saying goodbye

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When we move to Sacramento to join the Greens, life gets uncomfortable right quickly. Not the friendly gatherings I’d hoped for. Within a few months Jim, Lila and Steve decide my daughter Sarah (then 11) has to go live with her father who the day before served me with papers for visitation rights. Steve had said to him, “You’re not her father anymore, I am.” Ricks only sin is loving his daughter. He only wants shared custody. But Rick’s influence, they say, is “worldly, and he’d spoil her, and it’d harm her and all the other children, too.” As Rick and Sarah drive away I wait to see if she’ll look back, but she doesn’t. She wraps her arms around Rick’s neck, her smile about the size of her universe. The next day Lila says to me, “You mustn’t call, nor write her, do you understand that?” I was being tested.

Weeks later at a meeting my 13-year-old daughter Iantha (now Rebekah) is put to the test. She’s close to my mom who when we move to Sacramento we think we’ll see more of. But Steve says grandma and grandpa are “of the world,” too. He tells Iantha she has to choose between living with them or us. She says she wants to live with us. But Steve says she needs her faith tested. “I want you to go live with them for a month,” he says, “and THEN, YOU decide who you want to live with. Us or them? You can’t have it both ways.” Is God really this mean?

I stand up, holding Iantha’s hand, and I say, “You can’t do this to my daughter.”

Driving home, no one says a word. Even Nate, who’s 6, is holding his tongue. Once home and the kids are in bed Steve lashes out. “Don’t you ever embarrass me like that again, do you hear?  We’re here to do God’s work, and if you don’t want to be a part of what the Lord’s doing, then you and the children can all go live with your mom and dad.” I’ve never seen him angry like this before. I was 35 years old and two months pregnant.

So Iantha goes and lives with them, and after a month calls us saying she wants to come home. To Steve her return is not evidence enough of her commitment to Jesus Christ. As soon as she returns he hands her a box, and says, “ Put the stuff your grandma bought you inside this box. We’ll take it to the post office and return it to her in the morning. I want you to write your grandmother a letter, too, and tell her you’ll never see her again.” Is God really this mean?

Iantha’ letter (#1). Found when my sister and I went through our mom and dad’s estate. Emotions turned inside out.

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forsaken by God, my crazy story

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Available for purchase ($1.99-$2.99) from Amazon PrimeVuduiTunes, and YouTube.

As said earlier, it’s not altogether accurate, but it’s spot on for creating the essence of my experience. The Director—Russell Eatough—totally got it. He knew how to dig down to get the essence. What I most appreciate about this filming experience over some of the others is that no one rushed me, and I always felt valued.

Anyhow, this blog pretty much materialized out of 2014, the year of making this film, the year I harnessed my mind to dig into my past—to reflect, to remember, to feel, to write, to share.

foundational years

Screen-Shot-2015-05-09-at-9.37.52-PMSteve, me and Jim. Malawi Africa, 1986

I was there during ACMTC’s foundational years, when they were building themselves up, when they began casting out demons, and got kicked off of Christian Radio for heretical teaching. I watched as they drove themselves off the deep end, and I saw the paranoia splash in their face, the fiercness set in their eyes, and I heard their voices turn to self-defense.

excommunication was a scary but fortunate thing

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Excommunication was the best thing that ever could have happened to me, it got me and later my children out of there.

I didn’t feel fortunate at the time, of course—I felt like I was being dangled over hell. Declared “forsaken by God” by Lila Green, god’s prophet, overnight I became the enemy in an ever unfolding plot.

I didn’t feel evil. I understood little at the time. At times I questioned the sanity of my reality, yes, but ironically, I was a good soldier—I knew how to guard against, to stop my own thoughts, my conscience. Every doubt I rebuked, “get behind me Satan, in the name of Jesus Christ.”

I thought it was a test, that God wanted to for some reason 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 thread within ACMTC, and in my mind.

I’d suffer anything for God, but at some point less out of love for him, and more out of FEAR. Why’d he pick me to play this role? I was labled rebelious, but I felt humble and broken inside. I questioned why God gave me this Judas-like role to play, but who was I to question God?

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no fair trial?

Clip from  natgeo documentary:

Clip from ACMTC’s website:

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No fair trial? Twice the Greens choose to not show up in court to defend themselves at their own trials, first in California and then again in New Mexico. Instead they took to defending themselves with lies via their website. How fair and just is that?

