Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 5

Question 1a.

How does Community deal with its childrens necessities such as diet, clothing, sleeping, and medical care? As reported by participants, diet was restricted to easily stored bulk and government surplus items including cheese, beans, rice, dried corn, and/or corn meal; to foraged items such as wild grapes, cherries, berries, asparagus, nuts, dandelions, and nasturtium; and to agricultural items like peas, corn, tomatoes, beans, onions, and potatoes. Moreover, all food items and utensils were a means of theological indoctrination, a feeling of Christ in physical form that spoke directly to members personal repentance needs (i.e., if they needed to feel more sense of family, they would eat peas, but if the peas crop was poor, they needed to repent for not feeling a sense of family). Clothing consisted primarily of outdated jeans and t-shirts. The ideal was to wear only homemade, simple, natural clothes (such as wool or leather) that they had harvested, created, and sewn themselves. However, the impossibility of doing so at that point was recognized so this area was easy to let slide. Nevertheless, the more individuals could adhere to this tenet, the more righteous and influenced by the positive feelings of Christ they were considered, while the more they wore store-bought items, the more they were thought to be influenced by the negative feelings of Babylon. The homes of rough sawn, untreated lumber had no electricity, running water, central heat, or plumbing. Insulation, if it existed, consisted of leaves or raw wool. Floors were dirt or raw planking. Mattresses were made from grass-stuffed ticking placed in a wooden frame (some on legs; some on the floor). When possible, homemade quilts were used because they were believed to be imbued with power (defined by Community as the ability to love in spite of sin, shortcomings or failure [SP, vol. I, p. 597]). Homes were constantly changing and being rebuilt (with the sole exception of that belonging to the High Priest), and families often lived together for various periods of time. Participants in the study commonly complained about being cold, dirty, and tired. One participant from the child group recalled that she could not wake up in the winter even when the fire was going. The need for medical treatment was viewed as evidence of being unrepentive or of the victim of an evil attack. However, treatment was sought when deemed necessary (although their definition of necessary was probably more extreme than the norm). In some cases, however, treatment was discontinued when the cause for the disorder (in one case, diabetes) was considered a call to repentance (because of which decision, the individual later suffered diabetes-induced blindness). For a period of time, immunizations were not considered desirable because of the need to enter Babylon. However, when the public health department suggested going to Community to immunize the children in their homes, Community did avail themselves of this opportunity. The first-line approach to illness was always spiritual means of treatment or cure. For example, one man, who became a quadriplegic after joining Community due to a diving accident, was given a healing ceremony. When he did not walk out of the ceremony, it was decided that the failure was due to his lack of repentance. He was eventually driven from Community. Question 1b. How does Community make provisions for its childrens play and chores

Women Among Community members, there is a very strong differentiation in gender roles. Females are literally considered their husbands rib and are his feelings made flesh. Without his rib, a man cannot fully know his feelings and is unable to truly love in spite of sin, shortcomings or failure. Females are made up of feelings of joining (e.g., marriage, not wanting children to argue, relationships, nursing babies, having the husband leave his parents and cling to his wife, giving birth, and joining the mans sexual contribution to create life). For women, relationships are supposed to be comfortable and natural but competition should feel forced and degrading. Because woman was created as a solution to Gods problemnamely, that Adam was lonelyshe is considered Gods gift to her husband: Women were not created in their present form, but were created as a rib (BOC, vol. I, p. 605). This belief places women on the same plane as rocks and trees or animals and insects, all of which are created as feelings made flesh (p. 606). James had manipulated adults in the groupthrough exploiting peoples feelings either towards him or each other so that females were encouraged and raised to be company, to nurture, to trust, and to be childlike. Debra recalled that women who were married in the group seemed to be ignored by James unless he needed to manipulate the husband. For example, James played on the romantic notions that Gloria had about him. Debra also reported how she watched James push women away from him. Richard, Debras son, recalled that such relationships were all about James. The married women had husbands, so he didnt need them unless he needed to get to the husbands. But the single women didnt have anyone, so he went after them. It was all about James. Sharon, too, spoke of the disparity in treatment between men and women: Another time, James, a few days later, was having this ceremony for the women to chastise them about how they were nagging their men too much to do too many things for them around the house basically. It was a purification thing and we were going to sit on the hill while the moon went through a full eclipse and we were supposed to confess of all these nasty things.

She also pointed to the anxiety many women felt about their parenting and demonstrates the double bind nature of the environment that James was creating for the mothers: There was just this emphasis on women bonding with their kids. There was sort of this double bind, becauseI mean, it is important that women bond with their kids, but James set up this environment that made it hard, because you had to be at all these meetings, because its so hard for a little kid to sit all that time, and what are you supposed to do with the kids, cause theres nothing for them to do and you have to keep them quiet.

This unequal set of expectations extended to how women treated other women. For example, Susan recounted the following incident:

Several women came to the tent to tell me that I needed to repent and I wouldnt have had a miscarriage if I had been repentant.. . . I know something that was talked about was how out of shape all the women were and how we needed to get in shape. Which I resented. Because I was in shape. Andandif you didnt do the exercises with the women, you werent repentant.

She concluded her appraisal with these thoughts: I can see that the women got more pressure than the men, and in Sharons case it was Sharon. Not Sharon and Edward, but Sharon. Sharon was doing it [parenting] wrong. . . .And [even] after the group I would have a hard time getting William to give me a break taking care of Paul.

