Response from Rachel, former ACMTC member for >20 years

by Rachel Johnson

When I first joined ACMTC I was a practicing alcoholic and inveterate smoker who was going nowhere fast.  I was a nurse working at a psych clinic on Stockton Blvd. in Sacramento, and saw the acutely insane and troubled up close, so an alternative to my chaotic life seemed to pacify me somewhat.

I did well there at first, but having a bit of a rebellious nature, it was ultimately not to be. As time went on I was not one of Lila’s “jewels” as she liked to call her favorites. It turned into a very difficult relationship as I became the bad example of the group (my past sins were abhorrent). But I wanted to overcome, and so I stuck with it through the time of shunning with Maura in the shed and beyond. I never did feel that I was in a secure place with God, even after 20+ years in there.  I was always in the position of being Lila’s target for jabs, and accused of things that necessitated my being removed from the rest of them by being shunted off somewhere else. The standing joke was, “oh, it’s Rachel’s fault.” But I kept going (I was also married to Mark Johnson).

A word about my brother Brad: I acknowledge that Rebekah’s letter denouncing Maura (her mother) was dictated by Lila, because I know her tactics, but re my brother Brad’s death, I just want to say that he told me he wanted an “early checkout,” as his life somewhat mirrored mine…going nowhere fast…and I do believe he is with the Lord now.  He also told me before going to Africa with the Greens, “I might not come back.” He had a premonition.

So in the interest of balance and fairness, I stopped drinking and smoking, and did an awful lot of walking while trying to sell Lila’s terrible banana bread. One of the members joked that he would tell customers “if you don’t buy this bread, I’m going to hit you over the head with it.”  Lila is so cheap she would not put decent ingredients in the bread, and it was dry and tasteless and very hard to sell for 10 bucks. You try it sometime. But all this preserved my health. I also gained something of an education by constantly reading as there was no TV to watch.

So finally Mark and I went from our ostracism in Berino, N.M. to living with “the group” again. In the very first meeting we attended Lila gave me a scathing criticism just so everyone would remember what a bad person I really was.  I even gave a testimony about the Joe Cocker song “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” Big mistake.

Then something came out in another meeting about something wrong, so Lila immediately jumped on me, and then it turned out to be someone else. I decided then and there I had to leave as this would never improve.

I asked for a ride into Gallup, but of course that could not be, so I got out on the highway and hitched a ride with some Zunis on their way to the liquor store.  (I always found the Natives to be kind and funny, too, and I still carry a fondness for them). Lila’s last words to me were, “well you always liked hardship.” She was so happy to see me go.

I went through all the transition depression, feeling that my life was over, etc. I tried to reconnect with God, but it just wasn’t there anymore, and still isn’t really. I do believe, but I don’t pray or read my Bible. Conundrum. Do I feel that any hope of real faith was drummed out of me? Yes. Although I cannot blame anyone else for that.

As regards to this current situation, I see it like this:  Lila is an extremely formidable personality, way more than Jim.  So why wasn’t Jim accused by Miracle?  I think because he was always kind to her, whereas I actually saw Lila verbally and psychologically abuse Miracle in a shocking manner for a mere child.  She was kind of put in my category of one of suspect character who had to be “brought to heel.”  Then Peter was her parent, even after Sarah left, and Peter is very much under Lila’s thumb.

Many times I wonder if I could have gotten it together without going down that path. If I had I definitely would be happier now, but I can’t change the past, and I choose to still remember some good things about it. I had many, many conversations with many interesting people over the years while out trying to sell banana bread.  (Emphasis on trying.)

Rachel Johnson, Aug. 23, 2017