The Best of The Best of KIT 1993

From January thru December,1993

The KIT Newsletter, an Activity of the KIT Information Service, a Project of The Peregrine Foundation

P.O. Box 460141 / San Francisco, CA 94146-0141 / telephone: (415) 821-2090 / (415) 282-2369
KIT Staff U.S.: Ramon Sender, Charles Lamar, Christina Bernard, Vince Lagano, Dave Ostrom;
U.K.: Joy Johnson MacDonald, Ben Cavanna, Leonard Pavitt, Joanie Pavitt Taylor.
The KIT Newsletter is an open forum for fact and opinion. It encourages the expression of all views, both from within and from outside the Bruderhof. The opinions expressed in the letters we publish are those of the correspondents and do not necessarily reflects those of KIT editors or staff.
This collection skims the Best of KIT 1993 file, which is derived from The 1993 Annual, to create a Best of the Best of KIT 1993. We understand that the sheer volume of articles and letters available can overwhelm the casual browser, and so we offer in this manner a sampling of the most interesting and informative.

------ Keep In Touch --------

------------KIT Newsletter, January 1993 Vol. V #1------------

Naomi Baer, 12/15/92: Happy New Year to all! A wolf in sheep's clothing is still a wolf. The Bruderhof is still the Bruderhof even if they dress in Hutterite garb. My father's grave is not even half settled and the Bruderhof, in the person of Dave Maendel (of all people) contacts my mother for MONEY! (Dave's parents and family and my parents and family share close history). After taking my father's inheritance, savings and labor for the years he was in the B'hof, they kicked him out with 13 children, a pregnant wife, no medical insurance, no job and of course no money, even for a month's rent. The Bruderhof has no consideration for BASIC human needs, that is, no HUMANITY when there are philosophical differences.
KIT: The current status of the Jake Kleinsasser Vetter's removal as Elder is as follows: Jake claims that all the accusations against him are lies, the documents backing the allegations are fabrications and forgeries, and he continues to protest his innocence. Jan. 8, he held a meeting with his "faithful" ministers and they decided that they were the real Schmiedeleut branch of the Hutterite church and the majority of the Schmiedeleut colonies who voted against him were not. Somehow about $47,000,000 dollars seem to be unaccounted for.
One source theorized that the reason Jake is holding on so hard to his position is that there may well be a great deal more in the way of financial mismanagement and other shennanigans yet to be uncovered. In the meanwhile, some of the individual Canadian colonies allegedly have been milked dry because some years earlier Jake Vetter was able to convince them to sign papers giving him access to their bank accounts.
Joseph Wipf Vetter, Dec. 21, 1992 [translated from the German]:
Beloved Brethren: We feel obligated to inform you what transpired at the meeting of 12/10/92, at the Starlite Colony in Manitoba. After a lengthy discussion of the circumstances without reaching a conclusion, many of the older ministers pleaded and exhorted with Jake Kleinsasser to give God the honor and respect due him and admit what he has done, and to acknowledge also that he can no longer be the Senior Elder (or Head of the Colonies) because we already have much evidence against him of his wrongdoing. Jacob Kleinsasser and all his supporters brought up the request that all who do not agree with the letter of December 9 & 10, 1992, should stand to be counted for Jake Kleinsasser as Senior Elder.
He could not be persuaded from this course of action, although many tried to dissuade him. In spite of the fact that many were against this action, this was voted on and his request was granted. Therefore 78 ministers stood up to be counted to retain Jacob Kleinsasser as their Senior Elder. 95 remained seated, their insight was that with the blemish already found against him, he should no longer be Senior Elder. The conclusion arrived at is that he is no longer Senior Elder of the Schmiedleut colonies. In his own words, as he himself said on November 7, 1992, "That all who agreed with Joseph Vetter's writings of August 28, 1992, no longer have a Senior Elder."
