I Lied to my Own Mother
This was the encounter I had one Sunday morning with my mother.
“Don’t tell me this group thinks they’re like the early Church!? The early Church, Brian, suffered severe persecution from the beginning. About the only persecution this group suffers is when someone won’t sell them a mansion."
“Even your Alma Mater the University of Pennsylvania was able to buy that seminary on 42nd street for a prayer because the people didn’t want the Moonies to get it. Where do these people come up with sixty million dollars cash, anyway? I’ll tell you where! From the slave labor of their members, that’s where!”
“Mom. I haven’t given them any money.”
That was a lie.
There was to be a massive gathering in the mountains of Colorado soon where “Lightbearers” from all over would come together and usher in the “New Age.”
To attend, I had to be at least a Keeper of the Flame and send it what the Masters had said was a tenth of a tithe, or $100. So I had given them money to become a Keeper of the Flame and to receive the monthly “Pearls of Wisdom” as well as making weekly “love offerings” at services.
In addition, I had given them $20 to $30 a week to purchase various books, tapes, and magazines that further explained the teachings. Later, I was to discover that the $100 for the Colorado jamboree was only a registration fee. When I arrived, I discovered I had to pay out another $400 to camp out there the week.
At a nearby national park, the camping fee was $4 a night.
"So now they have you going to their cult services on Sunday’s and missing Mass. As if their Thursday night lectures aren’t enough. When are you going to wake up and realize that these people are a cult, Brian? Even from what little you’ve told me I can see that much.”
My mother had become suspicious when I began to decree in the morning before work and at night before I went to bed. I hadn’t told her too much about the teachings real content because as Bob had revealed to me we tend to be mesmerized by our families.
That was the term they used for it: “family mesmerism.”
It was a condition that resulted from old behavior patterns and emotional attachments to one’s family that prevented the assimilation of the “teachings.” In other words, when you really began to “know” the teachings you acquired enough self-mastery to reveal only that which you knew someone could absorb--including your family.
If they began to give you “opposition” you simply didn’t tell them anything. It was that simple.
Well, a mother knows her son and my mother knew me and she knew that she didn’t like what I was getting involved with.
“Look, Mom, they’re not Moonies. That’s the first thing I checked out. Don’t you think I have enough sense to know the difference between a legitimate church and a cult? Don’t
forget that the early Christians were considered a cult by the Romans where they were being persecuted, too.”
It shocks me now that I was able to tell such a bold faced lie to my own mother. Then I explained it as a way of preventing a screaming match with someone who was obviously
not very enlightened about the incoming “New Age” and therefore not worth arguing with.
So I lied to my own mother.
“And besides don’t you give your church money every Sunday at Mass? It’s the same thing with them.”
“It’s not the same thing, Brian. I give money to a church that’s been around for two thousand years. It has a long tradition of helping the poor. Who are the poor that Mary Beth Visionary helps? Why doesn’t your cult help the poor like Christ said to do?”
“He also said, “The poor ye shall always have among you.′ Those people are or because of what they did in former lifetimes. “
“Oh malarkey, Brian. Mary Beth Visionary doesn’t intend to part with one of her huge diamond rings or one of her numerous residences to help anybody. The only person
she’s interested fun helping is herself and probably the devil himself.”
“Hey, if you want to talk about huge diamond rings and money Mom, let’s talk about the Catholic Church. You don’t see the Church parting with any of its millions to help the poor do you’!”
“Brian, I went through all of this with your brother Frank in the sixties. Didn’t the Pope just say that he needed at least $25 million dollars from American Catholics or the Church would go under? And most of that jewelry and art work was donated.”
“If you want to see the real Church, look at the missionaries. Why don’t you give some of your money to the Catholic missionaries! At least that way you’d be helping feed somebody. No one has done more for the Indians and the blacks in this country than the Catholic missionaries. Look it up!”
“Mom, all of Mary Beth Visionary’s jewelry is donated to her, too. God’s light when she is used as His messenger. I’d go into it more but we never get anywhere with these discussions so let’s Church Glorious and Victorious it here while we’re still speaking to each other.”
“We don’t get anywhere because you won’t see the truth about these people. Brian - so you lost a girlfriend. Don’t you think I lost a few boyfriends and it was – painful? Sure it was. You’re father wasn’t the only man who was after me. But don’t go around punishing yourself by joining this way out cround because they explain it all that with “karma.”
“She was hard for you to give up, I know that, and you’re looking for something to fill the vacuum and this cult does it. Frank went through the same thing with that Scientology cult. Its ten years later and I’m STILL getting mail from that one.”
“When are you going to open your eyes and see what this group is all about? I mean you can’t even discuss it with your own family for God’s sake! She wears all those rings because it attracts young people. That’s what the Nazi’s did to their young people. And for a good reason, too. All these groups know that if they can destroy the family there’s nothing left to prevent them from getting everything they want. Don’t you see that?”
“Mom, comparing them to the Nazi’s is pretty way out.”
“Don’t tell me these Moonies aren’t like the Nazi’s when he mass married those five thousand couples in New York that was like the Nazi’s! No free will. And Christianity has always recognized that if it’s not a free will decision it’s not worth anything. Where does free will fit in with the idea of karma?”
“Mom, how many times do I have to tell you that his group is not the Moonies? It’s the “Church Glorious and Victorious,” not the Moonies.”
