In Their Own Words: Syndee Lawrence

From some adults' perspectives there were no problems. For many of the elders/traveling ministry's children, there was a subtle double standard in play. Although some elder's children were actually harshly treated also.

I was a single parent of a little boy. He had some behavioral problems. He was sexually abused by a family member in the years before coming into the move. He received harsh corporal punishment in the initial living situation we were in in Ohio - no mention of sexual abuse counseling - and I was too gullible and "baggage-laden" myself to explore those obvious, reasonable, (secular?) avenues of help. To me comfort and strength from belief and faith are invaluable - but when the dogma of belief systems hinders and literally stops emotional healing and growth - then that belief system is totally counter-productive and damaging.

I am still forgiving myself and have asked my son numerous times for forgiveness and he has. We have had numerous heartfelt discussions - although it's painful for him still - at 44yrs old. He talked of hiding in a tree to get away from a sexual predator on a "care and teaching" farm and running and hiding on another from another predator. The ones on these communities who were sincere and the sincere leaders are not the ones I speak of, or the sincerely misguided ones, but the leaders who knowingly either had no experience or knowledge of the behavior of sexual predators, but assumed the knew best are responsible.

I had many faults and shortcomings as a parent - but for the premise and the goal of a church organization to be to "set creation free" - one step in the right direction would be to validate the numerous failings of the organization in the lives of some who are hurt and broken and have recounted these actual abuses, many worse than my son's experience. To be excited and enthusiastic about being a group of people who are going forward and yet not take responsibility (the leaders) as a whole for severe injustices - is a stain that cannot be removed by dismissal and ignoring. Perhaps there is fear of reprisal - yet that shouldn't outweigh honesty and integrity that the group as a whole proposes to be established on.

As a parent - my heart goes out to ones still hurting from injustices from the move - no matter how long ago or how recent. Also, the accounts of actual leaders who committed sexual and other abuses and were not prosecuted is astounding to me. I had no knowledge and truth of these facts until I went on the online site - the site so villanized by certain ones in the move. Yes, there was emotional venting - a very reasonable and natural reaction to the experiences and traumas discussed on the site itself.

Bottom line - I didn't protect my son and many others were not protected in their childhood when they should have been loved and nurtured and guided into a sense of self-worth and security."