Therefore we will need to deal with this shortly after the New Year. Thus ended the meeting of December 19, 1992
Hannah Goodwin Johnson, 2/3/93: Among KITfolk, I identify with the mystified child -- repeatedly: "Why was I being punished?" Any society that purges itself by executing most of its judgments on the naughtiness of children will come to naught, Parental responsibilities are always combined with attachments and affections. To sue for assistance from those I blame for my confounded affections would be to play into their hands -- and confound it all the more. I have no interest in settling for cash restitution from the commune enterprise. I only seek the truth. Current members cannot be held for past mistakes as far as I'm concerned. Blaming is a call for rescuing: is this what some KITfolk want from the Hutterian Brethren -- to be rescued by them?
Jake Kleinsasser still insists he is the Elder of the Hutterrian Church's Schmiedeleut conference, and has forbidden any of the opposing group to celebrate the Lord's Supper this Easter. Joseph Wipf Vetter, leader of the opposition, is trying to determine how best to handle the Schmiedeleut split. At a recent meeting called by Wipf, all the ministers declared their position before going home to ask their colony members to vote for whom they wanted to follow. Insofar far as the missing monies are concerned, it sounds like the Wipf group probably is not going to press the issue.
Nadine Pleil, 3/10/93:
Julius Rubin's article The Society Syndrome in the March KIT has given me food for thought. I lived 40 years in the commune and during those years I went through great depression. I saw many young people struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. As a young person, I too struggled with the same. It has disturbed me very much that so many young people experienced such deep depression. I myself do not know how I managed to snap our of it all. However I did snap out of it, only for it to reoccur later on what I was married and had 8 children. However at times, "Nadine the Rebel" did reappear, only to be squashed again and again.
I had a thing about being depressed. Feelings of depression, I was told, were sinful. I was afraid of being in trouble if I confessed to being depressed. I had to muddle through these awful feelings of depression on my own. I was told not to be so self-centered -- that was sinful. Only now do I realize, with some amount of shock, how deeply depressed I was. It is a very heavy burden to have to carry these feelings of depression around with me. I think our neighbors here in Washington, PA, helped me out of it all. They talked to me, they appreciated my input. They accepted me for that I am. Very soon I felt accepted and was able to contribute to common ideas, take part in activities, in short to adjust to a new way of living. A new life opened up for me. Until that time, I had isolated myself. I felt I had nothing to contribute. I realized that my feelings had been cramped up. I had not been able to think for myself, and I could not have an opinion. Soon I opened up and, much to my own amazement, I was fitting in. Even though I was adjusting, I often felt myself withdrawing, thinking that I was not worthy enough to have an opinion of my own. I was so used to letting others think for me, to make decisions for me. However now I was in a situation where I was confronted with having to make decisions. It was a good feeling. I realized that for a long time I had just accepted everything, whether I wanted to or not.
Now I do not feel depressed. Sometimes I am thoughtful or feel sad. Out of all this, I have learned to be compassionate, to understand what others have had to endure. We all need understanding and compassion. I will end on that note, and hope that each one of us can in some way or other recuperate from all the pain. Many greetings to you all,
Item: Word has come from various reliable sources that the Schmiedeleut is splitting into two factions. The schism is having a severe effect on many Hutterite colonies. Families are moving away, either 'outside' or else to join the 'Oilers,' (the nickname for the Jake Kleinsasser and Christoph Arnold group because of the oil well investment fiasco) or with the 'Gibbies' (because of I. Donald Gibb, the banker who documented Jake Vetter's business acumen), the Jacob P. Wipf group. Some husbands and wives have split up over the decision. Other people are sneaking off the colony at night....
Norah Allain, 4/27/93:
I've been thinking from time to time, for instance, about the Heini phenomenon, and clearly you are right and it has a demonic aspect such as many people saw in Hitler. But having said that, you are admitting that there are spiritual powers or beings existing on an invisible plane which can use a human being in whom to manifest. This puts the whole of human life into quite a different context and, to my mind, practically removes, or at least lifts, the veil which hides the other dimensions of life from us. So what is the difference between the Christ Spirit and the demonic? I think it is the use of power. I often wonder how long the Bruderhofe will continue under the influence of Heini. What sort of a person is Christoph? Does he just carry on totally under his father's influence, I wonder?...
