In August of this year, there will be an Alaska seminar to help educate law enforcement and local government, along with state citizens, about Sam Fife’s Move of God cult, still very strong and yearly using state funds and subsidies for their own profit while religiously trafficking humans through free labor and mind control. This cult is not just doing this in Alaska, but also in Georgia and other locations in the United States as well as other countries. Because of this seminar, I decided to join a group filled with residents of Fairbanks, Alaska.
The subjects of cults arose when one of the group members recently posted this:
“OKAY I have a question… every year around the same time I always end up having these kids come to my place of work. They claim they are fundraising for mission trips through their church. They try to sell ornaments or this year they were selling cheap cheesy holographic posters for $20…Yesterday, a boy came in and I gave him $5 hoping he would leave. He then continued to walk around asking [people] for money. WHO are these kids and WHAT church is this?? I really do think this is just a scam and I’m genuinely concerned about these kids who walk around town for money. Is this a cult? Are these kids kidnapped and being forced to ask for money. I am genuinely wondering if anyone has any information on this as it reoccurs every year and it is dangerous for kids to wander around Fairbanks asking for money.”
Someone in the group decided to investigate and was able to find out the following:
“They are Moonies. Yes. They are still around. One was scamming at the Post Office last year and I went in and told the clerk there was a Moonie soliciting in the Post Office and he didn’t even know what a Moonie was.”
Out of everything I read in this particular group thread something stood out to me the most.
“He didn’t even know what a Moonie was.”
In case you don’t know what a Moonie is, here is their Official Website.
As an activist who is very focused on doing work regarding the specific cult which abused me; a cult which is still in full operation; Sam Fife’s Move of God, I cannot understand why there are no activists interested in the grave problem facing these religiously trafficked children. So many questions swirl in my head when I think of all these kids.
Where are the ex-Unification Church/Moonies who are focusing in on their own ex-cult, since they would know their system best?
Why do law enforcement, government officials or social services not know about the issue of religious child trafficking? Why aren’t there education seminars for this? What the hell have cult experts been doing for the last 60 years?
I messaged Steve Hassan, an ex-Moonie/Unification Church cult leader and a self-prescribed cult expert. Mr. Hassan has been on national television talking about various cults in the news, mainly Scientology. Mr. Hassan has also dealt with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was and still am very interested in understanding why an ex-Moonie, who seemingly cares about the cult problem, is not actively involved in focusing on the children of his ex-cult; a cult using child labor trafficking for profit.
I decided to message Mr. Hassan to hopefully receive some honest and forthright answers for my questions.
May 24, 2018
I am currently writing an article about religious child trafficking. It was inspired by a post in an Alaska group I’m a part of, where someone witnessed dozens of children selling certain items around parking lots and stores. After investigation, it was found out the children were Moonies who were bused all over to different cities in America to make money for the Unification Church.
A common question which was directed at me was why no one was doing any work to help these children.
With you being an ex-Moonie and cult expert, I plan to mention you in the article. So I wanted to pose the questions and give you an opportunity to respond in your own words.
1. Have you done any work with the federal government in regard to religious child trafficking such as what is the practice of the Moonies using child labor?
2. Do you know of anyone who specifically zeroes in on this cult with focused time to fight it?
3. Have you ever testified in a trial against the Moonies for child trafficking?
4. Can you educate the reader on your understanding of why the federal government allows for or doesn’t fight against the religious trafficking of children?
5. In your opinion, what is a plausible solution to begin protecting these children?
Thank you in advance for your time.
I received this response, not from him, but from someone who is an administrator at their Freedom of Mind organization.
Thank you for contacting Freedom of Mind.
How did you hear about us?
Have you read Steven’s book Combating Cult Mind Control, 2016 edition?
Are you a freelance writer? Do you have an agreement with any major news outlets to publish your article?
Have you contacted the National Human Trafficking Hotline?
Please reply when you have a moment.
