Angie (Gloria) Brown
Posted on Sunday, June 05, 2005 - 9:01 pm:
I have been reading so many of your stories, and I am amazed at the depth of how much hurt and pain this group has caused. I grew up in the Sacramento assembly, and when I was about ten, my family was marked to be avoided. At the time, I was very close to all of my cousins, aunts and uncles. I have quit a big number of family members who are still in there that have had nothing to do with me or my immediate family for some twenty years now. The only family I have that is out is my immediate family, my grandmother, and my uncle and aunt and four cousins. When we were marked, I was fully aware of what marking was and what it meant, and why it happened. Several men, I believe any where from six to eight, had been talking to my father and were in agreement with him that they did not agree with the way things were going, and had talked about leaving (one of those men being my cousin whom at the time I was extremely close to). When it came down to crunch time in the men's meeting and my father was about to be marked, every one of those men that had been standing by my fathers side, were now on the flip side being pressured to mark my father. Unfortunately, every one of those men are still in the group living a double life because they were to afraid to stand up and be counted! It absolutely broke my heart when my father came home from the men's meeting and told us that it was official. We were marked to be avoided. All I could think about was the family I was loosing. Especially my cousin whom I had been so close to, who was about fifteen years older than me. For about two years, I cried myself to sleep every night because I missed him so much. At the young age of ten, I had been put on medication for ulcers because of the stress that it had caused.
I didn't understand all the details when I was younger, but now as an adult, I see a lot clearer now. I have been happily married for thirteen years to someone who was also in the Sac. area group, and we have been attending a Christ centered, Bible teaching, HEALTHY Church for the past nine and a half years. I had not truly experienced Christ, (even though I had excepted him when I was young) till that time. I have always loved the Lord with all my heart, but it was at this church that I was taught what kind of God I served. Not one who cared about whether or not I wore a dress, or if I cut my hair or any of the other things that had been such a big focus in the past, but I experienced a God who truly loved ME. A God of love and salvation. Not rules and regulations.
Even though I have been out of the group for so long, I have almost weekly encounters with people who have recently left, or have talked to me about leaving and it makes me feel still somewhat tied to it (not in a bad way, because I am thankful to be able to be someone for some of these young people to come to and know there is life outside the group). I can't believe the number of young people that feel so lost and alone because of not having any family due to their families shunning them. It breaks my heart in one cense, but on the other hand, I am thankful that they will have an opportunity to experience who Christ really is, and know that Christ body is so big and waiting to embrace them.
Again, so many of your names I know and it has been such a long time since I have seen many of you. It makes my heart happy to know that your walk with Christ is so much stronger.
May God truly continue to bless each and every one of you!
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