About 20 years ago Chronicle Magazine did a TV series on the Community of Jesus. You can still see it on YouTube. Type in “Community or Cult” and they are the ones posted by TruthIsVictory.
The leader says on there that there is no “sex direction” at CJ. I personally was at several of her teachings where she taught the sisters and the married couples about sex, that it wasn’t worth all the fuss and bother, that it was almost always sinful, etc. She was very graphic and rude with the sisters, saying things I cannot repeat publicly. The founders taught a lot of restrictions about sex in marriage.
The leader says that the 40 day grape fasts were all voluntary, there was no authoritarian direction to do them. I remember the founders telling us in no uncertain terms that we were all going on those fasts, and that no one was exempt. I suffered, as did many others from malnutrition and physical exhaustion from those fasts.
The leader says the “old light sessions” were no longer practiced. When the leaders heard that the ex-members were targeting the light sessions, and we all knew that abuse had happened at them, they told us to not mention that word anymore. They were officially stopped and banned, BUT, that we would continue the practice, just not call them by that name. “Light sessions” were no long going on, but carry on the practice with no name.
She says that children are not moved out from their parents home against their wishes. There was a variety of feelings on this. Some parents and children wanted the separation. Others, myself included, did not. Those of us who did not had no choice. It was the CJ practice, the decision came down from all the leaders, and there was no arguing with it. I personally have suffered untold grief over what they did to my family.
And so leadership is very careful not to appear to be using coercion. She is always phrasing it in the terms “you have a choice”. But she’s working with the people that are already brainwashed. I knew very well that there was really no choice involved. Just tell me what to do, tell me how high to jump and I’ll jump. So she can phrase it as choice all she wants to, but I was already conditioned. So she gets away with coming off and looking like, more benign, and more loving and more reasonable. I really thought that, that when she was going to lead us I thought “Oh, the reign of the founders is over. Yeah, she’ll be more reasonable with us, working with us, leading us, this is awesome” Huh, I was fooled, but that is what I thought, and that is what she actively portrayed.
She told us that one leader had suffered a mental breakdown, from her ADD or whatever, and that is why she had to step into full power. that leader went off to a mental health place for a while and the leader wanted to have her committed there for good, but her children, fought it. Legally. Got legal action that she could retire in her own home, and she did. She had a beautiful apartment at the Community, where she lived until she died..
The leader took over and what I saw of her method was spiritual disapproval, and kicking people out. She told another sister and me, when we were Senior Sisters, “I want so and so out of this community” This was an older sister who was beginning to express dissatisfaction with our life. “She is too much trouble” OMG, so OK, here I am struggling and this is just another nail in my coffin, that if I start to spout off about how angry I really am inside, if I start to tell people I’m miserable, I’m going to be the next one on her roster to be kicked out. Toe the line, baby, and make the best of it that you can. That was the message to me. And also another sister. She said “Get her out of the Convent, put her with her mother. I cant’ get her to leave the Community but we’ll get her at least where she’s the least trouble. And I don’t want a lot of people going over there”
So she comes off, she can stand in front of a camera, and insist, “I always give everybody a choice. Everybody’s here by free choice. People do these things because they are dedicated to the work of God.” ON THE SURFACE. An unknowing person could say “Yeah it’s true”, but only because of what you see when you walk on the site. Live there a month and then see what you say.
No one had a chain around my ankle. But they did have a chain around my mind. You have no idea how your view of life can get warped if you are in an enclosed, high-control environment. Since I left and have learned about cults, and gotten a perspective, I can see it so clearly.
I just wish something could be done to expose them, to bring what is done in darkness into the light. If they are living such a wonderful life, why won’t they be accountable to mainstream churches?