There I was, staring at a response promoting a book and asking me if I’d contacted the Human Trafficking Hotline. I was left with an even deeper curiosity of why Mr. Hassan had worked on other aspects of human trafficking, but the issue of the trafficking of the Moonie children was nowhere to be found.
As an author and activist myself, I would have openly shared the work I’m doing in regard to my ex-cult. I would have shared what other survivors are doing. I would have been concerned and thanked the person for bringing it my attention, because why wouldn’t I want to “combat” religious child trafficking still happening in my ex-cult? I’m currently working toward a campaign targeted at changing laws; something that cult experts should have done decades ago.
I explained in my reply that I am an activist, author and blogger; had conference presented before, was familiar with Mr. Hassan’s book and offered my website for further exploration of me on their end. I then stated:
I’m specifically looking for direct quotes from him, if he’s willing as an ex-Moonie to answer the questions I sent since that is what I am writing the article about, in order to understand what past and current work has been done specifically by ex-members of the group.
I was met with silence. Not another response or word, and as I began to research the patterning of cult experts, I understood why. Most of the self-identified cult experts are adults who helped start cults. Some of them have even capitalized on studying what they started or helped start. Yet, I couldn’t find work any of them had done to change laws which would help to protect the child victims of cults; like ending religious exemptions laws; laws which allow for faith-healing into death, a problem currently being fought in Idaho, helping work on legal bills which would demand stricter child abuse laws or supporting individuals who do actively work to figure out how to change these laws and deal with current religious cults practicing child labor trafficking.
I realized when it came to activism, there really wasn’t any. There was just academics for other academics, publications not being used to change laws; and even worse, publications passed off as “new”, which were actually filled with recycled information from years past. How disheartening to see such capitalization on the suffering of humans.
In my extensive research, I have not found anyone in the last 50 years, associated with work to investigate extremist cults, or who identifies themselves as cult experts, aside from Jan Heimlich, author of Breaking Their Will, who has zeroed in on the cusp of the problem; religious child trafficking. In my quest to find a group doing active work to change LAWS; to focus in on the criminality of this issue, I have continuously hit dead ends. If anyone has been overlooked, by all means message me. I’d love to connect with you.
When I first entered the anti-cult society, I had expectations. I expected to find dedicated activists who had been working to change laws that would protect children. I expected to find support. I expected to find people who really cared about finally getting to hear the voices of us cult children. I expected to find people who were truly interested in knowing how some of us went through so much torture to come out strong, out here fighting against the people who hurt us.
I did not find that. I found an inflated, regurgitated, extremely wordy, academic publication library, which seemingly was more geared toward studying and building “models” for their own problems, the ones many of them helped create in their younger days. Has this been their way of paying penance, to study what they were apart of and/or helped create? They are seemingly clueless in regard to the true depth of what we cult children have experienced, and they’re seemingly only willing to listen for a fee.
I found gossip and manipulative behavior. I found individuals who were grossly damaged and still deeply rooted in their own trauma base, yet passing themselves off as therapists. I quickly learned that a degree in psychology does not a therapist make, and a PhD doesn’t guarantee a person’s ethical system. Anyone can earn a degree. Anyone can learn anything they wish to learn. However, applying it in a manner which creates growth, healing and radical change is what truly earns my respect.
I found an anti-cult society who in essence needed you to vote like them, be like them, believe like them, act like them, do what they say, take counseling from them, read all of their very dry and boring books and stay the little victim cult children we’re supposed to be, because that makes for better earnings and for some, ratings. The more damaged the survivor, the better, it has seemed; that way you’ll keep coming back; keep spending the money; keep the organizations alive and give the experts something to keep themselves relevant.
I say with open criticism that in my experience the current cult experts are the people who helped sensationalize the problem of extremist belief and now want to charge us victims a fee to heal from the aftermath of that same problem.
I found a refusal to truly hear what we cult children have to say, some of it critical of their lack of action over the last 50/60 years. They hold no accountability, but they’ll hold our money at a conference, and they’ll feature presentations at that conference, geared toward cult children in order to reel in these unsuspecting cult children to pay for that conference.
