By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
All Up in the Family
Fair article: I was born in Lima, Peru, and was in the Family till a couple of years ago, when I decided I didn't want a part of it anymore ["Family Ties," by Craig Malisow, November 17]. I left and joined the army and am currently in Iraq.
Your article was, in my opinion, fair. Also, it was long enough to represent a lot of the different aspects of the Family and its history.
A lot of emotions surround the Family, between several ex-members wanting justice and the members in the Family feeling like they have to defend themselves.
Most articles only state the abuses that have gone on in the past but fail to recognize that anything's changed and that the Family's different than it was. Also, a few articles fail to get the facts right, which I think makes members in the Family resent the media. For instance, one recent article from a local paper stated my father, Jeff, was a leader in the Family, which he isn't.
I appreciate journalism that represents both sides and doesn't get too involved in the emotions surrounding a topic.
Shame on you, part two: When I read this last article about "Family Ties," I felt angry and voiceless. I'm a second-generation Family member, and I work as a volunteer missionary in Eastern Europe and teach courses about the Bible and active Christianity for no reason other than "The love of Christ constrains me." And I am personally very proud of my profession as a full-time volunteer missionary for Jesus in the Family. I gave up a lot to do it, and it's probably the best choice I ever made.
By your comments, you make it sound like I (not some faceless entity, but I and others like me) am some dumb, robotic idiot who brainlessly follows orders. If you knew me, you'd know how impossible that is.
I'm in the Family not because my parents raised me this way but because I personally made a choice to serve Jesus full-time when I was 17, and I found the Family to be the best place to do so. I take exception to the very biased and unfair representation of the Family by people whose only goal appears to be to tear down, vilify and lie about one of the most active and dedicated missionary outfits in the world.
Have you ever lived in a Family home? Have you read all of our literature with an unbiased mind? Have you visited our Web site, the Web site of contented and happy second-generation Family members? If not, what are you afraid of, the truth? (Visit Myconclusion.com.) The Family has been vindicated in courtrooms around the world and never found guilty; hundreds of children were examined by certified professionals and found free of every type of abuse. Can you say the same for society at large?
Have you done your research, or are you just picking on a small, defenseless religious group and sensationalizing its past to raise the sales of your newspapers, and basing all of this on the tales of a few disgruntled and bitter ex-members?
I second the opinion of the "Shame on you" letter [November 24]. Speak the truth for once. Your last article definitely didn't. To see more literature from the Family and the reason why I'm personally a very happy and committed member, and also to see for yourself why so many attack and vilify us, visit www.thefamily.org.
"For all that live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution!" -- 2nd Timothy 3:12 (King James Version)
A proud second-generation member of the Family International,
Malisow responds: I tried on numerous occasions to interview current second-generation members and was always rebuffed or referred to the Family spokesperson. In one instance, I tried to post a query on Myconclusion.com but never heard back from the Web site's administrators.
Hounding the Hound
Fun one: Keith Plocek is a good writer. His "Free Booze" story [December 1] was really fun to read. I think I was 29 once, but of course I have a dog named Jägermeister. I don't usually pick up the free paper, but I will now (just for fun). Thanks!
Doomsayer: Regarding your "Free Booze" memoir, I'd like to suggest that generosity, hospitality and honesty are virtues; greed, gluttony and duplicity are vices; scamming Holy Communion from the Catholic Church might well fulfill your prophecy of eventual eternal doom. Perhaps you might consider using your notable talents to promote honest, rather than selfish, participation in local efforts. Aim higher, amigo.
Michael J. Carmody
Please! Your article includes nothing that isn't common knowledge easily gained while attending any institute of higher education. (And it appears Keith Plocek didn't even think to attend a local college campus!)
Seriously, why go through all the legwork to hang out with strangers when for the price of the gas that was probably needed to get to these places, he could have picked up a cheap bottle of wine while at Spec's and proceeded to hang out with people he actually knew?