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Letter to My Daughter

Re: Chuck Hawkins Cult

a criminally destructive mind control cult

January 23, 2005

My Dear Beautiful Daughter:

I want to share a story with you. It is a little success story of mine. I hope it makes you proud.

If you look at the below copy of my diploma from Ohio University, you will see that it is dated in the year 1979. I graduated from high school in 1969. If I had completed college on time, I would have graduated from University in 1973. However, in the manner of some hippies back during those wild and wonderful and rebellious times, I left college one course shy of graduation.

I always wanted to go back and finish up, however. I didn't want my Dad's hard-earned money to have been spent for naught. And I knew that in the long run, having a degree would open up better job opportunities for me.

I fell victim to the cult in 1977, the year you were born.

I have done some studying up on closed systems such as cults, which is an apt term for the Hawaii commune.

Closed systems are characterized by the following (this not being a complete list):

1. Cutting off input from the outside world (such as newspapers, TV, etc.)

2. Severing and demonizing life's most important relationships (parents, children)

3. Severely punishing a recalcitrant member, often employing a double bind. In my case, it was having to bow down (and more) to the "guru" or I would never hold, cuddle, love, and adore firsthand my gorgeous and wondrous newborn infant again (except while under the supervision of a warden).

4. Inflicting further unbearable punishment by forcing such unwilling member to listen to the "guru's" "in-your-face" hideously loud sexual "ecstasy" hour after hour, day after day, while she lies bleeding to death from a mother's broken heart.

5. Using other styles of the double bind, such as commanding a mother who is holding her newborn infant to walk across a steep mountainside of sharp and jagged lava rock while wearing thin rubber zoris (flip-flops), at great risk of tripping, falling, dropping the infant, and causing permanent harm to the child, for the overt reason that the mother might miss a gem of wisdom as the "guru" spews forth during a coffee-tree farming break.

6. Leaving the mother helpless to stop a "believer" who mindlessly follows the "guru's" orders and snatches the child from the mother's arms, himself carrying her over that same treacherous terrain with the same risks to the infant's soft head.

7. Pulling out another one from the double bind bag of tricks by forbidding the mother to gather up and thoroughly check her newborn infant who has fallen off a kitchen table, all the while that gawking believers stand around wringing their hands, unable and afraid themselves to pick up the fallen child, recalling the "guru's" unbending rule that you never pick up a crying child, not even to check for concussions.

8. Using yet another double bind tool, forcing the mother to listen to her child screaming with night terrors for months on end while forbidding the mother to go and comfort her infant daughter.

9. Severing the mother-child relationship to such an extent that she only learns second-hand that her now-toddler child had nearly drowned to death while being ignored by that day's assigned proctor and that she couldn't have done anything about it anyway because she has been denied access to her own child for some years now.

10. Maintaining the severance of the mother-child bond for such a duration that the mother has missed the first 6 glorious years of her own daughter's childhood, those years which could have meant true enlightenment and ecstasy for the mother, those years which were robbed from her forever.

11. Employing enormous group pressure to reinforce a "new" way of looking at the world, the group's way, which is really just a means of infantalization and complete disempowerment of the members.

12. Convincing a member through means of fear that she cannot possibly make it on her own in the outside world; the group is extremely threatened when a member leaves - it makes them question the wisdom of their own decision to stay.

13. Rewarding conformity while punishing independent thoughts and ideas.

14. Creating a complete and horrific dependency of the members on the group such that even the most basic and simple decisions cannot be made without the "help" of the group - sexual partners are decided upon, diet rules are mandated (including tofu manufactured from soy beans in the filthy home kitchen), etc.

15. Using rotation of sex partners so that no two members become too close; after all, in the final analysis, all eyes are ultimately to gaze upon the great "guru."

16. Encouraging members to commit acts that are contrary to what human beings know to be right and civilized; in extreme cases, members may have violated taboos to such an extent that their very sense of personhood, of humanity, is compromised.

17. Showing contempt and disdain for the outside world, the "others" (all God's children, one's fellow human beings) who are not privy to the group's esoteric wisdom; the group considers themselves to be "Gnostics."

18. Employing a code language to further the separation from the world upon which the group looks down with disdain and contempt.

19. Living in a remote area such as the jungle of the Big Island of Hawaii where it is difficult for a member to gain employment that might make her financially independent enough to leave and support her child on her own. Bear in mind that in the natural world, a lone mother and her infant are easy prey. Generally speaking, a mother is unwise to leave the safety of whatever support group she may have. (One day in November 1978, the Rev. Jim Jones, who had taken his 908 disciples to the remote jungles of Guyana (this "Peoples Temple" was a cult very much like our own), ordered his people to drink cyanide-laced Kool Aid. There were no survivors. Of course, I did not know about this until after I escaped from the commune. I had not been following the news.)