This, as I have experienced, is somewhat of a racket, what I now view as the “cult of the anti-cult world“. Their love bombing tactics are outrageous. Their shunning tactics are even worse, should you dare question or have a critical statement that goes against their self-made, elitist society. The personal behaviors of some of the leaders are appalling. The acceptance of these activities by those who stand by and/or fence sit is complacently just as bad.
I could tell you many disgusting stories of a final anti-cult conference I attended, where donation envelopes were lain out on a table. A symbol of tithing at an anti-cult seminar? Shocking, really. I sat in the bar at the hotel as the adult cult children spilled out of the conference room, talking among themselves, enraged at what they’d seen. I listened to all of their complaints. The emotion seemed to quickly pass for them. Even survivors who swore on that day that they’d never give another dime to this organization, have messaged me asking me if I’m going to this organization’s conference this year. Absolutely no way. I said it then, and I say it now, that I won’t support unethical people or organizations after I have personally witnessed their behavior.
I do look back on any negative experience with a severance of thankfulness, because when I get to see the reality of what something or someone is, I have just been protected in my own way of going forward. I have just been handed a crossroad which is curved in my favor because truth has been revealed. It’s up to me to take the proper path, even if I take it alone, or with a very small group of others. Some say there is strength in numbers. I say there is just strength, and the strongest have resiliency for the long run. I say there is strength in the willingness to stand up against non-action and to reveal truth in a critical way, even if it results in more shunning and more blow back.
I recently heard this from one cult expert:
“Anyone can join a cult. Anyone in a vulnerable position can join.”
In regard to adults, this is somewhat truth. However, this is an incorrect absolute which rules out children. Children do not get lured or willingly join cults. They are born into them or like myself, are taken into them at a very young age. Experts are seemingly virtually lost when it comes to deeply understanding the reality of the child cult experiencers. It’s an unfortunate dynamic, since many of us have much to share if only these experts placed their egos aside long enough to listen. We could tell how we survive each day; what we go through; how we cope; how we’ve integrated ourselves; how we become happy and even more, how so many of us have found healing.
After a local psychologist read Cult Child she shared with me that it was the first of its kind for her, since it is a book written from the first person viewpoint of the child, giving a very poignant view of what it’s like to live in the mind of an abused kid. Stories I wrote of being just nine and brutalized sexually in a potato dugout, then straightening my skirt and lugging the pail of potatoes back to the kitchen to keep working allowed her to know my thoughts during this incident, for instance. Details that are important for people who want to work with children or adult children who have survived abuses in these very specific environments can be found in the understanding of the way we think.
I find that most therapists reading my story are people completely unrelated to cults, yet wanting to learn about us since there are more and more of us children seeking therapy. My story isn’t only for cult children. It is helpful for all kids who’ve suffered sexual, physical and mental abuse in differing situations. To know us, is to really understand how we think as we are being abused. To understand us is to read our stories.
Even the experts can’t answer pertinent questions as to why there are no legal ramifications against religious human trafficking specifically, steering clear of the subject to focus on non-religious human trafficking.
When therapists are open to listening, that is when learning happens. A therapist who is not learning from their patient, may not be an open-minded therapist.
Children and adults are being religiously trafficked on a daily basis. When a cult expert was contacted, the response to me was an attempted book sale and a referral to a hotline who, after some discussion, knows very little about working with cults specifically, which gave me a new understanding of where more work is needed. So the call was fruitful and opened a doorway for me.
The young girls and boys who walk all day to evangelize in neighborhoods are not paid for their work. The young boys and girls selling wares in parking lots are many, not even old enough to be working. Where is the fight against this religious trafficking?
I’ll never forget what was once said to me at a cult conference. “We are here as a resource hub, not to rescue children in cults.” In the chambers of the cult child world, we call these people the Talamasca of religions/cults.
