Sunday, March 13, 2011

To Trust In Man (Part 19)

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

Mixed Emotions

As news of the Avery family murders came to light, my heart sank with each passing day. It was so hard to wrap my brain around these senseless deaths--chosen no doubt because they were easy prey. Besides news from media sources, I also got a great deal of secondhand news from law enforcement officials, compliments of my family who lived in the Kirtland area. Kirtland, Ohio is one of those towns where "everybody knows everybody".

Brian and I did get one phone call directly from law enforcement agents. Apparently, Jeff Lundgren had been on the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) radar for a long time--even prior to the murders--because of his hefty purchases of guns and ammunition. After the murders, they tried to track all those purchases down. This included the rifle we had given Jeff money to buy for us and still had in our possession. (Jeff told law enforcement officials we had "stolen it" from him. The way Jeff's mind worked, I've no doubt he believed it to be true.)

My aunts in Ohio also received word from police officers in Kirtland that the defense--particularly my roommate--was planning to subpeona me to testify in the case. I was torn. I understood why the defense would want me there. I had been brainwashed just like everyone else in the group. I also knew my roommate. She was not the type to hurt anyone. I wanted to help her--it could so easily have been me standing with her on trial. I was torn because of Brian.

Brian had recently gotten a job as a law enforcement officer in Iowa where we lived. I knew this was his career field of choice. Now that he had a solid foot-in-the-door, I did not wish to jeopardize his future success, especially as he had been one of the main reasons I was not standing trial in Kirtland. Scared of what testifying for the defense could do to Brian's career plans, we asked the advice of a family friend who was a retired federal agent. He suggested calling the Kirtland police department directly and telling them we wished to be witnesses for the prosecution. We followed this advice, and the defense immediately dropped their thoughts of subpeona. Even though it had the desired result, I felt guilty about this decision for a long time.

I tried to get on with my life. I continued to work at the group home, and Brian and I were expecting our first child. Still, it was difficult to feel normal when I knew the lives of many of my friends would never be normal again.

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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