As I’m writing “Rise of Sila”, the sequel to “Cult Child“, which details my transition as a teenager from growing up in a cult, to adjusting with American culture, the many ways in which I was conditioned by my child sexual abuse is coming out in deeper ways.
Excerpt from “Rise of Sila”: “I feel confused and lost. Boys come to school all the time with “love marks”, as everyone calls them, on their necks. Why does that make me bad? When it comes to boys, things aren’t so different in this world than they were back on the farm. Boys get treated better out here too. Girls? We’re dumped if we say no when they want to have sex with us and sluts if we say yes. My second lesson is that because I am a girl, even in this new world, I will still never be right.
Eventually Mama does ask me where Russ is; why he doesn’t call anymore. I tell her he met another girl and doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. Mama spends the next hour telling me that men are shit. They’re all shit. They take and take. That’s it. So, I should expect it. I should never trust a man as far as I can throw him. If I carry one thing into my adult life I better take this one, Mama rants on. Her voice fades into the distance as it has come to do when she begins to lecture.
I won’t listen. I will grow up to become battered and bruised by the men I would choose. I will also become hardened. She’s right about one thing, though. Right now, as I sit here listening to her, I know I’ll never be able to trust a boy.”
My mother reinforced in me an ideal that males can never be trusted. She did so any time a boy I liked didn’t like me back. While she had strict rules about boys, so I wouldn’t look like a “slut“, such as not allowing me to call them because a “lady” always lets a boy call her, she also projected her own hate for men out through my coming of age experiences.
The layers of aftermath created by the abuse of Sam Fife’s Move of God did not end the day we boarded a plane at the Fairbanks, AK airport in 1984 and flew off to Tennessee. It would settle into my skin and dominate how I experienced every aspect of my life in regard to relationships.
Writing this sequel is, at times, daunting. Stories I once told as funny, in short, cryptic and satirical form, now take on a different perspective as I re-live the experiences. They’re not so humorous anymore. They are painful and raw. They are a direct look into my own reality.
Most of all, they are making their way out of my DNA, through my fingertips, and into the pages of a book, which continues to tell my true story through the eyes of a girl named Sila.
I recently listened to the story of a woman who escaped a life in a fundamentalist religious cult. I am always drawn to those who were children in cults, as I find the most comradeship with their stories, often similar to mine.
She is standing at the podium, poised, articulate and dressed in a dark suit. She tells her story slowly, unfolding the pain of the cult survival which drives her passion to grow an organization supporting people just like her. She speaks of her struggles to adapt, the experiences which she will never forget and the scars it has left upon her family.
“My worst day as a free soul is far better than my best day in captivity.”
I have tears as she shares. I am her. She is me. We are the faces of random strangers we pass in the street. We know nothing of their lives, but they could be us. We grew up sequestered from life. Our normalcy was reversed as we learned to become accustomed to being hurt. We were refused a connection with our own authentic being and free will.
Yet, we have survived, and now I sit here so proud of who we have grown to be. I listen as she bravely talks about the work she and her partner have done in just a short fifteen months. They have helped eight cult survivors transition into a life they would otherwise be floundering inside of. Eli Weiss and Samie Brosseau work on event fundraisers to garner funding to provide real-time support for cult survivors. I hear the echo of their voices’ repeated passion of being “ON THE GROUND“; understanding crisis, and what is truly needed.
“On the weekend, a couple of us will hop in the car and just drive, you know? They get to experience what it feels like to do what they want to do. They get to connect, and we laugh. We just talk about regular life. That’s how they want to be treated. Accepted. Just like they’re people, because they are.”
Eli Weiss [on supporting cult survivors]
I am watching from the wings as child cult survivors, now adults, are swiftly rising. They are creating storms with their voices and healing as they exhale. They are standing up for themselves. They are refusing to bend.
We must pay attention to what is happening right now within our communities. Every day, children wait for us to notice; for us to speak up. Every day another child wonders if there is someone out there waiting should they become brave enough to run.
