My life there and afterwards

We were overworked all the time and we had a lot of sleep deprivation.

For the whole 40 years I was there it was considered a spiritual necessity to deny yourself sleep. At first it was for spiritual growth. All night prayer vigils were frequently called. Around the clock prayer times, where you had a late night and then an early morning time every day. I remember in particular one stint of at least a year where I had an 10:00 pm prayer vigil time, so it was not worth it to go to bed beforehand, and then a 5:00 am prayer vigil time. By the time you walked back and forth, dressed and undressed, I was getting at the most 4 hours of sleep a night. No naps the next day, no days off. I was raising young children and working in the audio/visual department. It wore me down so that I didn’t have the energy to question or even think very hard about anything. I got to the point where I was in a daze, and just following the crowd.

We were taught that any kind of sacrifice we made like this, any kind of stress we could take on physically, would purify our souls. We were sacrificing for God and for His Kingdom to come down onto earth. We were working to make the Community of Jesus a bit of heaven on earth, and so any work and sacrifice now was worth the prize that awaited us. Funny how the devil used the promise of heaven to shackle me to the whims of narcissistic leaders.

We were encouraged to work late nights in order to get the office work done. We were not paid for this work, so they did not have to worry about paying us overtime.

The Orchestra and Band rehearsals went late into the nights. You worked until you fell exhausted into bed at night. Often times “retreats” were called. These could be for teaching, or for the Orchestra or Band to search out your sins so the performances could be perfect. If some activity was not perfect, it was because the members were in sin. Sigh.

In the early years no one went on vacations. After some of the richer people joined, they were allowed to keep their vacations, so then us poorer folk were gradually allowed to go on vacations also. They were welcome respites from the daily grind.


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