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Clips from ACMTC’s Website:

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Media clip/ late 80’s                                 

 

let’s go to the files


“general” Jim Green

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Okay, well, that’s what I’m doing, I’m going to the files. I’ve already shared some. Last week I went through old files regarding ACMTC, and today I organized them so I know what I have and where it is—so I can publish MY files, because those “PX2 files” —they’re all, exuse me, fucked up!

very disturbing… .

Okay now, I don’t like to tell stories of dark, oppressive, vengeful content. But sometimes I have to in order to show what’s on the other side. I was in a dark, oppressive hole (old ACMTC files) yesterday, and I took my flashlight and I took some notes.

Below are copies of “general” Deborah Green’s prophesies I extracted from their website during the time when I crossed borders into New Mexico with my California judgment. Notice the date of the “Notice of Presentment” and the dates of “general” Deborah Green’s so-called prophesies. Do you think there’s any connection? Do you think these prophesies were a lash at me?

Fear and intimidation are her tools. Jim’s nicer. I saw some caring and some kindness in him. He’s under her shroud, too. That’s why my focus is mostly on exposing the lady who controls everything that goes on behind the scenes. She’s the one who claims to get instructions straight from god.

IMG_5379Dated July 28th, 2004  Notice of Presentment

Don’t bother trying to read them.  There are shortened excerpts below, but look at the dates.

IMG_5387July 13, 2004

GOD WILL VINDICATE HIMSELF UPON HIS ENEMIES!

July 13, 2004 Excerpt (entire prophesy 2 pages long)

“I speak unto thee this day and I say that I the Living God do vindicate myself upon the wicked. I say when they choose to oppose me, and when they despise my people, I will vindicate myself upon them. For I speak unto thee this day and I say that it is me the living God who does get my vengeance and I do repay. It is me the Living God who is able to bring them down, who is able to render them lifeless. I say that when men are in opposition unto me the Living God I say that I may do away with them even in an instant . That is I may cause them to die. I may cause them to be lost and their souls to be damned. 

I say when you see wicked men who have spread themselves out as though they would remain, know that they too shall pass. Know that they shall be overwhelmed, they shall be destroyed, they shall be distraught. I say that they will cry out and their shall be none to deliver them in the day of their great distress. I say that I the Living God may come upon them and there is nothing that they may do to protect themselves. I say when men will heap up their wickedness I say the time comes that I have had enough of them. I say that wicked and evil men are moved when I deem it necessary to do so. I say that I take them out of the way. I say that I bring forth my beloved, my righteous, my chosen ones as it pleases me. I say this day to be looking unto me and not looking to the plots of the wicked, for I say they shall be done away with... .” 

Again, save your eyes. Shortened excerpt below.

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Sept. 5, 2004

THE WICKED SEEK TO OVERTAKE GOD’S TRUE PEOPLE, BUT THEY WILL NOT PREVAIL.  SEPT. 5, 2004 Excerpt (entire prophesy 3 pages long)

 “I speak unto thee this day and I say though the wicked may plot against the just they shall not prevail.  I say though the wicked may seek to overtake those who are in right standing with me I say that they shall not prevail against them. I say that it is me the Living God who does stand with the upright, who does keep my people. I say that it is me the Living God who does lead my people forth by a plain path, who does direct their steps.  When my people who are called by my name will be looking unto me I say that they are kept. I say that they are kept in the mercy, they are kept in the love, they are kept in the tender kindness of who I am. I say that it is me the Living God who shall strengthen them that they could come forth in me.  I say the wicked are seeking to overthrow, seeking to undermine, seeking to destroy my beloved. I say the wicked will gnash day and night with their wicked teeth upon those who are right in my sight. But I say they shall not prevail, for I the Living God will not allow it to be so. I say I will keep my people upright as they keep their vision singled upon me… .” 

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god is not mocked, part 2

Deborah Green preaching. “Where’s the joy? Where’s the love?

my Sarah’s birthday

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Sarah’s birthday party, French Gulch, 1980. Today’s my darling Sarah’s birthday. Though she came unplanned and at a very confusing time in my young adult life (42 years ago), we were destined to be mother and daughter. I love her to infinity. Her love, wisdom and integrity challenge me to be a better person. More than any of my children, she’s taught me to listen.

Sarah’s father was/is a man of integrity. I was in a relationship with him for 3 years before Steve. During a long season of deep depression, I walked away from him—I was lost. I couldn’t fix what was broken inside me to make anything work.

In Steve’s letter he referred to Sarah as the daughter he “hated,” because she was of a “different father.” I wish I’d seen it back then. Ignorance blinds.

