Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years As a Sacred Prostitute in

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years As a Sacred Prostitute in

Postby admin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:18 am

by Miriam Williams
Copyright © 1998 by Miriam Williams




Table of Contents:

1. "God is a Pimp"
2. A Curiouser and Curiouser World
3. Through the Looking Glass
4. Sharing "One Wife"
5. "God's Whores"
6. Flirty Fishing in the Kingdom
7. Casting the Net
8. Sacred Prostitution
9. Crossroads
10. Living in the Looking Glass Mirror
11. Like a Rolling Stone
12. Breaking the Shell
13. The Swan Symbol of Paramatman (Supreme Self)
Glossary: Family Lingo
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Re: Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years As a Sacred Prostitut

Postby admin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:19 am



Why would a mother of five healthy, well-adjusted children write a book about her former life as a sacred prostitute? The question torments me. At age forty-four, I am now on the verge of receiving a master's degree in sociology that will allow me to work and pull my family out of relative poverty. I have no reason to expose myself to the publicity this unusual autobiography could generate. Worse still, I could be undermining the stability that my children now enjoy.

My own life, as you will see, has never been stable. This book relates the story of a girl from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who fell through the cracks into what became one of the most bizarre sex cults of our time, the Children of God, which at its peak had eighteen thousand members. Numerous documentaries have been made about this controversial cult by the major networks in America, and it has been the subject of various sociological and psychological studies. Celebrities such as Fleetwood Mac's original slide guitarist, Jeremy Spencer, made headlines when he left the popular musical group to join the cult. And River Phoenix, the disillusioned young movie star who died from drug abuse, spent years of his childhood in the Children of God.

The leader of the Children of God, Moses David, has been described by cult expert Dr. Steve Dent as a "lustful prophet," who used the group to unleash his repressed sexuality. Kent writes that the most abused and sexually manipulated people in all the cults he studied were the women of the Children of God, who were instructed to demonstrate God's love by giving sex first to the men in the group and then to the "lost" of the world. According to Moses David, "God was a pimp," and we were the "loving whores of God."

I married twice in the cult and bore five children. Eventually, the ugly weed of child abuse was creeping through the camp. Fearful it might touch my own children, I snapped out of my delusional state and we left the cult for good. But acknowledging previous pain, and accepting responsibility for my actions, proved to be a long and difficult journey back to sanity. I reentered American culture as a forty-year-old single mother who spoke three languages and had been in over twenty countries, but who had never had a checking account, credit line, car, or home of my own. I started work as a waitress at a truck stop to help support my family as I went back to college.

After graduating in June of 1996, I kept a promise I made to myself four years earlier that when I finished college I would write my story. Working without an agent, I photocopied two pages out of a huge directory of publishers and sent off five query letters to editors I chose at random from this haphazardly selected list.

A few weeks later, as I was shopping for groceries, I picked a paperback book off the shelf. Although I had never heard of the book or the author before, I was interested because the cover said it was a true story. The next morning, while sitting on my porch finishing the book, I received a call from one of the editors I had contacted.

"Your letter struck me," said the woman on the phone, "and I usually don't read unsolicited material. Exactly what kind of book do you want to write?"

I wasn't exactly sure, but I found an answer immediately. "Well, I was thinking of writing an honest and personal book, something like the one I'm reading right now."

"Oh, what book is that?" the woman asked.

"The Eagle and the Rose, by Rosemary Altea," I replied, checking the cover to make sure of the name again.

"I edited that book" came the quick response.

My heart jumped into my throat. Coincidences like this one, the equivalent of a one-in-a-million chance, don't just happen. I checked the acknowledgments page. There was her name in the book I had randomly picked up the day before.

Had it not been for that incident of serendipity, I would have not had the courage to continue this far.

But now all my angst and confusion have been transferred from my heart and mind to a computer disk. The unexplainable driving force is gone. I fluctuate between hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. But I decide to keep believing in a higher purpose than I know today.

At present, I am engrossed in literature about the problems of society. As I read stories of bewildered, despairing young adults, I remember my own adolescence and share in their collective pain. Confusion about sexuality and identity prompts many young people to look for solutions through alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, subservience, anorexia, and even suicide. Deeply troubled teens come from all types of families and socioeconomic classes, and upper-middle-class, two-parent homes are affected as much as single-parent homes and households living below the poverty line. We are reminded that our society has to change. I believe that the first step to change is awareness. Each individual must take responsibility for personal actions, but the responsibility often begins with awareness.

This book was written to shed light on one of the escape routes taken by sensitive youth growing up in a troubled society -- the path to cult involvement. It is probably one of the most drastic, claims the lives of the most naive idealists, and usually requires the most help along the road to recovery. Unfortunately, there is little knowledgeable help available. While the actions of these people are worthy of contempt, cult members realize that they were motivated by blind idealism.

This is also a story of self-discovery written for those who have lost their self. My journey out of hell came through incremental steps, which were guided by what I can only call fate. Now that I have made it back to reality and can finally lead a normal, fulfilling life, I feel a responsibility, especially to the children born and raised in the cult, to add to awareness of cult involvement. Perhaps one day I can provide practical assistance to ease the transition back to society for others, but for now, I offer hope.
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Re: Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years As a Sacred Prostitut

Postby admin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:19 am

1. “God Is A Pimp”

I smiled at the uniformed man operating the hotel elevator. I usually smiled at everybody. It had become a habit. But this time, when he smiled back, I thought to myself, "He must know what I just did."

The elevator opened into one of the most elegant establishments in Monte Carlo, the distinguished Hotel de Paris. Walking through the plush lobby, I felt a little self-conscious in my worn jeans. I also wondered if the money that Salim had just stuffed in my back pocket could be seen. I crossed the marble floors and went through the revolving door. This was the first time I had received hard cash for giving God's love, and I felt sensations of shame, confusion, and anger.

Passing the limousines and Rolls-Royces unloading in front of the hotel, I did not pause in curiosity to identify any famous faces, but instead I walked with my face turned in the other direction. I intentionally avoided eye contact with anyone for fear they might recognize the turmoil in my soul. Walking quickly around the tree-lined island in the middle of the majestically landscaped cul-du-sac, I headed for the Cafe de Paris, a popular, upscale cafe-restaurant. There I could sit down with a cappuccino and try to make sense of what had happened. The cafe was crowded, and while I hesitated at the entrance, my thoughts reviewed the previous day's events.

I had met Salim the night before at Le Pirate, a well-known restaurant on the Cote d'Azur. One of the women I was living with, Sharon, had a date with an older German gentleman, and since she had met him only recently she asked me to come along. Normally, we never went alone on dates until at least one other member of our group had met the person we were going out with.

Sharon and I were surprised to be taken to Le Pirate, which had a reputation for being patronized by millionaire swingers. We had both put on our nicest clothes, hand-sewn dresses made of a soft muslin material that we had bought at a discount store in Nice. The gentleman was older than I expected, surely past sixty, and I wondered if this bothered Sharon. Our policy was to show God's love to everyone -- rich or poor, handsome or ugly, young or old -- but I knew from experience that it was hard to physically practice such an abstract ideal.

Sharon was a talented and dynamic singer, but she was somewhat shy on dates. She had been raised in a very traditional Catholic family and had studied to become an opera singer before she joined our group. She was tall, blond, and constantly on a diet in order to control a voluptuous figure. Her large, expressive eyes often portrayed alarm or amazement, like a little girl who had seen the roaring ocean for the first time. Sharon had a husband and young child at home, and I felt she would rather be back with them. Our tentative plan was to have an early dinner, give him "the message," and be home on time for me to go out again. But as soon as we arrived at the celebrated restaurant, I sensed that it would be a long evening.

Le Pirate was located on the striking coast of Roquebrune-CapMartin, with a view made famous by a Monet painting. The waiters were attractive young men dressed in romantic pirate costumes. They had been trained to perform little dramas such as breaking up chairs and throwing the pieces into the fire. It was all part of the Le Pirate experience. Violin players, and the owner himself, came by our table occasionally, entertaining us with Gypsy-style music.

Our German friend was enjoying himself in our company, and the evening dragged on. Only a few other guests were present when we arrived, and soon I noticed that we were alone except for another group at the other end of the room. They were having some sort of party, and as the night wore on, the noise from their table grew louder. Just as our gentleman friend said that he might send a message over to their table, asking them to quiet down, a bottle of champagne arrived with a note for me. It was from the man at the other table.

Out of courtesy, I walked over to thank him. He was a dark-haired man with deep, piercing eyes that smiled ambiguously, although his expression was quite serious, almost severe.

"Who is the grandfather?" he asked me.

"Oh, just a friend of ours," I replied, caught a little off-guard by his abruptness.

"Well, come and sit with us. He is too boring to have beautiful girls at his table alone."

I thought to myself, "You're right." I was practically falling asleep, and Sharon had already given me anxious looks as if to say, "Let's wrap this one up."

Before I could answer, the man moved over to make room for me next to him. Glancing at the lady who had been sitting beside him previously, an attractive brunette with red-painted lips and wearing a dress that revealed an ample cleavage, I tried to assess the situation. With an inviting smile, she indicated that I should sit down, and I did so while signaling to Sharon.

"This really might not be polite to the gentleman over there," I said. "We hardly know him."

"Yes, I understand that you do not know him," the dark-haired man replied in what I now recognized as a Lebanese accent. "And do not worry about his feelings. He will be honored to be at this table. But your friend looks worried. Tell her to come here. No, wait, I will send for both of them."

He called for a waiter and gave him a message. Within minutes we were all seated together. The ambience at the table was charged with fresh energy, and immediately we were integrated into their party. Sharon was radiant as she sang some of her original songs for our new acquaintances, while I played my usual role as interpreter of the spiritual message behind the words. We were so different in our approach, so zealous, so genuinely naive and open, that everyone immediately responded as if we were longtime friends.

The Lebanese man who had called me over was obviously the host. His name was Salim and at one point the beautiful brunette told me that I should remain beside him because he liked me. She said this as if she were my confidante offering her best advice.

We stayed on till nearly dawn, singing, laughing and dancing, and although our German friend was having a great time, his strength eventually wore out. He was much older than we were, and he gave no indication of desiring further intimacy. Sharon looked relieved to be able to go home. As we were leaving, Salim took my number and told me he would call. Sure enough, when I woke up the next day, already after noon, he had called and left a message with Sharon that he was sending a chauffeur and car to bring me to the Hotel de Paris.

It had happened so quickly that I did not have time to discuss the plans with anyone. Sharon, already awake with her baby, advised me to go. She assured me that she "got a good witness on him," and that everything would be all right. Within an hour a chauffeur driving a Mercedes-Benz arrived, and I was driven to the hotel. Although I had been there a few times, this was my first encounter upstairs. As I walked through the ornate lobby, I realized that I was socially unprepared; I would be playing with the pros without ever having been an amateur.

Taking the elevator to the floor Salim had indicated, I walked down the wide hallway thinking that, in just the steps between two doors, this corridor covered more square feet than my entire bedroom. I admired the fine inlaid woodwork on the walls and thought I might try to do something like that to the room I was fixing up at that time. My mind definitely was not on the imminent sexual activity I would probably soon experience. Perhaps I had taught myself the stress-relieving technique of not thinking about it right before you do it. I had been well prepped for these types of encounters. I would show physical evidence of love, touching his hands, stroking his back, then perhaps kiss him gently. He would respond by opening up and becoming more intimate. I would then bring in the message about God's Love, how I was merely a form of God's immense love for each and every human being, and that if he had never been shown the extent of God's Love for him, he had it before him now. That was our group's basic philosophy, and interjecting any reality into the ethereal picture would taint it in my mind. I kept reality and my mission in separate rooms that had no connecting door, and as I entered Salim's suite that early afternoon, I was still a twenty-three-year-old American girl who was more shamelessly curious than selflessly loving.

Salim had left the door to his suite slightly ajar, and he called for me to come in when I knocked lightly. I did not see him in the spacious blue sitting salon that opened out to a balcony with a view of the casino entrance. Then I heard him call from a darkened room to my right.

"I am in here. Come," he said in a tone that only partially disguised the command-like quality of his words. In my mind, I imagined him to be saying, "I am a searching soul, and I need your love." I entered what appeared to be the master bedroom. The curtains were tightly drawn, and the only light came from an adjacent bathroom. Salim was in bed. He lay on his stomach with his face toward the pillow.

"Can you give a good massage?" he asked.

It soon became evident that Salim wanted all I could offer, and he wanted it now. I have no recollections of what I thought during the most intimate moments. It is not as if I blacked out or put these experiences into a subconscious holding area; simply, I do not believe that I thought much at all during the act. I followed Salim's dictates. He asked me to do nothing unusual, and it must have lasted less than ten minutes because I didn't have time to tell him the message.

As usual, I was concerned that he would hear our message of salvation. The previous night had offered no opportunity, and things heated up so quickly once I arrived at his hotel suite that I feared the moment had passed. That was becoming all too typical for me as the time between meeting a man and giving him love was becoming continually shorter. I don't know how other girls in our group felt, but I felt awkward telling him about God and Jesus in the midst of intimate sexual exchanges. For years I never thought about getting any pleasure for myself since I was so truly concerned to "give" God's message of love.

"I want you to know that God loves you," I said, walking into the pretty sunlit room, "and that is why I am here." Salim, standing by the balcony, was already cleaned and dressed in a suit, and I noticed through an open door to the left that there was another bedroom suite attached to this one.

"Yes, I am a Christian Lebanese, you know," he answered, which seemed to settle the matter, at least for him. "Do you have a way to get home?" he asked, adding, "I need the chauffeur right now."

"I could take a taxi, but I did not bring money with me."

"Of course." He walked over to a highly polished desk by the balcony window, and pulled out some French bills.

"Oh, really, I don't need that much," I protested.

"Okay, darling. I am going to Zurich tonight. But I will be back in a few days and give you a call. I gave your name and number to my secretary, Kahlil, so he might be calling to set another date. Now, please, go down before me," he commanded in a businesslike manner.

As I walked to the elevator, I wanted to pull out the bills and see what he had given me, since I thought it was too much for a short taxi ride. But I decided to wait until I was out of the hotel.

At the entrance to the Cafe de Paris, I finally pulled the colorful French bills out of my pocket. There were four 500-franc bills. A hundred francs would have been enough for a taxi. Salim had given me this money for sex! What did he think I was -- a prostitute? I gave him my body to show God's Love, not for money. Maybe he did not understand. Maybe I should go back to his fancy suite and tell him I did not want his money. I decided to call home first.

"Would you like a table?" the waiter at the Cafe de Paris asked, breaking my thoughts.

I suddenly realized that I must have been standing at the entranceway for quite some time.

"Oh, no, I'm looking for someone," I replied. I did not want to break a 500-franc note to call home, since I fully intended to give it back to Salim. However, I did not bring even small change with me. I would have to borrow a few francs from someone. I searched the cafe for someone I knew and spotted Jean outside on the patio.

Jean had been one of the first men in Monte Carlo to whom I had given sex. He was about twenty years older than I and divorced. At that time I had been careful to explain that what I was doing was showing God's Love, but he did not understand. In fact, not many people did. Jean was no longer one of my "fish," but he had remained a friend.

I walked over to his table and said a few words of greeting in French. He responded pleasantly and asked me to sit down. We talked casually for a while, but I was anxious to call home before Salim left the hotel. Finally, I just came out and asked Jean to lend me a few francs.

"I have only five-hundred-franc bills," I explained, "and I don't want to break them for a phone call"

Immediately, I felt foolish for mentioning the 500-franc bills. I never carried that much money with me, and Jean knew it. He gave me a wink, which I assumed meant he knew what was going on, and he emptied a pocketful of change into my hand. I thanked him and went down to the ladies' room where the phones were located.

Timothy, the only man who lived at our home, answered the phone. Timothy was married to Sharon, and since there were three women in our home, he became our "fisherman" -- the one who would give advice on which "fish" to give sex to and which ones were not ready. He was only twenty years old. The women were all about my age, ranging from twenty-three to twenty-five, yet this younger man was considered our authoritative figurehead. I was sure that Sharon had already told him about Salim.

"Timothy, it's me," I started excitedly. "Yeah, everything was okay. I'll tell you about it when I get home. But Timothy, Salim gave me money. Lots of it. He gave me two thousand francs!"

"Why did he do that?"

"He stuck a few bills in my pocket for taxi money. I didn't know how much it was until I got outside. Listen, Tim, I want to give it back. I feel dirty. I feel like he thinks I do this for money. I mean, I told him it was for God's Love, and I thought he understood. Timothy, I'm angry. It's not like when someone buys us groceries or a gift. This is hard cash -- you know, filthy lucre."

By now I was barely holding back tears. It all seemed so ugly. I wanted Timothy to help me out of this.

"No, Jeshanah, don't give it back. We need it, and I think God touched his heart to give you that money. He must have. Salim doesn't even know us yet, but the Lord must have shown him we needed some financial help at this time."

"Are you sure, Timothy? I feel really bad about this."

"Listen, I just got some letters from headquarters, and they say that it's okay to take money. You haven't even read the letters yet, but they talk about getting paid for giving God's Love. Don't worry about it. You are doing all right."

"I don't know," I replied. "Are you sure you are not misinterpreting something?"

"No, really! Wait until you read the letter. It's heavy! Don't worry about it. Go get a drink and take a taxi home."

"But Timothy," I protested in exasperation, "I feel like a prostitute!"

"Yeah, that's what you are," he replied emphatically, "a prostitute for Jesus! And God is our pimp!"


Seven long years before, in 1971, I had joined a religious group called the Children of God in upstate New York. At that time they were radical Christians who lived in a commune and spent most of the day witnessing about Jesus. Starting with the ideal of "From each accord ing to his ability, unto each according to his need," we included the message of God's salvation through Jesus, and we believed that w were living true Christian communism. We supported ourselves wit donations as we sought to help the drug addicts in New York Cit by bringing them to our commune and "turning them on to Christ.' Sometimes it worked.

When I first joined, the group was very puritanical with strict rule about separating boys and girls. Now we shared sexually, not only within our group, but also with the lost souls outside. We witnesses by practicing self-sacrificial love including laying down our lives an our bodies. Only the dedicated stayed through this transition fro Jesus People to radical "fishers of men." I was one of those who stayed, convinced that whatever was done for love could not be wrong. But now, I was doing it for money.

The more I thought, the more confused I became. There is a painful tension in situations caused by behaving in conflict with what on believes. Something has to change, either how one acts, or how one believes. The obvious solution is to stop behaving that way; however, such action is not always possible. I first joined this group to relieve the stress of living a material-centered, competitive life that appeared meaningless to me. For seven years, instead of working for money, I worked for love. I considered some several thousand fellow idealists my spiritual family. Now, I was poised to change again, but instead of changing my behavior, I changed what I believed. In a few months I would accept the concept of "sacred prostitution" and become a person without universally established morals. We were supposed to be revolutionizing the world, and the old morality would have to be replaced. My entire worldview had been slowly changing, and this was the great leap. The words of our leader came to my mind: "If you think, think, think, you'll sink, sink, sink." I simply could not understand by thinking. This was a leap of faith. I took it!

By now the sun was setting and the sky had become a harmonious melange of blues and pinks and purples. I stopped rationalizing about right or wrong and let the beauty of the evening envelop me.
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Re: Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years As a Sacred Prostitut

Postby admin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:20 am

2. A Curiouser and Curiouser World

My father sang to me as I played on the California beach. I remember him singing one of his favorite songs. "I'll have a little talk with Jesus/and I'll tell him all about my troubles." I guess he had a lot of problems, and so he drank and so he sang. And that's what I remember most about my father.

His family was from Ireland. They were struck by tragedy when his mother was hit by a car and killed when he was a little boy. The story was told to me by my father when he was drunk, and by my mother when she tried to explain why Daddy always drank. He had let go of his mother's hand when crossing a busy Philadelphia street. Whether she was hit because she ran after him, or he saved his life by letting go of her hand, I never understood. I only know that my father, and everyone in his family, were alcoholics by the time I came around, on June 27, 1953.

My father, John, was a tall, trim, handsome fellow who had served in World War II. Since he was a very good Linotype machine operator, he could always get a job wherever he went. But he could never hold on to it because of his drinking. Maybe that's why we moved across the United States and back, and I never went to one school for a whole year until I was in ninth grade. Sometimes we lived in nice suburban houses, and then we would move to a tiny apartment in the inner city. Often my mother sent my older brother, Steve, and I to the bars to look for my dad. If he did not come home from work, we went to remind him that he had a family. Since we didn't have a TV (it was too heavy to move around), this was always an exciting adventure for us. My memories of that early part of my life include Planters peanuts, bright orange soda, and dart boards, set around the many lounges my dad frequented. In the really bad days, they were on skid row.

My mother, on the other hand, was a fundamentalist Christian who had been raised in a loving family. Mother had come to America as a sixteen-year-old escaping Nazi Germany. Her father worked hard and made a good living for his family, and although he had been a prosperous carpenter in Germany, he became a gardener for wealthy German industrialists when he moved to America. Shrewd and frugal, he managed to buy five homes in America and became a landlord. My grandmother instilled strict Christian ideals in her daughter. She was a sweet, caring lady, but I never had a conversation with her since she never learned to speak English. She was blind when I was old enough to know her.

My mother and her family settled in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1939. She eventually attended Temple University, but she left to work at a newspaper office, where she met my father. Although she had six children with him, she was not the typical 1950s housewife. When I was younger, I was always embarrassed by my mother because she spoke with a German accent, didn't perm her hair or wear makeup like other moms, and her name was Elfriede. Most of all, she did not know how to take care of the house.

"Why don't you know how to cook, or keep house?" I often asked her when I was a sassy twelve-year-old. Since I was the oldest girl among six children, many of these chores fell on me. "You were raised in Germany, and all the German women we know cook very well and ,keep spotless houses."

"You see, I went to the 'better schools' in Germany," she explained unashamedly. "And girls who went to those schools did not have to learn household chores since they would have maids to do them." Obviously, being a housewife was beneath her since she had been given the dream of marrying above her middle-class status in Germany. But this was America, Mom. Wake up, the middle class here is huge.

Our family was a study of contrasts. We were often poor, but we usually lived in nice neighborhoods. My father drank, smoked, and cursed, whereas my mother was very religious and would not allow us to say so much as "Oh my God," which was taking the Lord's name in vain. My older brother and I, who bore most of the traveling hardships, excelled at school. Unfortunately, my brother used his extraordinary intelligence to obtain money through illegal methods, such as burglary and the unauthorized withdrawal of other people's bank money. Consequently, Steve spent most of his adult life in prison, while I spent most of my life trying to serve the Lord. Perhaps they are two sides of the same coin.

I entered McCaskey High School, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1968. By this time I had convinced my mother that for the sake of my four younger sisters, she should separate from Dad. I was fourteen years old. Steve was already in a reformatory, and I was beginning to get angry with my mom for allowing us to live such a dysfunctional life. My mom explained sweetly that she didn't believe in divorce but she might consider separation. I think she talked it over with her pastor, and since her six children were all in school now, she got a job and eventually bought a house in the town of Lancaster. She separated legally from Dad, but it only meant we didn't move so much. He still came around drunk.

Lancaster County, known as Amish country, was removed from the massive social upheaval sweeping the nation at the time. People in Lancaster were content. Many of them were Mennonites, and the ones who were not lived rather well with the traditional lifestyle encouraged by Amish and Mennonite philosophy, with little exposure to modern life. However, even Lancaster would not escape the unrest that infected American youth like a plague.

I was among the first to catch it, or perhaps my unrest was just waiting to express itself. I had thought it was my family's unusual gypsy lifestyle that was preventing me from feeling like one of the crowd among my peers. However, now that I had lived in one place for more than a year, and still felt like an outsider, I began to wonder. I always made good grades, but I could not find a niche. In addition, I was beginning to be known as a rebel. Popular girls were wearing miniskirts at that time, and I thought it was more practical to wear pants. I remember being sent to the principal's office.

"Miriam, you are a smart girl. You will probably get some good scholarships to college, if you don't cause any trouble. Now you know the rules -- girls cannot wear pants."

"Why?" I asked.

"Well, that's the rule."

"I know, but why was that rule made? I mean, don't you know that the boys spend half their time trying to look up the girls' dresses? And I believe some of the teachers do, too. With hemlines six inches above the knee, do you think it is a good rule to require girls to wear dresses?"

The principal was a sincere man. "No," he answered, "perhaps it is not a sensible rule anymore, but until it changes, you must obey it."

"I believe I must protest it. If the rule is ever to change, sir, someone has to challenge it."

I protested by wearing my unfashionable farmer jeans to school, and the principal suspended me for three days. That was the rule. But I continued to wear pants, and he never suspended me again.

I have always suspected that the real reason I wore pants was because I could not afford to dress fashionably. Wearing dresses or skirts meant having a different outfit every day. With jeans, I only had to change my shirts. However, the very next year the rule was changed. Girls could wear pants. By then I had discovered that thrift stores held a wonderful variety of lovely old dresses for literally nickels and dimes. For five dollars I could buy a wardrobe that lasted for months and was one-of-a-kind. I was especially fond of the 1940s-style silk dresses and anything with lace or bead work. I became a hippie before I knew what it was to be one.

Since the hippies had not yet come onto the scene in Lancaster, I had only one good friend until my junior year. She was a Jewish girl who was extremely intelligent, and though we came from completely different backgrounds, we had similar interests. I would ride my bike over to her upper-class neighborhood in my thrift store clothes and spend the evenings discussing existential thought. We remained in contact throughout high school.

By the time I was in eleventh grade, a group of hippies started to form at my school. They dressed like me, or I dressed like them -- I'm not sure which -- and other people lumped me in with them. Teachers knew that if I did not agree with a viewpoint, I would discuss it publicly. I had also taken to hitchhiking around town, since my brief tenure as a driver had resulted in the wreck of my long-awaited car. Most of all, I began smoking dope, on my own. I smoked it religiously, alone in my room, with candles and incense burning and music playing. It was a personal ritual, almost sacred, and I was reluctant to include others at that time. I also had been dabbling in philosophy and Eastern practices like yoga. I was at the door of discovering myself, when the hippies called at my window. They looked colorful, exciting, and adventurous, like I wanted to be. I guess I wanted company after all.

I soon met Jan, a classmate who had recently given up her role as cheerleader and boy-with-car-chaser to experiment in the sixties happening. A tall, thin, pretty, and stylishly dressed girl, she approached me one day out of the blue to ask where she could buy marijuana. I was surprised she thought I would know this information, but we became friends and we spent the next two years together sampling the culture of sex, drugs, and rock and roll that was born during the famous decade of the 1960s, and had come to Lancaster a few years later. Our hippie group was small, and for a short time I was under the illusion that we were sensitive, open, and caring. However, I soon discovered that these wonderful free freaks were just a new teenage clique. As in all cliques, it could be very alienating for anyone who did not fit in, and after a short time, I knew I did not belong here either. I believe that realization came from going to the Spruce Street house.

Someone, I never found out who, had rented a house on Spruce Street, near Franklin and Marshall College, which we used as a winter hangout. A fantastic stereo system was set up where the main bedroom should have been. I usually went to the music area, where there were bright pillows thrown around the wooden floor and candles pouring their multicolored wax over empty wine bottles. In the first months of its short existence, the Spruce Street scene was innocently experimental, but soon drug use and underage drinking began and decadence set in. It was a time of deep observation on my part. I noticed that free-loving hippies were never free from one high or another, and were certainly not very loving at all. when the music became too hard rock, I would slip down to the kitchen to sit with the hard drug users. In my naive state, I never knew what drug they were taking, and they never offered me any either.

I first went to the kitchen because it was the only room where I could practice guitar. I was not very good, so I did not want anyone to hear me, and being with the dopers was like being alone. However, after a while, I started observing them. Candy was a few years older than me, but she looked like a Holocaust survivor, all skin and bones, with stringy hair and dark bags under her eyes. I knew she had been in and out of the "nuthouse," a place they sent junkies before rehabilitation homes became popular. These were the kind of people my older brother knew, and their lifelessness was horrifying to a budding flower child. For a student who had studied Timothy Leary's theory about drugs bringing one to a higher level of consciousness, I found these people consciousness-less.

The only person I became relatively close to at Spruce Street was another recluse called Mick. I was sixteen then, and Mick had already graduated from high school, but I found out that he did not use drugs often because they made him freak out. He had trouble handling real life, let alone the strange world of psychedelics. Slightly short and muscular, Mick hid behind a beard and long hair, rarely looking anyone in the eye. His primary love was music, and he was famous for his record collection. Ask him anything about music, bands, songs, musicians, or songwriters of the 1960s and '70s and he came alive. Otherwise, he hung around like a wet sock slung over a shower curtain rod. His vulnerability made him the object of childish pranks. I was unwittingly involved in one of these.