“Don’t try to tell me they’re a church, Brian. I read an article in Redbook that said that a Jewish group that’s keeping track of them in New York discovered that there are 2,600 cults in the country now. Didn’t you yourself say that you read an article in U.S. News and World Report that listed them as one of the four main cults in this country?”
“I’ll never hear the end of that one. I don’t know why I told you that. Just because U. S. News and World Report said it doesn’t make it correct. Don’t you think some of these groups are legitimate church? I mean can all 2,600 of them be cults? Weren’t the Quakers and the Lutheran’s considered cults when they first started?”
“Listen Brian, the Quakers and the Lutheran’s didn’t sit around listening to tapes for 10 hours on end like you do. Those people are brain washing you and you don’t even know it. They’re that good at what they do.”
“When are you going to wake up and see that? Boy, they’d just love to have somebody like you. You’re bright and good looking and they could put you out front winning people over to them while they pull the strings. Don’t think I haven’t talked to Monsignor about all this.”
“Great. What’s he advised? A novena for my soul?”
“Not even that. He said that you’re an intelligent boy and that this is just a phase that you’re going through. I’m the one who’s initiated a rosary each night that you’ll come back to the Church.”
“Mom, I have a church that I belong to.”
“You belong to a cult, Brian. What do you think all those tapes are but brainwashing messages?! They have you good enough now that you don’t even listen to your own family. What kind of people would do that but a cult?”
“This discussion’s a waste of time) Mom. Let’s pick it up another time.”
“We’ll drop it when you’re out of that cult. And I’ll know that when you stop listening to those tapes.”
“You’ll be waiting a pretty long time, then. This is a free country as far as I know and you’re allowed to listen to whatever you choose. Did you know that they used to just kidnap and deprogram so-called cult members and now anybody who changes religions is being kidnapped and deprogrammed including Catholic and Episcopalian converts? What kind of thing is that where people can’t even choose their own religion?”
“What? Did your cult tell you that?”
“No. It was a minister I heard on National Public Radio. And unless you stop referring to them as a “cult” our discussion is over.”
“Why? Can’t you face what they are?”
“Alright. Enough Mom. Drop it.”
“I’ll drop it when you drop them. Why don’t you just go out and find yourself another girlfriend and forget about these people.”
“That’s all you think it is, don’t you? I lose Kathy and go into withdrawal and they take care of that for me? You’re wrong if you believe that. It’s a lot more involved than that.”
“Why don’t you give that nice Maureen a call’? She’ll get you away from these people.”
“Fine. Run to your cult. They probably tell you that I’m a misguided shrew I’m sure. Well I’ve encountered such as those before and they’re no good. That’s all there is to it. I can’t give you fancy explanations. I just know they’re no good. And you’ll thank me for telling you that someday even though now you think the world revolves around them.”
“I’’11 check you out later, Mom. I’ve got a few things to do.”
“Yeah. Like run to your cult and tell them what a shrew your mother is.”
“We don’t concentrate on things like that. We’re too “busy with more important matters, like getting into heaven.”
“If you want to get into heaven you’ll return to the Church.”
“Well ... I’ll see you later on.”
“Are you going to stay there the entire day or should I count on you for dinner.”
“I may stay there the whole day and eat there.”
“Great. Now they have you eating meals with them. I guess it won’t be long before we can count on you moving in with them.”
“The grief I’ve been receiving around here lately I just might consider it.”
“You’ll receive even more grief if you’ don’t keep your teachings away from Jimmy and Marguerite. Don’t think they haven’t told me about how much you’ve been telling them lately.”
“Oh ... I can’t even talk to my own brothers and sisters now. I thought you just told me that this group: was going to alienate me from my family? Sounds to me as if you have the order reversed.”
“You can talk to them all you want as long as it’s not about your cult. I don’t like it and they don’t either. They’re just so afraid of how much you’ve changed that they’re afraid to tell you themselves so they asked me to talk to you”
That stung. And she knew she’d registered.
“So ... you do have some feeling left for your younger brother and sister if you don’t for your own mother. I tell you, Brian, one day you’ll thank me for getting you away from them.”
“It’ll be a cold day in hell.”
“I thought your cult didn’t like that kind of language? Aren’t you supposed to treat everyone as a potential recruit? Or are you allowed to be abusive with those who don’t agree with you~ even if they are your real family.”
I tore out the front door, revved up the Plymouth Fury and powered it out to Butler Pike. As I was driving along I couldn’t help but think this was the route that I had taken to Archbishop Kennedy High School in Conshohocken almost ten years ago.
I wondered what happened to the others in my class--what they were into now. I thought about what they would think if they knew that their former school President was a proof reader. I comforted myself with the knowledge that the teachings taught that we are all going through initiations in this lifetime to “balance out” negative karma we’d created in former lifetimes.
Reincarnation was still a difficult one for me to grasp, even though it was central to their beliefs. I just couldn’t imagine a former lifetime, except once at a ruin in Ireland where I’d travelled as a student in 1975. I had felt an overwhelming feeling that I’d been a tribal chief there directing a battle against another tribe on that very spot. Spooky at the time. Explainable now.
Much as I didn’t want my mother to get to me, she had. .Jimmy and Marguerite were precious to me and I couldn’t imagine that they would not be able to say anything to me directly. I recalled a conversation I’d had with Marguerite where she’d said that I used to be fun but that now I was “basically a bummer” to talk to. Had I changed all that much?