Actually, Deborah Green excommunicated 3 women within a period of a few months, all three of us crammed within the shed. First there was me. Deborah declared me “judged by god,” and my name changed by him to Forsaken (forsaken by god). She handed me an off-white formless sack dress and a black scarf, and instructed me to wear them at all times “when in the presence of god’s soldiers,” and to “wear them with shame.”
After me came Jackie. Deborah declared Jackie also judged by god, changed her name to Barren, and gave her a hospital gown to wear (before ACMTC Jackie was a psychiatric nurse). After five months of shame and humiliation, “god” determined Jackie worthy enough to return to ACMTC’s ranks, and again changed her name, this time to Rachel.
I’m happy to report that after >20 years of taking crap from the Greens, Rachel found it within her the courage to leave. She said she just couldn’t take it anymore, that things were never going to change. Today she lives only 6 blocks down the street from me. (Yes, small world!)
Lisa became woman number three. She and her husband and daughter returned from a “missionary trip” in the Philippines shortly after “god’s judgment descended upon the camp.” Three days later Deborah pronounced “god’s judgment” on Lisa, and changed her name to “Dispised.”
After three rainy days of confinement in the shed, damp blankets in the morning from ground water seeping up through the plywood floor, Lisa snapped. Having just returned from the Philippines, away from Deborah Green and ACMTC’s “camp” for six months, she could hear her own internal voice, the voice that’s available to most of us to guide us if we can only learn to hear. She pushed her way into the “citadel” where the Green’s lived, grabbed her daughter, called the police and fled.
After Lisa escaped with daughter, the Greens instructed Jackie and I to move into the basement of barracks #4. My ex (Steve) ordered our 11 year old son Nate to tear the shed down. He tore it down within two days, and Steve then handed Jackie and I hammers and a crow bar and ordered us to pull out the nails from the plywood and the 2X4s, and then to stack the shambles into piles.
I don’t particularly like telling stories of things that go on in the dark—-but of course, it’s the only way to get the stories out. I move ahead once again with caution. I don’t want to throw negative on top of negative to put out other people’s fires.
Available from Amazon for $1.99-$2.99. Biography Channel. Episode 3 is two stories, one regarding Yahweh Ben Yahweh, the other regarding ACMTC. It was a more comfortable, a better interviewing experience for me than the natgeo interview. Buy all three episodes regarding cults, or mind control, for $6.99 Also available for purchase in iTunes.
Pema Chödrön is a heroine of mine. She helped pull me out of almost 30 years of dogmatic, one-way thinking. She made me feel safe, and she taught me to love and to respect myself.
Then she taught me to be present, and to lean into the pain, the disappointments, the failures, “the sharp points” in life. It’s hard to learn, hard to grow, to expand, to overcome if we habitually avoid pain, if we sweep what’s uncomfortable under the rug.
I think the situations we find ourselves in can be great teachers. We don’t create every circumstance in our life, but much of what unfolds before us results from our own thinking, our own believing. I’ve observed it time and again. If I think I can do something I can, but if I think I can’t I can’t, not so long as my negative thinking directs me.
I try to be mindful of my thoughts and the direction they’re taking me, and how they make me feel. If I see or feel something that’s shouting for my attention, I allow myself to stop and pay attention, and then I can choose a different direction if I will.
Life will give us just about anything we want, we just have to be clear about what we want. Otherwise we can end up at the wrong place at the wrong time.
I think the flip side of mindfulness is to turn off our inner voice, our conscience or consciousness, turn off our mind, our voice of reason, and instead turn on someone else’s voice, someone elses’s mind. We let someone else tell us what to think, what to believe, and what to do with or lives, forfeiting our investigative rights, suspending our judgment, and putting our destiny into his or her or their hands. There is little freedom and there is no authenticity in that.
According to House, if you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.
There’s some truth to that. When I was blindly, crazily religious, no one could reason with me, no one. My way (ACMTC’s way) was the only way. People on the outside didn’t understand that General Deborah Green had powers from up on high, that she was God’s General AND his end-day Prophet. We on the inside were special because of her. We were God’s elite army.
Maybe I’d still be in there had they not kicked me out. (I’m so glad they did!) Maybe I would’ve died a forsaken woman, just as Steve’s next wife after me did. Martha fell under god’s “judgment” also, and died of “squirrel fever.” That’s how her death certificate reads.
Excommunication was a fortunate thing for me. I didn’t feel fortunate at the time, though—I felt like dangled over hell. Declared forsaken by “god’s prophet,” overnight I became enemy in the ever unfolding plot of God.
I didn’t feel evil. I understood nothing. At times I questioned, but ironically, I was a good soldier—I knew how to guard against and stop my own thoughts. Every doubt I rebuked, “get behind me Satan!”
I thought it was a test, like God wanted to see just how low I’d sink to prove my love for him. How much would I suffer? How bad would I feel? How rid of myself would I become? Self-denigration was a constant theme running through ACMTC.
I’d suffer anything for God, but at this point less out of love for Him, and more out of FEAR. Why’d He pick me to play this role? I had no a clue as to why He cast me out in shame like that. But He gave me this role to play, and who was I to question God?
I felt locked in.
I don’t call myself a Buddhist, however I do embrace the essence of Buddhist teachings—I want help waking up, being aware, being mindful, empathetic, compassionate, kind and so-on and so-on.
Reasoning, analysis, contemplation, meditation—just some tools to help wake us up, to see life outside of Plato’s dream cave world, outside the box, outside our usual sphere of influence: our culture, our race, family, friends, relationships, gender, job, roles, age, geographical location, neighborhood, education, beliefs, DNA—all those things that inherently settle down inside of us and can (if we allow) create a mountain of biases.
I’ve grown to abhor religion, or maybe it’s just the extremist “one way is the only way” mentality of religious diehards that I abhor—the mentality that justifies spoiling it for everyone else.
I read about the hostile situation in North Korea, about ISIS in Iraq and Syria, about the age-old hostility between Russia and the Ukraine, between Israel and Palestine, and it saddens me, and the part about children being bombed in their sleep, and the part about people beheading other people—it really puts me to unrest.
Where’s the love? Within extremism the definition of love becomes ill-defined—it has to be to keep the walls up, the doors and windows shut.
When I busted out of a “one way is the only way” mental cage of thinking, a whole new world of vitality and hope opened up to me. I hate to say it, but it was like being born again.