Spruce Street had lately become a place for lovers to tryout their wings. I was still, surprisingly, a virgin, so I never made use of the room reserved for youthful experimentation. Neither did Mick. It was not long before some of the prank-playing boys thought Mick and I should be together. I can't remember how we got into the room, but Mick and I found ourselves facing one another over the disreputable bed. Mick was much more flustered than I, and what had seemed like an innocent joke suddenly had tragic implications. I saw that Mick's precarious position within this group could be at stake. In addition, his own bottled-up self-esteem was about to crack wide open before my eyes.

"Mick," I said, being careful not to look directly into his eyes. "What do you want to do?"

He blubbered something unintelligible, and I felt uncomfortable witnessing a blatant display of raw vulnerability. I walked over to the door and locked it from the inside.

"There, no one can come in. Why don't we pretend that we arc doing it? Can you pretend?"

His face lit up in disbelief, but I detected a sense of relief.

"What do you mean, Miriam?"

"You know, we'll turn off the light and make a lot of noises as if we were in bed, doing what they put us in here to do. They'll believe it, and I won't tell them anything. Okay?"

He was game. He drank all the wine that was left in the bottle on the floor, and after loosening up, we play-acted without ever touching one another. Now our tormentors were knocking at the door, trying to get in. After a while they just left, seemingly content to believe that they had instigated a love affair. We waited until all was quiet outside the door, and then we swore ourselves to secrecy and exited the love chamber. We have remained friends ever since that uneventful night.

Soon, I tired of Spruce Street. The sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll scene was a dead-end street as far as I could discern. I drifted toward the music coming from Franklin and Marshall College. The campus was alive with high-bred, well-fed antiwar protestors. After attending evening classes at the underground "FREE" University to learn the truth about the Vietnam War, I became a full-fledged social activist. As a good revolutionary, I started wearing a black armband to school and inviting my friends to either quit smoking or steal their cigarettes, since everyone knew that most of the tax money went to the military-industrial complex. My idealism had caught fire.

By the end of the spring of 1970, the protest movement at Franklin and Marshall had degenerated into free concerts on the campus green. Music became the medium, but I doubt that many of the listeners understood the message. When it was time to go to a march, I was usually alone. Always looking for something new, I drifted toward the blues music that a small group of intellectuals started on campus in a place called the "AT." It was there that I would cross that last barrier that kept me from being one with others. I did the drugs, the protests, the music scene, but I had always avoided the "free love." Pot, I believed, was opening my mind to new truths, and I began to feel that love would connect me with the community of truth seekers. Since I was fairly smart, I practiced birth control, and then waited for the opportunity to experience "free love."

The first time was disastrous. It hurt -- in every sense. Jay had been in my philosophy class and captured my attention with his brilliant theories on thought, but I never saw him again after the class ended. Then I met him in the "AT." With sounds from a blues group called the Black Cat encircling the dark, smoky room, marijuana joints were shared and Boone's Farm wine flowed freely. I danced solo to the music, oblivious to anything but the movements of my body, and, finally exhausted, I sat down on the wooden floor with a group of boys passing around a pipe, surprised to find Jay among them. We talked until closing time about the ideas we had learned in our class, and, turned on more by his mind than his body, I walked home with him to listen to music in the privacy of his bedroom. I was seventeen years old, but since sex had never been a top priority for me, I really didn't know much about how to do it. I was surprised by the pain.

"Shit, I didn't know you were a virgin," Jay said almost contemptuously.

"This isn't free love," I thought, "it's free sex." I remember standing by the window in his attic room, and looking out on the darkened road. I suddenly recognized it as the same street where my sister had been born years ago -- Ruby Street. Wiping the tears from my eyes, I left him silent on the bed and walked home alone through the empty, rain-drenched streets. As usual, my mom and sisters were in bed. It didn't matter. I couldn't talk to them anyway. Sex was a taboo subject in my house. I could picture my mom screaming and calling the pastor if I told her. I had no curfew and my mother thought I was mature enough to do what I wanted, so I walked the streets all night with a mixture of happiness to have had the experience and sadness to be alone again.

Feeling alienated from the drug and music scene, I looked around far something to feel close to and thought I would return to the familiar pews of the churches. I remember riding my bike one day to church that advertised a special youth meeting with an internationally known missionary speaker. I was hopeful that perhaps my old love for religion would be reignited. After all, I wanted to be a missionnary when I was a child, and I had asked Jesus into my heart when I was a twelve-year-old at a Bible camp. As I held hands with a dozen other campers around a campfire, a feeling of euphoria came over me. I felt I had been chosen by God for "His Ministry," but I was not sure what that meant. Having gone to Sunday school and church camps until I was a teen, I'm sure it was a Christian concept I had internalized. I never thought it would be easy to a Christian; in fact, I felt that perhaps I had left the church because it was too hard to obey all their rules. Maybe now I would be like the prodigal son/daughter. I imagined the missionary welcoming me with open arms. Ah, how wonderful it would be if someone pure hugged me. "What a friend we have in Jesus."

In my state of hopeful anticipation, it never occurred to me to dress up for church. I wore my jeans, the ones I had carefully embroidered to fill up the holes, and a lacy, old-fashioned blouse covered with a tapestry vest. My long blond hair was hanging free, barely brushed, and I wore no makeup or jewelry. My unkempt appearance became brutally obvious the minute I walked into the church, which was only a few blocks from where I lived.

Once inside, I walked hesitantly up to one of the front rows and took a vacant seat beside a group of girls about my age. They were all dressed nicely, with nylons on their legs and shiny shoes. I looked not only ragged next to these polished specimens of American youth; I looked dirty. My beautiful embroidery, which I had always admired for its colorful appearance, now looked dull and shabby.

A young boy with buzz cut turned around to whisper something to the girl next to me. She giggled and inched away from me. Was she making more room for me, or was my presence repulsive? I realized that most of these young people went to my high school, but I did not recognize anyone. Did anyone know me?

I focused my attention on the missionary. He was regaling us with his stories about his work in Africa. He launched into a diatribe about the sins of the youth in America, and how we were so lucky to have good parents who raised us differently. I kept my eyes on him the entire time, hoping he would look my way and notice the deep desire I had to serve the Lord. He glanced at me once briefly and never looked my way again. In fact, I felt that he avoided turning his eyes to the section I was sitting in altogether.

The missionary finished his talk. An extra collection was made, but I had no money to drop in the basket. The young people got up to sing some songs led by a young man playing guitar. The service would soon be over. I felt my heart beating excitedly. After all the wonderful songs about helping others and loving the world, surely someone would come over and talk to me. I had so much to ask, so much to convey, and so much I wanted to learn.

People started leaving. The girls next to me got up and went out the other way so they would not have to pass by me. The boys in the front row walked by without looking my way. Still, I remained in the pew. I would not leave until the church shut down. I wanted someone to talk to me. I wanted to feel like I belonged.

Finally, an older man came over to me. He handed me a paper that seemed to be the program for the evening.

"Young lady, you can go downstairs if you want to, but I am going to close up here, so you will have to leave the pew."

Tears had come to my eyes without my noticing it and I could hardly read the program. Did it say that there were refreshments being served downstairs? Is that where everyone went?

"No, thank you," I said, now visibly crying. "I want only food for the soul. Do you happen to know where to get that?"

He looked at me curiously, and I suddenly felt sorry for him. He did not have a clue what I meant.

I continued my quixotic quest after that church experience, but with less hope. Definitely, there was something different about me. I did not seem to fit in anywhere. I was an outcast like my poor brother, only I had not chosen the crime track. Fortunately, all my younger sisters were "normal." They were content with the typical little-town life that Lancaster offered. Maybe being in one place had helped them, or being raised without an alcoholic father always around. I didn't ask why then, only what -- what do I do now?

Meanwhile, back at the hippie scene, Jan had a steady boyfriend, and we took different paths. She wanted to live a love-and-peace lifestyle with her "old man," and I was headed for college. Since I would have to get some scholarship money, I started staying home in the evenings to study.

"Miriam, we got a new history teacher at school today," my younger sister, Karen, told me one afternoon. "You would really like :him. He talks like you, and he has long hair."

"What do you mean he talks like me?" I asked Karen, who was in !p1ior high.

"Oh, he talks about ideas, and tells us to think about things and discuss the subject with each other. You know, like you tell us to do about the Vietnam War and all that stuff. I think he is against the war too."

"Surely he did not say anything against the war in school?"

"No, but he brought in some newspaper articles that said things about America that were not too good. In fact, some of the kids said they were going to tell their parents."

"No way!"

"Well, he lives right down the street from us -- about three houses down. I thought you might like him."

When I finished my homework, I walked outside our town house and looked down the street. All the houses were exactly the same in the group of ten. The only difference was what the residents put on their porch. Three houses down, the porch was empty, but what gave him away was the VW bug parked in front. I knew that it would appear odd for me to introduce myself uninvited, but if this man was anything like me, as my sister said, he would not mind. I walked up to the door and knocked.

"Yeah?" said a young man of about twenty who answered the door.

"Hi, I live a couple houses down."

"Yeah?" he said again.

"Well, my sister said that her teacher lived here and ... "

"Come on in," he said to me as he called up the stairs. "Sonny, some hippie chick's here to see you."

I walked into a living room similar to ours. There were two other older boys sitting on the couch watching television. One motioned for me to sit next to him. He was a big fellow with curly black hair, and he smiled as he put his hand on my shoulder.

"My, you are a young one, aren't you?" he said, sardonically sizing up what appeared to be jailbait.

"I'm a senior," I said, not sure what he meant. I was beginning to feel very uncomfortable around these boys, who obviously were more sophisticated than I was, and I hadn't been prepared for a roomful of older males.

A man with shoulder-length, brown wavy hair was coming down the steps. He had a slight build and wore a full mustache. I remember thinking he had a nice smile.

"I'm Sonny," he said to me as he extended his hand to welcome me, "but I guess you heard of me as Mr. Economopoulus."

I was glad to stand up and move away from the bear grinning at my side. I introduced myself and then sat on another chair, feeling tension inside me caused by indecision on whether to stay or run away. However, Sonny looked safe.

"So ... you're Karen's sister. You don't look like her." It was evident he was trying to make small talk, but he seemed interested. "I look like me," I retorted, knowing immediately it was a stupid thing to say.

The other boys howled with laughter at my less than brilliant comment, which made me feel a slight desire to crawl into a hole. I was beginning to think it was not such a good idea to be here, but Sonny smiled in a way that made me feel comfortable.

"Well, let's go up in my room and we can talk there," he said casually.

That drew a round of catcalls.

"Remember, she's a minor."

"Don't do anything I wouldn't do. Or maybe I should say, don't do anything I would want to do."

I followed Sonny upstairs to the front bedroom. He had music playing and a few albums lying out on the floor. I looked at his collection.

"Who do you like?" he asked.

"Dylan; Crosby, Stills and Nash ... "

"Do you like Carole King?"

"I never heard her."

"Well, you'll have to listen."

I sat down on the floor while he put on an album called Tapestry. He sat behind me on the bed with his knees touching my back while he told me about his musical tastes, his graduation from elite Franklin and Marshall, his work as a teacher, and his desire to go back to graduate school. He was twenty-four years old and from Massachusetts, and I remember feeling special to have a handsome college graduate interested in talking with me. It was my first intimate experience with someone so educated to whom I could relate. Up to this point, I had always felt a chasm between myself and the radical intellectual. But then, I was still relatively new in this counterculture predicted by contemporary visionaries, such as Paul Goodman, Allen Ginsberg, and Charles Reich.

My own vision included a major societal shift from war to peace, from hate to love, from bondage to liberation. I don't know if Sonny felt the same way, but I saw him as a fellow freedom fighter. When he offered me a pipe of marijuana, I took a hit. I still wanted to believe that smoking pot was a ritual between the enlightened, and maybe love would secure the connection. I let him take me to bed without any resistance. Since I was no longer a virgin, it didn't hurt anymore. With relatively little experience under my belt, I knew that it should feel good, but I had no idea what an orgasm should be like. Therefore, I never knew if I had one or not.

"I guess it is getting late for you," he said, as he rose to change the album.

"No, I don't have a curfew, " I replied. "And my homework is finished. "

"So, you are conscientious about your homework. Tomorrow you can bring it over here if you like."

I spent many evenings at Sonny's house after that. I told my mother I was at a friend's house, which was not a lie; he had become my best friend. Associating with Sonny, I was introduced to many of the Franklin and Marshall graduates, mostly rich kids from New York and New England states, and I met the members of the same blues band that I used to listen to in the "AT." Although it was nice to be accepted by this group, who were not only "cool" but wealthy also, I knew it wasn't due to my merit as an individual but only because of my close friendship with Sonny. That troubled me, whereas I should have been basking in my newfound fellowship with the privileged.

I admired Sonny's intelligence, but more than anything I appreciated his gentleness. He never pushed me to do anything, and never belittled any of my viewpoints. Instead, he told me his own views without getting patronizing or offensive. He challenged me to think about what I was saying, but he did not criticize my youthful nonsense. And at seventeen, one can be very stupid.

Even though I came to Sonny's every time I was free, I did not consider him my boyfriend. I did not tell anyone at school that I was seeing him, and he never gave me a ring or necklace, or anything that signified we were "going out." I was too inhibited to ask. why this was, but I eventually assumed that he realized I was too young to make our relationship public, or perhaps he thought that since I was seven years younger than he, I still had a lot to experience. I thought I did too.

"I want to go to the Moratorium against the war in Washington," I told him one spring day.

"You know I can't come," he said.

"I know, but I thought I would ask."

"Even if I did not teach, I would not go to the Moratorium. I have different ways to express my discontent with government policy."

"And so do I. But I want to go for the experience. I want to be part of the movement to stop the war."

"You are part of it right here. Go if you want to, of course. But how will you get there? Who is going with you?"

"I'm taking my sister, and we'll hitchhike."

"I can't tell you what to do," he said with a sigh.

I knew he did not approve of me hitchhiking, but he would never say it.

The Moratorium, held in April 1971, was a huge peace march against the war in Vietnam. I went to Washington to participate, slept on the Quaker church floor with hundreds of other dreamers, and was detained in a park by the National Guard. While there, I met an intense boy who read Chairman Mao religiously. I never saw him smile. Of the thousands of young people who came to Washington for those days, I met no one else. I was too busy observing this profoundly concentrated boy. He left for California when the Moratorium was over, and I don't even remember his name. But I remember the determined look on his face. I admired his dedication to a cause, and I thought to myself that I wanted to be as serious about an ideal as he was. Now, with a standard to measure up to, I just had to find the right ideal for me.

Sonny was there for me when I returned, but he didn't press for conversation. He just held me in his arms like an ever-present father. Sex was nothing for me to give in exchange for his masculine kindness.

After graduation from high school in June 1971, I went to Wildwood, a New Jersey beach town frequented mainly by young people, look for a job in order to earn money for college. I found work in restaurant as a waitress; all of the waitresses had to wear hot pants I hated the idea. While in Wildwood, I met a boy from Pittsburgh who told me he had been born again. He witnessed to me about being a good Christian, saying that I should not give love freely, drink or smoke, or even listen to rock music. I should read my Bible every day and that would give me strength to resist evil. My roots were still in Christianity; however, Christians were always so close-minded and usually boring. But this boy was exciting, and he hung around with me, an obvious hippie. Why? Maybe there was still hope in this Jesus stuff he talked about. Since he did not say anything about going to church, I decided to follow his counsel. It wasn't hard for me to give up drugs, sex, and music, and soon I felt I was on the path to dedication -- a higher ideal. Why I was such an idealist, I will never know.

Returning to Lancaster before summer was over, and before Sonny came back, I called Mick, my only friend left over from the Spruce Street gang. Mick had started hanging out with the Jesus People, a traveling group of ex-hippies who preached about Christ. Following their lead, Mick had destroyed all his "worldly" albums and listened only to Christian music.

When Sonny returned to Lancaster, I related the story of the Christian boy and the Jesus People. He was not impressed, but he respected my decision to start living a more "godly" lifestyle of no drugs or sex. We didn't sleep together after that.

A few weeks later, Sonny dropped me off at the Penn State campus in Schuylkill Haven where I would spend my freshman year. In a few days, he would be leaving for Europe, where he planned to stay for an extended period of time, while I was feeling safe at a small campus, with a renewed faith and two part-time jobs. We made no promises about the future, and it was an uneventful parting.

Dorm life was terrible. The girls who lived there were frivolous and uninteresting, and I did not make friends until I met Daisy. Living off campus, she supported herself by singing folk songs at a local coffeehouse and took classes at the college. She was a short, quiet girl who hid her bright blue eyes and rounded face behind long blond hair. Her whispery voice never held a hint of aggression. And her independent spirit was in complete contrast to her seemingly submissive attitude.

Daisy and I became good friends. I told her about my renewed belief in Jesus, and she confided that as a Catholic, she had always believed in God. Since she had such fantastic memories of a visit to the Greenwich Village hippie scene, we decided to go to New York during our winter break.

A little while before the semester ended, I saw a sign on a church saying that a film about a Christian commune would be playing that night. I rode over on my bike to watch it.

The documentary film, called The Ultimate Trip, was an episode from the weekly television news program First Tuesday. It documented the lifestyle of a group of Christians in Texas called the Children of God. I watched in awe as ex-hippies gave their testimonies about being lost and finding peace with God and one another in this commune. They sang songs and danced. They read their ever-present Bibles and quoted scriptures by memory. They ate together, watched each other's children, cooked, cleaned, worked, and farmed collectively. They said that no one had need of anything because everyone shared all they had -- and it was enough. Here was pure communism, but these people were happy, not severe, like that boy at the Moratorium in Washington. These people were Christians, yet they looked like hippies in long skirts and flowing hair. And they had a vision -- to change the world! Leaving the church as soon as the film was over, I tried to hide the tears in my eyes. I felt I had just seen the living purity of Jesus' words. I wanted to be like these people -- to love everyone; to give my life for others; to be part of a true community. Maybe, during the summer break, Daisy and I could go out to Texas. The thought of meeting the Children of God gave me a new vision. Life had always seemed so strange to me and somehow I had become addicted to the unusual, the extraordinary, the mysterious. I felt like I was searching for meaning constantly, and for the first time, I thought the search would soon be over.
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Re: Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years As a Sacred Prostitut

Postby admin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:21 am


3. Through the Looking Glass

Daisy and I took the bus to my house in Lancaster on the way up to New York. We hitchhiked the rest of the way with about twenty dollars between us in our pockets. I had a change of clothes in my backpack, and Daisy carried a guitar and an old army bag with a few things in it. After spending the first day looking for fellow bohemians in Greenwich Village, all we had found were drug users, drug pushers, prostitutes, busy people going back and forth without glancing at anyone, and college students on their way back home. No one offered the peace and brotherhood that Daisy remembered from a few years ago. I spent the little money we had that first day buying food.

Soon it was getting dark, and we still had no place to go. As we walked aimlessly along a street, a burly man with coarse features asked us if we were lost. He was the only friendly person we had met all day.

"No, but we really don't have a place to go to," I said.

"Well, I have a place, if you want to come with me," he said with a sly smile. Something in his manner made me feel uneasy.

"Both of us?" I asked, thinking that I was being prudent.

"Sure, it's right around the corner."

We followed him to a doorway that opened onto a dilapidated and trash-littered hallway. He led us up three flights of stairs, each landing become darker and more dismal. On the third floor he stopped to talk to a girl who reminded me of the grotesque groupies I had seen at big rock concerts in Philadelphia. A feeling of despair swept over me, since those heavily made-up groupies exposing their bodies had shattered my idealism of rock stars. She passed him something, and he turned and opened a door to the right.

"Here we are," he said, showing us the way into a room full of smoke and old dumpy chairs. There was a roll-away bed pushed up against one wall where another girl was slouched like a rag doll someone had discarded long ago. As she looked at us with mascara-laden, glazed eyes, I realized that we were not among hippies.

"Where did you pick these fresh apples?" she murmured, coming out of her drug-induced nod.

"Get off the bed, Mona. What are you doing all fucked up in here?" he barked at her like a dog.

"I brought your bag. It's over there under the chair," she said, too spaced out to break the gaze she had fixed upon us. She seemed quite transfixed with our presence, but after a few minutes of indiscreet staring, she got up and slithered out the door like a snake who had decided we were not worth her time or energy.

Our host sat on the bed and took a bag of white powder out from under the chair.

"Sit down," he said, patting the bed beside him.

Daisy and I took the chairs that were nearest the door. He noticed our move to safety.

"You aren't afraid of me, are you?" he asked as he walked past us and locked the door. "I just want to be sure no one comes barging in here."

He looked more like a bear than anyone I'd ever seen, but a dirty one. Plumping himself down again on the bed, he put the bag under the mattress. Looking us over with a mischievous grin, he pulled out a joint and lit it up, passing it to us after taking a long drag. I pretended to take some and passed it to Daisy, who I knew never took any drugs. She did the same and passed it back.

"Hey, you girls aren't taking any. Come on, you can't be like that. You want Uncle Charlie to get angry?"

For the first time, I began to be really afraid. I didn't know what Uncle Charlie did when he got angry, but I did not want to find out.

"Well, we're just very hungry, and this gives you the munchies, you know."

"Oh, you want some food? I'll find out what we have. Food is not our line of merchandise, you know, but I'll see what I can scrounge up."

Charlie swaggered to the hallway and summoned Mona.

"Hey, get these girls something to eat. What do we have anyway?"

"What are you talking about? There ain't no food here," she replied.

"Well, go the hell out on the street and find something."

Charlie came back in and was puffing away until Mona returned with some hot dogs. By now, Charlie was so stoned he forgot to lock the door after she left. We ate our hot dogs and kept an eye on Charlie, who was talking about the great stuff he could get for us anything we wanted. Now he was drinking from a bottle, and he lit up another joint as he lay back on the bed, totally wasted. I nudged Daisy, and we grabbed our stuff and bolted out the door, down the steps, and out onto the street without looking back. We couldn't hear Charlie or anyone else behind us, but we still ran through the street in the direction of any light. Finally, we found ourselves in front of a well-lit college dormitory.

By this time we were so desperate, we did not care what anyone thought. We started banging on all the doors until someone answered.

"Please, let us in," I asked. "Some man is chasing us, and we don't know where we are."

The boy who answered the door didn't seem to believe us, but he reluctantly agreed to let us stay. We bedded down for the night on the floor.

The next day we were back on the street. I suggested that Daisy sing in the cafes so we could make some money to get a train out of there. After searching in vain all morning for places to sing, we decided to give up on that idea and just bum money instead by panhandling on the street.

By nightfall, we had only collected about ten dollars. We decided to go to the train station, spend the night there, and start panhandling again in the morning. On our way we passed an art gallery, and I stopped to look at the paintings.

"Hi, do you believe in Jesus?" someone asked.

It was a boy about my age carrying a guitar. He had a short, smiling girl with him.

"Yes. In fact, I carry a Bible with me all the time," I responded gaily, happy to hear a kind voice.

"You do! Wow! What version is it?"

"New Revised."

"Oh," he said, looking disappointed, but his face quickly lit up again. "I have a King James Version with me. Do you want to compare verses?"

I looked to Daisy, who was engrossed in conversation with the girl. "What do you mean?" I asked.

"Here, I'll show you a verse in my Bible, and you look for it in your Bible, and we can see how they're different."

I thought he had some point that he really wanted to make, so I joined in. We sat on the edge of the curb and he took out a three by five-inch King James Bible. I took out my paperbound New Testament.

For the next half hour, we looked up scriptures, which he was much better at than I. He explained the beauty and purity of the King James version, which is written in Shakespearean English, and I felt my puny New Revised Version was totally inadequate.

Daisy and the girl she was talking to came over to participate in the impromptu Bible study. The girl's name was Praise.

"Should we go get some coffee?" said the boy. "It is cold out here."

Daisy and I agreed, and we walked together to a diner, where we spent the next hour listening to their explanations of Bible verses over cups of hot coffee.

"Why don't you girls come home with us?" Praise said. "We have a big campground upstate, and there is plenty of room."

"Who are 'we'?" asked Daisy with a command-like quality to her voice.

"Oh, we're a group of people trying to serve the Lord. Maybe you heard about us. The papers call us the Children of God."

"You are with the Children of God?" I asked. "The ones I saw in a documentary?"

"Yes, that was our camp in Texas. We have a camp here in New York now. Do you want to come up with us tonight?"

"How far is it from here?" asked Daisy.

"Oh, not far," said Praise. "We have a bus taking us up in about an hour."

Daisy seemed okay about it, so we followed them to an old yellow school bus surrounded by a large group of noisy young people. One boy from the crowd came over to us.

"Praise the Lord," he said, giving Praise and the boy a quick hug. "You found some sheep!"

"Yes. This is Miriam, and this is Daisy," piped up Praise, pushing her long brown hair out of her eyes with tiny cold fingers. "They want to come home with us."

"Hallelujah! Are they saved yet?'

"Yes," I said, thinking that this seemed to be the criterion for visiting them. I was thrilled to be going to a real Children of God commune.

"Great," said the boy. "Well, take them on the bus and get them filled with the Spirit. Oh, and give them some food if they are hungry." He seemed genuinely happy and concerned for us. This was a pleasant change from the treatment we had received since coming to New York.

I entered the bus with excited apprehension. All the seats had been taken out, and there were blankets and pillows all over the floor. Someone was handing out sandwiches from a cardboard box at the front. I took a sandwich and followed Praise to the back. Daisy had been taken by a girl to another part of the bus.

Once we sat on the floor of the bus, Praise quickly took control of the conversation. She was a totally spaced-out girl who punctuated every sentence with "Praise the Lord," or "Hallelujah." She talked to me nonstop about the Bible, the Holy Spirit, Jesus' message of telling the world about salvation, loving others like yourself, and every other spiritual lesson I had ever heard about in connection with the Bible. Only she said it with such sincerity and belief that it came alive.

The bus began to fill up, and after a while we were packed. The young man who had greeted us stood up at the front.

"Okay. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord. Is everyone here?"

Most of the crowd became quiet and looked at him with respect. He was obviously some kind of group leader.

"All right. Well, we are going to pull out of New York City now. So everyone who wants to stay in hell better get off, because we are going to heaven."

Half of the people on the bus started screaming, "Hallelujah -- praise the Lord -- we love you, Jesus," in a confused type of unison.

A few people left. Daisy and I stayed on.

"Praise the Lord," said the man again. "I see we have some new people coming up with us. I hope you are all saved and filled with the Spirit. If you have any questions, please ask the people sitting next to you. I want you to be sure you know where you are going."

1 wasn't sure if he meant where we are going when we die, or right now. But since I knew both of these answers, I didn't ask anyone.

After a few minutes, some more people got off the bus.

"Okay. Let's say a prayer for this old bus and get going. I don't know if we have gas or not. The gauge doesn't work. But God is not bound by a gas gauge, is He?"

The bus gave an uproar of "Hallelujahs" again.

The man led us in a spirited prayer, which was interspersed with I more "Praise the Lords" and emphatic "Amens" from the crowd.

I wrapped myself in a blanket 1 found next to me since it was getting cold and the prayer was long. Finally, the bus started up. Another round of praises!

Praise brought the other boy back to our comer. 1 found out that his name was Ezra. Evidently, he had been in the Children of God (COG) less time than Praise, indicated by the way he kept looking to her for approval of what he said.

"I think Miriam might want to ask the Holy Spirit in," said Praise, "and I thought you might like to be here, since she is your sheep."

Ezra and Praise quoted all the verses they knew on the Holy Spirit, what it meant to be filled with the Spirit, and what would happen to me afterward. They protested when I told them I had already been baptized, saying that was not really enough. I looked out the window at the dirty city going by, so happy to be leaving it. Why should I not ask the Spirit in again? It seemed to mean so much to them, and it certainly would not hurt.

"Okay," I said, "I'll ask the Spirit to fill me."

Praise gave a squeaky sound of delight, and she called over a few more people to pray with me. Suddenly there were about a dozen pair of hands on my head, shoulders, and back. While Ezra led a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to fill me, the people holding me captive began a praise session of "Hallelujah -- praise the Lord -- we love you, Jesus" that lasted at least twenty minutes. I had my eyes closed the entire time, and when I opened them, I looked out the window. It was snowing.

The event seemed so symbolic. I had closed my eyes when we were in the filth of the city, and now, after asking to be filled with the Spirit, we were driving by a clean, snow-white field. Maybe I really did get filled with God's Spirit after all. It reminded me of the Bible verse I had memorized recently, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall become white as snow."

The bus stopped frequently on the way up. Each time this happened, everyone would start praising the Lord while the leader and some boys got out to tinker with the motor. The story I heard was that the bus was really out of gas, but the Lord just made it start anyway, contingent on the amount of praising we would give Him.

