Re: out of the mouths of babes
Thursday, 22-Jun-2000 16:28:39

Amy dearest,

Forgive me if I launch a bit into my story here. I am so moved by your posting, so brought back to that exact time when we were together in that house. I loved you so much.
I got out of the cult not long after you guys left. It was just like waking up from a dream. First, I thought I was the devoted student of God himself, the Messiah in a man''s body. I thought, of course, God would be wild and unorthodox and exciting and break all the rules, but he knows what he''s doing extreme measures for extreme times. A real teenager''s view of the Creator. I believed that we were, against all odds, going to end war on earth; stop poverty. You know what I wanted, what I yearned for, to stop cruelty to children. Isn''t that something else? That''s what I was praying for while John fed you kids drugs. All those balloons. I remember well.

Then one day, I was suddenly standing there looking at this sick, broken-hearted man who was addicted to drugs and alcohol, with a gun sitting on his nightstand in my house. He kept me up at night having drinking parties. In a moment''s time, I knew exactly what he was and how wrong I''d been. I hadn''t been saving the world. I was a stupid girl who''d been doing probably more harm than good. So stupid and sick. Then I didn''t stop crying for the longest time.
I have often wondered how the children were. I have especially feared for the children of parents who stayed with that man. I always knew that mom had found your dad and that you were adopted, etc. But now that I hear from you my stomach turns and I feel the tears again. I was there, I saw that you were given drugs, I saw your Mother finally protect you. She locked herself and her children in a bedroom and wouldn''t come out. Then she got out for good.

That was when John had started to stockpile weapons. He kept them in the upstairs bedroom on some mission to protect a rich student. The good thing was that was the final straw for me. I was so freaked out: everything was going down, my little heaven world of God and his servants saving the earth was shredding. The weirdness finally got to me. Thank God. I ran away and found another man to lean on, but this one was decent and leaned back.

I have suffered long and well for my ignorant behavior. Most of all, I was self-destructive to myself, and I have learned slowly but brutally how to treat others and myself with more dignity and care. In some ways, I ruined my life, but it is a perfect life because it is simply life. I am grateful for life itself. I hope I will never forget how bad I can be. I am still a little naughty. I hope remember and find compassion for others who are ignorant, and I hope if there is another life that I have gotten men like John Panama out of my system.

Who knows what the future will bring? But I pray that it bring compassion and love to all. I cherished you. I can see your beautiful sweet face right now. I am sorry I did not do better to protect you. I wish I''d know how. I wish I''d been an adult. But if you ever need my help, you can count on me now. I will protect you the best I can. I''m thinking right now about giving my name. I was going to be anonymous and write your sister. I don''t know. I think I''m going to remain anonymous for now. For today. I feel vulnerable and cowardly, though afraid of what, I can''t say. Ashamed for sure. If you want to talk privately ask Krista for my e-mail address. All my love to you . . .
Howard the coward

a concerned person