After observing the lack of activism and the Hollywood chase by the anti-cult world, I knew that this society, made up mainly of ex-cult members and religious minded individuals selling their own brand of faith, was not where I would find the people doing active work, as I originally believed. I swiftly changed my direction, and I found where the action is happening, a society of individuals who were abused kids just like me, yet in different scenarios. I have met more ex-cult children in this arena than anywhere. I was surprised to find that the majority of adult cult kids are also in an arena more focused on sharing their experiences and healing.
I met an amazing cult family at one of my local shelters where I went to donate some copies of Cult Child, and I was able to get on their list as an emergency contact for cult families specifically. It means I will drop what I’m doing if possible and come to support and listen to their experience with understanding, should a cult family arrive at the shelter and need support. I deeply connect with the children, because I understand how scary the world is after growing up or being taken into a cult. They needed to talk to someone who is like them. I can speak their language. This is where we adult cult kids have so much to offer in this arena. I urge cult survivor children to make contact, if at all possible, as shelters are always looking for volunteer support people. Those of us having cult experience as children are the best suited to connect and support these children.
There is a small army of us who refuse to be compliant with the old guard, anti-cult society’s need for control and the dictating of what the truth of child cult survival is like. We stand on the side observing, waiting, watching to see if action follows their attempts to momentarily sensationalize various stories. We wait, because after they are done, after networks have made their money off of the sales of commercial slots, giving little back to those individuals who shared their heartache openly, who have families to support, trying to send children to school, pay bills each month and live the every day semantics of life and have to return to their regular lives and keep moving on and surviving in this world, we will still be here, strong, to step in where we should have been asked to step in right from the beginning.
It is these observations which keep me proudly independent and unafraid to criticize or be criticized.
I also encourage you to find your local CASA chapter and join to be a child advocate specifically for cult children. This is a need in many communities across America. It can also be a very cathartic process when our hearts are open and understanding with these children. Change starts with action. Let’s end religious human trafficking.
Remember that there are many generations of cult children who exist. The cult of Christianity helped found America. So the trauma of cult life is centuries old. There is no title to fit that. I know an adult who is a fifth generation child born into a cult. Every cult survivor is different. There is no one model to fit us. There may be a model to fit individuals who start and help start cults, but there is absolutely no one system which will ever apply in regard to the coping mechanisms and healing for the victims they left behind.
I loved you
like the grass
like liquid mercury
inside of blown glass
i loved you
like soft snow
like you were
the chosen one.
i loved you
where lilies grew
through rock quarries.
i loved you
innocently like lambs,
openly like rain clouds
sun come out
i loved you.
i loved you
like disease accustomed to,
like rabid dog bites
oozing with foam
because the pain
had become my home.
i loved you
somewhere in the distance,
like tart lemons
and bitter beer faces,
i loved you,
and then i loved another.
i loved another,
like the same as you,
same brick walls,
trapped inside the absence.
i loved another,
like more tears on baby cheeks,
more bruises on scraped knees
like open wounds
and belly screams on
roller coaster rides,
i loved another,
and then i loved me.
i loved me,
like wistful memories,
like fading sunsets.
i loved me,
and joyful smiles,
to keep from hiding,
i loved me,
now i love them.
i love them
like figuring it out,
like accepting the afterlash
of my actions.
i love them,
like understanding choices,
like intent of thought,
like harsh truth,
from singing voices.
i love them,
because i loved you,
who taught me to love another,
until i learned to love me,
so i could love them.
I am heady from the smell of ocean. I walk slowly to the vast, rolling surges of white foam. My son, the cinematographer, snaps photos of my bliss, following silently as I dance and skip. Life becomes different when I am with the sea. It is humbling for me. It is reminding me that I am small within the realm of infinite reality.
I am surrounded by my family. Babies toddle about, smashing sand into hollow, plastic turtles, their faces giggling. This joy that has emerged from the depths of my ancestral traumas and struggle, has instilled in me a deep appreciation for the small nuances of life. You see, this journey has been a scattered learning curve filled with crashes and burns. I have been into the depths of its darkness and risen into the brilliance of its light. I will not fall again.