Eventually, I fell asleep, but not before I had concluded that this was my fate. Had I not been searching for something to dedicate my life to, having found nothing for me in all the usual places? Had I not seen a film on this very group just weeks before, and even then decided I would like to live in such a place? Had I not gone through one of the most hellish and depressing experiences of my life and been rescued by these people -- perhaps my spiritual family?

It was the middle of the night when we arrived at the campsite in Ellenville, New York. A wakened from a deep sleep, I followed Praise in a daze to a bunkhouse and crashed. I woke the next morning to a group of girls crying, "Hallelujah -- praise the Lord -- we love you, Jesus." This was a frequent event throughout the day, and soon I would participate in the praise sessions myself.

The camp was a beautiful nature retreat that would have been comfortable in the summer. Unfortunately, it was not built for winter use, and every room was freezing except in the main building. There were two bunkhouses: a large one that held the girls and a smaller one for the boys. There were also a few cabins down by the wooded area and a bungalow set off by itself. On that cold December morning, I was grateful to leave the freezing bunkhouse and go into the warmth of the main building.

The main building contained a large meeting hall, a huge industrial kitchen, some rooms reserved for special classes, one bathroom, and a second floor. I would not even see the second floor for months. I stayed in the meeting room or kitchen those first few days.

In the morning we had a collective breakfast in the meeting hall converted into a dining room. There were close to a hundred bedraggled young people forming a line. Ezra came in and took me through the food line, quoting verses to me that I later learned he was memorizing.

"Wow, we got some doughnuts this morning, praise the Lord," he exclaimed, referring to a big cardboard drum filled with squished pastries. "Don't you want any?"

I declined. Instead, I took a bowl of watery oatmeal and some very weak coffee. I was soon to learn that choice of food was limited, but in those early days, food was the last thing I was concerned about.

Ezra ate with an enthusiasm that struck me as rather exaggerated. He always came with me when we went through the food line, and when I realized he was hungry, I took everything allotted me and offered him what I could not eat. He seemed to really appreciate this, although he never said anything but "Thank you, Jesus!"

Someone talked with me every minute of the day. Either Praise or Ezra or one of the two hundred or more other people who lived there. By design, I was never alone, and I hardly ever saw Daisy alone either. However, when Praise came with me to the bathroom, I protested.

"Okay, praise the Lord! I'll be right out here," she said sweetly.

It was quite interesting. I had no idea what commune life would be like, but this seemed to be a prime example. We ate together, worked together, sang together, and (separated into boys, girls, and married couple dorms) slept together. The main purpose seemed to be training new disciples, like me, to become fulltime witnessers for the Lord. I learned that the Children of God had set up witnessing homes in many big cities across the nation, and would soon be setting one up in Manhattan. In addition, they made weekly trips to New York City and came back with dozens of new recruits. Most of them were drugged-out hippies. Many stayed on for days, weeks, or months, and during this time no one touched any dope. Thorough searches for drugs were conducted frequently, and no smoking or alcohol was allowed.

A few days after I had arrived -- I lost count of the exact number of days that had gone by -- a "sister" suggested that I go to the "Forsake All" and get new clothes. She explained that like the early disciples in the Bible, we shared everything here, including our worldly possessions.

When I told her that I had brought enough clothes with me, she informed me that I would have to forsake those, or give them up. "Old things are passed away, all things become new," she said, quoting II Corinthians 5:17.

The Forsake All held the discarded clothes of all the people who had joined at this particular commune, or "colony," as they called it. The Forsake All room was large and orderly. Boys' clothes were neatly folded in one area and girls' in another. The sister who took me suggested I get a few skirts.

"We believe that girls should dress feminine and modestly," she said with authority, as if she were my fashion coordinator.

She chose two long, shapeless skirts that were similar to the ones that most of the other girls were wearing. She allowed me to pick two blouses and a sweater. Those five items, along with a few pairs of underwear, would be my clothes for the next couple of months. I was also allotted a long warm coat. My army jacket, along with my beloved embroidered jeans, were taken away. I later saw the army jacket on a boy, but I never saw my jeans again.

It seemed that the members who had been with the Children for a while "had the faith" and that I was a disciple. Being a college student and having some definite goals in life, I was quite different from the regular recruit they picked up in New York. They informed me that I was a "chosen one" of God, like the rest of them there. I felt a surge of pride and recognition. I knew I was different -- no wonder they had found me! Then I brushed it aside out of ingrained humility, probably learned in Sunday school as a little girl. Instead, I should be thankful that He had chosen little, insignificant me. I would have to prove I was worthy. The Bible did say, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" (John 15:16).

I eventually could have taken these thoughts further and come to the logical conclusion that God doesn't go around "choosing people" in this way, but I was never left alone to think for myself. As a new disciple, I constantly had a big brother or sister at my side, usually quoting scriptures that reinforced the Children of God lifestyle and beliefs. "All that believed were together and had all things in common; and sold their possessions and goods and parted them to all men" (Acts 2:44). "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). I learned that new disciples should never be left alone with their thoughts, and that I should not think like a "flatlander," who could only see in a flat dimension. I tried to discipline my mind to not think of anything but biblical, spiritual, higher thoughts.

Although I don't remember making any verbal decision to join or signing anything, I handed over to the group all my belongings, including my driver's license, which was never returned. In my purse, I'd had only the few dollars we had panhandled in New York, which was also handed over, and I never held money again for years. It would also be years before I went to a store to buy anything, read a book, listened to radio, or watched TV. How I spent every minute of my life was decided for me; or rather, I let them decide it for me.

Many nights as I lay in bed -- the only time I was alone -- I would review my past life, which now seemed so very distant. At first I was saddened that I would never finish college, but soon these thoughts receded further and further away, and finally they never appeared again. I missed my family, but I believed I had met God's True Family. After all, that was what I had been praying for, and didn't God answer prayers? I read a passage from a booklet that was given me, which said:

We belong to the greatest Family in the world, the Family of God's Love. Surely God must think you worthy to give you such a priceless privilege to be a member of His Family! We're the mighty army of Christian soldiers, fighting a relentless war for the truth and love of God, against the confusion of Babylon, the anti-God, Antichrist systems of the world .... We are the hard-core, the spearhead, the avant garde of this last spiritual revolution. We are the Cadre, the leadership of it, that requires one hundred per cent dedication ....

We called ourselves "revolutionaries" in a spiritual and material sense combined. I knew it would be hard. It was like joining an army, giving up my personal desires for a greater cause. But I felt like I was meant to do this -- it was my purpose in life. And as I was told, I was still young enough to change: In another few years I would have become so ingrained with "system" thoughts, I could never be a "revolutionary. "

My life in those days as a new disciple meant waking up early to pray alone for one hour and then together with a group of girls led by our "tribe leader." After a breakfast of powdered milk, doughnuts, and oatmeal, I helped to clean the camp, which, considering that it sometimes housed up to three hundred people, was kept fairly clean. Then began a long day of Bible classes, broken only by a small lunch of a sandwich or sometimes a fruit salad. At the end of the day, we were given time to memorize verses, always with an older brother or sister to guide us, and then to read the Bible silently, but not alone. A late dinner was followed by "inspiration," which included a few hours of singing and then a message from our leader. It was after a few weeks of those messages that I understood that our top leader and founder was a man who called himself Moses David.

Moses, called Mo for short, based his philosophy of a Christian communal life -- which he preached, taught, and enforced through writings called Mo letters -- on the biblical scriptures. Just as the Russian Communists were inspired by The Communist Manifesto, and the Nazi movement by Mein Kampf, the Mo letters told us what to believe in, and how to live this belief. Like those other revolutionary works, the Mo letters gave us the hope that we would change the world. However, the big difference was -- our leader heard straight from God, and God was still speaking!

Mo wrote that "ninety per cent of our ministry here is condemning the church and the church people and the damn system" ("A Sample, Not a Sermon" J:55). When he began preaching that to the hippies gathering in a coffeehouse in Huntington Beach, California, they listened to this strange man in his late forties wearing a beard and sunglasses. He looked like one of them, only older and wiser, and he had a plan taken from one of the greatest plans ever written for humanity -- the New Testament.

But Mo wasn't always a bohemian prophet. He started his adult life in the shadow of his famous evangelist mother, Virginia Brandt Berg, whom he claimed had been paralyzed by a car accident and miraculously healed. She became a relatively successful Christian evangelist and eventually had her own radio program called Meditation Moments. Her third child (second son), David Brandt Berg, was born after the accident and healing on February 18, 1919, in Oakland, California. His father, Hjalmer Emmanuel Berg, was a handsome Swedish singer who met Virginia before he was converted to Christianity by her father, a wealthy preacher. Virginia and Hjalmer both dedicated their lives to Christian work. He became a pastor, but according to Mo's testimony, he played second fiddle to his more successful wife.

David Berg eventually became a pastor himself, ordained by the British-American Ministerial Federation in 1941. Berg details his personal history in a publication he wrote dated January 1976, titled "Our Shepherd, Moses David." In it he claims that he graduated from Monterey Union High School in California with the highest scholastic record in the school's eighty-year history, and was offered numerous scholarships for college. He was drafted into the Army a few days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but since he did not believe in killing, he claims, he served as a conscientious objector with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, until he received a complete-disability discharge due to heart trouble. According to his story, the Army thought he was dying of double pneumonia, but when he promised God he would serve Him faithfully, he was instantly healed. After a few years of evangelistic work, he returned to college on the GI Bill, studying philosophy, psychology, and political science, and became seriously involved in the study of socialism and communism. He later wrote, "I soon saw that the purportedly unselfish goals of these political systems could never be achieved without the love of God in the hearts of men, as in the pure Christian communism of the Early Church" ("Our Shepherd, Moses David" 351: 18. After attending various colleges, with no record of ever obtaining a degree, he took a private teaching job for a few years and then several positions with television and radio evangelists. Finally, at forty-nine years of age, without a ministry or job, he brought his wife and four children to live with his retired mother in Huntington Beach, California, in 1968. There he began to preach in the small coffeehouse run by a church group called Teen Challenge. He once wrote of this event, "I'll never forget the first time I walked into the club and lay down on the floor with you [the hippies] in my broken sandals, ragged old jacket, lengthening hair and graying beard, and one of you lying next to me spoke up with the cheery greeting of welcome, 'Hi, Dad! What's your trip?' " ("Our Shepherd, Moses David" 351:29).

His trip was the supposed revolution for Jesus, and within months a handful of the searching young people who had become disillusioned with the world began following his teachings. Known as "Uncle David" then, he opened his home, or rather his mother's home, to them, and so began the model of communal living that he believed the Bible taught.

From a pragmatic point of view, Berg just happened to be in the right place at the right time. The California flower-power scene had attracted not only drug users and freedom seekers, but also the dropouts from staid academic institutions, including some of the cream of America's upper society crop. When the adult children of wealthy families joined, these rich kids gave all their possessions and money to the group, and Mo had the financial means to live incognito for the rest of his life. He started to go underground, and his whereabouts were known only to a faithful few.

Knowing none of this when I joined the Children of God, I was told that Mo was the end-time prophet spoken about in the Bible, which said "Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days" (Hosea 3:5). Mo was a charismatic leader, but most of his followers, including me, never even saw him in person. Whenever doubts entered my mind about following a "personality," I reminded myself that it was the ideal I was following, not the person who expressed it. I never met Mo and did not desire to meet him, but I thought the ideals he preached could change the world.

Our so-called prophet wrote hundreds of letters to us over the years, which were eventually published in eight volumes. Mo's control over our minds and bodies developed through a gradual process. In the beginning, I was allowed to hear only certain letters, which taught me his "revolutionary rules" such as: attend all classes, study the Bible, go witnessing; do not leave to go anywhere without permission; absence without leave will be considered desertion; no dating, no smoking, no smooching; obey leadership absolutely!

It was very difficult living in such a suppressive environment, but for idealistic reasons, I accepted it. By the end of my first week, however, I was looking forward to going out on a witnessing trip to New York City. But when the weekend arrived, Praise informed me I should stay at the camp and "get into the Word."
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Re: Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years As a Sacred Prostitut

Postby admin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:21 am


Getting into the Word meant reading my Bible and memorizing scriptures. I was given an old King James Bible, and my New Testament was now in the Forsake All room. Classes on the Bible were held every day. A "set card," which contained over one hundred verses that should be memorized by every new disciple, was given to me with instructions that I should learn at least two verses a day.

One morning, as I sat memorizing, a sister whom I had been told was my "tribe leader" came and gave me a piece of paper. She was the only girl in the camp whom I did not like. A few years older than I, she was always rushing around like she had more important things to do than the rest of us.

"This is your new name," she said curtly. "I got it for you in prayer this morning."

Quoting the now familiar verse "old things are passed away and all things are become new," she explained that each of the disciples took a new name from the Bible when they joined. I was thinking of a pretty name, like Crystal, from the Book of Revelations, or Joy, mentioned throughout the Bible, not realizing that my name would be picked for me.

I opened the folded paper she had given me and read, "Jeshanah."

"Where is Jeshanah in the Bible?" I asked.

She told me some chapter in Chronicles, but I did not write it down, and I was too intimidated by her to ever ask again. So I was called Jeshanah for years without ever knowing where it came from. Much later I found out it was the name of a town.

Daisy was given a name from the New Testament, Berea, which I thought was much prettier. However, she did not like the fact that she could not choose her own name; nor did she like not being able to sing and play guitar at the nightly inspiration. According to people whom we found out were the "leaders," new disciples must "prove" themselves before they played at inspiration. The songs of the group were inspired by God, and they didn't want any "worldly music" around.

"Music is the language of this generation, and we speak it" ("London" 58:33), Mo wrote. "Our music is the miracle that attracts so many to our message about the Man. It's the magic that heals their souls and wounded spirits and proves our messiahship, that we are their saviors" ("Thanks and Comment" 157:6). For idealists who were disillusioned with the sex, drugs, and rock and roll that hippiedom offered, the fresh and hopeful sounds of the group's music was a definite attraction. Mo's early disciples each played a musical instrument, usually guitar, and many were accomplished musicians and songwriters before they became his disciples. Hard-beating contemporary melodies were accompanied by catchy, meaningful verses such as the following, written by a young man who joined when he was fourteen years old:

Life is a lonely highway with no reason to travel on,
And you don't know where you're headed, but you know you've got to go on,
And you don't want to walk alone, but you're seeking a better home,
Dh, Lord, how long will this search go on?

Since I had already been initiated to the dangers of worldly music by the Jesus People, I did not find this so difficult to accept. Daisy, however, missed playing her songs, which she claimed were not worldly.

Inspiration time started after dinner and lasted late into the night. Since I did not have a watch, and there were few clocks around, I never knew what time it was, but I suspect that we stayed up in inspiration until past midnight, and sometimes until two or three in the morning.

Inspiration started with a prayer, like everything else we did. The room seemed to shake, with two to three hundred people gathered tightly and praising the Lord for up to an hour, depending on who was leading the inspiration. When the praises slowed down, someone started a prayer, then another and another. Finally, one of the leaders plucked a tune on a guitar, which was a sign to start the music, and everyone who was allowed to be an "inspirationalist" would grab a guitar and join in the singing. Most of the songs told tales of being lost, or lonely, or searching for the truth, finding it in Jesus, and now happily serving the Lord. Some songs were apocalyptic, about an endtime that was fast approaching, and warned people to turn to the Lord. Many of the songs had lively Gypsy tunes, and we danced holding hands, going around in a circle, and kicking up our feet in what we thought was a traditional Jewish dance. When this lively activity became too hectic, we divided into groups of two and danced with partners, always holding hands and swinging around in a circle There was no slow dancing and no touching body-to-body. It was very innocent and extremely exhilarating.

Often these meetings were led by a visitor, whom I later learned was a traveling leader. That person, male or female, eventually too over the inspiration by giving a talk, leading a Bible class, or reading a letter from Moses David.

I was not interested in who Moses was at that time. I was more interested in how to contact my mother. I had lost track of time, but it must have been a week since I had left Lancaster. My mother knew that Berea and I had gone to New York City, but I told her I would call collect in a few days. I knew she would be worried by now. In addition, our family, like most, were always together for Christmas, but for reasons explained emphatically to me, the COG leaders did not want me to go home for Christmas. They explained that Christmas was a "systemite" (meaning worldly) idea, and that to partake of the Christmas holiday spirit was almost like worshiping the devil. Actually, I could not find any verses in the Bible encouraging believers to celebrate Christmas, so there was little I could say to counter their argument. However, I did want to call my mother and tell her where I was. It was difficult to find someone among all those people who knew how I could make a phone call, even though there was a phone booth in the hallway of the main building. Since I was never alone, and had no money, I could not simply make a call.

The day I decided to confront one of the leaders with my request I became violently sick. After vomiting all morning, I went to the bathroom every five minutes with diarrhea. At mealtime I could no even look at food, but since the bunkrooms were so cold, I came over to the dining room anyway, went through the food line, and gave m food to some boys. Everyone was very concerned about me, which they showed by constantly laying hands on me and praying that would be shown why I was sick and "get the victory." Praise suspected that I was sick because I wanted to call my mother, an she frequently showed me Bible verses that said I should forsake my family.

"And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and h that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me' (Matthew 10:36-37).

"And everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life" (Matthew 19:29).

By now I had decided that I wanted to serve the Lord, and it was becoming clear that included giving up my past life and starting anew. I could hardly believe it meant leaving my family, but there it was written in the Bible, I cried for days, and I remembered when I was younger and had told my mother that I wanted to be a missionary when I grew up, she had cried and said, "Don't do that, I'll never see you again." Although it made me very sad, this seemed to be my fate. Everywhere I went, I was crying, and my new brothers and sisters prayed for me. This was normal, they explained. "No victory without a battle."

One evening, as I was sitting in the hallway with my full plate of food beside me on the floor untouched, a young man came and sat next to me. I knew he was an "older brother," meaning he had been in the group for at least a few months, but he looked to be not much older than twenty. I was considered a "babe," a new disciple. I had also noticed him because I thought he was cute, but those thoughts were supposed to be prayed out of my mind.

"What's the matter?" he said in a kind voice, noticing I did not have a smile on my face like everyone else in the camp.

Like a volcano erupting, I blurted out all my complaints. "I can't stand this anymore," I whined. "I have no time to myself. I can't read anything but the Bible. I don't wear clothes I want, or talk about things I like, or even to the people I want to talk to. And this food. It's horrible. I can't eat. I probably got food poisoning from it."

I felt terrible for being so ungrateful after all they had done for me, and I stopped as mixed emotions of shame and anger filled my eyes with tears.

He put his arm around me, which even in my emotional state I knew was not allowed. He was unusually tender and caring.

"Hey, I didn't like this food either, but you get used to it. And it isn't always like this. We're just in a big colony here, but when I was up in the home in Boston, we ate some real nice food. You know, when I first came here, I used to steal yogurt from the refrigerator when no one was looking."

"There's yogurt in the refrigerator?" I asked, surprised, since yogurt was my favorite treat and I had not seen any since I'd been here.

"Yeah, sometimes. They buy it for the pregnant mothers upstairs. So, it really is a sin to take it. But hey, I know Jesus loves me, and he's forgiven me for more than that."

He went on to tell me that he used to be part of the Mafia in New York City and had committed terrible crimes. He used to take drugs and sell drugs and worse. But now, with this Family and God's help, he was a changed person. And so what if he could not eat everything he wanted? He could help people like me find a new life.

I found it humorous that he talked about food. Maybe he was always hungry like most of the boys here.

"Do you want my food?" I said. "I'm not hungry."

He took it and ate while telling me more of his past life as a sinner.

"Do you have a mother?" I asked, tears again forming in my eyes.

"Sure I do."

"Do you ever get to talk to her?'

"Yeah. I write to her, and I call when I go to New York."

"Well, I haven't talked to my mother since I came here," I cried. "And I don't even know what day it is. Has Christmas passed yet?"

"You mean you haven't called your mother for Christmas and you're a babe? Babes are supposed to call their parents. Who is your tribe leader anyway? She's supposed to take care of that."

He got up and walked down the hall and up those forbidden steps to the second floor. In about ten minutes a leader whom I knew as Hosea came down and talked with me. He and his wife were about my age, but they dressed and looked like corporate managers. I learned later that they did our public relations work. He told me that his wife was coming down so I could call my mother, and if I wanted to, we could go visit her. It turned out that Christmas had passed two days earlier.

This calculated act of apparent kindness probably kept me in the Children of God. I was ready to leave and forget about serving the Lord, even if I was a "chosen one," as they said. At that time, I did not realize they were allowing me to do something that was my right to do all along, and pathetically, I was touched by their love and concern for me. In addition, I ashamedly felt that this longing to return to my "flesh family," as they called it, was really a selfish desire for clean sheets, healthy food, and more sleep. The lessons they had been teaching me, such as to beware of natural inclinations, to rebuke the devil, and to seek godly counsel, became clearer.

Hosea and his wife drove me home the next day as promised. My mother had been terribly worried about me, but fortunately, Daisy had called her mother, so she knew that I was living somewhere in upstate New York. My whole family was amazed that I was quitting college to join a commune, since I had been talking about school as long as they could remember. However, as usual, my mother let me do what I wanted, even though she tried to discourage me. She really didn't know what this group was about, but she seemed relieved that they were at least "Christian," My father was not around at that time, and I never knew what he thought since I had absolutely no communication with him.

My older brother, Steve, was home when we arrived in Lancaster. Hosea witnessed to him about Jesus, and when we left the next day, Steve decided to come with us. I also packed up everything from my personal possessions that Hosea thought the Family could use.

When we stopped for gas on the way up, Steve got out of the car to smoke a cigarette. Hosea stopped him.

"If you want to come with us, Steve, you need to stop smoking, drinking, and drugs, right now."

I watched the interaction intensely. I knew Steve had been smoking for years, and he probably was hooked on a few drugs.

"Okay," he said, and threw the pack of cigarettes into the trash.

Steve was separated into the boys' area when we got to the camp, and I hardly spoke with him after that. I heard that he was "growing in the Spirit" and had already memorized about half of the set card. By New Year's Eve, he was chosen, along with me, to go on a trip to New York City to witness and recruit new disciples.

We were taught witnessing tips on the way down by one of the leaders at the camp. James looked to be in his late twenties, a handsome man who was originally from New York. While he instructed us on the best places to witness and what areas to stay away from, he opened a gallon bottle of wine, and we all received about half a cup to warm us up. I learned that there is nothing wrong with drinking wine, as long as you don't drink too much. After all, Jesus' first miracle was to turn water into wine. I didn't have to worry about getting too much. This was my first and last half-cup until I married, six months later.

I liked James. He was not as strict as the other leaders, and he did not praise the Lord as long as everyone else did, going on and on indefinitely. When we said our prayers before leaving the bus, he said a short prayer and let us out.

I was paired with an older sister while Steve went with an older brother. This was my first time outside the camp other than the trip home. My older sister was relatively lenient, and she did not want to stand out in the cold as much I did not want to, so we spent a lot of time walking in the hotels. I went to the bathroom once and stuffed a half-used roll of tissue into my bag. It would be used later to supplement the three sheets of toilet paper we were allowed to have when we went to the bathroom at the colony. All the time I was out, I wondered if my brother would come back to the bus.

Due to the extreme confusion caused by the celebrating crowds around Times Square that night, it was ridiculous to try to witness, which consisted of talking to isolated people about Jesus. Returning to the bus early, I waited anxiously for Steve to come back. Finally, he got on the bus, wearing a Cheshire cat grin.

"Hey, man, this stuff is real." he said. "Man, I was tempted at every corner to split. I mean, I know plenty of places in New York to score drugs, but, man, I couldn't do it."

I was so happy. Seeing my brother free of drugs was worth any sacrifice on my part.

Living in the COG during those early days was like learning a whole new way of life. I was eventually told the story of how Moses David formed the group from a band of Jesus People in California in 1968. By the time I joined in 1971, there were COG communities all over the United States, the largest ones being the Texas Soul Clinic, which I had seen on the documentary film, and the one in Ellenville where I was now living. A few months before, Moses' natural children had taken over a large Jesus People commune in Georgia, called the House of Judah. Most of the people who joined with that community were now leaders at different colonies. We had a few of them in New York, but most of our leaders were the original members, who had now been with the Family, as it was called by initiates, for three or four years. Therefore, I was able to meet many of the top leaders when I was still a babe, although the value of this privilege escaped me at that time.

Sometime in January 1972 a group of the most dedicated babes were chosen to go to a special training camp in Montreal. My brother, Steve, Berea (old Daisy), and I were among those chosen. Steve had already memorized the whole set card of about a hundred verses, which took most babes at least six months; therefore, the leaders thought he was destined to be a great teacher. We crossed the Canadian border by pretending we were a church group on a day visit to a Canadian youth meeting. One of our leaders even dressed in the traditional Episcopalian black with white collar. This ruse enabled us to slip across the border without everyone on the bus being checked.

Steve felt obliged to inform the leader that he was actually on probation in the state of Pennsylvania, having just come out of prison. Fearing any legal repercussions, they promptly sent him back. I learned months later that he had returned to Lancaster to start a new colony, but he eventually slipped back to his old ways with his criminal friends. It would be ten years before I saw him again.

Meanwhile, Berea, my only other contact from the outside world, was having problems. She thought she might be pregnant from her old boyfriend back home, and whether it was an excuse or not, she slipped away one night into the cold Canadian winter, and never returned. I stayed through babes' training camp, during an intensely cold winter in Montreal, and then returned to Ellenville in the spring.

By now I was an older sister, having been in the group for six months. Since I had no inclination or desire to be a tribe leader, or to do anything in a leadership capacity, I volunteered to work in the nursery. Ellenville now had a population of nearly three hundred disciples and had become the home for quite a few mothers and children, now that spring had warmed the old camp to a tolerable degree. The camp now made use of all five buildings: the main house where meetings were held, food was served, and leaders lived; the boys' dorm; the girls' dorm; and a couple of small bungalows for married couples. A nursery was established in the main building and soon expanded out into the girls' dorm. Regardless of how crowded or uncomfortable the other rooms were, the nursery was always clean and well furnished. I liked being in a place that felt more like a "home."

Leaders and their wives were coming through on their way to Europe, following Moses David's directives to go into all the world and witness. With all these leaders and wannabe leaders around, I felt nice and safe in the nursery where I knew what to expect -- doo-doo-filled diapers and babies burping and drooling. Since I had helped to raise four younger sisters, I seemed to have more experience and general know-how concerning babies than most of the newer sisters. Leaders did not work in the nursery. In fact, I was not sure what work they did, other than read the Bible and lead inspiration. By now I was aware that not everyone in this group was idealistic or self-sacrificial, but I wasn't going to let this affect my own spiritual condition. I remained faithful to the ideal of community as set down in the Bible.

Working in the nursery, I became friends with another Family misfit named Salome, a young woman of Jewish heritage. Salome, who was witty and bright, revealed her secret rebelliousness to me as we would sit in the nursery and make fun of the leaders, which was almost blasphemous for mere disciples.

Other than Salome, only Ben, who did night guard duty at the camp, talked with me on a regular basis. Also of Jewish descent, Ben was a tall, dark, and intelligent person who had been in the Family a short enough time to still know how to indulge in interesting conversation. Since I had to bring babies to nurse with their mothers in the middle of the night, I would often stop and talk with Ben while waiting for the mothers to finish nursing. I liked Ben quite a lot, and I entertained the idea of one day marrying him. I had heard that marriages in the group were usually arranged by leaders, and I thought I could jump the gun by picking a husband first. It was a futile idea, since Ben was soon moved to another colony.

Marriage was a big concern for everyone, since no physical contact was allowed between boys and girls unless they were married to each other. As far as I knew, no one was allowed to even kiss before marriage. What made this situation even worse was that, after the leader, your husband was the unquestioned head of the union, and he usually spoke on your behalf to the leaders, who I guess spoke to God. I couldn't imagine having to spend the rest of my life with someone who acted like a lord over me, so I didn't think about it. I trusted in the Lord, as I had learned to do in response to every other fear that had arisen since I had joined this group. Surely if I was making all this sacrifice for God, He would not lead me astray.

Courtship was a quick affair. Many of the couples who had been married recently had been told the night before whom they would be marrying the next day. Ruth was one of them. She had joined at the Jesus People house in Georgia, and she was a typical southern belle. Soft-spoken, petite, and beautiful, Ruth seemed terribly mismatched with a loud and boisterous Italian American. Sometimes when I used to go into the kitchen for baby supplies, I would find them arguing in a corner of the kitchen where they thought no one could see or hear them. Ruth appeared to be very unhappy, and I hoped that my marriage would not be so badly arranged.

