The following vignette is from Marie Lynn.
The first story for me to tell is that of my leaving the Church.
For me the first thing was the announcement of ECP's illness. I was shocked and dismayed.
A short time after this my mother, who was living in Florida, began having shortness of breath and was advised to check herself into the hospital. It was determined that she had a mild heart attack and was kept overnight for observation. Since my father had passed on four years earlier, my mom had pretty much lost her will to live. She contracted a staph infection, went to intensive care (where they don't even allow phones!) and within a few short weeks she was gone. I never got a chance to talk with her before she was gone. Couple this experience with the knowledge of the "Guru" getting diagnosed with Alzheimer's--it was hard on me.
When I used to be on staff, I was pretty sheltered. Between working at the school and trying to care for my family I was too busy to mind anybody's business but my own.
When I was let go from staff in 1997 I began a program of self-edification about matters of the Church. I listened to people. I read some of the Church Member Forums that a friend printed off for me as I didn't have a computer at that time.
Some of the things that I read were really shocking, but I wonderedif they could be trusted. I was still in the mindset that people who had bad things to say about CUT or ECP were disenfranchised ex-members who had an ax to grind.
One of the stories was about Moira's alleged abortion. I thought that surely couldn't be true. Some time after this, my husband had the opportunity to ask Moira point-blank if it was true. She told him that it was--it was all true as reported. The knowledge that this story was true made me wonder if all the stories were also true. It was a difficult time for me.
I was grieving deeply the death of my mother as well as grieving deeply the slow death of my Church of 26 years.
Somehow I still held onto the belief that the Church could be saved. I knew that there were some terrible skeletons in the closet and I felt that if the Church leadership could be nudged towards courage, perhaps they would turn over a new leaf and start telling the truth. I prayed for this with all my heart. I talked to Neroli Duffy about this idea. There was no straightforward answer from her, but I continued to hold onto the hope.
In October of 1999 I found out that the Board of the Bozeman Teaching Center had possession of a decree naming Monroe & Carolyn Shearer, the Temple of the Presence and their followers. Apparently they intended to use this before and during the Shearers weekend seminar, behind closed doors, as "inner temple work."
I was really sick at heart to discover this. I knew that this was the beginning of the end for me. I never felt right decreeing against other people or groups, but to decree against other spiritual seekers, people who are my own "brothers and sisters", this was more than I could bear. I figured that silence would mean my agreement with it, so I determined that I would speak my mind at the upcoming Board meeting.
The Board meeting got canceled and then I felt really frustrated--how would I be able to speak out? Then I had an inspiration to write a letter to the Bozeman community and get permission to send it out to the local KOF's. I wrote it but was denied access to the list.
A friend of mine offered to post it on the Phoenix site for me and I agreed. Then the s__t hit the fan. I was called in to the next Board meeting and yelled at. I was called a betrayer. Probably a couple of other things happened. I don't remember. When I get yelled at, I shut down. It's just the way I am. Can't even defend myself.
I walked out of the meeting early and tried to make sense of it all. In my naiveté, I never imagined that things would ever have happened that way. So I took a big step back and laid low for a while.
Being a busy student-mom, I had a good excuse to not attend services. I kept busy and tried not to think about it, but that was impossible.
At Christmastime my family wanted me to go to the Teaching Center for a Sunday service. So I thought I'd give it a try. I went and could not keep from crying from time to time. I knew that there was no going back to the day before I wrote the letter. People were syrupy sweet to me and I always hate that.
Unasked questions in their minds screamed out at me. Their thoughts are much louder than their words. I said to myself, this is a place where I am no longer welcome. Silently I said my good-byes and left.
Later on, I would sometimes muse on whether or not I should send anofficial letter of resignation to the Church leaders. Many people just quietly left and went about the business of reclaiming their lives. I could do that.
I was seeing a counselor at this time who was very helpful with all of the processing involved in this whole endeavor. I decided to listen to the voice of my conscience and I did. Interestingly enough, on February 26th, a date many will recognize as Lanello's Ascension Day, I felt a compelling urge to resign. I sat at my computer, crying as I wrote my official letter of resignation and e-mailed it to Neroli.
There are many wonderful people who are still in the Church. I truly hope and pray that they will have the courage to disentangle themselves from CUT. I don't see how it can help anyone to truly gain a higher consciousness, transmute their karma or whatever else their spiritual goals may be. To me it looks like the blind leading the blind. Maybe I'm wrong. But "by their fruits, ye shall know them."
I did have many wonderful times in CUT. I treasure the memories. But the pain that was inflicted on others is incomprehensible to me. I'm not normally a Bible-quoter, please bear with me. "Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." For me this is the bottom line. We are all the body of God.
I'm grateful to have this forum where we can share our stories in complete honesty.