Nadine Moonje Pleil, April 1993: ... Every year when Easter came around and the Lord's Supper preparations started, I panicked and started to get knots in my stomach. I knew that I would have to confess about my children. Also we would be subjected to endless office visits to the dreaded Servants of the Word. How much of this was I able to take? I had to go to the Lord's Supper, or otherwise I would be excluded.
The office visits took place without fail, not only before the Lord's Supper but every now and then we would be called to the office. When the Servants wanted a person to come to the office, they would page you. So my poor husband, who worked in the shop, would be paged. He was told over the PA system to dial 210, which was the Head Servant's phone. Everyone would know that Augusto was on his way to the office, and it was a foregone conclusion that he was summoned to be admonished about his badly behaved offspring. He had to leave work, be it the middle of the morning or afternoon. The Servants called, and Augusto had to go on the run. I will never forget when I saw him coming down the hallway all out of breath and with such a worried expression on his face. It always bothered me immensely to see my poor husband looking so harassed....
ITEM: The Mennonite Reporter, 4/19/93:
Hutterites Takes Steps To Divide
by Aiden Schlichting Enns
Portage La Prairie, Manitoba -- The Hutterite Church appears to be heading for a historic split. Since December each side has taken steps to strengthen its position, and each considers itself the real Hutterite Church.
A December meeting of all ministers in the Schmiedeleut Hutterite group (about 130 colonies in Manitoba, the Dakotas and Minnesota) presented 12 long-standing grievances with Jacob Kleinsasser's leadership. That meeting at Starlight Colony is now taking on historic dimensions as a watershed point in the current conflict. The group that is opposing Kleinsasser's leadership, often called the Joseph Wipf group, met on February 8-9 at the Delta Colony in Manitoba to consult with lawyers and chart a course of action. Leaders asked each colony to give $5,000 to pay for legal and professional fees.
On March 8, Wipf, a minister from South Dakota, circulated a letter in German calling for the election of ministers in nine colonies, adding that more will follow. This action undermines Kleinsasser's authority and has been perceived by some ministers as a step toward making the split official. The Kleinsasser group met on March 24 at Crystal Spring Colony near St. Agathe, Manitoba, where Kleinsasser is a minister. He told his ministers that they could no longer preach or marry people at colonies that do not recognize his leadership. With the approval of ministers at this meeting, Kleinsasser also decided not to renew the credentials to marry for those who do not recognize his status as elder. Every two years the licenses expire, and Kleinsasser as elder is the only one authorized to renew them....
Carol Beels Beck, 6/21/93: Something snapped inside me when I read Joel's account. I always had been deeply ashamed of how I was at that time, and whenever I was stuck in that frozen fear and self-torment later on. Joel puts it in a nutshell (p. 7, April '93):
"There existed an underlying element of fear
that overshadowed all the good aspects of communal
life... The fear was systemic rather than acute...
You learned to live with it because you had no
choice, but it could come back later in life to haunt
you. Systemic fear turns into systemic anger, and
you didn't get over that kind of anger so easily. I
think that most of the children who left the
community were those who had this kind of
disturbing experience."
It sums up most of my root problems in the B'hof, and since then adjusting "outside." ANGER is and was the most frightening emotion, especially when I was angry at a Servant. It seemed to be classified as the worst sin imaginable.
Pauline Ellison-Davies, 15/7/93) ...I would like to share an interesting discussion I had with a small group... The conversation went something like this:
A: "One of the fundamental beliefs in the B'hof is based on the scripture which says, 'If you are bringing your gift to the altar and you there remember that you've got something against your brother, leave your gift there in front of the altar and go away; first make your peace with your brother and then when you have, come back, offer up your gift.' (Matthew 5:23,24)."