There was never a dull moment in the camp, although sometimes I wished there would be. Whenever a new leader came through, we would have all-night inspiration. Now we had a whole band playing every night, and often the best teachers in the Family would lead us through amazing interpretations of the end-time prophecies in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelations. We thought we were privy to information no one else in the whole world knew. The most direct revelations from God, however, came through our own end-time prophet, the leader himself, Moses David. His words, through the Mo letters, were distributed to all the colonies and were soon on equal authority to the Bible.

By now, reading Mo letters was a daily requirement, along with reading the Bible and memorizing verses. The letters contained mainly simple, sermon like platitudes, but sometimes they were more radical. According to the letters, the United States was headed for an Armageddon; therefore, all the Children of God were told to gather funds from various sources and go overseas. The Family spoke often of the end-time prophecy, and whether you believed it or not, speaking about the soon-to-be end of the world became a habit. It seemed to me that we might have only a few years left, and actually, I was rather relieved. I did not know how long I could last with this sacrificial lifestyle.

Although we did not work at "system" jobs, most of us worked very hard just to keep the camp going. We had what we called "provisioners," who were teams of beggars going out every day to grocery stores, food markets, and fast-food chains to scrounge for any food that they would give us. We had witnessers taking weekly trips to New York and surrounding cities, telling about Jesus and trying to recruit new disciples. As far as I knew, our only income came from the "forsake all" of the new disciples; and since most of them were like me, poor college students or travelers, I did not think we had much money. Personally, I never saw any money for years, since regular disciples never handled finances.

Toward the summer of 1972, the Family band led by Jeremy Spencer had come to Ellenville. Jeremy had been the slide guitar player for Fleetwood Mac, the popular rock band from England, and when he joined our group, it made the national papers. Now he had started his own band in the COG, and they had received a contract from a major recording company to make an album. The band enjoyed more privacy and freedom within the Family than even the big leaders did. They all lived in one of the bungalows that was set off by itself. All of the band members except for the drummer were already married. Word had spread that the band would be renting an apartment in Boston in order to work at a professional studio there. With the Spartan conditions we were living in at the camp, an apartment away from the constant surveillance of leaders and older brothers seemed like a mansion in heaven to me.

Due to the number of babies that had recently come into the nursery, I did not have much time to go to inspiration and listen to the band play . We had between six and ten babies ranging from newborns to age two being watched in the two nursery rooms. Mothers were encouraged to leave babies at the nursery all day and night, since we were supposed to be one big family and their children were everybody's children. Only the nursery workers cared for them, however, and since there were few nursery workers, I was often up day and night. Therefore, it took me by surprise when Jeremy came into the nursery to see me. I had only seen him before from a distance, and I was surprised at how short and frail he was. He had brown curly hair that hung lightly on his neck and friendly-looking eyes that were almost merry. I had not seen such a cheery look for a long time, since humor was discouraged at the camp.

"Hi. You're Jeshanah, right?" he asked in his strong English accent.

"Yes. That's me."

"Would you like to help us in a skit tonight? We have this little play planned, and we need a sister. You seem to be right for the part."

"Oh, I never acted in a skit before," I protested. Surely there were dozens of girls better suited for acting than myself, I thought.

"No, no. You are just right for the part."

"Well, do I have to come and rehearse?"

"Just ad-lib as the skit goes along, You'll pick it up, I'm sure."

Jeremy left me wondering what I was to do, but a crying baby interrupted my thoughts.

That evening, my tribe leader made sure I went to inspiration. She personally found another girl to stay in the nursery. I felt honored to be able to participate in a skit with the band. They were always treated as special, and I was somewhat in awe of their talent and fame. Now here I was in front of the entire colony, acting in a skit in which I did not even know the story line. However, it soon became apparent that the skit was about the drummer, Cal, marrying me. It depicted his life history, from a lost hippie to a drug addict in New York, then hitching out to California and meeting the COG, and finally becoming part of Jeremy's band and marrying a sister in Ellenville. My face turned bright red, and I could hardly look Caleb in the eyes. Did he know about this, or was he in the dark too?

Later in the evening we had some time to ourselves, and he informed me that he had requested me to be his mate. How did I feel about that?

A new letter had just come out from Mo saying that couples were being married too quickly, and they should be given three to six months courtship time. I asked if that would apply to us.

"I don't know," he said hesitantly, his blue eyes shining like sapphires on his handsome face. "You see, we have to go to Boston soon, and I would really like you to come with me."

I thought about living in Boston, in an apartment away from the colony. No more babies. No more big leaders. It seemed too good to be true. Serving the Lord would be so easy, I might start feeling guilty.

"Yes, I would like that." I said, thinking more of the apartment and freedom than getting married.

Caleb and I were allowed to spend some time together every day for the next couple of weeks. He was the first boy I had come to know emotionally since I had joined six months ago. Cal, as most of us called Caleb, was only twenty, a year older than myself, but he had already been in the Family for over a year, so he was definitely an older brother to me. It took awhile not to relate to him with the shyness and deference reserved for older brothers, but Cal was very easygoing, and he did not demand respect. I grew to like him very much. His long blond hair hung loosely to his shoulders, which reinforced the impression that he was an independent and unrestrained musician. Most of the boys who joined the group had to have their long hair cut, but musicians were usually exempt from this outward proof of commitment. Cal not only represented freedom, but he was also a basically nice guy.

Before the required three months of courtship were finished, we were married in a Family ceremony performed by a leader before the entire colony. Because of lack of space, most married couples, except for the leaders, had to share bedrooms; however we were allowed use of a couples' cabin alone for three nights. On the first night, Cal was euphoric. I was scared. This was marriage! What the hell did marriage mean in this group? We lived communally. Nothing belonged to us privately. Marriage usually entailed making a home and family starting a life together. However, when I joined the Children of God, I relinquished my right to have my own home, and my family included anyone else who gave up worldly goals and possessions to follow God in this group. Even though I had been living this life for a relatively short time, I knew that everything was temporary. Perhaps marriage was also.

Cal seemed to understand the significance of marriage -- having access to sex. I guess that was explanation enough for him, but not for me. That night, after we had made love a few times, I could not sleep. There was enough light from the moon shining through the curtainless lone window for me to see my honeymoon environment. The cabin was empty except for a mattress on the floor and a wooden box next to the bed, which held a small lamp and the two wineglasses, now empty. Cal's and my small suitcases, holding all of our personal belongings, were lying open on the floor in a corner. It was a sparse room, and the moonlight only accentuated the fact that my wedding night was far from idyllic. I lay awake most of the night wondering what I had done and why. Cal was a very nice person, much better looking and better groomed than most of the boys at the camp, but I did not think I loved him. Romantic love was one of the lies of the devil, I had been told by an older sister. God will give you love for him. Well, I didn't feel it yet, and I didn't feel like making love again. I got up early in the morning and dressed in my nursery work-clothes quietly, trying not to wake Cal.

"Where are you going?" asked Cal, waking up as I opened the door.

"To the nursery. That's where I work."

"No you don't. You don't have to work for three days. We have off, and I'm going to use those three days to stay in bed with you," he said with a sleepy smile.

He pulled me back into bed. My new husband might be kind, gentle, and loving, but he did not understand me. I felt as if I had just wounded my inner emotional being past repair. I had married someone without first consulting myself .

Having been indoctrinated by Mo's teaching that whatever is within us is evil and should be rejected, and that the truth is out there somewhere -- always beyond my reach -- in a perfect unity with a transcendent God, I did not even try to understand my feelings. Not being able to explore this terrible emptiness that I felt inside me, how could I explain it to Cal or anyone else? I knew only one thing -- there was no turning back.
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Re: Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years As a Sacred Prostitut

Postby admin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:23 am


4. Sharing "One Wife"

I had been cutting vegetables for the chef salad all afternoon, but at least it gave me relief from watching the children. In the kitchen I could have time to think, which was something we were not supposed to do. Mo wrote in one of his letters that if you thought too much, it was like inviting little devils in for tea in your mind. "You pull up a chair and invite them over and start agreeing with them ... it's 'cause you get your eyes on yourself instead of the Lord -- introspection instead of heaven-spection" ("Dumps" 33:3). Therefore, I felt like I had to be involved in some sort of action constantly, or I might be accused of thinking.

"You're not supposed to cut the vegetables so small," yelled Martha from behind, startling me. I dropped my thoughts and imagined they had broken into pieces as if they were precious china. Looking up into the cherublike face of Martha, I wondered if she could see the pieces of my thoughts scattered on the floor as well as I could.

"I told you that when I gave you the instructions for chef salad. Stay in tune with the Spirit, Jeshanah."

Martha was the wife of the lead guitar player in the band, and she liked to consider herself the lead singer also. However, like all the wives, she also must have a house duty, and she chose to be in charge of the kitchen. She planned the meals, went shopping, and made sure someone else cooked and cleaned. Our band colony, in the suburbs of Boston, had only a dozen members. We each took turns with these chores; however, Jeremy and most of the band were usually relieved of their duties because of practice. They also began playing at local clubs, "to keep in with the music scene" we were told.

The band members looked and acted like the stereotypical musicians of the time. Any Fleetwood Mac fan would recognize Jeremy onstage, with his short stature and curly brown hair, delighting the audience with his Elvis Presley impersonations. The bass player, Sam, a tall nineteen-year-old Californian with dark, ethnic coloring, was distinguished by a gap in his smile where his front tooth had been knocked out. The rhythm guitar player, Enoch, was a tall young man in his early twenties whom we jokingly called "the Pope," since he encouraged everyone to be religious. Martha was a chubby girl with an angelic face; however, she was as tough as the devil on me. I had become the gofer of the home, since everyone else was busy in their calling.

Jeremy's wife, Emma, often could not work in the kitchen because she was caring for her newborn, and Bart, our leader, and his wife, Tirzah, would only cook or clean when they felt like it. That left only the wife of the bass player, who had a baby to care for, our single brother, Abashai, the roadie who did most of the driving, and me. My main job was to help Emma with her children, but I often helped Abashai do all the practical and dirty work of keeping a home running. Abashai was also our provisioner, the person who visited stores and factories asking for free stuff.

Even though Jeremy and the band had received a lot of money to make the album, Bart, who held the highest position in our band colony and was manager of the band, thought we should live as much as possible like other COG homes. I was never informed where the money went at that time, but I was aware that we were living relatively better than other homes in the group.

From what I heard from my husband, the drummer of the band, they had signed a contract with Columbia Records for $50,000. Most of the advance went into buying new instruments and equipment for the band and paying for the recording at a studio in Marlborough, Massachusetts. The rest of the money was used for living expenses for the band families while they were recording, but the upgrade in our living conditions was relative to normal COG standards. No one had personal bank accounts, and I never even bought any clothes but continued to wear hand-me-downs.

We had rented two attached apartments in Sudbury, a suburb of Boston. There were a total of five rooms, two kitchens, and two bathrooms for the twelve adults and six children. Bart and his wife and child took the whole apartment upstairs; Jeremy and his family of five lived in the master bedroom downstairs; Martha and her husband, Obadiah, and their baby were in the other bedroom; and Cal and I shared the living room with Sam, his wife, and their baby. Abashai and Enoch, the rhythm guitarist, whose wife was in England, stayed in the garage, where the band also practiced. In our room we divided the space with a sheet. After spending my first months of marriage with other married couples in the crowded couples' dorm back at Ellenville, I was grateful to have this private area. Always self-conscious of noises made while engaged in sex, I had learned to muffle any sounds.

Having lived with two to three hundred people for the past six months, I felt like this living situation was luxury. In addition, the food was much better, since we actually bought most of it, and I could leave the home on trips to the stores with Abashai to shop and provision, which I really enjoyed. I should have been very happy about my fortunate position; however, my marriage with Cal was terrible. Even worse, it was my fault. Cal loved me. He was proud to be my husband. He treated me nicely, and even tried to make sure I was not overworked, a common dilemma for those on the bottom of the COG hierarchy, such as I was in that colony.

But I knew it was all so wrong. Nothing had changed since the first night I spent with my husband. At that time, I thought that Cal and I were just not meant for each other, but in retrospect, I believe I was not capable of loving a man as a husband. In the Family, love for your "mate" was supposed to be a gift from God; however, there was no special loving feeling in my heart for Cal. Jesus said we should love everyone. Loving "everyone" was easy for me; it was loving my husband that was so hard. Having no clue as to why I could not love the man I had agreed to marry, I thought that maybe that happened to everyone. Maybe love would eventually grow. I did not take this situation lightly, and every day I would invent new causes, reasons, and excuses for not loving Cal as I should.

Mo wrote that he wanted all the complaints about marriage to stop. In a letter called "Get It Together," he told husbands to be nice to their wives (which Cal was), but he also wrote:

The next time I hear of a wife that is not willing to submit to her husband -- after being admonished in the presence of a few witnesses we'll take her in front of the whole congregation and make her submit to her husband ... if you won't do it in the privacy of your own bedroom, you will do it in front of us! ... Do you believe in the Bible? Then why don't you do it? You're breaking the commandment of God every time you refuse! You don't have to feel like it .... How are we going to have a Revolution for Jesus if you can't even love your husband or wife, your brothers or sisters, whom you have seen? [123: 17-20]

In other words, how could I be a missionary -- my one single goal in life?

Mo often denied that he had ever encouraged anyone to marry, and for many years I believed it was only a few of the top leaders, who were eventually demoted, who indiscriminately practiced pairing couples. However, years later I heard the tearful story of Rose, a sister who was present at a mass marriage performed by Mo and his personal secretary, Maria. After Mo had just betrothed a couple, he asked if anyone else wanted to get married. A brother, who liked Rose, stood up and tapped her on the shoulder. Rose knew Mo and Maria personally, and she looked to them for help. Instead, she was told by Maria that Mo thought it was the Lord's Will she marry this brother. They were betrothed in a few weeks, at which time, she later told me, she felt like her life had ended. Not all couples were so badly mismatched, but the majority of us were told that God's Love can extend to anyone. In reality, couples that actually did love each other romantically were usually separated by leaders.

I was still young enough in the Family to believe that my feelings about my marriage might be taken into account by my leaders. I went to Bart and Tirzah to ask for a separation from Cal. I thought that four months of trying was enough. My caring leaders were absorbed in their own private matters. Bart was checking out the latest electronic toy he had bought, some recording device, and Tirzah was fashioning a new dress for Martha, which, I noticed nostalgically, included a lace bodice from one of the dresses I had forsaken when I joined the Family. I stammered out my feelings, hopes, and disappointments about marriage and my request for a separation. They would not even discuss the matter with me, and basically I was told to get into the Word more. However, they did talk to Cal.

"Maybe we need to have a baby," suggested my husband. "You have always been caring for other people's babies; don't you want one for yourself?"

I thought this was an odd statement, considering the fact that the children were supposed to belong to us all, but Cal always had a way of remaining personal in a very impersonal environment.

"Well, yes, but we have been together for four months already, and I didn't get pregnant yet," I replied, somewhat surprised by his statement. Actually, we had not been legally married yet, since most of us did not obtain a marriage certificate unless a child was expected. So what Cal was really saying was that if we had a baby, we would become legally married. I did not consider the added incentive Cal might have had at the time for me to get pregnant, and I think Cal was only repeating what the leaders had told him to say. He probably thought it would be good for both of us, but having a baby made it almost impossible to break a marriage. In those early days, Mo taught that a baby was God's stamp of approval on a marriage.

Cal's question, however, did prompt me to consider having a baby as a solution to my marriage problem. Before I joined the Family, I would have laughed at such a simplistic idea, but after living in a closed society for such a long time, with traditional, and often oppressive, perspectives reinforced constantly by everyone around me, my critical thinking capabilities were extremely weakened. The Bible did say, "Be fruitful and multiply." If God was the one who gave babies, it made sense to ask Him for one. The more I prayed for a child, the more I felt that a baby was what I really wanted in my life.

Ironically, I was still aware enough to know that a child in the Family ideally belonged to everyone. It wouldn't necessarily be "mine." Sitting in the bathroom, the only room that gave me complete privacy with my thoughts since our bedroom was converted back into the living room every morning, I pondered the imagined happiness of holding my own baby in my arms and the very real threat of having that baby taken away from me and cared for by others. In order to prevent that from happening, I reasoned, I would make sure that I was always in the "child-care ministry." I even justified my thought processes, which were definitely selfish according to Family ideals. My mother had given me the name "Miriam." In the Bible story, Miriam was the sister of Moses who watched her baby brother in the river and suggested to the Egyptian queen who found Moses that she would get a nursemaid -- her own mother. In this way, Moses, although destined by God to live in the royal Egyptian palace, was actually raised by his own Hebrew mother. I reasoned that I could be like Miriam and cunningly make sure I would always care for my own child. Few sisters desired to stay in child-care work for long, so I did not foresee a problem keeping a spot. Curiously, I never noticed at that time how I had to work my way around Family policy. The thought of leaving the Family rarely occurred to me in those early years.

Cal and I tried harder to conceive, and as nature would have it, I became pregnant the next month. The nine months of carrying a child was one of the most joyful times of my life. In my idealistic and naive state, I thought that now I would be fulfilled. Being a mother in the COG carried a certain amount of respect at that time, and extra attention was paid to both mothers' and children's needs. I was given a quart of milk a day, as well as extra fruit and vegetables. I could have time to take a nap and could go to bed early. Life was full of comforts now, and I enjoyed it to the fullest, knowing this would not last.

It was planned that I should have the baby in Troy, New York. All COG girls were encouraged to have their babies at home, and midwives were trained among our group to perform the delivery. There were no midwives among us in the Boston area, but Troy had one sister, Sheriah, who had assisted at a birth. That was good enough training for us.

We calculated the birth date, and I was sent to the Troy home about two weeks ahead of time. Cal was supposed to come down when labor started, and before leaving, I married Cal in front of a justice of the peace.

In Troy, I practiced the Lamaze breathing method, as outlined in advice we received from our child-care leaders, to help during labor. The Troy home was kept very clean, and since I had been assigned to work in the kitchen, I needed to mop the floor every night. After mopping one night on my hands and knees, I felt the labor pains start around nine o'clock. I went to bed, knowing that the first labor usually takes awhile, and some labor pains could be a false alarm. At midnight, I was sure this was the real thing, so I woke up Sheriah. She began preparing the labor room, while I called Cal and started my Lamaze exercises. They put me on the table about three in the morning. Sheriah began prepping me by stretching the skin around the opening, but the labor pains were so strong I had to push her away frequently.

"I don't think that Cal will make it," she said. "Your contractions are coming pretty fast and regular. How do they feel?"

"Hard, very hard," I said between puffing.

Another sister who was pregnant came to see my delivery. She was at my side stuffing my mouth with crushed ice in between my contractions. I chewed on the ice and savored the cool, fresh liquid quickly before returning to heavy breathing.

Cal arrived about 6 A.M. By this time, I could tell that Sheriah was worried. Car's first sight when he came in the door of the delivery room was the view of my legs wide open, a gaping, bloody birth canal, and me huffing and puffing in between contractions that were less than a minute apart. Sheriah called him outside.

"I think something is wrong," she said. "I want you to pray about it, but I am going to call for Mary. She is in New York, and she has had more experience than me with complications."

Mary arrived a few hours later and took over for flustered and exhausted Sheriah. Twelve hours had passed since I had first told Sheriah I was in labor, and she had missed a whole night's sleep. Mary continued the job of stretching me with a renewed vigor, but I was so tired, and the pain was so intense that I could not feel the stretching. After each contraction, which now came only a minute apart while I was breathing hard and heavily, I asked for crushed ice. No one told me what time it was, but I noticed the light coming in through the window, so I knew it had been a long time. I also knew that we were not supposed to scream. Childbirth, we were .told, was a natural function of the body and should not cause excess pain. If I screamed, it would be a sign of lack of faith in the Word. The Bible, I had learned, said that it is God who delivers babies, so what was I worried about?

But I could not bear the pain any longer. I took my last rhythmic breath and screamed for as loud and long as I wanted. I no longer cared what Mary or Sheriah or Cal, or anyone, would think. "The head -- it's here. Push! Push," cried Mary!

I took a breath and screamed through another push. "It's a redhead! Push again!"

Were they crazy? I didn't have any strength left to push. I could not do it.

"Push! Push!"

The undeniable urge to push came again, and I pushed while a full body plopped out covered in mucus and blood. Mary held up a baby boy for me to see, and then she cut the umbilical cord and gave him to Sheriah to wash.

I was ecstatic, but the work was not finished. Mary, who was very knowledgeable about childbirth, told me to stand up and squat so the afterbirth could come out. Then she washed me and helped me onto a clean, soft bed that had been prepared. Finally, they brought in the baby.

He was a beautiful nine-pound infant. His perfectly rounded head was covered with bright red hair. Cal had been given a dream in which the baby had red hair and he wanted to name him after the Norse god of thunder. The day he had the dream, he had read a verse in the Bible about James and John being the "sons of thunder." Although only Bible names were the rule in the Family, we named him Thor. As I adored him lying in the softness of my rounded arm and sucking firmly at my nipple, I thought that never again in my life would I be sad. The moment should have been eternal, but it was snatched away all too soon by Sheriah.

"You have to get up and get dressed," she barked. "You ripped pretty badly, and you will have to go to a doctor."

As she said the word "doctor," I shuddered. We all knew that one went to a doctor only because of lack of faith. We had read about the sister who was in labor for three days, and when she finally went to the doctor, Mo said, she developed a spiritual problem. What was my problem? Oh, who cared? My baby was fine and healthy. That was all that mattered.

Cal helped me to get dressed, and one of the brothers drove us to the nearest hospital. I sat in the emergency room for over an hour while Cal talked to the nurse.

"They won't take you," he reported when he finally came back. "They said you arc too much of a risk since you did not have the baby here in the hospital."

I felt weak and was shivering. I was continuing to lose blood, and I had no idea how big was this rip that needed to be sewn.

The brother suggested we try another hospital, which was farther away. By the time we arrived, I was holding on to both of them for support. Cal went to talk to the nurse again, but no one would believe that I had just had a baby until they came and saw me.

"Bring her in here," they said. Within an hour I had been sewn by a kind young intern who later advised us to go to an obstetrician, but I never went to one.

I went back to the Troy home and spent the rest of the night admiring my sleeping baby who lay snuggled in my arms. Early the next morning, I had a message to see Sheriah. She was the colony leader's wife in addition to being midwife.

"My husband has already talked to Cal," she said sharply . "We have prayed about this, and we believe that you two must seek the Lord for an answer."

"An answer to what?" I asked.

"Well, as to why the delivery went so badly," she retorted, looking surprised that I would not know. "I want you to pray about this and write me a report today."

I was left speechless. The absolutely most beautiful memory that a woman can have in her lifetime, that of giving birth to her firstborn, had been splattered with this acid of someone else's cruel reality. Now every time' I recalled that wonderful experience, I would remember that I had somehow failed.

Returning to Boston in a week, I was grateful to be back. The Family life in "regular" home was so disciplined, and the leaders seemed to be very harsh. After my experience in Troy, I appreciated the colony in Boston where musicians could still joke and laugh about the idiosyncrasies of life. Jeremy was always a great one for seeing humor in everything,' and he was an inspiration to me because he had given up fame and riches to follow the Lord. Although he was respected by most leaders with a kind of man-worship attitude, which placed the "great Jeremy Spencer from Fleetwood Mac" slightly above others, he still lived pretty much like the rest of us, with one memorable exception.

One day, some FBI agents showed up at our apartment looking for the English rock musician who probably had visa problems and found Jeremy in the backyard on "kitchen duty" splitting beans for dinner. Everyone acted completely calm, and the FBI seemed perturbed by our lack of anxiety. Little did they realize that we "knew" everything was in God's hands, so we had nothing to fear from man's laws and activities.

I was not aware of the details of this incident. In fact, it was only years later that my husband told me it was the FBI who had come to our home. However, my husband said that this visit from the FBI was why Jeremy and his family left our home to go to a COG colony in Europe.

Jeremy, behaving in his typical ingenuous manner toward these men who seemed to be important in the world, made me laugh, and I realized after my first day back that I had not laughed during my entire four-week stay in Troy. I decided to work harder and never complain again about being in the band home.

However, life in the Boston home had changed since I had been gone. There had been some trouble at Columbia Records involving scandals in their business, which had nothing to do with us, but for some reason, the band took all of the money that was owed them and left Columbia Records. In any case, the album did not become the big hit we expected it to be. We heard that Mo was not happy with the hard rock album that Jeremy and the band recorded. In a letter titled "Conferences, Colonies, Bands, and Buses," dated July 15, 1973, after the album Jeremy and the Children had been released, Mo wrote:

Those poor band groups have been in pretty bad shape for a long time ever since they got this big -- and spirit when the System took them over! But they disobeyed and didn't do what we told them to do .... I think these band people have got what they wanted: They wanted a band and they wanted a record -- But they failed to be a success or hit because they didn't do it God's way .... Maybe we should make such folks an associate colony, if they're not interested in following our authority and obeying only us. [253:10-11]

Since Mo did not mention the name of the band he was talking about, although we were the only ones in the group who made a record at that time, we never were sure whether he meant us. Mo was often vague in naming offenders in his specific judgments, but the result was that none of us wanted to be considered an "associate," which in COG terminology meant a second-rate disciple. We decided to split up and go to homes in Europe -- the new mission field. That would be a big change for everyone, but for me it did not matter, since I believed that the life of a revolutionary was always changing, always growing, and always moving forward. The money we had was used for plane tickets, and anything left over was given to other families who wanted to leave for Europe. Most of the band members decided to go to Italy or France. Because I had a German mother, Cal and I decided to go to Germany with our son Thor.

We planned to fly out of New York in the fall of 1973, when Thor was barely three months old. Again, I never saw any money or even documents, unless I had to sign something. Cal and the leaders took care of the paperwork, and I just followed the instructions like a good soldier. We were asked to obtain as much money and goods as we could from our relatives before leaving. I had stayed in contact with my mother through frequent letters and less frequent phone calls; such communication was being encouraged by our leaders now because Mo had recently advised disciples to write their parents and relatives. I believe it was suggested because of the persecution and investigation that had followed when irate parents and relatives went to the authorities seeking to learn the whereabouts of their children. In my case, until I lived in the band colony, I never opened a letter from my mother without a leader looking over my shoulder. If she sent any money, I was urged to give it to the leader right away, to be put to use in God's work. What good would money do for me anyway -- I could not go out and spend it. I soon learned that most disciples asked their parents for things, like clothes and pens and paper. Cal had learned to increase his few personal belongings with help from his parents, and before we had our baby, they had supplied us with all the baby clothes we needed and a beautiful handmade cradle. Since Cal's parents lived relatively close by, in upstate New York, we visited them before we left for Europe. Having an upper-middleclass income, they could afford to buy us new clothes and camping gear. They also paid for our visits to a dentist; it was my first visit since I had joined the COG. While we were at Cal's parents' house, one of my sisters, Marlene, and her husband and new baby brought my mother to see me before I left. I had not seen my mother since I had "forsaken all" in 1971. It was now 1973, but I was not nostalgic. By now my natural feelings had been buried so deep, I could think only about witnessing to them. My sister asked Jesus into her heart and told me about the difficulties of parenthood and work. I told her, "That's life in the system." Unfortunately, I showed barely any affection to the sister closest to me, less than two years younger in age, and the one who had gone to the peace march in Washington with me. She was only eighteen, and before she reached her twenty-first birthday, she died in a car accident. I never saw her after this day in New York.

Cal told me that we had been given enough money to get through the borders in Europe and three-month visas. We landed in Amsterdam and had to race for a train to Germany, arriving in Essen on a wet, cold evening. No one had come to pick us up as planned, and after hours of waiting and many phone calls, we finally arrived at the Essen colony. Essen, a large industrial city in northern Germany, is not known for its scenic beauty. It is a factory-fueled city, and in the middle of the winter, the gray from the smokestacks was lost in the gray of the skies. What I remember most about the German houses is the stark white lace curtains in every window. I thought there must have been a law in Essen that everyone must have lace curtains, but I later saw them all over Germany. They looked pretty, and for some reason the curtains made the gloomy feeling I felt, living the winter in Essen, a little more bearable.

Our new home turned out to be an old three-story schoolhouse inhabited by over a hundred disciples. Mo had written a letter about letting the nationals take over the leadership of the homes in Europe, since they knew the culture and language of the land. Therefore, power-hungry older brothers were quickly marrying national sisters, usually barely three months in the Family, so they could keep their leadership positions. That seemed to be the case in Germany anyway.

The colony leaders were Samson and Naomi, who together ruled the home with Gestapo-like authority. Naomi was a pretty German girl whose father had helped the Family when the group first arrived in Essen. Wealthy or influential friends of the Family were called "kings," and Naomi's father, a respected Christian businessman, saw our group as dedicated young Christians. He later changed his attitude about us, as most of our kings did. Samson, a suave, clean-cut-looking young man, was one of the early pioneers from America, and he savored his leadership power. Everything ran like clockwork in the large home; the disciples were kept constantly busy cleaning it, begging for food and supplies, or going out onto the streets witnessing.