Shortly after we moved from French Gulch to Sacramento to join the Greens in their newly founded “Free Love Ministries,” AKA ACMTC, Jim, Lila (Deborah) and Steve insisted I give Sarah up. “It’s god’s will; we’ve got to obey god.”

The Greens had rules regarding “outside influences.” Steve said to Rick, Sarah’s dad, “she’s not your daughter any more, she’s mine,” denying him all visiting and parental rights. Rick took legal action to see his daughter, and I was coerced to let her go, because “Rick’s influence was of the world.”

One may assume Sarah was the lucky one, that she was spared the damaging effect of the Greens and Steve, and spared being married off at a young age to keep her put, to keep her under submission, as both my daughter Rebekah and the Green’s daughter Sarah were. But a daughter harshly cast off and divided from her mother is an awful thing. We don’t divorce children.

I vividly recall my last day with her, the day before her dad came to get her. When I picked her up from school that day, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Sitting in the back seat with Nate and Lilly, she stared out the window looking at nothing.

I didn’t understand why god was like this. It felt so wrong.

That evening Sarah made herself a bed on the floor right next to me, and I lay awake most of the night quietly crying and touching her golden head.

But the next day Rick came and got her and she was gone. 

a typical day in ACMTC (1980’s)

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The alarm sounds at 4:50 AM, which leaves me 10 minutes to use the bathroom, wake up Nate, don my khaki uniform, and run a brush through my tangled hair before tightening it into a bun. I rebuke the voice in my head that curses the early rising, because I know where it comes from.

“Get behind me Satan, in the name of Jesus Christ!”

Everyone in the camp is inside the sanctuary by 5 AM. No one’s ever late, and we meet seven days a week. This morning we stand at ease with our legs apart and our hands folded behind our backs. The air feels heavy. General Lila’s behind the pulpit.

“God’s bringing us into a new dispensation, and there’s going to be so much for us to do that we’ll have no time for sleep… .”

The sanctuary’s quiet. God’s word is in the air, we can all feel it in our bones.

“I say unto thee this day my children that I the Lord thy God am thy Father. I say unto thee this day that it is I the Lord God who bore thee unto myself, and I say that I bore thee to be a great people unto me… .”

Her prophecies are often long and redundant and I lose her sometimes, and I struggle to grab ahold of the usual flurry of their wrath. Even God’s exhortations sometimes sound mad.

 “I say unto this day my children, weary not, for I the Lord thy God shall sustain thee, I say that I the Lord god shall give thee rest, that ye shall find thy rest in Me… .”  

The meeting’s over at 6:15 and we all return to our respective barracks to get ready for our day. I hardly ever see Steve anymore. He’s always over at the Citadel with the Greens. At 7 AM everyone goes to mess hall for breakfast. Steve doesn’t even eat with me and the children anymore. He sits with the Generals.

On Mondays I watch the camp children, ages 6 and under, mine and everyone else’s. Today’s Tuesday and I travel up HWY 50 to where I single-handedly man our one-man Art Shop in the beautiful little mountain town of Placerville. It’s a lovely scenic drive up there, about 45 minutes from Sacramento, and I love it. It’s like a get-away.

Sometimes Nate’s allowed to go with me and we hang out together in the shop working. I love it when that happens. Today he goes with me, and at lunch time we put a sign on the door saying, “back in a few minutes,” and we sneak off and we get a frozen yogurt across the street, and then we come right back, eating our yogurt along the way. Nobody will see us. This is Placerville.

Driving home we practice our multiplication tables. I’m teaching him, and he’s reminding me.

Steve and I pulled our children out of public schools when the Greens said we had to, and now they’re schooled for about 3 hours a day, about 3 or 4 days a week by Alberto who dropped out of University his sophomore year to come join us at Fort Freedom. The kids spend more time working at the Art Shops than they do in classroom.

Quite honestly, General Deborah intimidates me. I avoid getting too near her, especially if it’s just me and her. I honor her, but only because I’m afraid not to, if that makes any sense. She’s never shown any liking for me, not as she does for some of the younger women, the ones who don’t question, the ones with more zeal. But Steve is mesmerized by her.

Honestly, it feels awfully sick, this relationship between her and him. He’s enamored by General Lila, and it doesn’t settle well with me.  To me it’s obvious, not only that he’s attracted to her, but that she really likes his attention.

“I rebuke my thoughts in the name of Christ. Get behind me Satan!”