B: "Yes, you're right, but the problem is they've misquoted that scripture, it does not actually say that."...
C: "Well, what does the Bible say then?"
A: "It says: 'If you remember that your brother has something against you...' not: 'If you have something against your brother'."
Ramon Sender, 8/16/93: ...Since I hear constantly from various sources that Bruderhofers tell people that I said to Christoph that I was 'out to destroy the Bruderhof,' I feel that I should state here, once and for all, that RAMON IS NOT OUT TO DESTROY THE BRUDERHOF!!! ... Anyone with an eye to see and an ear to hear knows that there are aspects of the Bruderhof system that ultimately must change, for the good of all involved, the members, the children and even the ex-members, whether the latter see themselves as graduates, survivors or victims.
I would suggest that instead of labeling ex-members as 'unfaithful,' you should see us as your Bruderhof graduates, people who have 'served their time.' We learned some valuable skills, and now are strong enough to test ourselves outside the communities, strong enough to rely on our own feelings and our own consciences, no longer needing the Bruderhof support system to know right from wrong. We peregrines no longer sit captive and hooded in a gilded cage. We have unfurled our wings in the wider, more adventurous skies of the outside society. Hey, guys, we're your successes, not your failures! C'mon out and join the crowd! It's not as bad -- we're not as bad -- as you've been told.
Late-Breaking News: According to a letter that Christoph Arnold wrote to Jake Kleinsasser on (9/9/93), 30 B'hof members recently were placed in the Great Exclusion, including (Witness Brother) Chris and Else Winter, (Servant) Jake Maendel, (Ex-Servants?) David Maendel and David Mason. 15 were placed in the Small Exclusion, while others 'will have to go through Church Discipline.' None of them ever will be allowed to take up their services again. Since three of these are Christoph's brothers-in-law, something about this sounds all too familiar? A haunting refrain from times gone by?
Evi Pleil, 9/22/3: It seemed that whenever Heini came from the States with his "body guards," he just dug around for trouble. He always managed to stir up something, and this time he decided that we had all become cold and loveless. He called communal brotherhood meetings, but the chaos grew bigger. Art Wiser and Doug Moody were called to Primavera, and lived right next to us with Heini. While they lived next to us during this crisis, we recall them having some jolly nights after the meetings. They laughed and joked until the early morning hours, and then slept until noon the next day.
We wondered how all this happiness could be possible with so much need around. We have brought this up several times since we have been out. The answer we receive is always something lukewarm like, "They had to relax from the strenuous talks." Well, it was really unbelievable that amidst such need and suffering, these brothers could still have such happy nights together. How about all those so-called undecided and lukewarm members who had been sent to Ibate -- how did they relax?? These poor people were sent on a place built as a commune, but was not a commune anymore. The need in Ibate was indescribable, and here these brothers appeared to be having the time of their lives night after night! ...
At the first communal meeting Merrill Mow attended during the crisis, members attempted to politely introduce themselves, and he announced he wasn't interested in our names, just how the coldness of heart set in amongst us at Primavera. I especially remember Art Wiser's piercing eyes in the meetings. It was like he wanted to look right through you. It was during one of these meetings that Heini Arnold called our sister-in-law 'a vampire bat.' Doug Moody did not know what a vampire was, so Heini explained: an animal which lives off the blood of horses. In later years, Doug denied this, but apologized for Heini, taking the blame himself that he might have said it, saying he couldn't imagine Heini ever making such a comparison. But we heard Heini himself saying this -- brothers and sisters being called 'vampires'??