Oh, yes, we are here waiting for you with open arms. It is the time of the Experiencer, and we will all rise together through support, open communication and sharing.
Click the logo below to visit Liberation Point and find out more about their organization.
When I broach the topic of my own sexuality and where I am inside of it, I am sometimes told that my state of mind and feelings regarding my sexuality are just skewed by my child sexual abuse. I don’t completely disagree with that perspective. It’s not a new concept. It’s a scientific fact that child rape shatters a human both mentally and physically.
I do however, disagree that’s its skewed. I wouldn’t use that specific word. My whole view of sexuality was formed from being raped as a child. To define my perspective as skewed is implying that I once had a choice to know what sexuality even was. Just as I have had to travel a path of re-programming my DNA back to its authentic thought perspective form, to expel physical and mental childhood trauma, so I’ve also had to do work specifically with my sexuality.
“You see, I’ve never loved my body, but not because my body isn’t lovable. It’s that the natural urge to love myself in any way was taken from me by abusive adults.”
You see, I’ve never loved my body, but not because my body isn’t lovable. It’s that the natural urge to love myself in any way was taken from me by abusive adults. When I say, “never loved my body”, I don’t mean standing naked in front of a mirror and being happy with what I see. I didn’t love my body by not caring how it was used. I didn’t know what boundaries were. I didn’t know that I had an option of saying no. By the time I was old enough to learn I could say no, I was formed into a fearfully compliant and sexual system. I often moved into a space of sexual robotics, dissociated away from the act itself, even convincing myself that I loved individuals I did not love, so the programmed guilt of my sexuality would not plague me.
Growing up in a religious cult, I was taught that my body was a temple. Masturbation was a sin. Females who had sex before marriage were vile, dirty whores. Girls who were caught being seductively raped by much older men were blamed for their own fear and compliance. We were taught that our bodies belonged to the Christian God until a husband was chosen for us.
We were taught purity in conjunction with being raped by pedophiles, who came in droves to backwoods communes full of children; pedophiles who sought healing from the religious ministry, a ministry more intent on their doctrine and accepting the pedophiles into the fold to cast out the “pedophile demon”, than on the safety of us children.
If you think all rape is violent you are wrong. There are many ways a predator takes what they want from children and/or adults. Sometimes it’s soft coercion through gifts and items given, so the predator can later say, “Now you owe me.” Sometimes it’s offering sweets, toys or gadgets to little children. Sometimes it’s seducing a teenager or adult who blindly believes and hopes for love. Sometimes there is the use of drugs and/or alcohol. Sometimes it is taken by force as the victim fights to no avail. The list of ways rape is enacted is long and varying.
The media tends to highlight violent rape when soft coercive rape is possibly more often used. It can leave even the victim blaming themselves. It can coerce the victim into believing they participated and even enjoyed it. It shatters the mind into countless pieces.
Whether through physical violence or mental coercion, when the intent of the rapist is to TAKE for them-self, it is, indeed, rape. It is not a fully consensual act. Children cannot consent to and should not be consenting to sexual acts. It is a violation for which there is no coming back. There is no argument for this. The fact that child rape damages a human so deeply, is proof enough of its dissecting aftermath. When fear or falseness is involved in the taking of anything from another human without their awareness, it is an absolute act of taking. It leaves scars. It leaves a broken body and mind as the predator walks away full and fed.
Shattered throughout my whole-body system, physically and neurologically, I ran through life in many modes. At times I was in fight or flight for days. Other times I was dissociated. I had other states of being come into my forefront as the authentic me wandered and self-moved like a robot behind them. I had no way to gauge what was healthy for me.
I would search many facets of sexuality, from bisexuality to the lifestyle of fetishes and BDSM; to poly-amorous attempts and more. Being a sexual abuse survivor, I had no self-awareness to connect my spirit with my sexuality. I had yet to call my soul back into my body. Instead, sex became a way to both numb and sometimes expel rage and pain.
