'Where are you from?' - This is a question I get asked every day. Most people can give a simple answer like 'Sidney' or 'Texas', but I never quite know how to reply without it leading into a long explanation of my history. Though my parents are British and I was born in London, my accent and mannerisms are not quite definable - though most automatically assume I'm from the United States despite the fact that I've never lived there.
The issue of identity is one that I've struggled with - I have had five different names and lived in over 15 countries mostly in the Far East and Europe. On the positive side, I like to think of myself as a citizen of the World - I can adapt to any culture and converse with anyone no matter where they are from.
But I never had a place I could call home or feel that I belonged - no connection to my roots or extended family in England. My father completely severed ties with his parents and his past life before joining the Children of God and took me with him.
For years I just existed. As a child, at first I believed what I was told- just as a five-year-old accepts the tooth fairy or Santa Claus. Later I questioned, at times rebelled, but after one too many knocks back, I stopped thinking. It was easier to keep my head down and go through the motions then to face rejection and the unknown.
It was only after I became a parent that I decided I needed to take charge of my life and no longer let fear enslave me to a system of control that stripped me of my right to choose what was best for me and my daughter. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. I no longer live - but I enjoy life and the freedom to reach my full potential. As a parent, I enjoy watching my daughter flourish, free to think, to express herself, to make her own decisions and dream her own dreams.
My decision to study Psychology and Educational Development had been in part due to wanting to understand human nature and to put my experiences into context. It was immensely helpful to my personal development. It's only when I fully understood my past, that I was able to move on to my future.
Hello and thank you for visiting! I am very excited about the release of Not Without my Sister and proud to have been able to write it with my two sisters, Celeste and Juliana. I continue to be dedicated to raising public awareness and offering support to people damaged by cults. I believe it to be a very important issue, one that has only just begun to be properly addressed in the mainstream. One way these cults get away with their crimes is that they demand utmost secrecy from members through fear and control. They maintain division between them and the rest of society. Fostering the ‘us and them’ mentality and black and white thinking.
When I left the Children of God at 12 years old, I made a decision that I would not ‘play ball’ and keep quiet. I have never regretted taking this position. Bullies prosper when left un-confronted. (Ezekiel 33- Duty of a watchman "8 When I say to the wicked, 'O wicked man, you will surely die,' and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for [d] his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 9 But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.) It’s been 18 years since my mother rescued me from the cult I was born into and many of them have been tough. I am always learning more each day. I have endeavoured to break the cycle of abuse that can go down through the generations. I have had to learn the boundaries which were missing in my childhood. (Proverbs 25;28 says "He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls") No one has a right to your mind and to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Once you come to understand the methods used to manipulate you, you will see a big difference in your own life, relationships and inner growth. You will attract the right people into your life and learn how to bounce away other people’s negativity and control.
Brainwashing or mind control is a very powerful tool used by Gurus, Prophets, clergy, sales/ advertising, totalitarian governments, etc. We all have a scale of conformity and some is necessary to maintain a functioning society. We are born with a will to co-operate. But just how much we can be made to conform, especially to evil can be quite alarming when we think of Stanford’s prison experiments and Milgram’s obedience tests. It can seem easier to go along with the crowd then to express dissent, especially when you perceive them to be in a position of power and authority over you. (The cult I was raised in used their prophet and his suposedly unique connection God to keep us in line.) Deferring your personal responsibility and just taking orders can lead you to stop using your mind, personal conviction and critical thinking skills and can lead to all sorts of evils done for the ‘greater goal’.
In our society it has been ingrained in us the meme to see our leaders as benevolent father figures with our best interests at heart. They place them or are tricked themselves into seeing them in that godlike position or making an ‘idol of man. I hope my story encourages and inspires you to find the strength you need to be obedient and true to yourself and to the God of love, to become self empowered and to conquer that fear that often forces us to remain silent.
I hope my story encourages and inspires you to find the strength you need to be obedient and true to yourself and to the God of love, to become self empowered and to conquer that fear that often forces us to remain silent.this is the verse my mother read to my sister. 13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Love good and eshew Evil!
I always wished to fly. I used to stare up at the sky from the confines of the cult commune walls and imagine growing wings and flying away. Perhaps for this reason I would always climb to the highest point I could find, be it a tree, balcony, water tank or roof, so I could see the world beyond four walls and imagine myself there.
When I finally broke free from the cult of the Children of God/The Family, I was released from my cage, but the freedom was frightening. I had my wings, but I did not know how to fly. I knew where I wanted to go, but I did not know how to get there. When I needed to get a bank account, or register my existence in order to get a job, officials looked at me like an alien from the moon. Apart from my passport, there were no records of my existence. The first year was the most difficult for me as I learned the ropes of survival out in the world. It was frustrating and daunting. I did not want to tell people that the reason I was so ignorant, the reason I did not exist on any records, the reason I spoke funny and had no formal education, was because I had grown up in a cult who did not prepare me for life in the “outside” world. I was terrified that others would look on me as a freak. I quickly realised that people were frightened of cults because of ignorance, fearing what they did not understand.
The world of cults is a murky lake, where secrets grow like hidden underwater weeds, entangling and pulling some beneath its smooth surface. Most people standing on the shore are apprehensive to enter the water and save those who are being pulled under. Fear of the unknown is the most powerful fear of all, but with knowledge comes understanding. That is why I, together with my sisters, am dedicated to lifting that curtain to the mysterious unknown with the hope that truth will dispel the myths and the aura of secrecy so essential for cults to survive.
So I sat down and started to write, and as I wrote I finally understood the full implications of the power that one human can hold over another, that one narcissistic man held over the lives of thousands. A power that both created my family and destroyed it--the power of a cult leader. This is not just the story of my family; it is the story of many families trapped beneath the deceptive facade of the cult I grew up in. It is my hope that our story will be the knife that slashes away the weeds freeing those caught within to kick their way to the surface and breathe the air of freedom.
Juliana's Blog site: http://julianabuhring.com
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