The nursery was located in one of the larger classrooms on the second floor, near the girls' bathroom, and I was immediately put to work. There were already a dozen small babies in the house and a dozen more on the way. Since we were forbidden to use any form of birth control, and babies were considered God's blessing, they kept coming. Anyone who knew about child care could be sure of a twenty-four-hour job.

Naomi had never been trained properly in child care; in fact she was not trained in anything, which left her with a huge complex to overcome. Most leaders' wives had been in the Family longer than Naomi, and had received some form of training from elder sisters in areas of office work, kitchen supervision, housecleaning, or child care. However, Naomi had joined the home as a sort of "princess," her father being a king of course, and she had received the typical pampered treatment allotted those who were somehow special. That really rubbed my communistic ideals the wrong way, but as always, I knew there was a lesson for me to learn here. Maybe I needed to be more humble. Maybe I would learn to love Cal here in Essen.

Naomi suggested that Cal and I sleep in the nursery, which meant being awakened all through the night. Furthermore, she did not relieve Cal of any work or witnessing responsibilities, and I had to participate in other work duties as well, which contributed to a chronic feeling of tiredness.

The German home existed mainly from the donations it collected on the street and by "litnessing," now the most popular method of raising money in the Family. It involved "selling" our Family News and Mo letters on the streets. I had been out litnessing a few times in the United States, but since we had kept some of the money the band earned playing at clubs, I was never pressured to bring in a certain amount. Here in Germany, I learned that everyone had a quota of literature to hand out, and of donation money they were expected to bring in. The literature was translated into the language of the land, and in this way, these pieces of paper became the witness. Mo had been writing a series of letters on how to witness with his "wonder-working words" and recently he suggested that all the disciples "sell" them to people on the streets, in airports, shopping centers, or wherever else they could get people to stop for a minute, Ideally, the method included witnessing about Jesus to anyone who looked interested, but many times we were so busy trying to get money, we did not have time.

The German leadership had set quotas for literature that had to be sold by each disciple every day. The quotas were determined by the amount of time that the leaders thought a disciple could devote to this method of witnessing. For example, the lowly disciple who worked in the kitchen early morning and late evening supposedly had all day to spend on the streets litnessing, so his quota would be high, maybe a hundred letters a day. However, the leaders, who had to spend many hours reading the Word, praying, and making important decisions about colony life, would usually have a low quota, or no quota at all. Cal and I fell somewhere in the middle.

Since Cal was a musician, he thought he could use his talent in the colony band, but music was not highly valued in the German home, so Cal was given no practice time and a pretty high quota. Since I was a nursing mother, and spent many hours day and night in the nursery, my quota was lower. Still, it was never easy to make.

"What do I say?" I asked a sister as I stepped out the door on my first day carrying a pack of lit, Thor tucked snugly into a Cadillac of a baby buggy, bundled in everything I could find to keep out the cold north German winter.

"Just hand them a pamphlet and say, 'Konnen sie bitte eine spende geben?'" answered the American girl, who had been here for months. "It means, 'Can you give a donation, please?' "

"Won't they ask what this is, and why I want a donation?"

"It's better if you don't know what to say. These German businesspeople will just argue with you anyway. So just say, "Nicht verstehe," and move on if they don't reach for their pocket. Believe me, it's not worth trying to talk with them."

"What if I find someone sheepy? Do you know enough German to witness?"

"No, I never learned much more than to ask for a donation. You don't have to. If they are sheepy, they'll probably know English. All the young people here know English."

She was right in her assessment. Businessmen either gave a donation right away, or started yelling something like "Arbeite, arbeite.''' which meant "Go work!" The young people knew English very well, and they were the only ones who were interested in talking with me. I never learned more German than how to ask for a donation.

Even though it was cold and very difficult to make a quota in that tough and dreary city, I loved to go out litnessing. It meant being away from the nursery, away from the colony, and most of all, away from Naomi. I had the distinct impression that she did not like me, but perhaps everyone felt that way about her. She always had some command for me whenever she abruptly entered the nursery.

"Don't you think the babies should be patted to sleep?" she snapped one day when she found me sitting down reading the Bible while a few babies were stirring before taking their naps.

From then on, we had to pat babies to sleep, which was not a good habit to encourage when there are twelve babies and only two adult patters.

"Why don't you write verses on this big chalkboard," she questioned on another day. "Then you can memorize out loud while you are working with the babies. I am sure it will help them in the Spirit to hear the Word."

After that, we always had verses written across the huge blackboards, which had to be changed daily, of course.

Still, I felt fortunate to be working in the nursery instead of in the kitchen or office, where Naomi made many more demands on the poor workers. Cal would often come up from the kitchen in a rage over the stupid suggestions made by Naomi.

"And it's not like you can talk to her about anything," he complained. "She won't allow anyone to question her suggestions."

It was evident that Cal wanted to leave the country, but it was hard to get out. In the band colony in Boston, Cal always was allowed to keep a little spending money, maybe twenty dollars or so, but here in Germany, every mark was handed in, and if it looked like you did not make enough, you might be accused of holding some money back. The story in the Bible of Ananias and Sapphira, found in Acts, Chapter 5, was constantly held over our heads in the typical Big Brother fashion. I heard this story when I had my first "forsake all" doubts. It seems two of the early disciples did not hand in to Peter all the money they had earned from land they had sold, and they were immediately struck down dead by God as a warning to all. I really doubted that God would do that for a few bucks, but even so, where could we go if we had money to get there? To live at another home anywhere in the world, one needed clearance first, which involved a series of letters to the colony leaders and recommendations from your present colony leader. It was like getting a job. And I suspected that Naomi would not want me going anywhere since I had become her only stable nursery worker. She thought I was dedicated to the work, but actually, I just wanted to stay near my son as much as possible, and my plan worked. As a musician, Cal had no talent to offer the litnessing colony in Germany. To make matters worse, he was used to the musician's life with a less disciplined structure. The tension of hating where he was and being incapable of changing his situation weighed heavily on his mind, body, and spirit.

Our bedroom area in the nursery was situated in a loft overlooking the cribs full of babies. We had a mattress on the floor, but, being in the nursery, it was one of the warmest spots in the cold, drafty building. Interrupted often by the babies' cries, Cal never could sleep very well, and his lack of sleep, combined with the stress he was experiencing, caused him to become physically weak. One day he could not get out of bed. He had developed a terrible case of dysentery, and I began to take care of him, as well as the babies. Sometimes, I had to wash sheets that he had soiled because he could not make it to the bathroom, which was located far down the hall. Caring for Cal brought me closer to him in an emotional way, but I don't think he recognized this at the time. His single-minded intention was to get out of that colony in any way he could. Hardships are said to often bring a family closer, and the unhappiness we both felt living in Essen made me feel a sense of camaraderie with Cal. It was short-lived.

The chance for Cal to escape from his less than joyful situation came when he heard that Jeremy was in Paris starting up another band. Cal sent him a letter, and our leaders received word from Hopie, who was Mo's daughter, that Cal should be sent to Paris immediately. Although there was not room for me and our baby, Cal accepted the invitation and was gone within days. He was told that he might be staying in Paris for a short time only, but that if he stayed longer, he would do what he could to get us there quickly. I was truly happy for Cal, and I did not think much about our separation. Also, I knew that he had a better chance of getting me out of here from Paris than he did in Essen.

Weeks passed, and there seemed to be little he could do to bring his family to France. I received a few letters from Cal saying that Paris was a wonderful place, the home was totally different from any he had been in, and the band was probably going to go into the recording studio soon. I'm sure he missed us, but I think he was so excited about his new start in Paris, he did not spend much time thinking about how his wife and child would get there. We were trained to trust the Lord. Cal wrote that the home in Paris was made up mostly of musicians, singers, and their wives. They lived in a converted stable, and there was no room for children.

It seemed that Cal was incapable of arranging for me to get to Paris, for whatever the reasons, and there was little for me to do but pray. Naomi would be of no help, and without the leader's permission, I would not be accepted in any colony, let alone have the money to get there. A few months after Cal left Germany, a visiting leader came by our colony who gave me a ray of hope.

Bithia, a tall, lanky young woman, was the wife of a top leader from London. She and her husband were not only nationals, they were from high society, which appeared to have status value even in the COG. Having had an elitist upbringing, Bithia was used to doing just what she wanted, and she could not be told by any leader, let alone a domineering Naomi, what to do. Bithia had three small children, who were born before she joined the COG. She was used to buying whatever she wanted for them, and although she was trying to live communally, like others in the Family, she often wrote her parents for extra money to buy the kids something, which she did not turn over to the leaders. Since her youngest child slept in the nursery, Bithia hung around and talked with me. We recognized our kindred rebellious spirits.

"This is really a rigid colony here, isn't it?" she commented one day. She had just set her baby on the rug and lounged back in a way that suggested she had always lived a life of ease.

"What do you mean?" I responded, carefully watching that her baby would not poke my son with the pencil that he had grabbed from Bithia's open bag.

"I mean, Naomi, and her husband; they run this place like a prison. It isn't like this in England. And, boy, you should see Paris!" she said with a smile on her face.

"Were you in the Paris colony?"

"Yeah, I just came from there. It's pretty .... You know Hopie is there, and being Mo's daughter, she gets all Mo's letters before they come to us. The Paris home is practicing what we haven't even heard about yet. "

"Like what?"

Bithia studied me for a moment, and decided she could be open.

"Well, have you heard about 'sharing'?"

"In what way?"

She divulged what she knew about "sharing," a new outlook on communal sexuality, but she did not completely reveal what was going on in Paris.

Bithia often took me with her on shopping excursions in Essen, even though Naomi would insist that Bithia take a sister who could speak German.

"No, I want someone who can help me with the kids," she said, and, as always, she did want she wanted.

One day while shopping, she asked about my husband.

"So, are you and Cal breaking up?"

"No, I don't think so. He said he was trying to get me to Paris."

"He did?" she laughed. "Well, I would say he probably is too busy in Paris to worry about a wife and son."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, Paris has a lot of men away from their wives, and single girls are ready and willing to serve them."

"Are you saying that Cal shares sexually?"

"I am not saying anything. I don't know what anyone does in the bedroom. I am saying that I would not leave a husband alone in Paris very long."

"Well, what can I do about it? Naomi will never give me permission to go to Paris." Actually, I was more concerned about getting out of Germany than about what my husband might be doing.

"I'll see what I can do for you," said Bithia. "I have a direct contact with Hopie."

The next day, Bithia came excitedly into the nursery.

"I talked to Hopie last night," she exclaimed. "She's such an angel. It seems that they want to start a nursery in Paris, and they need workers, so she is going to send a letter to Naomi about you coming there."

"Oh, Bithia, you are wonderful!" I cried, giving her a hug.

"But, look, Jeshanah, you have to keep on top of this. I will be leaving in a few days, and I will do what I can from London. However, Hopie is a bit spacy, you know, and she might forget."

Bithia did leave in a few days, and she left the Family before our paths ever crossed again. Since I did not have any kind of communication with Hopie, there was little to do but pray. A couple of days later Naomi said that Hopie would be calling me on the phone that night, at eight o'clock sharp.

I waited by the phone anxiously. The call came in around nine-thirty.

"Hello. Is this Jeshanah?" piped a sweet, high voice on the other end of the line.

"Yes, this is me."

"Praise the Lord. It is wonderful to hear you, sweetie. Your husband is such a dear, and he talks of you all the time."

"Well, thank you. I hear so many wonderful things about you too."

"Well, it is only the Lord, sweetie. Anything good about us is only the Lord. Isn't He so loving?"

"Yes, praise the Lord!"

"Hallelujah! So, Bithia tells me you are great with kids. Bithia is a dear, you know, and so discerning. I trust her completely."

"I have been working with babies since Ellenville."

"Well, honey, we don't have a nursery set up here, you know. It is very primitive. The conditions are extremely crowded, and we have only one bathroom for everyone. Sometimes we have over a hundred people here, but we are trying to keep that down now."

"Oh, I could set up a nursery. That would not be a problem."

"Well, we can see about that later. But I want you to know, this is no place for a baby. You might have to sleep on the floor. And we all eat the same food. We don't have a special fridge for moms and babies here."

"Oh, that is fine. I will take care of the food. My son is strong and healthy." By now, I had been living by faith for so long, I believed the Lord would protect me from anything, especially if I was in the presence of Hopie. Mo's youngest daughter was like a role model for me. Youthful, energetic, and spontaneous, she often got in trouble with the more organizational-type leaders, but that just made her seem more saint-like in my eyes. Hopie was only a few years older than I; yet I knew she had already pioneered most of the European homes. Mo sent his singing daughter and a team of musicians into every country first, and after she made a few contacts with established nationals, setting up a base to start with, more of our disciples would stream into the country. I was proud to be part of her team.

"Well, praise the Lord, dear. It seems you have a lot of faith. Okay. I'm going to tell Naomi to send you over. Hallelujah! Does that make you happy, sweetie?"

"Oh, yes," I exclaimed, not knowing how much enthusiasm I should express to leave Essen, with Naomi standing right next to me. I decided to show my true feelings. "Hopie, I want to be there with you and the band and my husband. Bithia told me that the Spirit is really moving in Paris, and I want to be part of it and help in any way I can."

"Praise the Lord, honey, you will. Now give me Naomi and I will talk to her."

Naomi took the phone in her normal stern manner and motioned for me to leave. I walked away on a cloud and went back up to the dirty diapers, warm milk bottles, and crying babies. They were like heaven to me now.

It took about two weeks to arrange for me to leave, and to find a replacement for me in the nursery; then, carrying Thor, and all my possessions in two bags, I took the train to France. The leadership provided me with the necessary paperwork to make the journey.


Paris was another world for me. Not only did what was happening in Paris represent a turning point in COG history, but Paris was the prototype of things to come. Bithia and Hopie had been truthful about the conditions; they were primitive and physically difficult. We lived in what had been an actual stable, when horses were still used in Paris, in a part of the city called Port de Pantin. The stables had been converted quickly and shabbily to provide the basic necessities of living, such as running water and gas for cooking. There was a large all-purpose room where we ate and had our meetings and inspiration. In the back was a small kitchen, and there were a few rooms that had been hastily constructed in various corners so that some of the married couples could have privacy. Cal and I were given one of those rooms, which was large enough for a twin mattress and our suitcases on the side. The mattress covered most of the cement floor, so each morning I arranged our suitcases in such a way that Thor could crawl about without scraping his knees on the rough cement. Actually, he never crawled much; he started to walk at ten months. I have always wondered if it was due to his having had so little crawling space.

Upstairs was a communal bathroom with only a curtain hung up for privacy. Next door was the girls' dorm. The boys all slept downstairs in the main room. Leaders had two rooms built on the side of the girls' dorm. The population of the colony varied daily, as visiting leaders and disciples came and went; the permanent population was around fifty. A married couple who acted as "shepherds" for the home, and Hopie and her husband, Joab, the top leaders, lived somewhere else. Only the leaders in this colony had their wives with them, since the married musicians had left their wives back in London, or wherever they had last been. It was a miracle that they had allowed me to come.

Obviously, taking care of one's daily hygienic needs was a problem. Everyone was advised to use the bathrooms in cafes or restaurants whenever they were out litnessing. All showers were taken at the local public baths.

There was no regular schedule for eating. Breakfast usually consisted of oatmeal soaked in milk overnight, with raisins, nuts, or whatever dried fruit was available. Since this concoction, which we called muesli, was prepared the night before and put in the refrigerator, everyone ate whenever they were ready; however, the table was cleared by noon. I remember developing a tremendous liking for this cereal mixture, and although we ate muesli every morning, I never grew tired of it. Unlike in the Essen home, if people were hungry, they could ask the head cook for food. Since the head cook changed every few days, there was no one to blame if all the food ran out. However, as soon as we had a steady person in charge of the kitchen, free access to the refrigerator stopped. Almost everyone not in the band was supposed to be out on the streets selling literature or collecting donated food by noon. There was only one other mother besides myself, and we could arrange our own schedules. I had learned in Essen not to ask for anything, but to pray for it. So unless the other mother, who was only passing through, requested special privileges for us, I usually just followed along with the normal witnessers. All the band, musicians and singers, had a schedule of their own, led by Hopie and her husband, Joab, and I saw Cal only at night. Despite the harsh living conditions, I was euphoric about being in Paris. The city was a treasure to explore, and I had no leadership keeping tabs on me. After a few days, I understood that whatever one was lacking in physical necessities -- food, clothes, personal items -- could be bought from litnessing money. As long as I showed up for inspiration in the evening, I could do pretty much what I wanted. This schedule created chaos organizationally, but it was a haven for independent-minded disciples like myself. Of course, I didn't have any money with which to buy extra food, but I quickly solved that problem.

After learning how to ask for a donation in French, I began partnering with Elam, whom I had recognized as a good litnesser. Elam had been in Europe ever since Mo first allowed disciples who were not leaders to come over. He already spoke three languages, and with his dashing good looks, he concentrated his witnessing on women. I soon learned that in gay Paris, the relationship between men and women, even complete strangers, quickly takes on a romantic flavor. I watched Elam as he charmed a Parisian beauty, and within five minutes came back with ten francs. The French were typically rather snobby, unless one knew the power of charm. Luckily for me, Elam taught me this without saying a word; I picked it up intuitively, but I think living in Paris had something to do with it.
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Re: Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years As a Sacred Prostitut

Postby admin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:23 am


The first time we went out together to litness, I had Thor with me in a foldable stroller, and I carried all the changes of clothes, diapers, jars of food, cookies, and Mo letters in a big bag on my shoulder. We had a late start because I had to prepare the baby, but Elam did not mind. Everyone was given a metro ticket to start the day. Elam started passing out letters on the metro platform and asking for donations. By the time we left the metro station, he had some money.

"Let's get something to eat," he suggested. He stopped at a cheese store and bought a piece of Gruyere. Then we went into a bakery and asked for a hot baguette (a long, thin loaf of French bread).

"Here," he said, handing me the bread and a piece of cheese, "put this in the bread and let it melt. It's delicious."

I did as he said. It was one of the most memorable meals I ever had. The warm bread had melted the cheese to a soft, sensuous consistency, and the freshly baked bread held a fragrance I could never forget. We stood on the side of the busy Boulevard St. Michel, eating with gusto. It was the first time since I had come to Europe that I bought food in a store on my own. In Germany we had not been allowed to spend any of the money we made, and we had to take food from the colony, if it was provided. Elam sensed that I was enjoying his humble gift of food. There were some moments during life in the Family when communion between the right combination of people in the most simple and human situations made the harsh realities of communal life seem like a stepping-stone to an eternal connection with the universal soul. Of course, at that time, I could never describe these moments as such, but I knew they were special. This was one of them.

"Hey, did you ever have a Greek pastry?" he asked.

"No, what is it?"

"Wait, let me get some money."

Elam stopped a few people and sold a few more letters. I followed him to another store, where he bought something called a baklava.

"This is marvelous," I said, my mouth full of exotic tastes of sesame and honey.

He also bought a drink called Orangina, which was a bubbly orange juice. It became my favorite French soft drink.

Thor was about a year old then, and he had started to eat adult food cut up in small pieces. I gave him some of the pastry, which he seemed to enjoy, and he picked the sticky crust from his fingers.

By now it was night, but the streets of the Latin Quarter seemed busier than before. I was worried that we should start litnessing so we could get home with some money before inspiration. Elam smiled knowingly, and I felt so dependent on him at that moment.

"Don't worry," he said, "we don't have quotas here like they do in other colonies. This is the freest place you will ever find in the Family. Enjoy it while you can. Besides, if you don't make anything, I will give you half of mine."

Elam was right about the Paris home. Unfortunately, it did not stay like that forever, but while we had freedom, I enjoyed it immensely.

One night Joab read us a new Mo letter titled "One Wife." Joab was a big, hairy man, at least ten years older than his wife, Hopie, but although I never talked with him very much, I knew he was a gentle man despite his rough appearance. He had kept us excited by this new letter for days, dropping hints that "this was a bomb," and "the revolution will never be the same." Joab had been one of the first to join the Family, when it was still called the Revolution, and his favorite antic was to stop in mid-sentence and scream, "It's a Revolution," to which all fifty-odd of us would scream back, "For Jesus!" That night he stopped to scream about every two minutes.

"Are you ready, brothers?" he asked, his dark eyes grinning with excitement. "This letter will divide the sheep from the goats."

"One Wife" talked about everyone being married to everyone else, and not having selfish little marriage units.

God's in the business of breaking up little selfish private worldly families to make of their yielded broken pieces a larger unit -- one Family. He's in the business of destroying the relationships of many wives in order to make them One Wife -- God's Wife -- the Bride of Christ! ... In other words, partiality toward your own wife or husband or children strikes at the very foundation of communal living. [249:9,12]

Since I always thought we were all spiritually married to everyone else in the Family, I did not find the message of this letter particularly shocking. However, it turned out to be one of the significant letters of our history, starting us down the road to threesome marriages and group sex.

Other letters came out around the same time with new revelations about the freedom we were given in the Family: "Revolutionary Women," "Revolutionary Sex," "Lovelight," "Jealousy," "Women in Love." Most of this freedom centered around sex; in fact, sexual liberation seemed to be the pathway to spiritual growth, as laid out in the new letters. Women were told to dress and act sexier, to attract and keep the attention of men. Couples were told that jealousy is pride and "the selfishness of private property." A wife was reprimanded for not "sharing" her husband with another woman. With the average age of COG members between eighteen and twenty-five at that time, any new liberties in this area were welcomed. We had been under traditional moral guidelines since the Family's beginning, and these new freedoms in the area of sex were exciting and desirable. They didn't seem perverted, in fact, every new revelation about sex was supported with Bible verses or Bible stories. There is much in the Song of Solomon about lovemaking, and a few of the Old Testament patriarchs often seemed more immoral than some of our contemporary television evangelists. I would venture to say that the modern Moral Majority would not approve of King David dancing naked in the streets, or of his taking other men's wives to bed, stories that can be found in the Bible. Any new revelation for which a Bible reference could not be found was covered by Jesus' words: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now" (John 16:12). The implication was that we were now ready for what Jesus did not tell his disciples, and Mo was revealing these things to us. In addition, the sexual sharing at this time involved only those who had obtained a position of leadership. I had heard of and tried the "free love" philosophy before when I was a hippie, and it didn't seem to bring any greater community; perhaps this was only for the more spiritually advanced, such as our leaders. Although I was always curious by nature, I was not very enthusiastic about sharing sexually with just any brother. However, I was interested in the concept laid out in "Flirty Little Fishy," which explained how Maria, Mo's mistress, lured men to Jesus by using her flirtatious powers as a woman. Although it was written in January 1974, it would be a year before we tried this method of witnessing, but I was inexplicably intrigued by the metaphor of "catching fish" (men) with the bait (women) on a hook (the love of God), cast by a fisherman (Mo or other male leader). Why did this prick my interest? Why was I fascinated by a woman being used by a man to lure other men? The image was a classic pimp-prostitute model, but I did not recognize it. Even if I had, we had already learned that God can use anything the devil uses for His own glory. Mo taught us that the devil had a monopoly on sex, and we were going to bring it back into God's realm.

Strangely, although many of us had been sexually liberated before we joined, those who had come from the more religious fundamentalist backgrounds took this new license to the furthest extremes. As sex became more and more prevalent in our lifestyle, I noticed that the most insistent to follow the letters were those men and women who had been good church-raised Christians and had never gone "astray" as I had. For instance, Mo's own permanent lover, Maria, had been a very strict churchgoer before she joined the Family, and Mo was her first sexual partner. Most of the girls I knew who became lovers of leaders, and even those who went to Mo's house, were former churchy "saints." I don't know if they actually enjoyed the sexual freedom, or if they were just oriented to obedience! I followed these letters in part because I had always been rebellious to authority, and I was therefore now trying to prove I was a good disciple. And since, for some unknown reason, I seemed to be resigned to a life of sexually "giving" to men, the new concepts on sex and sharing did not bother me. In fact, it was easier to follow than trying to sell Mo letters on the street.

My husband was more intrigued by these new letters than I was. Since we did not have our own individual copies of the letters at that time, Cal tried to obtain copies to read over and over. He informed me, as if he were letting me in on a closely guarded secret, that there was quite a bit of hanky-panky going on among the leaders here in the Paris home. In particular, Hopie, Mo's own daughter, and Joab, her husband, each had started intimate relationships with single brothers and sisters. Since this was closer to home, my interest was further piqued. I realized that Beth, a young single woman who had joined the Family in Scandinavia, wasn't sleeping in the dorm. She had her own bedroom in a small area behind the leaders' office. I knew that there were quite a few married men who were living in Paris without their wives, and I began to wonder how much "one wife" principles were being followed in the area of sexual sharing here in our colony. I wondered if I would be sharing Cal with anyone soon, and I truthfully did not feel jealousy or experience any anxiety over this thought. At twenty-one years of age, I was interested in whom I might be able to share with, mostly out of curiosity. Sadly, this should have been the time of my life when I would seriously be looking for a lifelong partner, but one had already been chosen for me.

Since I rarely had the chance to become friends with a brother, I understood how sexual sharing could allow deeper relationships to develop. Our life was so busy -- everyone spent most of their time either working in the home, witnessing, or attending meetings -- that we rarely had time to nurture friendships. Sharing sexually certainly seemed like a way to promote deeper friendships as well as the essential feeling of unity with one another. I did not have a sexual desire or an emotional longing to become close to another man, and I don't remember having a physical attraction to anyone at that time either. But I would have liked someone to talk to. However, these were nothing more than fantasies, since at this point, the sharing concept was the privilege of leaders only. In fact, I learned later that only in the Paris colony, the London homes, and the big colony in Italy where the leaders congregated was sexual experimentation actually being practiced. Cal expressed conflicting hopes and worries about sharing. I think he liked the idea for himself, but he wasn't too keen on letting someone else .make love to me. However, with our busy schedules, Cal practicing all day with the band, and myself exploring Paris and raising Thor as a gypsy, we were too absorbed to worry about it for long.

My Paris days were exploding with exciting sensations of life. I was learning French. I was also becoming cultured, which was an adventure for a young, inquisitive American girl. I had little time or money for the relatively expensive museums, but the Paris streets alone are full of culture. Every day I was eager to go out into the colorful city that I was beginning to love. I took Thor to every park in the city, and his first pony ride was in the famed Jardin des Tuileries. I delighted sipping a milk with strawberry syrup, a drink I could share with Thor, while sitting on a crowded cafe patio, imagining that the lone person beside me was a starving artist waiting for his work to be discovered.

I always dashed away these fantasies, since witnessing was my primary concern. On the street, I considered myself a better witnesser than litnesser, which meant I could talk to someone about spirituality more successfully than I could sell Mo letters. Essentially, I thought of myself as some type of angel, rescuing lost souls from the devil's clutch. For instance, while I was waiting for a metro train one evening, I saw a young man pacing up and down the platform and felt an urge to talk with him. As I got closer, I saw a troubled look on his face, but the desire to speak to him became even stronger. I approached with a smile, and he seemed to back away in apprehension. After hearing my noticeably American accent, he relaxed, and eventually we sat on the bench, along with my witnessing partner, as I spent hours telling him about Jesus. We learned that because of insurmountable personal problems, he had decided to jump in front of a train and end his life, not an uncommon event in the Parisian underground. He was nervously pacing closer and closer to the edge, waiting to jump in front of the next train, when I had approached. Of course, our conversation put a stop, or at least a hold, on his immediate intentions, and he asked Jesus into his heart and came to our home for visits quite a few times afterward.

Caroline, a young, pretty French woman, was another person whom I witnessed to at a time when she needed help. With a young child and an abusive boyfriend, she had used up all the reserves of hope that she had stored up for emergencies and hard times. I met her on a corner of the Rue Montmartre and talked to her about God. She took my witnessing partner and myself to her tiny apartment, where we talked for hours. Her little girl's father was in jail, and her present boyfriend was treating her roughly and not helping her meet her financial needs. She wanted a good home for her daughter, and she wanted to know more about God and His Will for her life. Within a few days, Caroline had left her job, left her boyfriend, and with her daughter moved in with us.

This was our purpose in the world, to tell errant people what God's Will was for them. This was the type of work that drew me to the Family, and since I was still able to help people in a very tangible way, the apparent idiosyncrasies of the COG seemed superfluous.

Living in the Paris home, with the pampered musicians and our most radical leaders, I was again protected from the mundane chore of bringing in funds from selling literature. Sure, we had quotas, which were a set amount of money to bring back, or a certain number of pieces of literature that had to be sold each day; however, with brothers like Jeremy in our colony, who stood on a street corner for four hours and sold only two Mo letters, we felt comically relieved of quota stress. I did not realize it, or even think about it then, but wherever there were really big leaders, like Mo's sons or daughters, or one of his queens, there was always enough money in the home to survive. They obviously had a cash flow that the rest of us did not. Perhaps our best asset was that we had Hopie as the top leader of the Paris home.