I had been trained to never say no. I had been trained that saying no would leave me punished and/or shunned. Saying no meant I wasn’t a good person. Saying no meant I was selfish. I had been trained for compliance since the age of three. It was all that my mind and my body ever knew.
Many victims of sexual abuse take a journey through exploring extreme sexuality. I do not blame them or judge them for this journey. There is both a disconnect and a confusion in the mind towards our sexuality when we have been raped starting at a very young age. We sometimes become dominant to control being hurt. Yet, in the quiet of our mind, the pain still exists. We sometimes become compliantly submissive, believing if we give our bodies fully, that we will be loved, often ending up further abused.
I am not ashamed of my sexual past. You should not be either. Let no one shame you, and please do not shame yourself. All my experiences, especially the ones which left me hurt and damaged, with more scars, remnants of my pain left in the hands of men who only cared about their own wants and having visuals to hold for their own pleasure, have formed me into who I am today. This does not erase their accountability for their predatory behavior. Acceptance is merely my path to freeing myself from the hold these sexual patterns have had on me.
I believe deeply in my own sacred sexuality. I now know that my vagina belongs to MY body. I am not a fan anymore of the ideal that sacred sexuality means giving my body away. This does not at all feel in alignment with my spirit or what makes me feel comfortable inside.
I have misgivings about the industry of sacred sexuality. It is a new-age trend rife with predators, many seemingly moving through one partner after another, and charging money to other humans to “free them from their sexual traumas and blocks”. One can only wonder the effect this has on individuals emotionally, especially when they have been severely sexually abused. I see the trends of sexual gurus, and their followers crawling behind them, believing that “free sex” means “healed wounds”. I’ve see the aftermath from those who have awakened to understand they were being preyed upon by ill-intended individuals.
I am becoming very comfortable in owning this personal space. As the numbers of my age rise, the more I am deeply connected to the ethereal strand holding my body together. I have come to many realizations over the years. I have given my body to other humans for the wrong reasons, most of which did not align with my greater good.
Sexual healing, for me, has been learning to say no without fear of rejection and loss.
Healing from my sexual abuse has meant being willing to walk away from anyone who can’t respect the space I am choosing to be centered into, who would still coerce me or place me in a compliant or humiliating position, even after me having said it wasn’t where I wanted to be. Healing has meant walking away from those who may have a hold on this part of me. Healing is putting my body first in health and energetic care. Healing has involved learning to be alone with myself without feeling lonely and loving my body with a healthy perspective.
I dare say be mindful of your intuition, fluttering there below your rib cage. If you feel as I feel, in a space of exclusivity, with no urge to give yourself to others out of a “free sexuality” trend following or patterns of past abuse, don’t let anyone persuade you away from yourself. Do not judge, but more so, do not let yourself be judged for not following along with any patterns of group think. You have the right to be an individual with your own choices.
This poem grew out of this journey, as my childhood sexual abuse has been the deepest wound I’ve had to clean. It is the wound which has held the densest toxins and had the strongest hold on me.
There are kisses invisible
Sent by men who
Stare at ceilings
Dripping with strands
I don’t dare travel there.
Beach town getaways,
Watching watery sunrises.
For such privileges.
Floating to other circles,
Hoping for different hues;
Some call it
‘Being loved unconditional.’
I don’t know what
That feels like.
I know abuse and use,
Sex feigned as passion.
by Vennie Kocsis, 2015
As I am rising higher inside of my own power, I am wielding an invisible sword called boundaries. I reserve and demand the right to say no. I do not consent to being love bombed and flattered into giving myself away. I hold onto my power, as it is my sovereign right to be in full control of my human body. My mind can no longer be persuaded to go against the greater good of my own thoughts and desires.
How often have you heard this phrase thrown around, either flippantly, in jest or to victim blame someone who has overcome or is recovering from abuse?
I heard this often as a post-cult teenager and well into my adult years. While I was actually dealing with the behavioral aftermath of being an extremely abused child, instead of receiving support, caring and nurturing I was told that I was crazy. When a child is told enough times that they’re mind is insane, we begin to believe it.
