Please read this latest article/link, an inspirational story of a cult-kid & family turnaround.
You will find analogies between Jim Jr's post-Jonestown inner conflicts and your own.
You are each capable of a successful turnaround. Don't forget it!
To remind that you are not alone:
Escape from Jonestown; How basketball gave life to a son and grandson of the infamous cult leader Jim Jones
Like Jim Jr, most of us TM-kids love/loved our childhood community. As adults, we kept community secrets from the public to avoid hurting our loved ones. (thankfully, MMY's power mongering did not include massive death... only occassional resulting individual psychosis and suicides).
When TM cult-kids question the community dysfunction and regulations, they are told they are "too negative," "cease those tomasic thoughts," "you are just unstressing," and the like. They learn to lie to protect the "higher values", luring others to the community, supposedly for their own good.
"The purity is good for your evolution. Your consciousness will expand here."
These mixed messages cause an inner dissonance for youth. They see the goodness in their loved ones, they know the high intentions of True Believers, yet they live a restricted regimented lifestyle. It can be difficult to make sense of it all.
Like all cult kids, there is an inner battle of inspiring, naive love tainted with confusing and/or ugly memories. Jim Jr's inner turmoil is the extreme of the spectrum of love/confusion/rejection/regret and adulation that we remember.
In cults, teachings may not be the culprit (at least not initially)... destructive methods are problematic.
You don't need anyone to dictate your life.
Truly, liberation comes with claiming one's voice, and integrating the past -- including inevitable rejection from some, and stigma from others. Pretending we don't have a past -- well, it usually doesn't work for the long haul (trust me, I tried).
My children and dearest friends know our heritage. Like other TM-kids, we love people that others consider nuts. My children and I visited the TM-community every few years, after our long ago departure. We maintain family-like ties with other former TMers.
We avoid other loved ones because True Believers can be crazy-making!
Jim Jr. claimed his voice, years after his family & community tragedy, through his son's love for basketball (the sport which simultaneously saved the lives of Jim Jr and his brothers, and likewise prevented them from confronting their father to interfere with the Jonestown tragedy).
Thank heavens we were spared the intensity of the Jones' family drama!
Just as Jim Jr descended into alcohol to hide from his pain (read the article), many cult kids drown in drugs and alcohol attempting to make sense of their pain.
TM cult-parents shrug off this phenomenon, accepting their youth "toy with the darkness because adolescent hormones cause serious unstressing."
TM parents are later perpelexed when grown children leave the community and minimize further contact.
One TM kid was recently dying from liver failure (alcohol abuse) in University of Iowa hospital, others passed away in related circumstances. Some have been in and out of jail.
(what?? TM is supposed to lower the crime rate?! but FF's crime rate increased since MIU/MUM came to town!)
Years after leaving my beloved TM community, I realized that psychosis, suicide attempts and bankruptcies do not occur in such high rates in average middle class communites.
Some grown TM-kids maintain the family lifestyle, obtaining MUM degrees and employed in underpaid positions for the Movement. Some remain in town for small town community 'sweetness," but keep a non vocal disagreement w/ the cult-establishment (as I once did). They turn a blind eye to the surrounding lifestyle and herd mentality to preserve beloved family connections. Others profit from the TM community.
Maharishi taught us, like Lord Krishna encouraging Arjuna on the battlefield of life, we must sometimes stand against our families to protect truth.
That familiar Gita line inspired the letter to the San Rafael School Board when a TM program was rolled out in my new community's high school. This letter was circulated to the press and the TM Movement's echeleon.
The David Lynch Foundation quickly withdrew their grant to the Terra Linda High School.
A respected TM leader (an old friend, featured on History Channel's recent show about MMY) sent a private email: "Gina, never contact me again. May God have mercy on your soul." Others used harsher words.
But you know what? Lightning did NOT strike my family for coming forth!
TM kids, you are many now!
Some choose to pretend their past never existed.
Jim Jr's sister took the family secrets to her death bed. My brother, now a father, an IT executive and a Mormon high priest, refuses to discuss our history stating, "I try really hard not to remember."
Whether you choose to dissavow yourself from the past, or to embrace the cult upbringing into your present persona, you CAN stand on your own to succeed, as Reverand Jones' sons did in the above inspiring article. Please read the story linked at the top of this essay. May their story inspire you. You are not alone. You can bridge the inner dissonance caused by your confusing upbringing.
You deserve acknowledgement for overcoming and creating your lives! Hats off to you! ..and Happy Holi-daze!