20. Confusing and frightening this mother's own dear father, who had stopped for a visit on his way back from the Philippines where he was successfully bringing a Boise Cascade paper mill operation on the island of Bataan back into the "black." This father of mine - your grandfather - did not even know he had a granddaughter. When he learned of it on his visit, he purchased mountains of Similac and diapers for his newly discovered granddaughter, all the while that he was heartbroken about the situation in which he saw his daughters (me and your aunt Becky). His purchase was his way of helping out, of trying to show his love in the midst of his confusion and fear for his loved ones. Yet the commune threw those baby goods into the trash with a harrumph of disgust. Nothing from a grandfather would be accepted. That is a "dependent" relationship. Your mother was charged for baby food and diapers. Those gifts from your granddad would have helped out greatly. But they were so cavalierly trashed just for the "principle" of it. In fact, your mother never made a single independent purchase of baby goods for her daughter, even though she was charged for what others had bought.

21. Constantly reinforcing the group's way of thinking by requiring attendance in mind-numbing "therapy" groups and chanting/meditation sessions from dinner time until bedtime during the week and all day and night on the weekends.

22. Further entrapping and disorienting members by use of mind-altering drugs.

My daughter, my love, I fought like a tiger to be with you. And against all obstacles, I was watching like a mother hawk, from a distance but ready to swoop if fatal danger edged too close. And we are out of that situation now. We are winners now.

You survived because you were not undergoing the pain I have described above, which is a mother's pain.

I wish to give you some advice. Sometimes wisdom born of painful experience is the most valuable gift a parent can give a child. Never, NEVER allow yourself to become disempowered. Stay true and steadfast to your principles and your selfhood.

Use your love for that great big, beautiful Jamie (I always longed for you to marry a real live, big, strong, handsome heartbreaker of a quarterback (my kind of guy!); ever so much more useful to your Mom than having a lawyer, doctor, or union plumber in the family!) to go forth in the world and do good unto yourselves and others.

You are such beautiful people, my beautiful daughter. The two of you have so much to give. You are so powerful and new and untouched, you children of mine. Your youth and freshness are so beautiful to me. Spread your love and be newly baptized.

The move to San Francisco, with its job opportunities, finally allowed me to effect my own - and your - escape. I believe that I got you out of there in the nick of time. Maybe you don't know how little girls were viewed by the group and by the "guru" in particular. He liked them really young. I do know this. And I was NOT going to let you become the next victim, even if it had required bringing in the police or exposing the child abuse that was going on daily in that godforsaken place and which didn't raise any more of an eyebrow than the ringing of the dinner bell.

In retrospect, most of the members of the commune were not bad people. On the whole, they were a relatively well educated group - university professors, computer programmers, etc.

They were terribly misguided, however, and had fallen sway to a very bad man and his methods. They gave awy their selfhood. It is a tragedy because most of them spent many more years than I did in this atrocious situation.

If only they had come across the following wisdom before they handed their very minds and souls over to someone else. Everyone longs for spirituality, self-knowledge and maybe even a glimpse of enlightenment. However, please don't ever think you can achieve it the cheap way, from a snake-oil salesman or worse. Let your heart and your ever-so-brilliant mind be your guide.

"He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind."
                                         Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance"

People tell me, "Others have gotten past it. Why can't you?"

I would answer you thusly:

With several exceptions, no one else was in my position of having their infant child ripped from their arms and their very heart. They did not even remotely suffer my level of pain. In fact, their preoccupations in the commune were selfish - their own "enlightenment," their own satisfaction of their own needs, and particularly the endless opportunities for promiscuous sex, no matter how they may have kidded themselves otherwise.

They had not been entrusted by God to protect and raise a newly born soul, an infant daughter. This child - you - was of only tangential concern to them.

Look at the means these people chose to further their own "therapy." I would ask you this question: Who in their right mind could believe that they would achieve any level enlightenment by following the ideas of an insane, egomaniacal pedophile with his disdain for women, contempt for and competitiveness with men, his scorn for his fellow man, and a tenacious belief in his own mind fuck.

I do believe that there were certain "ringleaders," the "inner circle" who were Chuck's bootlickers and thugs, who to this day fan the eternal conflagration of the now-dead guru's hole in the ground, and who to this day maintain little shrines, if only in their minds. I greatly fear for their children or anyone who might look up to them for advice.

I feel that these lackeys were instrumental in carrying out the "guru's" need to amass ever more power by severing our relationship - to ensure that we would not be together. The love that I had for you was a threat to the required hypnotic fixation on the "guru."

When people say "Others have gone on with their lives. Why can't you?"