Moses David's youngest daughter was one of the unexplainable phenomena I found in the COG. In my naive state of wonderment at all that seemed true and beautiful, Hopie was the purest embodiment of it all for me, representing selfless love in human form. Her wispy blond hair softened the angular lines of her face, and she looked like the good girl next door no matter what age she was or what problems she had. Throughout the many years I was in close contact with her, I can only remember kind words accompanied by a smile and loving look whenever I was in her presence.

As one of Mo's children, Hopie was considered "royal family." Recently, Mo had inaugurated his oldest daughter, Esther, as Queen of the Family. The whole story of the real-life inauguration came out in a letter, and more "queens" were added later. Mo's three other children, Hopie, Benjamin, and Joshua, were also considered part of ! the royal family, and therefore top leaders, along with their wives i and husbands. Since many of the royal family now had mistresses or lovers, they too were classified as some form of royalty.

Actually, the added titles did not mean much to the rest of the Family, since Mo's adult children had always been in the leadership circle. Mo's own mistress, Maria, who was the age of his daughter, was his constant companion; whereas his legal wife, and the mother of his royal children, whom we affectionately called Mother Eve, now traveled the colonies with a young consort. Instead of considering these relationships ungodly, I thought they were enlightening, although I considered the titles to be foolish. I knew that there must be a cache of money somewhere, since the royalty and the leaders traveled so much and always had what they needed, but I could not imagine that it was very much. We didn't make that much litnessing, so where could all this money be coming from? I knew that quite a few very wealthy people had joined the Family, and maybe they had given all their money to the group. I knew that Jeremy Spencer, who had been relatively wealthy at one time, had given everything he owned to the Lord's work, a fact that reassured me. Jeremy now lived in the same home that I did, and he went out on the streets just as I did. If he could live like this, with all the money he had forsaken, why should I worry about who controlled the money? All that I had given the group was an old guitar and a few vintage clothes. However, any doubts about money and who had it were canceled after meeting Hopie. I perceived her to be a spiritual princess, and I was honored to be in her presence. Hopie was the one responsible for bringing me to Paris.

By the mid-1970s, the COG were beginning to set up discos in the larger cities in Europe, wherever we had colonies and musicians. Initially called the Poor Boy Clubs, these weekend discos attracted youth and young adults by providing music and a place to dance. Since the Family had musicians, the entertainment cost us nothing, and there wasn't much financing involved. We rented a hall in a less expensive area of town, sent our litnessers out with flyers advertising the club, and charged a small admission at the door. It soon became the main event of the week, and with all the free manpower and womanpower at our disposal, our discos become regular happenings for the Parisian teenyboppers.

Cal was now the drummer for the disco band in Paris. Since some of the leaders in London told us that including go-go girls drew a bigger crowd, Hopie suggested I be a go-go girl, which meant wearing a skimpy outfit and dancing on stage. Not only did this new role come easy to me; it also meant I would be free of the normal quotas for litnessing, since I now had to practice with the band. It was a wonderful outlet for me, and it became a training ground that led to my professional dancing career. I usually brought Thor with me to practice and let another sister watch him during the disco nights.

As important as dancing became, my primary concern was the nursery. With more women having children in the Paris home, babies were becoming a problem. Fortunately, we never had a major illness or accident among the children in Paris while I lived there, and I attributed this to God's protection. France, like most of Europe, had a free health system, and if any of our members did not have the faith to heal themselves, they could always go to the doctor. I did not then understand why we qualified for this service, or France's laws concerning it, but I know that many of our mothers made use of France's medical hospitality. In addition, France had very strict vaccination laws, and to avoid legal trouble, we all had our babies, Thor included, vaccinated at the local clinics. However, the first step toward making the Paris stables into a home that could accommodate children came with the arrival of Rahab.

A tall, pretty woman who had been in the Family more years than many, Rahab had been married to Benjamin, the son and heir apparent of Moses David. Ben had recently fallen off a mountain in Switzerland while on a walk and died. Mo explained in a letter to us that his son had been too good for the world and had gone to join forces with the spiritual realm. Nasty rumor had it that he had committed suicide. Rahab was in Paris with another mate and a small baby, and since Rahab was semi-royalty, having been the wife of Mo's son, she had to be given a leadership position. Hopie put her in charge of setting up a nursery and child-care department in Paris. The problem was, Rahab had little child-care training; she seemed to have no sense of organization or scheduling, both of which were important parts of any effective child-care program. Joab recognized this lack of practicality, and he suggested I work closely with her. After a few days of meetings, I decided that Paris must be the place they sent those leaders who were too spiritual to do any earthly good.

Rahab and I set up a nursery in the small room next to the girls' dorm. It doubled as a bedroom for Cal and me, which did not make him too happy; but since he was away all day practicing, it only interfered with his sleep. The nursery consisted of single mattresses on the floor along one wall, a soft rug in the middle, and two changing tables with covered trash containers for disposable diapers. It had a softwood floor, so it was safe for babies taking their first steps. Thor was the oldest at a little over a year, and the other two babies, Rahab's and another woman's, usually slept with their mother. The children usually followed the adult schedule, with a little earlier bedtime, and single sisters took turns volunteering to read the babies scriptures as they fell asleep.

Officially, the nursery could be used twenty-four hours a day, but only visiting leaders and disciples made use of it at night. Since it was right across from the only bathroom, we brought water into the nursery to bathe the children, and used a large tub to clean baby materials and wash clothes. We could not afford the expensive Montessori equipment, which was used for the children in the bigger, well-stocked Family nurseries, so we brought various pots and pans, plastic dishes, and spoons from the kitchen, and odd-shaped cardboard boxes for the babies to play with.

Rahab spent many hours in my nursery/bedroom, revealing to me the "new" spiritual growth of the family. She spiritualized everything, and I wondered if she had always been like this or if she had learned it from her deceased husband, whom I had met in Canada and remembered as an ethereal person. Everything from the stain on the babies' bib to the recent death of the French politician Georges Pompidou had a deep spiritual significance to Rahab. Little child care was discussed. Since Rahab came from the London home, where the organizational heads and Mo were, she knew a few royal secrets.

"Do you know who Esther is sleeping with now?" she quipped, while I patted the last baby to sleep as he lay on the extra blankets we had arranged on the floor. Recently, a few mothers had come from colonies outside Paris for meetings, and our nursery was a little crowded during the day. I was worried if they planned on letting the babies stay here all night, but Rahab evidently was too spiritual to worry.

"Well, I suppose her husband, Jacob," I replied, knowing she would soon fill me in on royal gossip.

"Oh, no. Jacob is living with Enoch's first wife, Pearl. That was really a terrible thing to do to Enoch, you know. I mean, he always suspected that Pearl was more than Jacob's secretary, but until Mo came out and explained about the royal family having consorts and concubines, he really did not know, did he? So Pearl is now Jacob's second wife, and she's having a baby. And Jacob's wife, Esther, is traveling with Hosanna. From what I hear, she is pregnant again, but of course, no one is sure who the father could be."

Even for the Paris home, this was radical information that I was hearing. I tried to change the subject, knowing that, since I was not a member of the royal family, or even a mistress, I should probably not be privy to what went on in their personal relationships. I had heard that the London home was even more on the libertine cutting-edge than the home in Paris, but I was dedicated to our pioneer effort here and didn't care about London's elite or what they did. I usually had the attitude that others could do as they liked as long as it didn't interfere with me or my son. But what I did not understand was that no woman is an island -- especially not one living In a commune.

"Do you think we could request funds for a crib in here?" I asked, trying to change the topic. "The babies should really be up off the floor, and it would certainly be safer to have them in a crib, rather than on the bed."

"Okay, I'll talk to Joab about that. Well, you know, of course, that Joab made Beth pregnant. I wonder what Hopie is going to do about that. Oh well, I guess I won't be involved in their stories anymore, now that Benjamin is gone. Mother Eve is coming through here soon. She and I get along marvelously. I think I'll ask her to take me with her. "

"What about the child-care program here?" I asked.

"Oh, you'll do fine. I really don't enjoy child care. They just put me here to give me something to do, you know. Well, I hope you never get stuck with Esther. She is a tyrant to work with."

I had already worked with a tyrant in Germany, and I had no desire to be near another one. Esther, however, was our Queen, and somehow I knew that with Paris gaining the Family's attention, we would be graced with a royal visit soon.

Mo's original wife came first. Although she was Mo's first wife and I don't think they ever divorced -- she was never called a queen, just Mother Eve. She was a kind-looking lady in her fifties who traveled with a young man about twenty-five years old. Like her daughter Hopie, she always wore a smile, and always had some words of encouragement. Now that I had learned to read people a little better, she did not seem old, but forgotten. She did not keep herself as attractively attired as the sexy French women of her age. I knew from the letters that she had been raised in the church and had married Mo when he was a budding preacher. I saw pictures of her in the Family history letters in which she was playing a piano in church, and I wondered how this fundamentalist Christian lady could ever be traveling and having sex with a man so young while her husband lived with another woman. I had been socially prepared for this by hippie ideals, but she was more radical than I. How did this poor lady do it? She must really have believed that this was God's true work. She had followed Mo across America while he searched for a "ministry," and had borne him four children. When he'd finally found his calling with the youth of California, the beginnings of the Children of God, her children were all teenagers and witnessed with their father to the lost hippies. I don't think Mother Eve ever shared the limelight during those days, but she certainly made up for it now. Wherever she went, she held meetings and talked for hours. We never knew what to think of her. I had been told that Mo referred to her as the "the old church" and to Maria as "the new church" in his first circulated letter of 1969, titled "A Prophecy of God on the Old Church and the New Church." But he told us to respect her as a Mother and he even published her talks, called Mother Eve letters. At other times we were warned that Mother and her consort were not obeying the rules laid out in the letters and should be banned from fellowship. At this point in Paris she was still respected.

"Come here, honey. You look pretty today. Are you married, dear?" she said to me when we first met.

"Yes, I am married to Cal."

"Oh, he's the drummer, isn't he? Well, honey, you better keep your eyes on him. He's a handsome young man, you know. Are you happy, honey?"

I really did not think much about happiness. I felt I was doing God's Will, so I guess I should be happy. She noticed that I hesitated.

"Well, don't worry, dearie. God never takes anything away without giving you something better," she informed me in an apocalyptic tone. The realization came to me that she had borne all Mo's children and then been cast aside, and maybe she was not happy. I hid this fact from my rational thought processes, a mental action that had become ingrained.

Whenever a leader came through Paris, Hopie and Joab would throw a big party and everyone enjoyed the royal festivities. There would be music and dancing until late into the night, and being in France, wine flowed freely. Every leader in the Family wanted to come through Paris, since we were beginning to have good contacts with music and television producers. A well-known French singer and his producer had seen some of us performing on the streets and were seriously interested in promoting us as a music group. In the small French entertainment world, their influence meant success. We had already made a recording of our theme song "You Gotta Be a Baby," and we had appeared on a few TV and radio shows. Hopie had always been wonderful at making contacts and establishing a good public relations image, but paperwork and legal matters were not something she could be trusted with. Her husband Joab, a Vietnam veteran, was more of an inspirationalist than a manager, so we knew our so-called organizational geniuses, Esther and her husband Jacob, would be sent our way soon.

Esther came like the Queen of Hearts, yelling "off with their heads." I heard rumors that Mo had sent Esther to Paris to put our home in order. Whatever the reason, a pall settled over Paris after Esther arrived. She was a small lady whose physically fragile appearance gave little clue of the tremendous power she held as Queen of the Family. Having known the loving, free, and easygoing Hopie, I was not prepared for the Queen's wrath. She had been given complete authority over all practical matters in the Family, which was now centered in Europe. Esther came to our home with her last baby and a child-care helper in tow. Her older children were all taken care of in the large Italian child-care center that she had personally set up a year earlier. Her positions on how children should be taken care of were full of contradictions. Even so, Esther was in charge of setting up huge nurseries and schools where many of the children were sent. I knew from the Family testimonies that these nurseries were clean and well organized, that children were taught in Montessori-style classes from the age of two, and that our nurseries and schools were on a par with the best the system had to offer. In comparison, here in Paris we did not have a great practical setup, but at least the babies slept with their mothers at night -- they had to since we had no cribs. I remembered watching babies all night in the nursery in Ellenville, and trying to understand how a mother could be sleeping over in the married couple's rooms or in the leaders' house, and not be worried that her baby was crying somewhere far away. I didn't want Thor crying in the middle of the night only to have him be held by some passing nursery worker. As far as I could see, big, organized nurseries meant separation of mother and baby, and, consciously or subconsciously, I did not want this to happen to me. Up until now, I had kept Thor with me night and day, but Esther's appearance in Paris marked the beginning of the end for my close relationship with Thor.

Esther held a major meeting with leaders in Paris in which she ranted about the deplorable conditions in the nursery, attacking especially the lack of structured schedules; of cribs, beds, and playpens; and of Montessori equipment or even educational toys. In addition, she sent a letter to all the other Family homes, citing the Paris nursery as an example of what not to do.

I remember when she finally came into the nursery to chastise its nursery workers. "I cannot believe that you girls actually let the babies sleep on the floor here. Do you think that is a good way to take care of God's children, or any children for that matter? How in the world were you girls raised anyway?" she fumed.

There were only two of us present, myself and another young mother. Rahab had conveniently had herself transferred to another home soon after Esther's arrival. I was upset at her for leaving me alone, but many years later I learned why Rahab had been so eager to escape Esther's presence. It seems that Esther, her own sister-in-law, had taken Rahab's first baby from her and given her to another woman to raise. No complaints were ever voiced since Esther was our Queen.

"Jeshanah, I heard you were trained in Ellenville. Well, I know Ellenville had a very good nursery. Pearl herself went through there on the way to London, and she was very impressed. Surely, you know better. Why don't you have access to hot water in here? Why don't you have a refrigerator just for the children's food? And never again do I want to hear of a home anywhere in our Family where the babies sleep on the floor. Do you understand?"

She spoke to me as if I had it within my power to do something about the conditions of our nursery. Surely she must know that the humble servants did only what they were told to do. If the leader of the home told me that babies sleep on the floor, I put them to sleep on the floor. (It wasn't actually the floor; there were clean mattresses and sheets.) One of them was my own son, who'd had a handmade cradle when he was born. Of course, I did not like him to sleep on the floor, but he was a "revolutionary baby," and in the Family we did it the revolutionary way. Which meant, do what your leaders say, and don't ask questions. Maybe she did not know how the proletariat lived, having never been anything but a leader.

"I wouldn't even let my baby in your nursery. I went out immediately and bought a foldaway crib when I knew I would be traveling," she added. "What do you girls have to say for yourselves?"

I was literally biting my tongue to keep from responding. I could not tell her that we simple servants did not have money in our pocket, or in the bank, or under the bed, or anywhere else, to go out and buy a crib. I could not even buy baby clothes with money my mother sent specifically for the baby unless I got permission first.

"I am just going to have to write the world about this," she said, meaning the Family around the world. "I want everyone to know that this should not happen again." She left our wonderful Paris home to bring her baby back to the safety of the Italian child-care center, and she wrote her letter, mentioning the lack of cribs. I took comfort in thinking that anyone in the Family with half a brain would realize that mere nursery workers could not go out and buy cribs. It was like saying, "Let them eat cake!"

But there were deeper worries about why I did not like a fully equipped nursery. Esther had only brought her youngest baby with her, but she had four or five others who had been left back in Italy as she traveled around Europe. I could foresee a time when I would have to leave Thor behind in an institutionalized children's home, and my fears were realized. Within a year, Esther's trained child-care workers had come to Paris and set up nurseries and schools, and from the time he was eighteen months old, I had to leave Thor at the school located about twenty miles outside of Paris. He cried every time he had to return, and I tried to be "revolutionary" about our separation. Thor was allowed to stay with me on weekends only, and as I became more involved in the music world, many of my weekends were taken up with activity. I consoled myself that now Thor at least had a bed, although in a room with a dozen other toddlers; he had a regular schedule, unfortunately enforced by spankings and other disciplinary measures; and he had Montessori classes. But he didn't have me to hug him when he fell and cut his lip; to praise him when he used the potty; or to acknowledge his genius when he surprised the "teachers" by adding numbers before they taught him how. I wanted to be there for every new piece of life he discovered, in pain or in joy, but after Esther's visit, I was temporarily banned from child care. My plan of staying in the nursery to be with my son had failed. I now fit the archetype of the "bitter" Miriam instead of the skillful baby-watcher. Life was not offering me easy problems with easy solutions.

Hopie came by to see us after Esther left and explained that she also got a good going over.

"Don't worry, honey, God only dishes it out to those He knows can take it. You are a strong sister, and the Lord is going to use you mightily."

I was encouraged by these words from the Bible, even though I knew they were used repeatedly in any situation where a disillusioned brother or sister needed uplifting.

In the end, the cribs were never bought, since our finance brother said we could not afford them. Therefore, I was given a provisioner and a few quota-free days to go out and try to get some free baby cribs.

With Esther gone, the Paris home returned to its old joyful ways. The musicians and singers had two fairly successful records, though none of us knew where the money went. Our leaders were busy working out contracts with the system producers, and meanwhile, all the Show Group, as we were called, were told to go on litnessing and making quotas like normal disciples. That must have been another organizational decision initiated by Esther. We spent our days practicing, and then ventured out on litnessing sprees with big quotas to make.

Lately, we had begun using the method called "bus king" to make our quotas. In pairs, with one singer and one collector, we performed uninvited at outdoor cafes. Stationing ourselves in front of our unwittingly captive audience, we played a few songs on the guitar, and then the collector went around the tables with a hat to collect money and hand out Mo letters. On a good day, we could make our 100 franc quota easily in a few hours. I often brought Thor with me in a stroller, especially before the schools were set up. Of course, that was a problem when it rained, or when we got out of the home too late, which is what happened on the eventful night when we started singing inside the metro trains.

Cal and I asked Nahum, our lead guitarist, to go busking with us. He was a dark-haired, broody fellow, who played great guitar. I had brought Thor along that evening since it was a weekend and the nursery was closed. Not only did we start an hour after the good busking times, but it was raining and cold. None of us wanted to litness the old way, by going up to people and asking for a donation while forcing our Mo letters on them. We tried singing inside the metro station corridors, like the traveling hippies we saw, but few people would stop, and even fewer left a donation. Sitting on the bench while waiting for the next metro car to take us to the Champs Elysees, where we thought we might find some people in the cafes under the awnings, Cal had a bright idea.

"Why don't we sing inside the cars," he said. "The people are stuck in there and they can't get away."

"I think it's a great idea!" I said encouragingly. "I'll collect, and Cal can hold the stroller.

We all had a quota to make, so it was worth the try. We entered a car half-filled with sleepy, unsuspecting riders. Standing together at the front of the car, Nahum strummed a note, Cal held on to Thor's stroller so it would not move, and I called across the car, "Bonjour. Nous avons quelques chansons pour vous" ("Hello, we have a few songs for you") by way of introduction. After three songs, in which we all sang and Nahum held the passengers captive with his guitar, I aggressively invaded the privacy of every rider on the metro car by holding my basket under their nose and offering a piece of unsolicited literature. Asking for a donation, I smiled and gave the letters out to everyone. The whole procedure took about five metro stops. When we were finished, I said, "Merci," and we moved on to the next car.

"How did it go?" asked Cal anxiously, as we sat on the bench to wait for the next car.

I surrendered the basket to him, and he counted over 20 francs.

"Wow," said Nahum. "That only took about ten minutes. We can get our quota in an hour." Indeed, in less than an hour we had collected 176 francs. Each car seemed to get better. God was blessing us!

After our last car, we got off the train and sat on the metro station bench in a state of exhilaration.

"What are we going to do about this?" asked Nahum. He was already thinking that we should keep this a secret for ourselves. Cal was a little more magnanimous.

"I think we should tell our leaders about this and let them decide. It would be nice if the metro cars could be the exclusive territory for the band members, since we have so little time for litnessing."

All of the Paris Family homes lived by selling letters on the streets or singing at cafes, but since there were now so many of us -- over five hundred during the peak time of 1974 to 1976 -- the best litnessing and singing spots were becoming saturated. Before we discovered metro singing, the whole Paris turf had to be divided, with each home vying for the best busking areas. At one time we had three separate Show Group homes in Paris and a few regular homes, which I never visited. Since most Family members learned to sing and play basic guitar, the method of making one's quota on metro cars was certain to become popular.

"I think mothers should be included," I said. Even though I was considered part of the band, through my dancing, I knew how hard it was for mothers to make their half quotas, and I saw this as a great opportunity to ease their added burdens.

We told our house leader Micah what had happened, but word got out and within a month all the Family members in Paris were singing on the metro cars. Depending on who was the top leader in Paris at the time, different rules were made about who could go on the metros. During the "band only" rule, a lot of un-brotherly feelings arose among the regular Family members. Of course, all of this planning was made without ever consulting the metro authorities. For years we played cat and mouse with them, always on the lookout for the metro police, Many times, we would be taken to their station and told we were not allowed to sing in the cars, only in the corridors between the metro stations. All this did was waste our time. The metros were too lucrative to give up. By the time I left Paris, we were singing on the brand-new RER, which ran to the suburbs in twenty-minute stops.

We always turned in our money every night, along with the literature count, but everyone knew we only gave out literature to fill up the statistics on our reports. If we did not make our quota, we were not supposed to come home; however, this rule was usually not obeyed. Instead, privileges were taken from us. For instance, once Cal did not make his quota on time and he was told he could not go on a planned trip to Mont. St. Michel, so another couple in the band, Breeze and Abraham, went out that night to make it for him. Cal and Nahum, who often sang together on the metro, were also the only brothers to be picked up by police and taken to the police station. When the authorities found out that their visas were long overdue, they were going to be sent out of the country. However, since they were important members of the band, our producers stepped in and obtained proper visas for all of us.

I was not aware of what our producers, who were not in the Family, did or did not do for us financially; however, when we all went on the road, we usually stayed in cheap campgrounds, while our leaders and the producers stayed at fancy hotels.

The Spirit was moving in the music direction, and we landed our first big contract to produce an album. Our Show Group name was Les Enfants de Dieu, which means "The Children of God." Our first album and the singles "My Love Is Love" and "Liberty" became big hits with the French teenagers, and through contacts that our producer had, we were asked to perform at radio shows, on French television, and to join the famous Europe One tour of France as performers. In 1976 we toured Spain, Holland, Belgium, Germany, and England.

The French have a fascination with live spectacles, called the "gala," which is a cross between a Las Vegas show and a music concert. Many French performers spend the winter in Paris, performing on TV or radio or at local theaters, and then go on the road with a gala in the summer. These shows require musicians, vocalists, sound technicians, lighting technicians, and, usually, dancers. With the amount of talent and personnel available through our Family, putting together a gala was a piece of cake. Our galas were really a fancy inspiration time for us, something we had been practicing for years. Everyone in the Paris Family wanted to be involved, and when word got to Italy and England about our shows, performers were sent to Paris. Sure enough, Queen Esther soon wanted to leave her real-life castle in Italy, the home of a duke whom one of our women had married, and she returned to the Paris home to be in on the act.

When the Show Group first started, I stayed with nursery work. Many of the female singers had children, and I was needed more than ever to take care of babies. In addition, Thor was now a little over a year old, a very cute age, and I enjoyed staying with him as much as I could. We were now living in a seven-story building where we were "squatting" in the Bourse area of Paris, the equivalent of New York's Wall Street financial district. A nursery was set up on the top floor by the sisters who had been trained under Esther. The nursery overseer begged me to stay in the nursery, and I did so happily. However, when Hopie heard that they needed dancers, she sent for me. I became the only non-singer in the group, since all the other girls doubled as backup chorus and dancers.

The producer liked my dancing style and put me in the front line, next to the lead singer. When Esther arrived, she moved me to the back of the line, and put herself in my place. I did not mind, since I had never had formal dance training, and I was sure it would be noticed by the professionals we were soon to work with. They would find out what amateurs we were, Esther included.

Our little makeshift show was fine for the little radio programs and small theaters, but when the producers told us we were to go on national TV, they suggested we get a choreographer. Myoid nursery friend from Ellenville, Salome, who had been a professional dance instructor before she joined the Family, was sent from Italy.

I was overjoyed to see Salome, but she had changed quite a bit. Working in Italy for two years now under top leadership, she had lost some of her rebelliousness. She had also gained a considerable amount of weight, and although she was by far the best dancer among us, the producers usually kept her off stage. Salome was a wonderful and sensitive teacher. She knew I had no training, and so she took me aside and developed the natural talent I had for dancing. I always thought of her as my miracle worker. We learned a little jazz and a little modern dancing; we did stretching and other exercises and practiced routines for six to eight hours a day. Of course, Esther rarely showed up for practice, and I knew she would be in trouble on stage.

During our first stage rehearsal for the Guy Lux show, the most popular variety show in France -- the equivalent to our Ed Sullivan show of the 1960s -- the TV producer made Esther leave the front line and brought me from the back to take her place. It was obvious she could not dance, even the simple little two-step we did. He, of course, had no idea that she was our Queen. Ever since that day, I was always in the front line, even when the former professional dancers came to join our group. The number in the Show Group fluctuated between two dozen to thirty, including singers, musicians, dancers, technicians, managers, and leaders. Singers competed to get the spotlight, of course, but the worst fighting was between the leaders.

Esther finally maneuvered the control of the Paris Show Group out of her sister Hopie's hands. Hopie gave up the reins willingly, explaining that she was a pioneer, and she departed to start a new work in some unfamiliar Arab land. Esther was now with us constantly. She left most of her five children in Italy at the school, but she brought her baby and a personal nursery worker with her. Even with the fine nursery established by her own trained people, she did not leave her baby with regular child-care workers. Later, as we got more popular, Esther brought her oldest daughter, who was still a pre-teen, to sing in the show.

Because I was spending so much time away from Thor in those early days, I finally tried to leave the Show Group, saying that I needed to help out in the nursery. That resulted in my being given nursery duty in addition to show practices. I was usually relieved of making my quota on practice days, during the week; however, I had to make it during any weekend we stayed home, and that meant bringing Thor with me. My little boy learned busking before he was two years old.

The fun and glamour of being involved in TV, live shows, and recording were somewhat diminished by the constant surveillance of the Family leadership. One was never quite certain how to act, since we lived like "normal" COG, but we had to behave like some special stars in public. I still never had my own money with which to buy clothes. All our clothes were either bought by Esther or made by a seamstress with Salome, who designed the costumes. We were supposed to look nice, but I was never sure what nice meant when one had no money to buy anything. One day, as we were loading the bus to go on tour, Esther was standing in the front of the bus giving her usual speech on how to act. Being the last one on the bus, I had to pass her. We were going to be in southern France for almost a month, and I did not want to be away from my two-year-old for so long; however, staying home was out of the question. I was told that there were other mothers on this tour, Queen Esther included, and if they could make the sacrifice of being away from their children, so could I.

Esther looked at my legs as I walked down the aisle. "Jeshanah, do you have nylons on?" she asked in front of the whole group waiting on the bus.

"No," I said, thinking it was an honest question requiring a simple answer.

"I can't believe that you are not wearing anything on your legs. Proper girls do not go around with bare legs, Jeshanah." She embarked on a ten-minute speech about how she never again wanted to see any girl in the Show Group representing God's Family with nothing on their legs. If she ever saw it again, that person would be out of the Show Group fast.

I wanted to stand up and leave the bus. I did not care if I was in or out of the Show Group. In fact, at that moment, I would rather have been back in my bed waiting for my sleeping son to wake up. But most of all, I wanted to raise my hand and pose what seemed to me an obvious question: "Excuse me, but where do we get money to buy nylons?" It was the second time that Esther had publicly degraded me for not having something that I had no money to buy. The last pair of nylons that I had been given had half a dozen runs in them now, and no one had replaced them. Besides, I never read any rule that said we had to wear nylons. I didn't say anything. Why start a scene? I suspected that Esther was waging her own futile battle over my being in the front row, but she knew as well as I did that the producers would not let me go now. My face was on all the publicity photos that they had paid for, so I had to be in the show. Still, she liked to pretend she had the power to kick someone out.

