Wednesday, February 23, 2011

To Trust In Man (Part 1)

Author's note: The following post is the beginning of a series dealing with my experiences in the Jeffrey Lundgren cult and what I learned from those experiences. My hope is that my story will teach others the importance of listening to the voice of God within for their answers. Peace. cse

I think my whole life has been about seeking relationship with God. The church I grew up in emphasized personal relationship with the Divine as well as continued revelation to man, both on a church-wide and individual basis. By the time I was a teenager, I had such a good relationship with God I could often feel Him nudging me in certain directions. This inner knowing made my journey extremely easy when I followed it. It was only when I began to follow the advice of other people that I ran into problems.

My mom grew up in a scenic Ohio town near the shores of Lake Erie--a place called Kirtland. My family would travel there several times a year to stay with my grandparents and visit relatives and friends. Four hours in the car is a long time when you're a kid, but I was always rewarded by the sight of a beautiful white church, high on a hill, known as the Kirtland Temple. When I saw that monument to God, I knew we had arrived.

The Kirtland Temple was not used as a church any longer. It was more of a tourist attraction, although they would hold services there on special occasions like Easter and Christmas. My Aunt Sharon would take me with her to these services and regale me with tales of the building's history. I would sit and look at the craftsmanship of the carved woodwork and wonder at the miracles reported to have taken place there. It was a very peaceful place to sit and think. It was easy to hear the voice of God. I knew even then I was meant to come back one day and work as a tour guide, sharing the beauty and peace of this place with others.

I was accepted as a "historic interpreter" at the Kirtland Temple in the summer of 1985. After years of dreaming about sharing this incredible building with others (and an academic internship on historic interpretation the previous summer), I was finally getting my opportunity! The job came with a salary, a fully furnished apartment, a sweet, spiritually-minded roommate and a key to the Temple. One of my first adult goals was coming to fruition.

The Temple was run by a wonderful retired couple from New York whom I liked right away. My new roommate was also on staff, as were two other male college students I had worked with the previous summer. I liked all three of them. I wasn't sure what to make of the other couple who volunteered their time--Jeff and Alice Lundgren. Alice seemed pleasant enough, although she definitely played a subserviant role to her husband. Jeff was a whole different story. He had a large masculine presence and a deep, penetrating stare that was uncomfortable when you were its target. Something about him made me shy away from the very beginning, a fact that made his very conservative views even more abhorent to me. My mistake where Jeff was concerned was ignoring my intuition (my heart thoughts) to rely on my intellect (my mind thoughts). It was this mistake that taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life--the dangers of trusting in another person for my answers.

Story continued at:

*(For more information on this incident, one of the best books written is Prophet of Death: The Mormon Blood-Atonement Killings by Pete Earley. It's very detailed and uncomfortably graphic, but he did his research well. Earley gets to the heart of why Jeff and his followers acted as they did, without bias. Also, A&E did a segment of their show American Justice on this topic: American Justice - The Cult Murders.)


  1. I have just read part 1. I am excited and impressed with your writing ability as well as your story-telling. I fully intend to read all of the posts, but I wanted to take the time to tell you that I strongly hope you will sincerely consider putting this in book form. So many people are out of touch with their hearts and our society, indeed the world at large, encourages us to use our heads over our inner knowing. We are taught that to pay attention to feelings is weak and lame.

    Your story is important and I believe, needs to be told! If you could just help one person realize his/her own power, it would be so worth it!

    Thank you for your courage and insight and many blessings to you, my sister.

  2. Thanks, Holly! I appreciate the feedback.