Finally, after sending away most of the servants, Heini and the American brothers were able to dissolve the brotherhood in Primavera, and start anew with seven members. As new members were drawn into the brotherhood, they were told the secret of giving up Primavera. Members were never asked, but rather told about the dissolution of Primavera, and informed not to speak about it outside the circle of new members. I don't think the group as a whole would have ever let this happen, but we were not given the opportunity to decide as a group. It still shocks us how Heini and his men could uproot us all in such a short time, and start a crisis that expelled 600 people. Heini only stayed a very short while on his visits, and when he came we sensed a strange atmosphere. I guess we never knew where he would strike.
Judith Sender, July 2, 1993, to John and Margareta Rhodes, Woodcrest Bruderhof: It was with a great deal of pain and sadness that I read your recent letter in which you did not okay our right to visit our grandchildren, Dorie and Gareth. My sadness is deepened by the fact that Ramon and I have in the last several months gone through the shock of my mother Miriam's sudden death from cancer, and Ramon's foster mother Julia's sudden death a month earlier. Both Miriam and Julia were very family-oriented, and expressed their delight in our building a connection with the grandchildren.
I have read with great interest the Deer Spring Bruderhof's ad in The Register-Citizen differentiating itself from a cult, as well as the article in The Plough in which you define a cult. I have shared with friends among them members of the clergy, teachers, writers and psychologists, [the articles and also the fact] that you are denying us our God-given right to see the grandchildren. They found the articles interesting, but they also find it a puzzle that you deny visitation rights. When I tell them that we cannot see the grandchildren any more, the reactions is, "Oh, I didn't know your grandchildren were in a cult!"
In my heart, I believe you are open in heart and spirit, and that you hear and accept differences. Please, in your own self-respect as a group, consider that you, Ramon and I, as reasonable people, respect the democracy in which we live, and our legal and ethical rights and responsibilities as grandparents to visit.
Late-Breaking News: A story coming from several reliable sources states that the Woodcrest leadership is unhappy with Jake Kleinsasser. Johann Christoph Arnold's followers have been finding out things about Jake K. that they never believed were true. This November Woodcrest allegedly sent a delegation to Crystal Spring with some questions for Jake and also with the suggestion that he place himself in "a state of punishment." He refused and sent the Woodcresters back home, telling them that it was none of Woodcrest's business and the issues they had brought up only concerned the Hutterites in his colony.
Linda Lord Jackson, 11/8/93: At last I think I am ready to make a start and write down some of my thoughts about my life, and especially my childhood at the SOB. [At first] I felt I had quite successfully put the SOB experience behind me, and buried it deeply. I did not want to think about it, but things are not that simple. I lay awake and did think about it...The thoughts would not leave me.... I started to get KIT, and read about so many others, and many memories, good as well as bad, came back. I could see that I needed to think through the past, to understand. Now that it had been opened up, it was not going to simply go away again and be forgotten.
Then I attended the Ridgeway meeting last year... A group of Wheathill girls got together at the request of one or two, to talk through our experiences as children there, because they needed to sort things out. I was reluctantly persuaded that it might be helpful if I joined in. I was unsure, but went. I was not prepared for this, but am glad I went. We were able to share our feelings and experiences. One of the main things that came out was that many of us had experienced the same sexual abuse (as far as I remember this abuse consisted of rubbing, poking and tickling in sexually sensitive areas) from one man on many occasions over a long period of time. For me it went on for several years, whenever the opportunity arose for this person, who often had care of the children, until I left for Paraguay at age 11.
The reasons that some of us did not report these events were various. Firstly, the man was fun to be with, on the whole. The children were often put in his care, and we liked him. We had been taught adults were always right, that they all agreed on everything. (I accept that many adults say this was not an intentional teaching, but nevertheless, this is what many of the SOB children, who had no other childhood background, strongly believed to be the adults' attitude, in particular where it came to the children's behaviour and punishment!) Then, when Mom and Dad went to supper and meetings, the last thing they said was "Be good for the watch, do as he tells you!"
