Monday, March 14, 2011

To Trust In Man (Part 20)

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

There Are Many Prisons

People were outraged by the deaths of the Avery family, especially the deaths of the three girls--ruthlessly snuffed out before they had even had a chance at life. It is difficult for most people to comprehend how anyone could so callously kill five innocent people, believing it to be the will of God. Cries for justice rang out in the sentencing of all those involved in the deaths. The long arm of the law met those demands.

Those who were directly involved in the crime received anywhere from seven years to life on each count they were convicted on, the charges including conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, kidnapping, and aggravated murder. Most received plea deals for testifying for the prosecution. Many of them have been described as model prisoners. A few of them have finally won parole after serving twenty years in prison. Their paroles have been vigorously protested by many over the years (my aunts have kept me up on the local news), although I firmly believe none of them pose a threat to society. Some of them will never be eligble for parole.

The sentence of Damon Lundgren, Jeff's oldest son, is probably the hardest one for me to take. He was only eighteen when the murders took place, and he had little control over the situation. He was trained to be the obedient son, and he learned the lessons of violence and abuse well. Damon never had a chance. He will serve the rest of his life in prison.

Alice Lundgren was sentenced to 150 years to life. I'm not sure how I feel about her sentence, even after all these years. Part of me understands she also suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband. Part of me thinks she was/is manipulative. Sometimes I think she really wanted to believe Jeff was a prophet of God and deluded herself into thinking he was. It don't harbor any ill will towards Alice. I just don't feel I can trust her.

Jeff Lundgren was sentenced to death and died by lethal injection in October of 2006 after almost sixteen years on Ohio's death row. My thoughts here are many and diverse and deserve their own post.

I have never been behind bars. I can't begin to comprehend what sort of experiences these friends went through in prison because they believed in Jeff Lundgren, although I do have some understanding of the mindset that took them there. That group mentality--that brainwashing--is in its own way a sort of prison. It's a prison of the mind, but a very powerful sort of prison nonetheless.

The reality of this world is, we all have prisons of our own choosing. Some of them are physical. Some of them are not. All of them restrict in one way or another. One of my self-made prisons has been to hide this part of myself from the world. Freedom from your prisons comes from shining light on those dark places and acknowledging and accepting them as part of yourself. It is only through embracing our own darkness that it no longer has any power over us, and we are finally free.

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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