Community males, in contrast, were expected to take their place in the priesthood, to command element, to be righteous. In children, this expectation was supported by boys taking leadership roles among the children, as well as the chores in which the children were encouraged to participate (boys with building projects; girls with cooking and watching babies). This behavior appeared to be the result of both informal reinforcement efforts (socialization) and through educational sessions on the role of men and women. This general topic was also emphasized by the existence of a sacred tablet known as The Family Tablet [Again, contact author for more information ]. This disparity in importance for men and women is evident in the Sealed Portion, the twovolume set of sacred writings unique to Community, in which references to males far outnumber those to females (see Figures 13). This bias holds true even once all masculine references to God or the Son of God (e.g., Son of Man or He) are eliminated and the dehumanizing references to women (e.g., rib or feelings) are included. Moreover, if all masculine and feminine roles (e.g., mother, son, sister, husband) are ignored and only references to man/men or woman/women are counted, the count shifts from a ratio of 3.76 male references to every female reference to a total of 508 male references to no female references. Therefore, women seemingly only exist for what they can do for men. Marriage was expected to occur only if both parties had found their spiritual spouse: the woman would complete the man and was literally his feelings. Very often, she was referred to in passing as his rib (e.g., Achee and his rib). People occasionally had to repent of sexual feelings for their spouse (one informant was required to repent for not viewing his wifes breasts as sacred objects). Marriage consisted of a public ceremony that joined a man to his feelings, followed by a four-day spiritual retreat for the couple. The primary taboo within Community was interaction with Babylon or with the decadarchoi or fallen watchers (Contact author for more information). Sin by a child prior to baptism would generally be addressed by the parents performing repentance. As childrearing was primarily a responsibility of mothers, this repentance was usually performed by the mother, although this was not universally the case. However, once children were baptized, they

became responsible for their own repentance and thus generally fell under Community Rule (i.e., returning one quarter of the food ration for a set number of days depending on the severity of the infraction). So-called normal childhood misbehavior (e.g., fighting with siblings or ignoring chores) was dealt with in a fashion similar to that in mainstream societytime out, reasoning, or spanking. The standards to which parents are held also seem to vary somewhat by gender. To be a good mother, the female must not only stay in harmony with God but must exhibit up to sixteen different attributes based on the following child-rearing postulates: Children are born spiritually perfect; little babies feel only the spirit of God. Children may become defiled by their parents sins. Children will be affected by their environment. Children are not responsible for their actions until after baptism (age eight.).

Children must know and understand the Language of Adam and be repentive before they are ceremonially baptized. Children must be protected from Babylon to guard their spirits and ensure that they will be committed to Community and the Covenant. Parents must assist children in maintaining their child-like innocence. Parents are responsible for teaching their children to make right decisions. Parents are responsible for teaching their children to use element righteously. Parents are responsible for beginning a childs bundle. Parents are responsible for nourishing a childs righteousness. Mothers must be charitable. Mothers keep their feelings of joining in harmony with the spirit of God. Fathers draw on a wifes charity to be righteously compassionate.

Men on the other hand, depend first on their wives to be good mothers before they have the opportunity to be good fathers. Once good quality mothering is established, it then falls to the father to love his children compassionately and righteously (i.e., to teach them about element). If a man is compassionate and teaches righteousness, he is then considered a good father. Jointly, however, the parents responsibility is to help a child remain child-like while at the same time learning the language of Adam (Gods feelings revealed through element), the righteous use of element, and the way of repentancein other words, to raise Children of the Covenant (Contact author for more information).

Role of Women Several themes arose in the analysis of the data that were unique to the participants who were mothers. These themes were of submission, inferiority, and dehumanization. James Franklin seemingly had very ambivalent ideas about women, oscillating between a view of women as untouchable sacred angels to a view of them as the focus for chastisement. Women were literally placed within the same realm as element (animals, rocks, insects, and plants), and as the disparity in the number of gender references in the two books of Community scripture shows, men count but women do not. Women were denied humanity (they existed only as their husbands rib). Seemingly impossible expectations were set up for women to follow (be submissive, be meek, be childlike, raise righteous children, wash clothes by hand on rocks, haul water from communal wells, keep dirt-floored homes clean, cook righteous meals over open flames using limited ingredients, and so forth.). Yet little support was offered either from spouses or other women. Moreover, the consequences of failure were often dire (e.g., Sharon had her daughter taken from her and given to the High Priests brother). It is little wonder that women experienced depression, flat affect, malnutrition, and exhaustion. With mothers struggling for their own sense of existence and fathers focused on defining that existence, this idyllic time in the childrens lives became a struggle for an identity that would allow them to survive in a world they did not comprehend, where the girls were raised to believe that they were inferior and less than human. As one participant recalled, The kids roles were to be silent or, umm, to not interfere with James unless he could use them as tools. To be in waiting until theyve reached the age when they can be used. He would, every once in a while pay attention to them, but it was to further pull them in to him. . . .It was all about control. To separate, so that he could keep everyone confused, constantly in a state of crisis. Charles, who was involved with Community from age 5 to age 16, stated that even when he was a part of it, no one paid attention to [him]. There was no reported sense of loss or trauma with this situation. In fact, most informants reported this period as the best time of my life! One participant, Christine commented, I do remember grinding corn all the time. That was fun. While another, Rebecca, stated, I was running around in the woods all day. It was fun! It was so much fun.