This poetry piece is from my spoken word album, Dusted Shelves, which is available on Amazon in paperback and c.d. Written in 2013, it is a representation of a life by which I was conditioned to believe that I was crazy.
Some abuse survivor work is considered to be dark and oddly psychotic. This piece would fall under that theme.
**Trigger Warning for those who are sensitive to these themes**
Sam Fife was a former Baptist minister who started his ministry in Florida in the early 1960’s. He considered himself an apostle by way of a five-fold ministry concept based on the scripture in Ephesians 4:11 which states: So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers. Sam used very erratic methods in his sermon deliveries, sometimes calm, sometimes angry, raising his voice and screaming, then lowering his voice in these charismatic tactics to keep people rapt into his message.
Download this 178 page .pdf document of The Select Committee on Intelligence, Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources Project MKUltra, The CIA’s Program Of Research In Behavioral Modification, investigativion held Wednesday, August 3, 1977. Present were Senators Inouye (presiding), Kennedy, Goldwater… well, you get the drift.
The behavioral modification tactics of the MK Ultra Project are mirrored in the abuse tactics used on us children in Sam Fife’s cult. Sleep deprivation of us children. Extreme beatings. Demon possession casting out rituals consisting of being screamed at and beaten at the same time. Ice baths that lasted hours. Being forced into cold showers and sometimes beaten naked in the showers. Sexual molestation.
Left in some of our minds is the question of whether this cult and the cult era in general was simply a transition into religious mind control testing. It takes an incredible amount of mind control tactics to convince hundreds of parents to not only allow, but participate in the violent abuse of their own children, more that the average little old southern evangelist preachers should know.
Sam’s recruiters set up what they called, and still call, body houses, which were basically churches being held in people’s homes. They used these body houses for the cult recruitment. They used fear of the end of days as a key component of their recruiting, messages such as the Communists were coming to invade America, using The Cold War as leverage. The messages were coupled with a inferences of love and ego stroking, telling adults who were in the group were chosen by God to live safely in the wilderness communities. It was also a very Zionist based theology hailing the Jews as God’s chosen people. To date the cult is a big believer of the Abrahamic religion.
This was all going on when the United States was in a very tumultuous time, racial tensions were boiling and a lot of citizens were angry over the Vietnam War. By 1977, Fife’s group was reported in a California newspaper to have around 44,000 followers, after one of Fife’s ministers, Bill Grier, was arrested for performing exorcisms on high school children. Sam preached that he would never die and if he did, his death was an indication that the end of the world had arrived. It was reported to us cult members in 1979 that Sam Fife had been killed in a plane wreck in South America, and allegedly no one could ever find proof of this plane wreck.
After Sam’s death, his teachings lived on through his understudy minister, Buddy Cobb, who revered Sam Fife and continued on with his teachings. Sam’s teachings are still referenced today by this cult. Buddy ran his ministry out of Florida and Bowens Mill, GA, which still exists as well. He travelled around to various compounds preaching and spent a lot of time in Delta Junction, at the cult I was on. Buddy is elderly and allegedly has Alzheimer’s but many, many abusers are still alive. So Buddy Cobb’s eventual death does not put an end to the existence of this very intricate and multi-layered cult.
Now that I’ve thrown a skeleton of back information out there, I’d like to take us back a few years to 1972 and talk about the land purchase history of the Ware compound I write about in Cult Child.
On January 3rd of 1972 three men named Donald McClain, Robert Crowell and Leanord Banassek purchased 128.5 acres of land from a man named Fred L. Zajac. Zajac owned land in other states, like Nevada, where Area 51 is, as well. Before Zajac’s purchase of the Ware, Massachusetts property, there’s not a trail of who owned it prior. The record drops off to nothing. I did some research through the Ware Historical Society as well as a personal military friend. We came to a plausible conclusion that the deed to the land was most likely held by the Army Corps of Engineers and was possibly land that was a former secret military instillation. During the 60’s and 70’s, some military bases were being privately sold since they were of no more use to the government. However, they were not up for public auction, so there was an inside connection that had to be held by all of these parties to even know that the land was available for purchase.
