by Jennie (Langford) Roberto
Posted on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 8:16 pm:
My father was "marked to be avoided" by this same group when I was a teenager. Because I chose to remain under his authority & guidance, I was also "shunned" even by my oldest brother who is still part of it. I have cousins whose lives were shattered by their experiences in this cult -- run as far and fast from it as you can if you're not already involved! They are definitely in the business of destroying families and blaspheme our Savior by doing it in His Name.
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 6:22 pm:
Romans 8:38-39 was a lifeline for us during the first months of our "exile" which was truly a liberation! "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Finding our security in His love apart from the approval of man is the first step to healing and moving on emotionally and spiritually from a legalistic, power-hungry, abusive authority structure such as this one!
Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004 - 8:46 pm:
Mr. Hudson, Uncle Jack is an enigma to me. His children who are out of the group continue to speak of him w/ real respect & affection yet he has cut them & seven grandchildren off totally! Any sign that he is even struggling w/ the situation would be hopeful but these people seem able to totally detach themselves from natural family relationships without looking back. What scares me is that I have seen that same lack of emotion in my brother. And when they are confronted w/ the illogic of rejecting children (as in siblings, grandchildren, nieces/nephews), they don't deny it or defend it, there's just no real response. Wouldn't you think they would want to pursue the children, to maintain some influence with them? I think it's one of the clearest evidences that love (both spiritual & familial) has been totally redefined in that group & it will become more & more difficult to connect with or reach anyone in there on any reasonable and/or emotional level.
Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 12:20 am:
Mr. Hudson, But you DID come out and your example encourages me to be more patient and understanding of those still in there. It is often hard for me to put myself in that place because I wasn't in there as an adult. And I have a hard time being compassionate toward those in leadership (past & present) who are responsible for so much heartache! I can't even imagine how difficult your situation must be, but as I read your encouraging words to others I think of 2 Cor.1:3-7 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God..." So many of us who left or were ejected have experienced the sustaining power of the God of all comfort; may we be used to comfort others in the same trouble.
Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 11:13 am:
Anon6 - Yes, I was born into "the group" & my dad was marked when I was 18. My oldest brother was already married into a prominent family at that time & stood w/ the marking against my dad.
My sister was only 7 or 8 when this took place, adored her big brother, had no clue what was going on & he never made any attempt to keep in touch w/ her. I have another older brother & younger brother. All 4 of us are married w/ children & active in strong, Bible-believing churches. We were blessed to have a father who was not a man-follower, always studying the Scripture, checking up on everything! So my 2 brothers & I were aware of our parents' concerns as they developed & understood & supported the stand my dad took. What was difficult was losing your entire social structure overnight! To this day I have never heard again from the girl who was my best friend for 10 years; my letters to her were returned unopened. A guy I had just begun dating wrote one last letter & I never saw him again. My brother has made no contact to this day but I periodically show up at his house or business just to remind him that I still exist. That kind of wholesale rejection sticks w/ you!
Posted on Friday, July 16, 2004 - 12:13 pm:
Anon6, We were "marked" in December 85 so it has been almost 19 years. This year has been really precious, though, as we have reestablished contact w/ 3 cousins who are now out of that group. We hadn't seen or spoken to each other in all those 19 years! That, along w/ Richard Hudson, has been a real encouragement & given us hope for others.
Posted on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 1:32 pm:
The whole issue of our experience with the group we now refer to as RAG is an intensely personal and emotionally-charged one. That group was LIFE as we knew it, completely self-sufficient, encompassing our family, social and spiritual relationships. We looked out at other Christians and said "We have no need of you."
When the mass markings occurred, we were relegated to the "outer circle" and our loved ones and lifelong friends now look out at us and say "We have no need of you." We moved on and developed new friendships, built new family units, found new fellowship and experienced anew what freedom in Christ truly means. But the broken relationships between brothers and sisters, parents and children, and lifelong friends are a constant reminder that moving on has meant leaving something very precious behind.
As Betty said, "the RAG followers have isolated themselves from any of us. No communication except accusations and railings; turning their backs to any overtures; shunning absolutely even those who have been closest to them."
After many years, this opportunity was given to us to send messages to those still in bondage to all that group represents -- legalism, authoritarianism, misrepresentation and misapplication of God's Word, sectarian self-sufficiency -- and so we have spent the last year writing those messages. Many have just been pleas for those inside to listen, some have been tinged with anger and frustration, others have been warnings and exhortations, still others are expressions of great love and compassion. All are based on a common experience and shared pain.
And all of this has taken place in a public forum and in writing and that is where the tension develops. We read the words and sense the hurt but cannot see the sorrow on the face of the writer or the tears in their eyes. We detect anger and possible bitterness but don't know whether others are interpreting it the same way or we are injecting our own emotion into the words. We make ourselves very vulnerable by sharing the deepest hurts and exposing not yet healed wounds, knowing that "strangers" are free to gaze, but praying that our experience will stand as a warning and help keep it from becoming their story as well.
We know we do this very imperfectly and so we extend grace and encouragement and support to others because we know how much we are in need of it ourselves!
And most of all we pray that God's grace will override our failings and that His unfailing love and mercy will shine through to anyone who reads.
Posted on Wednesday, May 04, 2005 - 1:20 pm:
"Instead, you have a man that walks right over the wounded and bleeding, and never looks back."
Exactly! And yet this is the man they regard as an "overseer" and "shepherd".
"Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!" declares the LORD. Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: "Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done," declares the LORD. "I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:1-4
What a picture of the difference between a flock devastated by a "shepherd" in name only and one watched over by a shepherd after the Chief Shepherd's heart!
Be shepherds of God's flock that is in under your care, serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 1 Peter 5:2-4
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