Sunday, February 27, 2011

To Trust In Man (Part 5)

Author's note: The following post is part 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

The Ties That Bind

My relationships with Jeff and Alice Lundgren were blossoming, as were my relationships with the three other historic interpreters who worked at the Kirtland Temple the summer of 1985. In fact, all four of us "summer guides" were regulars in the Lundgren household. They seemed as enamored with Jeff and his teachings as I was. We were all looking for purpose in life--all searching for the answers.

I had worked with both of my male coworkers the previous summer in Nauvoo, Illinois, so we knew each other well. My roommate was the only one we had to get to know, but as she had such a warm, pleasing personality she fit in well with the rest of us. The guys had another apartment in the same little building we were in, so they were nearby. There were many occasions where the four of us shared evening meals together after the visitors center had closed for the day. The cook was usually the one who had the day off. We would discuss spiritual topics and work incidents for hours on end. Most of my summer social life revolved around my friendships with the other three and the Lundgrens.

My roommate, who was a particularly sweet and caring person, seemed to have a special bond with the Lundgren's--especially Alice. I would often see her babysitting the younger Lundgren children so that Jeff and Alice could go out. There were even occasions I saw my roommate doing chores at the Lundgren house, which struck me as odd until I learned that Alice tired easily because she had "fallen down the stairs" years ago and had to have her spleen removed. After that, I occasionally helped out also.

As I got to know Alice better, I grew to love her and looked up to her as sort of a mother figure. She was the quintessential conservative wife, supporting her man. Alice's home was spotless. She cooked, cleaned, gardened, canned, sewed and everything else a good wife was expected to do. As I am the type who enjoys traditionally feminine activities, Alice's style suited me. She was also articulate and intelligent, and I appreciated how much she seemed to love her husband. The stories she told about what Jeff was doing were always positive and contained an air of excitement. According to Alice, people fawned all over Jeff and his teachings, even extending to those beyond our own church. Listening to Alice always felt like getting the inside scoop.

I did still have some ties to the outside world. I loved my parents and two sisters too much to cut those relationships. I was also close to my grandparents who lived in Kirtland, not to mention the other relatives I had in the area as well. More importantly, I had a very serious boyfriend, Brian, who was spending the summer working in Kansas City, Missouri. We had "date night" every Friday evening on the phone, besides writing each other constant letters. I was very interested in sharing what I was learning with Brian. I wanted him to be part of what was happening in Kirtland as well.

I was progressively becoming bound to the Lundgren family as well as to those who also wanted to be close to Jeff and Alice. It was my "outside" relationships--the ones that did not involve the Lundgrens--that would eventually become my saving grace.

The story continues:

*(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.)

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