Four months later on May 3rd, 1972, McClain, Crowell and Banassek sold the 128 acres of land to Sam Fife’s Mt. Bether Bible Center for one dollar. Crowell is still connected with this cult, and as I understand it is a leader of one of the compounds or churches in the Midwest.
Donald McClain’s son, Doug McClain was a traveling minister with the cult, and also a major player in regards to orchestrating the buying and selling of much of the cult property in Alaska during 1980. His business partner was a man named George Harris. At this time, Alaska was gearing up to start giving out pipeline dividends to its citizens, so through McClain and Harris, the Sam Fife’s ministry amassed numerous deeds from individuals in Alaska and began building compounds there. As I’ve been able to research, there were years where Harris and McClain would sell the deeds back and forth to each other for 10 dollars, possibly to avoid tax payments for the church. There are more compounds in Alaska than anywhere else that I know of, and I believe it is specifically because having most of their residents in Alaska allows them to continue collecting on the pipeline dividends since the cult members give over most of their income to the cult leaders’ church associations.
So buying up this land, they were preparing to move as many people as they could up to Alaska to establish residency in preparation for the dividends to start dropping. We were told that Alaska was a safe place to be if the Communists should invade. However, my estimate is that at about 1000 a head, with over 100 people on each cult compound in Alaska, which were at the time around five, Haines, Hoonah, Edgerton, Sapa North and Living Word Ministry in Delta Junction where I ended up, these cult leaders were at a base, raking in around 500, 000 a year in members’ Alaska pipeline dividends. That’s a lot of money for a business in the 80’s, and that is just touching the tip of the iceberg in regards to the financial structure of this cult.
The land buying in Alaska specifically seems to have been a very strategic financial move on the part of the cult. To add on top of it, we were right in the middle of military training and testing installations and frequently were taken to Ft. Greeley. Still today, on Whitestone Farms, Delta Junction, Alaska’s website summary of their history own history, they proudly proclaim how a man named Doug McClain, along with Toby Williams, who was an elder on the compound I was at in Alaska, bought the parcels that Whitestone stands on today.
My reason for sharing all of this information is that I find it is important to build the background of how Sam Fife’s cult compounds were created, how some of the land was acquired and how they have a very, very long history of questionable connections and criminal behavior that has been going on for over 50 years.
“Wilderness Blues” is a book by T.B. Botts that goes deeper into the actually living conditions on some the compounds.
2005 there was a letter written to the Father Ministry addressing the methods and abuse, but it was never answered. Read it in its entirety.
“The Jane Tapes” are a recording of an actual supposed exorcism of legions of demons. Sam Fife performed this exorcism on a woman named Jane Miller. These tapes really show the psychotic aspects of Sam Fife’s personality. I find the most interesting part to be the very beginning of the alleged exorcism when he uses a bit of a different, more solemn voice to introduce himself and then goes into this very elaborate description, talking about himself in the third person.
Pictured below, the men in the black suits, from left to right: Joe Lane (or Joe Ingles), Phil Martin and Sam Fife with Sam’s private plane (photo from 1968)
The intent of the post is to, in the least, consider abuse methodology which mimicked military style torture, the great con of keeping Alaska money going in a circle from a cult to their businesses and back to the cult.
What a cruel fate; these women who live inside me. What a scatter, a hush, a bustle of activity, a wish for silence as our skin is touched.
What a tortured existence, the ending of the blissful discovery, when truth comes with the sunrise and lies disappear with the moon.
What an angst to carry, an anger undefined, many in one, intertwined in the darkness surrounded by a glow. If you could only know the sullen, and still love them, but these indifferent frames don’t bring authentic feel.
What a solitary run through this planetary blink. These women who are me, hold secrets of a girl. What a war of surviving the battles, staring daily at the scars, invisible to strangers whose walls block their view.
