Sunday, March 6, 2011

To Trust In Man (Part 12)

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


As my second summer of tour guiding at the Kirtland Temple progressed, I did what I could to strengthen my position to stay in Kirtland. I was determined not to leave this time, especially as I could see the evidence that people were beginning to "gather", or move to Kirtland to become part of this shared vision of Zion--a vision that had been created and encouraged by Jeff Lundgren.

One of my fellow guides during the summer of 1987 was an obvious convert to the cause. He was staying. During the course of the summer, several of his friends from the Independence, Missouri area came for a visit. Two of the three friends who visited also decided to stay. They eventually moved in with the Lundgren family, this being made possible by a move the Lundgren's made to an old farmhouse on an acreage a few miles from the Kirtland Temple.

There were other older adults who also chose to gather to Kirtland at this time. Several friends of Jeff and Alice came to Kirtland with their families in tow. One such family was that of Dennis and Cheryl Avery and their three daughters. They were a quiet, rather unassuming couple who seemed to trust Jeff and Alice immensely, although Jeff and Alice often made disparaging comments behind their backs. Jeff sure had no qualms about using their money for his projects, nor about using their rented house to hold scripture study classes in, away from the prying eyes of the church. I often felt sorry for the Avery's. It was obvious to me Jeff and Alice did not like them.

When my last summer of tour guiding was over, I managed to find work cleaning rooms and subbing at the front desk at a local hotel. My husband, Brian, had found work in the area as part of the loss prevention staff at a local department store. Because Brian was still undecided about his direction in life, I managed to convince him to drop out of school for the time being and stay in Kirtland. He had changed his major so often he still had several years left before he would receive any sort of undergraduate degree. I suggested sitting out a semester and working in the "real world" would help Brian define what he wanted more clearly. Somehow I managed to convince Brian this was the sensible thing to do.

My dream of "gathering" to Kirtland, after years of wanting to, was finally coming to fruition. We were staying!

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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