Compared with Esther's verbal abuse, the letters that Mo was writing at that time seemed innocuous. While the Paris Show Group was becoming famous in France as a clean-cut singing group comparable to the Sound of Music family, Mo had taken a harem of buxom beauties to an island near Spain to pioneer a new method of witnessing. He shared with the Family his enlightening experiences through a series of letters that emerged slowly and eased us into the radical new way of witnessing. I was so engrossed in dancing and show business at that time, I hardly realized what had happened. The whole sexual revolution was going on around me while I spent half my days stretching and learning new steps, and the other half trying to catch up with my son's growth. I knew that there was something called "flirty fishing" being developed in London and Spain, but I was too busy to wonder about it. When we received the letters called "Flirty Little Fishy," "Look of Love," and "Lovelight," I read them with detached interest, but basically they seemed to be a rewording of what I had been doing all the time, winning people with love -- "God's Love," of course. It was only later, when we got the King Arthur series of letters, that it dawned on me where Mo was really going with this new method.

These dark, shameful letters would soon become the guiding light of my life as I surrendered my body to God's supposedly highest calling. But before that would happen, I needed to feel that I had at least a voice inside my soul. For the next three years, I struggled to identify my voice in this strange life I had chosen, and although all I found was a feeble cry from a deep abyss somewhere within, it was enough to keep me connected to myself. I would not explore the depths to locate the origins of this cry for many years. For the time being, I concentrated on the surface crevices. There were cracks in my own psyche and I thought I would block them up -- fill them in with something, never imagining that they would merely get larger and deeper. One crevice was caused by my loveless relationship with Cal, which was emotionally stressful for both of us, and it was beginning to affect all facets of my life. Perhaps if I had looked within myself at that time, listened to the feeble voice that was hardly distinguishable then, I could have found creative self-solutions, but instead, I looked to the Family for direction.
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Re: Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years As a Sacred Prostitut

Postby admin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:24 am

5. "God's Whores"

"I want to get out of the Show Group!" I lamented to Micah, the leader who had been sent to Paris to help Esther manage our entourage. Micah had been through many emotional and spiritual trials since joining the Family. We knew from gossip that his wife, whom he had married when marriages were still a personal choice, had been taken from him and given to a man Mo was recruiting into the family. Micah's two young children were now with his ex-wife and her new husband, and he rarely saw them since they lived in London.

Micah was, nevertheless, always cheerful as he struggled to portray a positive spirit. A well-built, handsome young man of Mexican heritage, he was also a talented musician and songwriter, and perfect to help organize the unruly Show Group. He had established an empathetic relationship with those who came to him for counsel, and because of his reputation as a balanced and just leader, I felt safe approaching him with my problems.

Micah had recently married a former nightclub singer who joined the Family and was now in the Show Group. Talitha was something of a prima donna, until Salome encouraged her to share her large and luxurious array of lingerie among all the showgirls. Since I was her size, I acquired the nicest intimate apparel I ever owned. I actually felt that this was a blessing. I had never been allowed to go out and buy my own lingerie, and the underwear we obtained free from stores and factories, or which our leaders bought for us, was very plain.

When I told Micah that I wanted out of the Show Group and my marriage, he replied that this was out of his realm of decision-making power, so he sent me to a higher authority, to Esther's first husband, Jacob, who, of course, was Mo's son-in-law. Jacob had a large office in the building we occupied in the Bourse area of Paris, although he did not actually live with us. He had been one of the first disciples, so he was in his thirties, about ten years older than I, as evidenced by his thinning hair and protruding belly. He looked rather like a worldly businessman, but we knew better. Jacob was third-in-command in the Family at that time.

"I don't have a good relationship with Cal," I explained to him. "We argue constantly, and I know it's mostly my fault but I just can't get the victory over this. Also, I don't like being away from my son so much. With all these practices, shows, and witnessing on top of it, I have hardly any time with him." Most of the leaders had changed mates at least once, I thought to myself, so why couldn't I get away from mine?

Jacob listened intently.

"Why are you so sad?" he asked, in a way that made me think that I was special. I burst into tears. I was really sad, and perhaps I did not have a good reason to be.

"I don't know," I mumbled.

"Well ... what would make you happy?"

I thought for a moment. "I think I would like to be full-time with the children," I murmured hesitantly, knowing his wife had taken me out of child care.

Child care had grown to a respectable position in Paris. The top floor of our Bourse building had been converted into a nursery for younger babies, but by now Thor was away all week at the school in the country. Since I had a show on weekends, I hardly ever saw him, usually only when I visited the school during the week. I longed to be with my son, and working in child care would give me that opportunity.

"I can understand that you want to spend more time with your son," he said. "I think that is reasonable."

It amazed me to hear him say this. Not even his wife, Esther, spent as much time visiting her children as I did. Since I was usually reprimanded for being overly concerned about Thor, I thought Jacob would rebuke me for being so selfish and un sacrificial, but instead he seemed to sympathize with my plight. It was the first time I heard a leader entertain such a bourgeois sentiment as wanting to spend more time with your child. He was a father. Maybe he could understand the confusing emotions that I was experiencing. I was touched by this man's empathy for my dilemma.

"What if you had some sort of project involved with the children's department? It doesn't mean that you can stop participating in the Show Group, but you will be exempt from witnessing. Would you like that?" he posed.

I thought it was a start. Any project with children would give me more time to see Thor. "Yes, that sounds wonderful."

"Okay, come and see Pearl tomorrow. I'll let her know what you need to do."

Pearl, who was Jacob's second "wife," was in charge of all child care in Paris, which had grown to huge proportions. She came from a wealthy background, and when she joined the Family, her parents became very involved in anti-Children of God activity. The story I had heard about her parents was that they visited a few of our homes in the States with police escorts, but since Pearl was no longer a minor, they were required to go through a long legal process to get her out of the Family against her will. With their money and influence, they were about to cause serious trouble for us in America. I had been told that New York State had started investigating us due to her parents' insistence. Therefore, Pearl was whisked off to a secret home in Europe, leaving her new husband, Enoch, in our band home in Boston. We later found out that she had become Jacob's second wife while in London. With her model's face and well-kept hair and skin, her beauty was awesome, and I respected the high status she had achieved in the Family, now being mated to Jacob. She was cold and distant, as I had expected, and from her clothes and makeup, I knew that she enjoyed privileges that the rest of us did not.

When I went to see her the next day, she said, "Jacob informed me that I should give you a project with the children. Do you know what he had in mind?"

I had no idea what Jacob intended, so I told her what I had been mulling over. "Well, I think it would be useful for mothers to have their own Montessori kits. This way they can teach their own children at home when the kids are with them on the weekends. I also think it would be very useful for the mothers out on the mission field, whose children do not come to the school."

Pearl looked at me with a hint of surprise and hostility. "Okay. Can you give me a plan tomorrow of what you want to do, and I will look it over. If Jacob said you were to have a project in child care, I guess you will have to!" she sighed.

I stayed up all night writing a proposal for my project, and I handed it in the next day. It included a design for a wooden container, about the size of a shoebox, that could hold learning tools for preschool-age children, such as counting rods, sandpaper letters and numbers, adding cubes, dressing frames, and anything else useful in learning how to dress oneself.

Jacob called me to his office a few days later. "Did Pearl give you something you like?" he asked.

"Well, I gave her a plan, and she said she would get back to me." "She will, soon. Meanwhile, I'd like to talk to you about the other problem you are having. Why don't we go out for dinner and discuss this ?"

I had never considered going "out to dinner" to discuss a problem with a leader. Normally if we discussed something over dinner, it would be in the Family dining room or in the leader's private office. This was different. Jacob took me to a good French restaurant, and told me to order anything I liked. Since I had never been to a restaurant of this category, I hardly knew what the menu meant, so he ordered for me with a self-satisfied sigh.

We talked over dinner about why I was unhappy in my marriage. One evening out led to another, and finally he invited me to his apartment. I did not realize that leaders had their own apartments. I thought they all lived in another colony somewhere. By this time, I was beginning to suspect that Jacob had designs of his own on me; however, we had been taught that "God works in mysterious ways" and not to question how God does something -- just accept it. I had prayed for a change in my life, and perhaps this was how God would answer my prayer. Therefore, I followed Jacob's lead, and instead of questioning why he was doing this, I reverted to my natural tendency to consider everything a grand adventure. He showed me into a small one-bedroom apartment with a cozy sitting room.

"Would you like a drink?" he asked.

"I'm not sure. Whatever you suggest."

He gave me a vodka with orange juice. It was the first time I had had hard liquor since joining the Family. His tongue loosened with each drink. He was having his own problems with his wives, he told me. Esther, it was obvious, was no longer interested in him and had a young consort traveling with her. He thought Pearl had married him for his position. He seemed to be saying that he needed a sweet, tender woman who cared about him. I could not imagine why he thought of me as a sweet, tender woman. After all, I was trying to leave my husband.

"You know, Mo has every leader in this Family with new mates. It will probably be going around the whole Family soon, but he wants us to experiment with this 'one wife' idea first. It is not as easy as you think to be in the royal family."

I could not believe he was talking so disrespectfully about our leader and prophet. It was scary and exciting. The alcohol had begun to numb my revolutionary training.

"Jeshanah, I am going to take care of you," he said, kissing my neck awkwardly. "You won't have to worry about anything in the Family again."

Though I was secretly repulsed and felt no desire for Jacob whatsoever, I let him lead me to the bedroom and have sex. The whole time, all I could think of was getting home to my safe colony. I felt ashamed and humiliated, but I could not understand why.

True to his word, Jacob gave me a big project in child care. Pearl was not happy about allotting one of the Show Group dancers such a responsibility, but she did what she was told. The project kept me busy and content. I felt useful now that I was doing something productive. With the carpenter, I designed and put together a dozen Montessori kits for mothers in the field. Typical of communist bureaucracy, by the time news of the kits got out, the leaders' wives wanted them. They ended up in the leaders' hands, and few actually were given out to the mothers who really needed them.

To clean up my other problem, Jacob met with Cal and talked to him about having a trial separation from me. I don't know what was discussed or how Cal initially reacted, but Cal began to stay in the main Show Group home located in Colombes, in Northern Paris, and I moved to the home in Sceaux, a southern suburb of Paris. Thor began spending one weekend with me, and one with Cal.

Jacob took me to his apartment regularly, usually without the dinner prelude. I also began drinking periodically, and hoped that no one would find out about me and Jacob. But of course, everyone knew, even Cal. He bore the hurt and shame heroically, just as Micah and others had done before him. They all obeyed leadership like good revolutionaries. I am sure that Cal, like myself, took his grievances to the Lord. He could have complained, but against a leader as high as Jacob, it was almost useless. He could have left the group too, but I know he would never had left our son. I was ashamed of myself, but I could not see clearly what to do. I had started this, and I would have to see it through to its conclusion. Perhaps it was better to stumble ahead blindly than stop on a dark and unfamiliar road.

After the Montessori project was finished, I started writing. I had an idea to put some of the easy Mo letters in children's story form. I thought that the children needed Family stories written especially for kids, so I made up a series of fantasy animal stories based on morals in the Mo letters. I did not talk about this project with anyone, but it kept me distracted from the more stressful areas of my life, such as my deepening relationship with Jacob.

I also stayed awake at night reviewing my life and actions in my mind. Cal was definitely not a bad husband. He had always been kind and considerate, never having that demanding attitude that some of our men had with their wives. Since we were taught that husbands rule over their wives in the privacy of their "home" (we never had our own home, so this meant bedroom to me), he could have been a lot more demanding. However, he wasn't, and therefore I had felt more compelled to give him the sex he wanted. I didn't want to discuss this with him, since it would hurt his feelings, and yet I was hurting him a lot more now.

One day, Jacob picked me up at Sceaux in his car. Only leaders were allowed private use of our cars, and the one Jacob drove was a modest vehicle I had seen before in our Family.

"I'm going to Switzerland for a few days," he said. "When I come back, I'd like you to start living with me."

I had just finished my first children's story, and I was feeling good about myself. I was as free and independent as one could be in the Family. I was able to be involved in child care, and I saw a future for myself there. I had open access to visiting my son at school during the week, thanks to Jacob's influence. I was feeling a newfound joie de vivre. Why would I want to live with Jacob? He already had two wives. Why did he need me? And why would I again allow myself to be joined to a man I did not love?

"I don't want to do that," I blurted out, without considering what his reaction would be.

For a moment, he looked totally devastated. Then he quickly regained his composure.

"Jeshanah, you don't have much choice. You either live with me, or you go back to Cal. I'll be gone for about a week, but when I come back, I want your answer."

He dropped me off near the house without giving me time to think about what he said.

"Do you have ten francs?" I asked.

He smiled and reached in his pocket, perversely happy to grant my request.

I got out of the car and went to a local grocery store to buy a bottle of wine. There was a small park near our home, and since we never witnessed anywhere near where we lived, I could safely get drunk without worrying that I would be seen by someone who knew me. I had never done this before, but being with Jacob often, I had developed a taste for alcohol. Sitting on a park bench, I opened the bottle and started to drink away every thought that I had stored in my mind's closet. I took out each feeling of guilt and every self-condemning accusation, and shook it like the rumpled piece of old cloth it represented. I had left my husband, a major sin in anyone's religion. I had allowed myself to become involved in an adulterous relationship, one of the worst sins of all. Then I remembered that Jesus had prevented the crowd from stoning an adulterous woman. I wondered if that woman had also been obeying leadership and Jesus knew that? In my stupor, I cast my thoughts aside with the privilege enjoyed by those drunken individuals who claim that "nothing matters anymore."

Since I drank a whole bottle of wine on an empty stomach, I felt sick when I stood up to walk home. Entering our house while everyone was around the dinner table, I passed by quickly, went to the bathroom, and threw up.

After cleaning out my conscience closet, I spent the rest of the week singing on the metro and visiting Thor. When Jacob returned, he called a meeting at the Colombes home. He had news from Esther concerning the Show Group; she had been in a hospital in Switzerland, deathly sick with a disease supposedly brought on by working too hard. We were all to have a prayer and fast for her, and try to get back into God's Word more. Every time a big leader got sick, especially if it was Mo himself, part of the cause usually lay with the followers.

Jacob was waiting at the door when I came in the Colombes house. "Well, what's your decision?" he asked.

"I can't do it," I answered, and followed the others into the meeting room without looking him in the eye. I had hidden that dilemma in the back room of my mind along with other unanswerable questions, and my response had come straight from my heart. Later, Cal and I were called into Jacob's temporary office upstairs.

Cal knew what had been going on, but like a loyal revolutionary, he was trying to take it as a test from the Lord.

"Cal, I want to apologize," said Jacob, without glancing at me. "Like you, I thought I could help Jeshanah, but it seems she does not want my help either. I want you to take her back. She's yours. Take good care of her. She needs a strong husband."

Cal looked tentatively my way, trying to catch my eye. Jacob had offered no clue that he was going to give me back so heartlessly. I had no choice in a matter that concerned with whom to share my life. I stared at the floor while anger, shame, and confusion played havoc with my heart. I could say nothing. Only large, uncontrollable sobs were piling up at the back of my throat, like a huge tidal wave waiting to flood everything in its path.

"Well, I will leave you two here to talk this over. Cal, you can move to Sceaux, or Jeshanah can move here, whatever you like." Jacob got up and left the room.

"Why don't you love me?" asked Cal, clearing his throat. "I think I loved you."

"I don't know," I cried, letting the torments of my soul transform into tears. "I don't think I know what love is. I hate myself, and I hate what I have become."

I returned to the meeting with a tear-stained face. It seemed to me that everyone must know what had happened because no one asked me anything. Maybe they were just better revolutionaries than I was.

Cal moved to Sceaux. We set up a room in the basement of the home, and I spent many hours downstairs by myself, reading letters or writing new stories. Cal tried to get to know me, but I was a closed person. I had too many questions and not enough answers, and nobody I talked to could supply any. Cal had secretly brought a copy of Watership Down, by Richard Adams, into our room, and I read it like a soul starving for food. When I asked him where he got it, he replied, "I got contacts, baby," imitating James Cagney. I would have liked to read more, but since we were really not allowed to have books in the home, Cal did not bring any more.

A few weeks after Cal and I were reunited, our home leader asked to speak with us. From the look on his face, I could see that I was in trouble.

"Jeshanah, we just got this new letter from Mo, and you're mentioned in it."

By the tone of his voice, I knew that this was not an honor.

"Do you want me to leave?" asked Cal.

"No, I think Jeshanah is going to need all the help she can get for this one. I am going to leave this letter here for you to read. When you are finished, please bring it to me, Cal. I need to read it with the whole colony."

We sat down, heavy in silent apprehension. Cal read the new Mo letter called "The Uneager Beaver" out loud. It was about the children's story I had written. In the story a beaver, looking for a name, learns a lesson on moderation. It seems that the editors at our publication unit had liked it so much, they gave it to their best artists to illustrate. They created a large coloring book for children, and then sent it to Mo as a surprise, for his approval. Mo sent them back this letter, which he also sent to the worldwide Family.

The editors were berated for spending so much of God's time and money on such a worthless story. They were fired from their special positions and sent to some obscure country to be missionaries, supposedly to learn discernment. Then Mo publicly humiliated me in the letter. He said I was foolish, a bad writer, and probably plagiarized the whole story. He said that I must not be in the Word to write such nonsense; that I probably had been overly influenced by ungodly fairy tales as a child; that my story had nothing to do with his Mo letters, and I did not understand the spiritual message of his revelations. He suggested that the whole Show Group get back into the Word and spend less time practicing and singing and dancing.

I could tell it was hard for Cal to read this to me. He knew that I had written a pretty good story, so good that our editors made it into a bigger production than anything they had ever done with a Mo letter. That had been their mistake. They offended Mo by taking someone else's writing and making a larger, more detailed publication. Ironically, they thought that Mo would be impressed; after all, the story was supposed to be based on one of his letters. However, he was furious, and the whole worldwide Family now knew never to put anybody's writings above Mo's.

I accepted this humiliation as punishment for all the horrible things I knew I had done, which Mo did not mention. Mo was a figure as distant and all-encompassing as God himself; and just as I have never seen God, I had never seen Mo. In the beginning I thought I might like to meet him sometime, but as he wrote more and more letters rebuking the faults of everyone near him, of anyone who got in his way, I thought that I'd just as soon be out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Of course, since he was a God figure in our group, any big mistakes would surely reach his attention and be dealt with severely. Just like God does! It's all there in the Bible. I sent a long letter of apology to Mo, and he personally replied, writing "Amen" in red ink at the parts of my letter he evidently agreed with and then adding a few words at the end. These were the parts of the letter to which he wrote "Amen":

I am very sorry for writing that story about the beaver and I ask that you and the Lord forgive me .... I was really influenced throughout my childhood by silly storybooks and fairy tales, however to the best of my knowledge, I don't remember reading a story exactly like that one .... I really pray for any children who have read this story, that God will set their hearts and minds right .... I know it will only be by the fresh water of His Words that these impurities can be washed away .... Along with your forgiveness, I would like to sincerely ask you to say a little prayer for me.

Mo wrote in red ink on my letter:

We do and have prayed for you a lot ... We really love you and are so sorry we had to spank you -- but it was needed. Now let me love you up real good -- Be my Valentine -- And His Seven hugs and kisses and lovins and one great BIG ONE -- all the way -- Dad 31/1/76

Time healed the wound, but I was always known as the "Uneager Beaver" girl after that letter. Mo, whom some of us had started calling Dad, now sent personal messages to me through leaders. If he had not heard about me before, he had now.

However, my notoriety was quickly forgotten. The group of letters known as the King Arthur series were finally being distributed to the Family, and members were struggling to find out what this would mean in their situations.

The King Arthur letters explained a new method of proselytizing, called "flirty fishing," or "FFing" for short. In this series of letters Mo laid out in detail the new doctrines that changed the Family permanently from a radical Jesus People commune into a sacred sex cult. Mo's secretary, traveling companion, and lover, Maria, became our first woman to tryout this new method of recruiting men to the Lord. I never met her, but from the eyewitness accounts of those who knew her, she was not a pretty woman. Mo himself had written that Maria used to be a quiet, homely girl, with buckteeth and a very bad complexion. He beautified her by putting her on a strict diet, telling her what to wear and how to do her hair, and giving her such love that her face literally beamed. She smiled a lot and was no longer shy. With Maria in tow, Mo went to dance classes and ballroom dancing establishments in order to recruit new members into the Family. They finally met Arthur, a rather hapless man. Maria took him to bed on Mo's advice, and she hooked him on God's Love.

How this actually transpired was detailed in the King Arthur letters. Mo sent Maria in to seduce Arthur through sex. The metaphor of fishing was loosely taken from Jesus' instructions in the Bible to become "fishers of men." Arthur was hooked. Since Mo was not about to give up his beloved Maria for the man, he instead took Micah's wife, the beautiful Beth, and introduced her to Arthur. Beth, after giving Arthur all the sex he wanted, convinced him to join the Family. Arthur became known as a "king," since he was "fished in" personally by Mo.

Of course, mixing sex with religion was sure to cause a scandal, but it wasn't until Mo took a flock of sexy young women to Tenerife, an island off the coast of Africa, to practice and preach this method openly, that the press began taking a serious interest. Eventually, popular magazines, such as the German Stern, sent reporters and photographers to the small island, and Mo's first public photo appeared depicting him as an old religious guru with a bevy of women. Dressed in a long black robe with Maria beside him, and surrounded by women with low necklines, Mo quickly became the scandal of the town. Besieged by reporters and police, he had to flee the island, but not before he laid a curse on the place. Uncannily, the island had a major airplane crash the day he left it for good.

Although I was wondering how "flirty fishing" would affect me, I soon became distracted because my real sister Ruby, eight years younger than I and now almost sixteen years old, was coming to spend the summer with me. I had stayed in contact with my mother over the years through letters and convinced her that Cal and I were not the crazy, perverted people that she had read about in the anti-COG articles put out by the churches. My mother believed, or wanted to believe, that we behaved like good Christians. So when Ruby asked if she could visit me in Paris for the summer, my mother agreed.

Ruby had always been a bit rebellious and -- somewhat like me -- did not seem to fit into any groups at school. She also had a beautiful voice, and we soon had her singing on the metro with us. She enjoyed communal life, and after a month she told me she wanted to join the Family. I discussed it with my home leaders, and for some reason, they thought she should go to the colony we had set up in Holland for new disciples. I think they wanted to get her away from her big sister's sheltering arms.

While in Amsterdam, Ruby was taught about our new recruiting practices, although she was too new in the Family to do it herself. Meanwhile, all the letters about "flirty fishing" had been leaked to the American press, and the churches were notifying everybody about our evil ways. My mother immediately called my house and wanted Ruby home. Since my sister was not there, it was all I could do to calm my mother down, ensuring her that Ruby would be sent back soon. My mother was terribly angry, and we had Ruby returned to Paris and then sent her back home. I think my little sister had not really understood all that was going on in the Family, but she knew enough, and it was to haunt her the rest of her life. Like myself, it would take her years to figure out concepts like right and wrong, and she returned to America promising to join the Family when she was of legal age. She never did. Needless to say, this episode made my relations with my relatives rather strained for years to come.

My robotic obedience to the Family was soon tested to its limit. At our house in Paris we heard that wealthy Italians were coming to see our Show Group. Since these were men from the upper class who held positions of influence in their country, we were told to please them in any way they wanted, with whomever they wanted. One of them, Flavio, was called a "king," indicating that he must have given us some financial support already. Actually, the title was now being used loosely, and many "kings" were just men who never joined our group but whom we wanted to keep as friends.

After Flavio saw one of our shows in the Paris area, a manager named Ben came to see me in the dressing room.

"Flavio wants you to come to the club with us," he informed me.

"Have you asked Cal?"

"We said we would have you home tonight, and Magdalene would spend the night with Flavio."

By now I had become accustomed to just obeying orders, having learned that I was going to have to obey or leave the Family in the end. Also, we all knew that fishing was under way in Paris, and although I was never asked to participate, I was sure it was just a matter of time. I had decided to belong to a social experiment called the Family, and this was just another variable; no one was twisting my arm. And, how would we ever start a new society if everyone balked at each new experience? Sure, it seemed strange and deviant, but that is what living over the edge is about. Accepting Family ideology by faith, I gave my body much as a soldier is taught to give his or her life. And truthfully, Flavio was not so bad. He was a sweet, charming Italian, and I had enjoyed talking to him at the party where we first met. I was not in love with my husband, and Cal knew this was coming as much as I did, although we had never talked about it.

I went to the club, and Flavio danced only with me. It was clear Flavio wanted to spend the night with me. Ben was sent to Sceaux to get Cal's permission and I was told by another brother that my husband had agreed.

I was taken to the Colombes home in a car, and Flavio and I went to the blue room, which had already been prepared. It was my first experience of being offered as live bait to a man. During my experiences with Jacob, I had already crossed the threshold of moral ambiguity, and the detailed instructions in the Mo letters provided me with both a rationalization and a script to follow in sexual encounters. Through letters like "Revolutionary Sex" and "Revolutionary Lovemaking," we had learned anything we did not already know about making love. In the Arthur letters, and later in the letters written from Tenerife, Mo went into detail about how to massage the man, how to give oral sex, and other sexual practices that were pleasurable for a man. However, he steered us away from anal sex or sadomasochism, and I was never afraid of a man becoming violent, although perhaps I should have been. I knew that being a witness to God was my main job, and although the letters told mostly of men who had already been witnessed to, Mo assured us that God's Spirit would shine through us as we made love. I wasn't so sure of that, but I was not afraid or shy that first night.

In fact, I found it easy to perform my role without any emotional attachment or moral dilemma. As always, I did not use any type of birth control, but I was not even worried about becoming pregnant. Flavio evidently had been witnessed to by our women and seemed to know the salvation message; I think he was already saved. That was a relief, because I was too tired to preach to him. Although he was extremely handsome, and had a better physique than any man I had ever seen, I don't remember feeling any pleasure. I did not experience pleasure in sex for many, many years. First it was a duty, then a tool, and finally a burden. But I was very good at faking pleasure. I often had myself convinced.

The next morning I woke up and wondered what I was to do now. Flavio was still sleeping, so I got out of bed before he would wake and ask for me. I knew I had to get back to Cal. He had probably been pacing the floor all night, waiting for me to come back and make love to assure him that I was still his. I dressed quietly and went downstairs, looking for someone to give me some metro tickets. Ben was in the kitchen drinking coffee. He had been up all night.

"Did you hear the commotion last night?" he asked.

"No, what was it?"

"Cal came over and was trying to get upstairs to pull you out of bed. We had to stop him forcibly."

"But he said it was okay."

"who told you that?"

"Micah did."

"Well, we never got his okay, but we never really needed his okay anyway. Mo has given us ultimate authority," Ben explained to me. "Cal threatened to break down the door. I calmed him down and took him home. Come on, I'll drive you back."

All the way home, Ben advised me to be kind and tender and give Cal anything he wanted, as if it was my fault that this had happened. I had been up half the night already, and now I envisioned another few hours making up to Cal. The physical drain of the last twenty-four hours left me little energy to think about emotional issues. I did what I was told to do. I was being a good soldier of God. But in the back of my mind, I thought, "Hey, it's me that gave my body -- I did the work! What's all this fuss about Cal?" Well the truth was, my body belonged first to God, then to the Family, then to my husband. Actually, the God and husband part is in the Bible; we added the Family.

Ben came in with me and promised that from now on Cal could be in charge of my extramarital affairs, especially those with men outside the Family. True to their word, Cal took over as my only fisherman, and he gave me away sparingly at first. Cal became known as the most possessive and jealous husband in the Show Group. Other husbands did not have the problems that Cal did with sharing their wives, as far as I could tell. I say this because most wives began to go out regularly on club excursions with male leaders, but I only went if Cal was along.

Of course, Cal had calmed down considerably by the time I got there in the morning. First, he wanted to make love passionately. Then he wanted me to tell him the whole story, minute by minute, of what had happened. Where did Flavio touch me? Where did I touch him? How many times? And more and more. I made up some parts just because I couldn't remember every detail, even though it was only the night before. It just wasn't that important to me. Now ask me about the details of how my son laughs when I tickle him, or how he climbs up the slide ladder by himself, his strong, solid legs pegging each step like a carpenter's hammer, and that I can tell you. But sex? It was all the same to me.

The word desire was never mentioned, If it had been, I could ha honestly told Cal that I did not desire Flavio any more than I desire him. If someone had asked me about desire, I would have realized much earlier that desire was not part of my sexual relationships, a I could have begun to try to understand why it wasn't. As a teenager I had wanted sexual experience primarily because sex was part of t hippie scene; as a wife it was part of the marriage institution; in t Family it was part of witnessing and loving others. I don't think ever desired sex or felt aroused. I wanted to be touched and hugged to be cared for -- but I had learned that intimate touch invariably meant sex also. If Cal would have asked me these questions, perhaps we could have understood the problem, but Cal wanted to know if still loved him. I couldn't believe he was asking me. Didn't he r member that I tried to leave him? Didn't he remember that Jacob forced me to go back with him as a wife? I knew that he wanted t be loved romantically and deeply as a lifetime soul mate, but he knew the rules of the Family as well as I: We loved everybody unconditionally. I answered him in Family jargon.

