Dodging Stones Thrown By Those We Know
The people who write about and give interviews regarding daily life in Sam Fife's Move of God often hear criticism from others familiar with our backgrounds. They don't want to know that those in power had options and opportunities that others did not. They don't have the desire for the bigger lives many of us wanted. Bigger than life in a small, isolated community without access to modern society, arts, culture, books, education, travel, and adventure.
In my ten years in the Move, I did not meet a single person who ever mentioned kayaking, scuba diving, skydiving, tango, belly dancing, Mah Jongg lessons, French language lessons, trips to Paris, London, Brussels, or Lisbon. All things I have done now.
Why am I writing this? It's a form of response to the many people condemning the latest round of books, articles, interviews, and a Discovery documentary about our flavor of separatist cult.
A cult is a high-demand group. Among the demands of the Move were to leave worldly things and people behind. People in my communities were shamed for having televisions, radios, secular books and magazines, and "worldly clothes."
Education is what I wanted most. It was strongly discouraged because it was about my selfish "flesh" wanting something for myself. It would lead me "away from God." Because of this, I worked for years giving my money first to my mother and then to the Grand Marais and Duluth, Minnesota bodies as instructed.
I went to college too late to make friends my own age. I then graduated from college much later than is customary for a solid career.
Most of those I know from the Move never took a college class. The then adults, now senior citizens, look at anyone who went to college or got married as successes, telling others they could do anything they wanted and not to blame the Move for what they do not have.
It's frustrating to see my friends attacked by those who know how they lived, what they endured, and what they gave to the communities who should have given to them. I hope future generations touched by life in harmful communities are more generous and compassionate toward each other as the multiple generations sort out the pain.