He was great, he was fun, he let us stay up late. I felt guilty because I didn't like the way he kissed me 'Good Night.' Because he was standing in for my parents, I felt I should be pleased that: he did this. Then there was the 'tickling' (in sexually sensitive areas, although I did not realise this at the time) which sometimes got quite rough. I hated it, but again I had seen lots of adults tickle babies and young children to make them laugh. I just thought it was something adults had to do, and that they thought children liked. It was my problem that I didn't like it.
I didn't tell anyone. What could I have said? There was very little time for children to just be with and talk to parents so that things could be aired casually without making a big thing. If you said the wrong thing, or even asked questions about the wrong thing, you or they got into trouble for having wrong thoughts, or so it seemed, you quickly learned not to discuss anything much, however you felt about it. I had always thought it was only me, and that it was my evil thoughts that were at fault. After all, adults were good, I was bad.
I think the worst part was the realisation of how it had been handled by the adults. Some of the girls had reported incidents. Those of us who had not reported were then interrogated, and told to admit what we had done. We did not know. It was only at Ridgeway that we pieced it all together from what we knew between us, and what some parents had eventually been able to tell their children, and realised that these exclusions and interrogations were related to the abuse. Excluded from family and school and friends. (I found out since that my parents were told that it would be good for me to live with someone else for a while, and did not know that I was also excluded from school at these times. I assumed they knew, so I never talked about it.) Eventually we would admit that we had "done it" (still not knowing what) and were then left in exclusion for a further period to repent for our telling lies. This approach was consistent for several of us. We then had to stand up in the full school assembly, and say, "I am sorry for what I have done, and I will never do it again." Impossible, because we did not know what [we had done].
I personally was excluded at least three times up to the age of 11 for periods of between 3 and 6 weeks, I think. The exclusion usually consisted of time spent living and working with Ivy. Some of the others found Ivy a difficult person to relate to, but I must say that I usually found her fairly easy to get on with, but she couldn't stand you moving at night. She would shout 'keep still!' and wake you up. You then lay there rigid, hardly daring to breathe, and it took ages getting to sleep again. She taught me to use the sewing machine, even the electric one, which most children were not allowed to touch. At bedtime she read Pilgrim's Progress. I found the story rather confusing, and only recently have realised it has a kind of religious teaching hidden away...
On one occasion I was locked in a dark room, I must have been 5 or 6. I didn't mind the dark, but I hated not being able to get out....I could hear an owl hooting. I liked that, and I didn't feel so alone. Eventually Mum came and took me home. Recently I found out that it was all because I had supposedly "shown my knickers" to three boys. I don't know what sort of a big deal that was. Anyway, we (boys and girls) used to have to line up together in underpants and knickers for medical checks, etc., anyway. On one such inspection they discovered that many of us had flat feet, so we had to do daily exercises picking up marbles with our toes and things like that. It was fun, especially as you often missed some of the midday rest, when you had to pretend to be asleep in order to get a sweet put under your pillow. One year -- 1947 -- the snow was so bad that the kindergarten/pre-school was snowed up. We had to stay there all night until they dug a passageway through to get us out. ...
Once we had to sit in silence for a whole morning copying a steam engine while a 'cleaning the evil from the children's community' exercise went on. We had to go into the teacher's room one by one and confess any wrongs. Those who confessed were promised that would be forgiven, others would be punished. They gave the impression that they knew ALL anyway. Most of us had been involved in some form of childish misdemeanours whilst safely out of sight in the hay field next to the school playground. As we had to sit in silence copying the steam engine, it was not possible to find out what other children had or had not admitted, so I went and told all. In the event no on else did -- but I only just found that out. (Sorry folks, but I hope you understand the pressures!). Anyway, we were all punished, and had to help prepare vegetables for a few days, with a Dutch lady who had just joined....
Nadine Moonje Pleil, 5/22/93: I often have thought about the class distinctions on the Bruderhof. It has bothered me a great deal. I think I was about ten years old when it dawned on me that the Servants of the Word's children were privileged in some way or another. I remember speaking about my conclusions to another child who went and told the Servants' children about it. This was all brought to the attention of the Servants and I, the non-bruderhof child, was taken to task for spreading untruths about the Servants and their children. I was told to apologize both to the children and the Servants. I thought about it and decided I would have to apologize even though I felt I had a point there and had only spoken the truth.