I press my toes into the sand, aware of the soft scrub of the grains against my feet. I enjoy the firmness of this beach, impacted, forcing me to dig into and be present with the awareness of this feeling. Grounded inside the sensation, I let the earth infuse with my skin, sending her energy into my spirit. She is soft and firm. I am safe above her. There is no rumbling of engines or honking of horns. I am here in this moment completely alone.
The wind lifts my dress. I am in surround sound with the soft roar of the waves. They are a symphony rising and falling, reminding me that in an instance, swells can turn. She reassures me, that even if pulled into here tidal arms, sleep will be cool and peaceful. I feel every cell filling each drop of her endless depths move inside my skin. We resonate together, as even the seagulls crying out to the fish become a faded echo. On this shore, I see dimensions I’ve never traveled before. I see possibility. I see me in the sea.
I wonder what happens inside of the mind and spirit when a human just walks into the sea? Eventually the body becomes numb from the dropped temperature. I imagine there is scramble and a struggle against the pulling of the waves as the limbs lose the ability to fight. An acceptance washes over when the mind realizes it will never return to shore. The eyes close and gulping in the salt, the waves become one with the spirit here. Inside this liquid world, beings exist, the same as me; different environment; Otherkin. It is not a walk I desire. It is a wonder, a curiosity, a movement of my mind.
I am grateful for my life. It is big within this smallness. It is filled with surviving and thriving. It sings the songs of promise. It tells me to hold on, keep fighting and stay strong.
I stand inside this diminutive yet immense piece of planet; one so beautiful, yet filled with abominations beyond the imagination. I must return to the reality of my mission; my dedication, to make a difference. But just for today, I escape, just me and the waves. I am infused by the sea and my family. This is where I am balanced; when all is calm; where there is no storm; when we drift gently and in harmony with the tides.
“You loved me,” I said, “when I was at my lowest. Yet, I didn’t quite know you were loving me. I was in tears so many days. You held me. Together we traveled the tunnels of rewound memories, finding ourselves sometimes on clouds and others in quagmire. Through these times, these deep struggles, you were always there, even when I wasn’t aware of your presence. Now, as I look into your eyes, clear and concise, I am elated that you were patient. You waited. You got to know each part of me explicitly. We have grown into one moving energy, crafted through the moments I struggled to find you, calling you to please come to me as you were wandering. Today I am grateful. Today I say thank you. Thank you for returning to me; for finding me and being inside my wholeness.”
“You’re welcome.” Replied the girl in the mirror.
The other day I was having a conversation with a fellow trauma survivor and writer. She posed a question to me.
“How do you balance everything you want to do and keep your head together?”
There are many blogs about creativity which advise on this subject, and many of them contain very valuable information. So, I had to answer her from my own personal perspective. Instead of repeating what is suggested, I wanted to answer her direct question about my daily process specifically.
You see, I am a free-flow creative. Forcing me to follow a set schedule is a sentence for the death of my creativity and passion. It is the driving force that will push me into emotional flat feel. I will strain against the confined system and begin to have a growing irritation towards the control of a schedule until I wither.
Any rigid type of living, for me, is a recipe for depression as I stare at the screen because it’s 1 PM, this is my scheduled time to write, but I don’t want to be writing at the moment. My soul wants to create art, work on other projects or even rest for a while.
Many branding gurus advise to stick to that strict schedule and don’t vary from it. because that is how successful people happen! So it was that I redefined the meaning of success for myself.
Do I pay attention to the marketing side of my brand? Absolutely. I am a lone wolf with a friend who helps me with computer tasks when she can. I have no expectations of her. She has a family and helps me for free. I bow and kiss her feet for that! 95% of my brand is solely controlled and operated by me.
Do I read branding blogs? Absolutely. Following branding bloggers like BadReadheadMedia, by 30 Day Marketing Challenge author Rachel Thompson, have given me excellent information. Partaking in Twitter hashtags like #MondayBlogs, #SexAbuseChat and #NoMoreShame, have helped me connect with some great trauma survivors who are vulnerably baring their souls. Connecting with creative trauma survivors, like artist Liz Ianelli and podcaster Matt Pappas, keep me inspired.
