little stove that was in the tepee. Then, my mom met the Love Family. They had a homestead in Homer at the head of the bay. She left my stepdad and moved to the Love Family’s home base in Seattle on Queen Anne. My life changed drastically. I now lived communally with hundreds of people who were considered like family. My mom was no longer in charge. I was taken care of by designated caretakers. I was home-schooled with my communal brothers and sisters, and my teachers were family outside of school. In my book, I talk in detail about my schooling. I also share a lot of memories about what it was like being communally raised. It was a lot to get used to and nothing like what I had known life to be before we joined.

How old were you when you joined the commune?

I was almost 7. I lived there for eight years. I left during the mid-1980’s breakup, so was almost 15 when I left and was entered into public high school in the outside society.

Why did your mom join in the first place?

My mom was looking for a commune, that was a popular hippie ideal, and she was sick of society and was looking to drop out. The way to change society, she told me, was to “not be a part of it.”

What was life like in the commune, good and bad?

Good: It was a huge family and because it was communal, everyone was really close. There was a lot of adventures, my activities in the Love Family drama group, caravanning across the country to rainbow gatherings. Bad: I was growing up in a society where my own mother wasn’t an authority over me. One man, Love, was in total control and made all the decisions about how I was raised from where I lived, to what I ate, to who took care of me, and his authority was so great that there was no balance of power. There was no feedback loop where membership could voice complaints and be heard so that problems could be solved. It was patriarchal, so I was raised in a society where, according to doctrine, men were in charge. Love’s vision for the community reflected that. Women were subservient, and their roles were limited.

What were some of the hardest things you went through while you were a part of that?

Being in a family where women were not equal and didn’t have a voice in the leadership and in major decisions. I discuss in detail the nature of sexual relationships in the community because I had to witness my own mother’s involvement in a polygamous relationship. I discuss in my book, in excruciating detail, what I experienced when my mother was sanctioned into one such relationship. Part of the Love Family’s sordid history, that is rarely discussed publicly, is the polygamy and the Love’s Family’s version of group marriage. What was also hard was what I lost by being there, which was a close relationship with my mother. Being raised communally meant that I wasn’t close to one parent. I had a lot of parents, but when I got attention, it was part of a group, not a lot of individual attention. So when the community broke up, I was a teenager, living with my mom. She hadn’t raised me, Love had. It had a devastating impact on our relationship. Culture shock when I went to live in the outside world. The adjustment was traumatic. Growing up in the Love Family didn’t prepare me for life on the outside.

Why did you leave the commune?

The Love Family broke up. A petition had been signed by the elders and 90 percent of the membership left. My mom left with that wave. Of course, the Love Family never actually broke up. What it really was, was a mass exodus. Then once that took place, it changed drastically in order to survive the shift.

How old are you and what’s your life like now?

I am almost 50, I work in the psychology field, helping people. I live in the country, raising two daughters. We have animals.

Why did you decide to write a book?

I always wanted to tell my story. I knew that story was important. As a child, I had read the Diary of Anne Frank, and it had a big impact on me. I received, as a gift, a diary, around that

I don’t think people have any idea what was really going on in that group. It was a very isolated group, and there wasn’t a lot of interacting with the outside world. I talk in my book about controversial things that were never mentioned in the papers or articles written over the years. I see value in telling the truth of what I saw and experienced there. It has helped me heal to talk about what happened to me there, what it was like, for me, growing up in that world. One of the things that I was taught in the Love Family was that the past wasn’t important. So in the Love Family people didn’t talk about the past, and there was this focus in everyday life on the present. And there’s value in that but I have also learned that history is important because lessons can be learned that guide us into the future.

For more on the book go to rachelisrael.net

Next week: A look at the book.

https://www.arlingtontimes.com/life/whats-love-got-to-do-with-it/