Monday, May 13, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (75)

(a novel continued)

Minnie put on some Christmas music as she puttered and prayed in the kitchen. ‘Lord, I pray you will give us wisdom and please help me not to say anything I shouldn’t say.’ She so wanted to talk to Mary about her decision. Something must have happened. Had Mary possibly been ordered to leave her church? 

Mary had moved onto the compound when she was eighteen. She had attended church there several times at the invitation of a friend. When she finished high school she told her parents that she had been offered a job as a nanny. Suddenly she was away all week every week and never came home. When they tried to visit her they were stopped at the gate and refused entrance. Once Mary came out to the gate to say she wasn’t allowed visitors and couldn’t get time off. That was five years ago. 
In the intervening years the Beekys and several other families who had been alienated from their children and a few others who had recently left the cult—might as well call it what it was—formed an alliance of sorts.
They had tried everything within their power to get their children back. Sometimes they even prayed. Politicians, Canada Revenue, the media and even a deprogrammer were called into the fray with varying degrees of success. Several parents had abducted their own teenagers only to have them turn around and go back to the compound at the first possible opportunity. The government took away the church’s charitable status. The compound group stood up to the persecution. They even agreed to go on a radio show to defend their way of life. Alvin, a local radio host moderated as parents met with leaders of the compound church.
The parents came armed with a list of concerns. They accused the compound of adhering to the tenets of a cult. Shunning: “We never see our kids.”  Isolation: “They contribute nothing to the larger community.” A law unto yourselves: “You don’t obey any of the tax laws.”
The compound leaders presented themselves as a loving, caring body of believers under persecution. They probably recruited a few new followers during the airing of the show.
In the months following subtle changes began to take place. The compound leaders adopted a new theme. They directed their followers to perform deliberate acts of non-cultish behaviour. The parents saw this as manipulation headed in the right direction. They pulled back the reins of persecution.

Now Minnie prayed, ‘Lord, please don’t let Mary change her mind and go back there to stay.’
 ‘Trust me.’
‘I trust you, Lord, no matter what.’

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