From that time on, I simply watched how the Servants received more and more privileges and their children as well. I resigned myself to the fact that I could not do anything about it. It would just have to run its course. As time went on, I began to realize that not only did they receive privileges, but that the Servants had power over us and their children likewise had power over us so-called 'commoners.'
However the time in Primavera was not as bad as it became later in the U.S. The sixteen years that we lived in the commune, from 1964-1980, were absolute agony. Not only did the Servants and their families receive certain privileges, they also started to have more and more power over our family and to make us feel very fearful. Not only did they threaten our ten-year-old son with being sent away if he did not shape up, but they started threatening us parents with having to send children away -- and then later, that we all would be sent away.
We lived for 16 years in constant fear of being sent away. At any time the ax could fall and we would be out on the street. We were afraid of what would happen to us with such a large family. How would we manage? Where would we live? Would we be able to get jobs in the computerized world? So many things were frightening, because we only knew commune life. We had been brain-washed and did not know any better.
That was why we never dared leave on our own accord, because fear of the unknown was the bottom line. We did not want our children to suffer, and yet we felt it would be better to leave and have done with the commune. All these things kept going around in our minds, and often kept us awake at night. We knew no way out, so therefore we complied, tried our best to fit in and make our children fit in. It was very, very difficult because we were being watched by the Servants and their helpers. As I mentioned before, we even had to move to another house so that two families, a Servant and a Witness Brother family, could keep an eye on us, be policemen for our family. We never felt at peace, we always were on tenterhooks. It was as if we constantly had to tread on eggs -- or else!
Once we suggested that we go and live on the edge of the commune if our children were so bad. But we were told firmly, "No, you cannot decide that. That is a brotherhood decision." I thought, 'The heck with brotherhood decisions,' but of course we had to bow down to what the Servants said....
Once a week I was told to report to the Servants' office. Once there, I was tackled as to what I had done. I would try to say something, but was tongue-lashed by one of the Servants or their wives and told to be more specific. All this, mind you, was to help me and 'done out of love.' Every time I was called to the office I would start throwing up. I had said everything I could think of and still they were not satisfied. So I started to make up things. By doing so I thought I would have some peace and they would leave me alone. It was all to no avail. They wanted more, more and more information until I almost went crazy. That is when I felt the breakdown coming on. The final freeing came when they decided that our whole family was to be kicked out. However even then, after we were away from the commune, whenever the phone rang, I would start trembling and break out in a cold sweat because I thought the commune were calling to harass me.
It got so bad that Augusto said I should just let him answer the phone. That worked for a while. It took me quite some time to settle down and realize that I was free and did not need to account to the commune for any of my actions. It really takes time to unload the commune. Actually it takes years! However the time came and we all feel so much better. We do not take any notice of the fact that the commune tells us that we are living in sin because we do not live in the commune. I told them that we are in good company if we do not live in the commune, because the majority of the population of this earth does not live in community of goods.
We cannot let our souls be trampled on and murdered. We cannot condone abuse against children. We gave our heart, soul, marriage, children, our personalities, everything to them, and what did we receive in return? Nothing. Nothing except grief. That is no way to live, and no way to bring up children.
Now at last I can be myself, my children can be themselves, my husband can be himself, and we are better off this way. We were just not cut out for community living. It did not work for us and never will. So many others have gone through all this that I have written about, and have, I believe, found a meaning in life. We have been able to succeed. I know that the commune did not want us to succeed. They wanted us to come crawling back. They thought we would not make it. They thought we would let our children go down the drain. Oh now, we had more stamina than that! We pulled together as a family. We vowed that we would make it, and -- we have made it!
Good luck and congratulations to all of you who have indeed 'made it!'
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