What I don’t do is allow what I read about suggested success methods to pressure me. I glean what feels fitting for my own life and my brand, and I incorporate it. I don’t change the specific routine I have for my-self care, a routine for which no specific schedule really exists. I make a “to do” list almost every day (because 1/2 of it is usually carry over from the prior day), and if there’s a timeline due, I make note of it. In the end, though, I always do things in a rhythm which matches my own positive flow. If something sinks me, it’s not for me.
Being a trauma survivor and a creative can be daunting. When I put too much pressure on myself, I tend to drop into shutdown. My creativity flow is dependent on the state of my mental health.
I always put my mental health and quest to continue being the healthiest before everything.
If two hours is all I have to give to my creativity on some days, that’s what I give. Some days I don’t create at all. Other days I catch a wind and go for hours. All of this is is unpredictable and unknown for me.
My creativity is flowing water at a pace I currently feel happiest following. I cannot re-carve the banks of its river. Instead, I float its calm stretches and row its rapids, staying with the grain of the waves and enjoying the view along the way. To me, this is balance. For me, this is the best route to reach the vast sea of success.
I hope you stay balanced through your creative journey by putting yourself first. I hope you take walks in the trees or lay in the grass and count the clouds. I hope you free flow with yourself, absent of any painful expectation, and know that if you care for the growing plant of your creative well, you are guaranteed to grow into the tallest tree.
P.S. Today I accomplished vacuuming and this blog post. SUCCESS
‘Hey, V, don’t forget me when you reach the top.”
The top of what? The top of the end of child rape? The top of the Eiffel Tower? The top of the end of mentally ill people creating more and more victims? The top of my bed to get out of it on a Tuesday morning to drag myself to counseling? The top of the next chapter of a book taking years to write? The top of making it to a conference to educate some people on child abuse?
THE TOP OF WHAT?????
I get it. You’ve mystified me because of what I choose to let you see online. Don’t do that. Disappointment guaranteed. GUARANTEED!
If I had cameras 24-7 blasting from my tiny living space to the World Wide Web you’d say, “Oh, gosh. Well, okay then.” It would be akin to stopping to see a wreck.
Alright, maybe not that bad. You’d see me dancing around to BeeGees music, meditating and doing soft yoga, boringly writing (she’s STILL writing?), making art and then binging on crime documentaries and cosmology shows while I relax in my bed and write blogs like this.
You’d have periods of staring at my cat while I escaped to the woods. Then when I returned you’d say, “Babe! Look! Look! She’s talking to herself/her cat again!” You don’t even know and you won’t, nosy ass!
I can tell you one thing I have had to forget. Time. Because there isn’t “enough” of it if you start measuring how damn busy life becomes, the more you choose to keep pushing yourself out there.
That is how people get “forgotten”. Not because they don’t mean anything to us, but because we become stripped of our time. When down time becomes less frequent, it’s often reserved for immediate family. You pop in our heads. We get side tracked.
I hate that stupid saying that if someone cares they’ll make time for you. Not true. If someone cares, they’ll respect someone’s lack of having extra time.
This statement of “don’t forget me” has always baffled me. What does that mean? Send money if I get rich? Remember that most of the people who say this to me never share my work or support me in any way. I won’t forget you. I usually don’t forget the people who tell me not to forget them as if they’re entitled.
I’ve never said this to an aspiring or established creative. Maybe because I am a creative, that I understand the ridiculousness of this statement. Instead I wish them well and may we meet again, and I’ll do my best to explore their work.
I’ll be alone dancing you know it, baby, and I don’t care if you forget about me. Stop putting those expectations on us.
Look, you think Gaga hand writes all those printed letters that get sent to her little monsters? No. She has assistants who do that. Now, I’m not comparing myself with LG, I’m just saying, busy is busy.
So, as you who use this statement, in return I say this. Don’t forget me now, and I’ll be less apt to forget you later.