"Yes, I love you!" I said, hoping he would let me rest for a while before I had to go out witnessing. He took me in his arms, and I felt so very uncomfortable. Who was I anyway? And who was this ma holding me in his arms? In many ways, being with a stranger for on night of witnessing was better than feeling like a stranger with you husband every night. I often consoled myself with the thought that the majority of women do not know their husbands, and those ideal stories of romance and love I had heard before I married were jus system lies, like almost everything else we had been told. Years later when well-meaning people asked me, "How could you hurt your husband like that?" I would sigh and run through my head all the complex questions I needed answered before I could attempt to answer that one. For instance: Define husband for me. Define love. Define hurt. What is the meaning? And so on. Instead, I answered with simple "We were both in the Family, and it's too long to explain."

After my initiation with Flavio, I had a battle within myself love using sexual favors to lure converts to the Family. Whether I was rationalizing or not, I finally concluded that I was helping the men loved through a sexual channel. I personally believed in Jesus' salvation message, and even if these men had not asked Jesus into their heart, at least they had heard the message. One day they would remember. However, I gradually came to realize that the leaders seemed to be using sex as a tool to gain powerful friends and contacts, and my husband felt that fishing was a last resort for pulling someone into the fellowship of God's family, The purpose of FFing was in continual flux.
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Re: Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years As a Sacred Prostitut

Postby admin » Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:25 am


6. Flirty Fishing in the Kingdom

Sexual favors to strangers was fast becoming our main method of witnessing about the Lord. Even our work on stage took second place to going to the top Parisian nightclubs and picking up men who seemed interested in what we were offering. The showgirls had an easy time meeting the rich and famous, so they began to go out regularly with a fisherman by their side. After Cal grew tired of sitting around in clubs until three in the morning, he started to let me go with a regular fishing team, as long as he could make the final decisions on which men I slept with. If the male leader who was with us thought a man was potentially worthy of our special gift of love, I was instructed to make a date with him, letting him know I would bring my husband along. That sounds odd to Americans, of course, but the French were not as surprised as I had thought they would be. Most of the men I went to bed with while I was married to Cal met my husband first. I truly believe that our motives were generally to be able to reach a stratum of men we would never meet elsewhere. We still went singing to make money, and as far as I know, we did not receive any money from the men we met at the clubs during the early years. Other than the witnessing motivation, we wanted to meet men who were influential and who could help us politically or in our music business.

Sometimes I would pass the fish on to other women in my group, since I had no desire to give sex to all the men drawn to me. That left me free to go on the dance floor. Dancing had become my only personal mode of self-expression, and moving to music had a mantra-like effect on me. I liked dancing alone, and the crowded disco floor offered an absurd opportunity to pretend I was by myself for a few minutes. It was a chance to be free from the Family's constant control and the pressure of perpetual witnessing. To this day, I use dancing as an escape mechanism.

Since we usually went out with groups of four or five girls, and only one fisherman, the brothers had to take turns in the role. Being a fisherman was not necessarily a desirable task. Basically, a fisherman looked like a pimp, coming into a club with a group of girls who immediately went around picking up guys. Cal soon realized that I came to the club because I enjoyed dancing, not to have sex with other men, and I think that made it easier on him. Since we went out at night, while Thor was away at school or in bed watched by a sister, it did not take time away from my son. It was the perfect job for a Family mother. During the day, the women who had gone out the night before were excused from work duties, witnessing, or practice, so I used this free time to take the metro out to the school to see Thor.

During the early days of using sex as a lure, the primary goal was to convince the man to ask Jesus into his heart. That could often be accomplished without going to bed with him, and I knew it well. I only went to bed with those men who were hardened to what we thought of as the Spirit of God working through us. Most of them were ready to accept Jesus after a few close dances. I often talked incessantly about Jesus and God's Love while dancing, especially in the early days. If the man asked for a second dance, he knew what we were preaching, so that would establish him as potentially interested in the Lord. During subsequent dances, I talked less and let the man touch me more, and the French men are not shy about touching; neither are French women embarrassed to be touched. I could not help but notice that our French sisters took a lot more men to bed than I did. During the course of an evening, I invited the men to come and sit at our table so I could introduce them to my friends. Sometimes, another woman would take over, especially if a man spoke only French. I preferred letting a French sister witness to him then. On other occasions, the male in our group would engage in a discussion with the man, and often they became friends in one evening. In fact, Cal started a few lasting friendships with men I had lured to our table. Hopefully, by the end of the evening, the man had heard the full salvation message, which is basically the same simple message taught by the evangelical Christian faith: Believe that you are a sinner, that Jesus died for your sins, and that he can give you salvation so you can again be united with God and go to heaven. The proof of one's belief was to verbally ask Jesus into your heart, which was merely an outward sign that you believed. I would venture to say that more than half of the thousands of men we talked to in clubs asked Jesus into their hearts. Of course, whether they really meant anything by repeating this simple prayer is open to debate; however, we were always optimistic.

If a man argued or showed absolute disinterest in this message, we usually let him go at that point and looked for another dance partner. However, many of these same men would come back to our table on a later occasion and would not argue this time; we assumed that they had thought it over and liked our message now.

Actually, giving sex to a man often depended on who the fisherman was at the time. Some of the higher leaders, who had been with Mo at clubs, gave the girls to the men very easily, even if the men already had asked Jesus into their hearts. "Give him a treat," they chuckled. "He deserves it." Or they would say the man needed more proof of God's Love, so go to bed with him. The middle leaders, who were afraid of doing something wrong, were more careful about giving the women away. Mo was very interested in the statistical information on this new method, and the Family began keeping detailed FFing statistics, such as number of fish witnessed to, fish loved, and fish saved. Women had regular reports to fill out at the end of each night, and they were collected, tabulated, and sent in to our headquarters in Switzerland, called World Service. Every month, these report forms were filled out by our home leader and sent along with our tithe (10 percent of all the home's income) and our monetary gifts for the worldwide work. Soon "FF" testimonies from around the world started to appear in the Family News magazine. Some told of the "trials and victories" experienced by husbands and wives as they obeyed Mo and started sharing sexually; others told of hardened middle-aged businessmen, a group we had never reached before, who asked Jesus into their hearts and changed their lives, seeming proof that this method worked. Just as any new theory is supported by tangible examples, the idea of recruiting through sex was supported by these testimonies, and within a few years the method had become part of our everyday existence.

Around the time our sexual recruitment practices were evolving in the mid-1970s, Mo wrote a series of letters in which he condemned Israel's position against the Arab nations. Still indignant over the disappointing reception he had received on his visit to Israel in 1971, he told us in a letter titled "Breakdown" that it had been his heart's desire to establish a Christian work there. He wrote us that "after two thousand years of knowledge of Jesus Christ, [Israel] is still in rebellion! If any nation on earth is without excuse -- the Jews are .... 'Ye do always reject the Holy Ghost'" (66:16). I have since come to believe that this was merely a temper tantrum on Mo's part due to his not being recognized by his formerly beloved Jews, since he claimed to be "a Christian Jew." Irritated by his unsuccessful attempt to establish a colony in Israel, Mo later became enthralled by Muammar Q9.ddafi, the terrorist leader of Libya. It was a bizarre relationship, which was not understood by many of the group's members with whom I spoke.

Most of us in the Family were far too busy to keep up with Mo's confusing line of political reasoning. We were the peasants, the proletariat too busy supporting the kingdom to spend time in reading, research, and reflection on the Mo letters such as "Israel Invaded," published in 1973. In it, Mo predicted that Israel would be invaded and conquered by the Soviet Union, Libya, and other Arab nations, and he prophesied (supposedly God speaks in King James language): "Therefore I will rise up and destroy thee who calleth thyself Israel, o ye children of the devil, and I will return my land unto them whom I have given it, that they may be forgiven from thee, 0 ye enemies of the Almighty and ye crucifiers of the Son of God and ye rejecters of thy King!" ("Israel Invaded" 281:63). Mo insisted the message about Israel be distributed on every street in the world, which instantly caused trouble for our homes, especially in Paris. We tried to soften the anti-Semitic overtones by placing the Israel letters beside testimonies about our missionary work in India in the literature we gave out to the public. However, once Mo started on a radical topic, he stayed with it until the message became redundant. Now his new pro-Arab position had reached the most powerful leaders of the Muslim world.

Qaddafi invited Mo and his family to be his guests in Libya. In June of 1975 Mo published a new letter documenting the visit. That signaled the end for Les Enfants de Dieu Show Group. All of our producers were Jewish, and they immediately withdrew support.

Around this time, most of the Show Group felt it was time to go on to other things anyway. We had been singing, dancing, recording, and performing for four years. We had produced a number of records and albums, performed in every major city in France, and appeared on nationwide TV and radio almost weekly. France had heard our message, and besides, due to the Israel letters, our days in France were numbered, so we all began looking for new mission fields. Even though many successful projects we started were destroyed by Mo's letters, we had become accustomed to deceiving ourselves that this meant it was not God's Will to continue there.

During our quiet periods, the leaders sent out teams from the Show Group to sell leftover albums. We went two by two on what we called "faith trips," which meant we were given no money, just fifty to a hundred records to sell. We usually did quite well, since records brought in more funds than Mo letters.

On one of those trips, I went with my dance partner, Jonathan, to the south of France. Jon was one of my all-time favorite brothers. Admitting to homosexual tendencies before he joined the Family, he was now married and had children. Jon was more fun to be with than anyone else I knew. He was clever, witty, not too serious, and best of all, always ready for adventure. A tall, slim, and very refined looking young man, Jon somehow managed to be dressed in the latest fashion and always looked impeccable, from his well-trimmed hair to manicured hands and pressed shirts. He usually added a long, flowing scarf to his attire for additional flair.

As my dance partner, Jon could invent new steps during a major performance to cover any mistakes I made. Jon always told me to just keep on going, no matter what happens.

When Jon and I took a faith trip to the south of France to sell one hundred records, we planned to go to nightclubs along the Cote d' Azur. If we sold all our records, Jon wanted to go to Rome. I didn't really think we would sell them all. Besides, Thor was at the school during the week and I wanted to be home before the weekend. However, we sold all our records on our first day on the Cote d'Azur.

Jon and I were standing on a deserted St. Tropez road late at night when he reminded me that I had promised to go to Rome if we sold out. I agreed we'd go if we got a ride there that night. Rome was more than three hundred miles away.

We waited for more than ten minutes for the first vehicle to appear. Finally, a red car came around the corner slowly and stopped for us.

"Dove vai?" asked the man behind the wheel of a flashy sports car.

"Roma," answered Jon.

"Si, si. I too."

The Italian spoke little English, but Jon knew enough Italian to find out that the driver was indeed going straight to Rome, and he would take us.

I squeezed into the tiny backseat and fell asleep before we were out of France. When I woke up, we were in Rome. We stayed at the Family colony, where Jon's old friend lived, for three days, and sold Italian literature on the streets to make money for us to take a train back to Paris, in time for me to see Thor on the weekend.

Back in Paris, I couldn't stop dreaming about the beauty of the Cote d'Azur Although I never visited art museums, I fell in love with the living, natural art of the sea, the coast, and the lovely Provencal scenery. In a few weeks, I convinced Cal to take another faith trip down there with me.

This time, the trip was not as easy. Cal and I had trouble acquiring a ride out of Paris, and at nightfall we found ourselves in a tiny village near Grenoble with no place to sleep. A large, muscular man with a thick German accent offered to let us stay at his farmhouse in the country.

Cal and I suspected nothing as we rode with the man into an even more deserted area. He pulled up next to a dilapidated and isolated building that looked more like a shed than a farmhouse.

"Let me make you something to eat," he insisted as he led us into a room cluttered with newspapers and articles of clothes. We felt obligated to comply, but both Cal and I were becoming uncertain of the man's motives, especially when he started drinking large quantities of alcohol. We began to suspect he was a madman, and we were no less fearful when he finally told us the story of who he was.

"See all these newspapers around?" he said. "Well, they talk about the terrorist acts that have been happening in Germany. Have you read about it?"

We didn't follow the news very much and responded in the negative.

"Read them," he insisted again. Sure enough, there were articles on terrorism marked in the newspaper.

"That's me they're talking about," he said with pride, fingering the large butcher knife he had been using to cut the sausage and bread.

I felt a shudder go through my body, and Cal began to talk nervously.

"Well, maybe we'll just go now instead of waiting until the morning."

The burly man was plastered by now, and he demanded that we spend the night. Since there was little room to sleep in the small, disordered shed, we convinced him to let us stay in the car.

Neither Cal nor I slept at all, and as soon as the sun came out, we crept silently away and headed toward the road. There were no cars in sight. About half an hour later, we saw a vehicle coming. It stopped and we saw that it was the German. He seemed sober now, and without mentioning the terrorist story, he drove us to the superhighway, where we caught a ride to St. Tropez. Both of us were more contemplative after this incident, and for some unknown reason, Cal began to offer me to other men with greater ease. Perhaps he felt, as I did, that God had just saved us from a potentially dangerous situation.

As soon as we arrived in the quaint and celebrated village of St. Tropez, we met a lawyer from America who was vacationing there to visit the nudist camps. A soft-spoken, sedately good-looking man of about forty, he talked with us all day, and he let us stay in his rented bungalow that night. After bunking down on the carpet with our sleeping bags, Cal told me to go to the man's bed and give him oral sex. Probably, Cal was worried about me getting pregnant with another man's baby, since it had been over three years that I had not become pregnant with him, even though we made love frequently. The lawyer was, needless to say, surprised, but he did not protest. He had already heard about God's Love that day, and I told him that this was just another part of it. Afterward, I went back to make love with Cal, who of course needed emotional comfort. I don't think I ever got emotional comfort from anyone. I had grown accustomed to living without it.

Right after our return from the south, the Family decided to start a home near Monte Carlo, so Cal began making preparations for our move. It entailed getting approvals from our leaders, who were encouraging us to leave Paris. Taking Thor with us, we met the leaders of the Nice home, and they said we could stay with them while we looked for a home to open in nearby Monte Carlo.

Both Cal and I were excited by the move south. Les Enfants de Dieu was definitely finished, and the whole Show Group was splitting up. Most of the people we had lived and worked with for the last four years we would never see again, but that was part of the revolutionary life.

The new home we arrived at in Nice was very small. In an apartment with two bedrooms and one bathroom, there lived a Swedish couple with their baby and a single French sister named Mara. Cal and I had thought that our marriage problems would diminish in a new environment, but instead, working so closely together every day, they intensified. The Swedish couple seemed to be having troubles of their own, and they never became involved with ours; however, Mara confided in me a few weeks after our arrival that the Lord had shown her in a dream she would marry my husband, Cal. It was not such an unusual statement, since threesome marriages were allowed in the Family.

While in Nice, we continued to support ourselves by selling Mo letters on the streets, but in the evening, Mara and I went to the clubs while Cal stayed home with Thor, who was now three years old. We always had our drinks paid for by the men we met, and sometimes I met a man to whom I would witness further. This meant that I would introduce the man to Cal, and if he said yes, I would spend the night with him, usually at his hotel room, since most of these men were tourists. Whenever I had to spend a night away from home, Mara shared sexually with Cal. Eventually, I talked with Cal about a threesome.

"Mara already told me that she believes she will marry you, Cal. Since she is spending so much time with you, maybe we should include her in our marriage." Threesomes were becoming one of the better options in marriage relationships, and in many of the homes where FFing was practiced, they were common. In our cult, and in many other cults as I found out later, threesome marriages (they were usually two women and one man, but not always) turned out to be a workable solution, perhaps because it supplied more help with women's work and children and more regular sex for the husband.

"I don't know," said Cal. "That's a big responsibility for me."

I knew Cal well enough to understand that he had something else on his mind.

"Don't you like her?" I asked. Mara was a cute, petite Frenchwoman, who was four years younger than I, and many people said we looked like sisters. We both had long blond hair and blue eyes, wore the same size clothes, although I was taller, and we both loved to dance.

"Yes, I do like her very much."

"Well, is it the sex?"

"No, of course, it is different than it IS with you. But it's still fine. "

"Don't you believe in threesomes?"

"Well, I have been thinking about it too, of course. It would make a lot of sense, especially if we move to Monte Carlo. But ... I'm concerned about you."

"Oh, I don't mind. Not at all. Don't worry about me. I like Mara very much."

I could see Cal's face flush as I said this.

"So you don't mind sharing me with someone permanently? You know, I am serious about marriage. And if! marry her, it will be for good. "

"Oh, I understand. I don't care. I mean, yes, I know you are concerned and will take good care of her."

"I want to take care of you too."

"Don't worry about me. I don't need extra attention. I won't be jealous at all."

"That's what I mean, Jeshanah. I think you don't care at all. Is this a way for you to get further away from me emotionally?"

It was like he had thrown cold water on my face. It woke me up. I had been so excited about the prospect of Cal having another wife, I had not stopped to ponder why I liked the idea so much. I assumed it was because I was a true revolutionary, but in that moment of truth, I knew that I would be relieved to have someone share the burden of being a mate to Cal. I could never tell him that, however. It would hurt him too much. There were other threesome arrangements in the Family, and the testimonies in our Family mag were full of praise for this new idea. I bought into it, thinking it was a logical alternative for loveless marriages. Unfortunately, Cal seemed to love me in a non-revolutionary way, so I tried to reassure him.

"Cal, we will always be connected because of Thor."

"You won't try to leave me if I marry her?"

"You know you can't really marry her. That would be illegal."

I laughed, but Cal was still very serious.

"All right, I will talk to the leaders about it."

Mara, of course, said she already knew this would happen. With her on our team, we had enough help to start a new home, so we started living like a separate "home" even while in Nice. Two of us went out witnessing and making money while one stayed home with Thor. We began praying for a small home in Monte Carlo.

During our first excursions to Monte Carlo, Mara and I had met Jean, a native Monegasque who was close to fifty. Both Mara and I were in our early twenties. Jean seemed to like me, but he enjoyed Mara's company more. As I listened to the two of them converse in French, I became acutely aware of my lack of education and culture. Although I had been to college, and Mara had not even finished high school, she knew so much more about literature, history, music, and art than I did. Jean and she discussed topics I could not even enter into. I felt that I would have to educate myself. But how could I do that? We were not supposed to read anything but Mo letters. And after my previous experience as the Uneager Beaver, I surely should not be reading books. Instead, I began to pay more attention to every piece of culture and knowledge I could glean from the people I met. Not only did this increase my own knowledge; it also made me seem more interested in the other person, which was a wonderful asset to my role as a witness.

Our prayers for a home in Monte Carlo were soon answered. Mara knew a young man who owned a basement apartment in Monte Carlo. It was not in very good condition, but he said that if we fixed it up, we could stay there rent-free. We accepted immediately and moved into the exclusive Monaco principality with little more than our suitcases.

Thor was three years old now, and I spent a few hours each day teaching him to read and learn math. Sometimes I took him panhandling and distributing literature with us, but usually he stayed home with Cal. We all enjoyed the wonderful Monaco parks and beaches daily. Everything was within walking distance, which was extremely convenient since we never owned a car. Since Mara had already given herself to a Monegasque taxi driver, we obtained free taxi rides whenever we needed to travel a distance.

Among our first "fish" were an Italian businessman, an American lawyer, and the son of a famous actress. All of them were given sexual love in order to reach them with God's message. None of these early fish ever gave us money, although they often took us out to eat as a family or bought us gifts, such as a bed for Thor, shoes, or groceries. Many of the women in the Family were spending a considerable amount of time with their fish, and so we felt it was a sign of the Lord's blessing when we were given these "gifts."

Since there were only three adults among us, we decided that as long as any two of us agreed, we should go to bed with the man. We were careful to keep clean, and since Mo now told us to go to the doctor to be checked for sexually transmitted diseases, whenever someone had any type of health concern, we took care of it immediately. However, due to prayer or luck, we never got anything serious.

My first experience with the jet-set elite took me by complete surprise. In a club, I had met an interesting American who took my phone number. The next evening, I received a call from him.

"Hello, is this Jeshanah?" asked a voice I remembered from the previous night.

"Yes," I answered.

"Well, you remember me, Tony?"

"Yes, it is nice to hear you again."

"I thought you might like to go to a party tonight. A friend of mine is having a delightful party in Cannes. I could send you a chauffeur and car in one hour."

"Yes, I would like that very much," I said, not knowing if Cal would agree or not. "How should I dress?"

"Wear the best outfit you have. This is a chic affair."

We arranged a time and I gave him my address. Then I went to talk to Cal.

"You should have asked if Mara could come," he reprimanded. "You know I don't like you to go alone on the first date." It was an established rule of the Family. Ever since our first days in the group, we were told to always go out two by two, which was the way Jesus sent his disciples to witness. Also, "since the devil walked around as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8), we were told to stay together for spiritual safety and to remind each other about our spiritual mission. Actually, I was never completely alone with anyone outside the Family until I started this new type of ministering with my body. I had my excuses ready.

"Well, Mara met him last night. I thought that would count as a first date."

I did not know why I forgot to ask about Mara. Perhaps I did not want to take her along. Mara made me feel inferior in some way, and she usually pointed out mistakes I made later when we discussed the evening together. Also, I was beginning to enjoy the extra personal freedom I had recently acquired with our move to Monaco.

"What will you wear?" asked Mara, who knew she had better taste in clothes than I did.

"I thought I would wear the dress that Jeanie gave me," I answered. Jeanie was a famous singer in France who had been a friend of ours in Paris. She often gave us her "old" performing clothes, which the leaders usually took. However, a long silk dress with a deep slit up the front was given to me since I was tall and thin enough to wear it. I felt very self-conscious in the sexy dress, and I never wore it out to the clubs. Mara thought it was too gaudy and made a face.

"Well, if it was good enough for her as a singer on stage, I'm sure it will do fine," I said. "There is nothing else anyway."

The real problem would be a coat. We settled on a beige raincoat, the newest thing I owned but still vintage. We had group prayer before I left, but I was a little apprehensive. Both Cal and Mara clearly disapproved of me going alone. We did not even know where I was going in Cannes. For the first time I began to worry about safety, but I tried not to show it. After all, it was my idea to go alone.

I bathed, as we always did before a date. My waist-length hair hung straight down my back as usual, but the recent shampoo had added body. I wore a little makeup now: some lipstick, eye shadow, and mascara, and I sprayed on some cologne. The black going -- out shoes I always wore matched the dress, but they looked frayed. I wore no jewelry at all except a necklace with a gold heart and a circle inside, a symbol often drawn by Mo on his personal letters of love to us. It had been given to me by a kindhearted female leader in Paris. The only other piece of jewelry I owned was another Family symbol, which we called David's Harp. It had been specially made for me by Cal. I looked in the mirror before leaving and saw how tatty the raincoat looked, so I took it off and held it over my arm.

The chauffeur who picked me up did not speak to me the whole way to Cannes, about a one-hour ride on the lower cornice road. when he pulled onto a small road leading through the woods, I felt uneasy and tried to glean information from him on my whereabouts.

"whose house is this we are going to?" I asked.

"You will find out," he retorted curtly.

I wondered if I was being kidnapped. Perhaps the driver was part of a pornography ring. I really did not know this Tony guy well, and now that I thought about it, he seemed a little sinister.

After we traveled down a tree-lined private driveway for a few minutes, a huge white mansion appeared in front of us. The driver pulled up to the well-lit veranda accented by impressive Roman columns, and another man, a valet I guessed, opened the car door for me.

Following the sound of other people, I walked into a split-level room which opened to a patio with a pool. There were about five sets of couches and sofas around the plush-carpeted room, and a long oak table set with hors d'oeuvres. Outside, on the upper level, I saw a pool and patio. I looked around for Tony. There were mostly black and Arab-looking men there, as well as young, extremely beautiful women. Everyone was dressed so much more elegantly than I, and their sparkling jewelry reminded me that I had not worn so much as earrings.

"Jeshanah, come over here," called a man who appeared to be Tony. I had only met him the night before in a dark club, and now I noticed his gray hair and age-lined tan face.

I walked self-consciously to the couch he was sitting on.

"Jeshanah, I would like you to meet my wife," he said, as he introduced me to her and a few other people sitting there. This was interesting. I had never met a fish's wife before, but I soon found out that Tony was not a fish.

Tony continued to talk with his group, and I sat down wondering what I was doing here. There was a woman with a Barbie doll face sitting next to me, and I was relieved to hear she was American. She was a model, she later told me, but due to her short stature, she usually modeled only face, hands, and feet.

"You would be surprised how many requests there are for feet," she said. "But I really would like more face shots. If! don't get more work in Paris, I might have to come down here permanently. What do you do?"

"I used to be a dancer," I said, which was my normal explanation for living in France. I was surprised she did not ask me what I was doing now.

A waiter came by and offered us drinks. I declined, but she took another and gave him her empty glass.

I noticed that she kept looking at a large black man standing with another blond woman.

"That is the one I want," she said. "He is the special guest, I heard." She smiled at him coyly.

Even my introduction to wealth and luxury in Paris had not prepared me for this. The house was fancier than the famed Hotel George V in Paris, which I had been in a few times. The opulence reminded me of a scene from La Dolce Vita, but more modern. For the first time, I realized how far removed I was from real life. Not only was I "not of the world," as Jesus had told us to be in the Bible, but I felt more alienated from the world now than ever. It was sometime in the late seventies, and for seven years I had been living a life of almost total social isolation, in contact with those on the outside only through witnessing. I was glad that Mara had not come. It was the first time I was alone among so many outside people, and had she been present, I never would have felt this utter alienation. I never would have forced myself to think seriously about what I was doing there. whenever I was with another sister, I felt I had to "fill in the gaps" and make sure that God's Will was being accomplished. By myself, I did not feel this pressure to perform for my Family, and since I hardly cared what these people thought of me spiritually, I had no role to fulfill.

At first, I could not quite understand what was happening. Tony was here with his wife, so it seemed to be a real party. But here was this model flirting with what seemed to be an African elite. All the men wore lots of jewelry, huge rings with diamonds and gold chain necklaces. All the women looked like models. Their faces were impeccably made up, their clothes seemed to come straight from the fashion magazines, and each one had a stunning hairstyle. I felt very inadequate, and compared with them, I looked like a little girl who had tried on her mother's clothes. Tony interrupted my thoughts.

"Jeshanah, you are not as animated as you were last night. Here, let me introduce you to Amir."

He led me to the table and I talked with an Arab man from Kuwait. I did not even know where Kuwait was on the map. Luckily, dinner was being served, and I was relieved from having to wonder what to do next, since everyone was eating at a formal setting. I tried to gain some information from Amir, but he was obviously not interested in me. He was busy eyeing a gorgeous redheaded woman who seemed to be over six feet tall. My physical attributes paled in comparison to what these women offered.

In addition, I did not get any sense that these men were interested in a Godly message. As I sat at the table, eating food I couldn't even identify, I searched my mind for a memory, a connection, any information that I had stored away in the back rooms of my head before I had joined the Family that would explain what was happening here. How should I act? What was expected of me? I remembered a sociology class in which we learned that all human interaction is socially defined. We play roles we are taught to play; however, sometimes we can also choose roles. Where did that theory lead? I wished I had learned more. I felt so much like Alice in Wonderland sitting at the Queen's table with a bunch of strange characters. My thoughts were interrupted by the person next to me, a short, balding, fleshy man who asked if I was coming downstairs to dance.

He led me downstairs where there was a club-size discotheque, complete with a deejay. I sat down on a chair on a raised platform on one side of the room, and the man joined a group by the bar. One by one, different women stood up and danced in front of all the seated men. I looked around for the American model I had met, but she was not there. I noticed that the African man she had pointed out was missing also.

Someone called that I should get up and dance. Even though dancing came easily for me, and I knew I could dance better than these women who were wiggling their bodies oddly without following the music, I felt that my dancing would not be appreciated by these men unless I danced like Salome before King Herod. I wasn't ready for that yet. Instead, I remained sitting in my chair. I had been tempted to enter their world, and I understood now that these women were very expensive prostitutes, euphemistically known as high-class call girls. This was not what Mo was talking about in the letters. I could choose not to play this role. Feeling very unsettled, I decided to just sit this evening out and hope no one bothered me until the chauffeur took me home, if he was still around.

While I was pondering my eventual departure, a middle-aged, short and stocky Middle Eastern man came and sat down beside me. He had a wonderful, warm smile that spread across his small, round face like a moonbeam. Somehow, I felt I could trust him.

"What is the matter?" he asked. "You look worried."

"Yes, well, I am not sure what I am doing here."

"These are my friends. Do not worry. They will not harm you."

"You see, I have never been to a party like this. I am usually with some of my own friends."

"Yes, well, maybe someday I will meet your friends also. Now relax. No one will harm you." He patted my knee and got up to go.
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