Right now my head’s buried in the sand. It has been for some time. I feel no joy in life anymore, and I don’t see happy faces on my children. I rarely do parenting right, according to General Lila and Steve. I’m too “sympathetic, I’m not spanking them hard enough,  we’re raising soldiers here, not sissies, and God’s not a God of emotion and sentimentality!”

I’m ordered to pull Simon’s pants down and beat him with a leather belt if he misbehaves in a meeting, i.e. if he shuffles around in his chair too much. Children are to be seen, not heard. They sit for hours a day in cold metal chairs, no books, no paper or pencil or color crayons to occupy their minds. They are supposed to be little soldiers.

Before Lilly and Simon were potty trained, Steve made me beat them on their bare butts with one of his leather belts whenever they pooped their pants. General Lila claims her two kids were both potty trained by age 6 months.

I’m so sorry God’s like this. He’s a God of love, but His love is so far above our own understanding of love. As mere mortals we can’t understand the depth of God’s love. A verse from Psalms resounds over and over in my head, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

I’ve no one to talk to about this, about my fears, my doubts. Not even Iantha. Dear, sweet Iantha—given away in marriage at age 17, and afterwards sent off with her husband Mike to Malawi Africa.

When we first moved to Sacramento to join with the Greens, Iantha and I stood up together against a decision Steve and Jim made regarding her. We held hands, and we walked up to Steve who stood next to Jim, and I said, “no, you’re not going to do this my daughter.” But they did anyway.

I can’t just pick up one of the phones around here and call someone. Who could I call? My mom? I was ordered to have nothing to do with her or my dad years ago, in the beginning, even before I was made to throw my wedding ring down the gutter.

Honestly, I’m miserable inside. If only I hadn’t answered all those letters we received from Jim and Lila years back, the one’s that came in envelopes with teepees and buffaloes drawn on them. Steve never picked up pen nor pencil to reply to Jim or Lila. I’m the one who responded. I’m the one who kept the communication open.

I’m not me anymore. My children are not themselves either, and they’re not mine. We’ve control over nothing. Everything we do, we do by command of Generals Jim or Lila Green.

I try really hard to believe, but doubt is an evil stronghold in my life, that’s what Steve says. It’s hard to believe things that don’t feel right to me, things that make no common sense, or go against my mother’s heart. I feel helpless to protect my own children.

We listen to no radio, no television, and we read no newspapers. Everything we hear comes from within Fort Freedom. The world is evil, and we renounce it. Everything we do we do together. We eat together, work together, worship together, fight demons together. We talk alike, we look alike, we wear the same clothes, we eat the same foods, and we don’t even choose what it is that we eat. We’ve no friends, no family outside of ACMTC. Our old family, our old friends—they’re not elected by God. We are. We’re his chosen. It’s supposed to be a blessing, but it feels like a curse.

Nate and I are  home from Placerville at 5:30, and our evening meeting starts at 6:00 PM. I’ve just enough time to greet my younger children, take a shower, and throw a load of clothes in the wash.

Tonight’s meeting only lasts an hour. Sometimes it can go on for two or more. I’ve time to throw clothes in the dryer and tidy things up a bit before mess hall at 7:30.

After mess hall General Jim asks me to answer some camp mail, and I do so, but he doesn’t like the way I address the envelopes, and he tells me to do it over again. “Too close to the bottom.” he says. “The address should go straight dead in the center.” I feel stupid. I’ve addressed envelopes all my life.

It’s 9:30PM, my children are tucked in bed, but I can’t go to bed yet. Who am I to go to bed before my husband, before Captain Schmierer? I fold laundry, I iron our uniforms—our khakis, our camouflages, our greens, our red T shirts, our black and white art shop attire.

By eleven o’clock Steve’s back from the Citadel and he climbs into our sleeping bag on the floor. We don’t have beds, because we’re missionaries. We all sleep in sleeping bags on hardwood floors. Steve doesn’t even notice I’ve stayed awake for him. He doesn’t even acknowledge that I am here.

The alarm sounds at 1 AM. It’s our barrack’s hour to get up for an hour for prayer and guard duty. I rebuke the first thought about needing sleep, and I wake up Nate, and we all head over to the sanctuary in the quiet of the early morning to pray. Sometimes we walk around outside rebuking evil spirits just to stay awake.

After an hour the alarm sounds again, and we return back to our barracks and into our hard beds, and I reset the alarm again for 5 AM so we can start all over again—in three more hours.