What a fall to choose , tortured to feel the agony of every passing earthling; their soul’s dying soaking into my being, a starfish beneath the seas. They drown me.
What a mask to wear, holographic in its design, changing with the seasons of my mind. I am translucent to the blind, in moments ceasing to matter, drowned by the chatter of silent lips obsessed with their own loneliness.
What a circle, the daring five, brave enough to fight to be alive, an army dwelling inside the one; a portal into the caves.
States of being aren’t an excuse. They’re just a mere explanation. I don’t use mere to minimize them. I use it to not minimize the pain that alter states of being can cause.
See, here’s the thing about triggers. They create reactions. Immediately. No thinking, just conditioned movement, even if that conditioning is self centered. Yeah, sometimes altered states of being exude manipulation as a defense mechanism. And that’s just the raw truth.
The Madge. I have no clue except that’s what she said her name is, and I’ve watched her grow into a woman.
She’s interesting. As a teenager, she is sad but only cares about anger. As a woman she is cold and calculating, because sometimes that’s just how she has to be to gain for the collective or defend for the current state of being’s safety.
She gets talked down a lot. She’s learned to be tempered. She is extremely skilled at mental self defense. She knows how to take what’s foreseen and create a thickness into that section of our dimension and to rebuild it from a hit.
She’s been compiling a book that will probably change your opinion of me. She has her own plan of emergence, and I’ve vowed to be those fingertips. But that’s years down the road. You’ll just have to stay along for the ride.
Point is, sometimes we who automatically change states of being can have some shitty actions as a result. I own that in myself. No particular story to tell yet. Just a general observation. Let it be known. It can happen. And we hate when it does. It plagues us. Makes us feel like shit. Makes us despise carrying this bi-product of what was done to us as kids.
Therapists are correct. There’s no chakra healing for this. If anyone says so, I call bullshit. You master and thrive through this by learning to work with it; by admitting when a state of being does something shitty or is in love or is flakey or needs to feel safe or is afraid or blissfully joyful. You just own it. With that owning comes knowledge and acceptance.
Okay. We’re here. So how do we work as a team? We figure it out, with the end result goal always being the greater good of the collective. No one out votes the counsel.
We follow our love fearlessly while fearing it will be stripped away. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s exhausting. So exhausting we stop giving our love and begin being it. So exhausting sometimes we shut it all down and head for respite. Because we know there is no healing greater than pure, un-infiltrated self love.
We are confusing, complicated, mysterious and quite a battalion for just one to handle unless that one enjoys observing, and has the ability to float. We are a constant interest for the watcher.
I was clearing out my voice notes a couple days ago. I came across one recorded December 2nd.
“Weird.” I thought. I didn’t recognize the title. I didn’t remember recording it. I clicked play.
It is a five minute song I free styled. It’s beautiful and funny and I have no memory recording it. I’ve wracked my brain to remember. That can be a bit maddening. Here, acceptance is key.
This is what we hide; what we experience, you understand? Because you often shame or dismiss us. So we avoid you. This is the side we keep quiet. There’s no explanation.
There’s just you telling us that we’re crazy. There’s fucks wanting to medicate us. There’s people wanting to mimic us. And there’s just us wishing for one day that you could do all of that;for one day you could experience what plays out in these screens behind our eyelids, hear the surround sound in our heads and see through the senses we use to see. The truth. And it can be, oh, so ugly.
Now I’ve the opened the door just a little bit wider into the world about this existence.
It’s real. We switch. We lose memory. I tend to create, paint, write, sing in those times it seems. And maybe that’s what memories do. They emerge through whoever feels safest. There’s always the whisper that it can happen any time. And hyper vigilance prevails just in case I’m in the right place at the wrong time if it does.
“Don’t switch in public.” Not many know these thoughts. Avoidance is key. Late night or early morning grocery runs. Stay clear of the hive.
And a lot of aloneness.
I want to go back.
I want to know all of the truth.
I’m happy right here.
Because you see, I am smiling.
This is my duality. And I feel every intricate stroke of this humanity.