I liken these members of the "inner sanctum" to someone who has committed an atrocious act upon another person. Perhaps they gouged out a person's heart. But they have done a little thinking about it, they've gotten it out of their systems, they've been able to forget it all, and they have "gone on with their lives." Good for them. Have a nice life. But these individuals had better not look back at the mother they left bleeding to death of a broken heart. I think their only defense might be of the Nuremburg variety. It will take me lifetimes to overcome the pain I suffered with the loss of you, my gorgeous baby.

I am having a very difficult time putting my life back together, recovering my self-esteem. But of this one fact I am proud: that I never ONCE succumbed in the commune to enormous pressure to follow the filth that this evil man was teaching.

And the good news is that I am intact. In fact, I want to brag to you about something. And I hope it will make you proud.

Back to the first few paragraphs of this letter.

I decided I wanted to take the last course required to get my journalism degree - The History of Journalism. I decided to take the course by correspondence. There really was no actual correspondence involved. I would merely study the textbook and then take the exam proctored by a local school teacher.

I bought the textbook. (Sadly, I must have since lost it during my travels through life. There were some great stories in there. I particularly loved the "Yellow Journalism" wars and the stories of Horace Greeley.)

Against all odds - remember that group attendance was required, gotta keep a firm grip on the sheep - I studied that textbook. I flat out refused to go to those groups. I stuck my face right up in the "guru's" mug and just said "No."

I studied and studied, curled up in the coffee shack day and night with my textbook, because I wanted to get this thing over with. I've always dreaded exams.

I took the test in a school room under the supervision of a local teacher (can't remember which school, somewhere there on the Kona Coast). Then I waited for my results. Don't ya just hate that?

I must have studied pretty well. I received the results from the Ohio University professor who subsequently graded my exam. I am attaching the professor's grade report but JUST IN CASE YOU CAN'T READ IT, here's what it says:

° 16 out of 16 correct answers to the objective questions
°  8 out of 8 correct answers to the essay questions
°  Examination grade: A+
°  Basic weaknesses on the exam: None!
°  Professor's comments, and I quote:

"Phenomenal! Best paper I've read in many years of teaching this course - on or off campus."[boastful typographical emphasis mine!]

Cutie Pie, Baby Of Mine, it's all there for you to read. The green report card has been folded and unfolded many, many times. You can verify the age of the paper because it's starting to crumble to dust.

A copy of my diploma from Ohio University College of Communications, School of Journalism, dated March 17, 1979, is attached, and what you are now holding in your beautiful, slender, artistic and capable hands that will spread comfort and love in the world is your Mama's BS!

I am seeing a wonderful new therapist. I don't want to go on and on in my life thinking the same thoughts. However, I deemed it therapeutic to commit these thoughts to paper because sometimes these memories just bob around in my head like some free-floating, inchoate anxiety and end up knocking me all over the map. Hopefully this is my last narrative on this topic, at least the last one that I will share.

We've done well, my gorgeous daughter, you and I. And we've only just begun.

Suggested reading:

o Lord of the Flies (on herd mentality gone horribly awry)
o Any books regarding Hitler's hypnotic hold over the German people
o Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essays on Self-Reliance
o Tortilla Flat (or Steinbeck's other two books from his trilogy on the characters of Cannery Row and Monterey Bay) - because, my most brilliant daughter, we - me and my baby - you and I - know that every picture tells a story (Attrib: Rod Stewart)

Suggested movies:

o Sophie's Choice (on double binds)
o The Color Purple (on mothers' heartbreak at having their children ripped from their arms)

my diploma

my exam report card


My daughter - you've got a true American hero for a Grandpa.

Please visit the below link for a REAL shrine to a REAL man with REAL principles.

Dad ended up as commanding officer of the mighty destroyer escort/sub killer USS Wilhoite-DE397.

As all kids do, I used to ferret through my Mom's and Dad's old photos. I always loved a particular one of Dad, so handsome in his naval uniform. It was a group photo of about twelve young Naval warriors who had just graduated from the Cornell University School of Diesel Engineering. Universities converted quickly to train the youth of that day to go forth and fight for their country. I created a little page on my web site in honor of your Grandpa.

Men of your Grandpa's era are so proud of their service in WWII. It doesn't take but a mere mention of the subject to get them telling long, long tales about their part in the war effort (so be careful about bringing it up in the first place!). The enemy was so easy to identify back then. Not like today. Back then, it was clear who the enemy was. Our country had been attacked. The freedom of Europe was at stake. And for the first time, danger had reached the very shores of the United States. All of our parents rallied, even those who didn't go "Over There."

For a fabulous read on Naval history (which I am sure you will immediately enter on your list as "to read next" - my daughter, you are SO FUNNY!), read the book "Dreadnought," by an author named William Manchester (is he the one? Massie? One of those great historians.) Anyway, just do a search on for "Dreadnought." Naval history in the context of world history - or vice versa - is truly fascinating. Although the central thread of "Dreadnought" is the arms race - and particularly the building of the all-big-gun warships known as Dreadnoughts - between Britain and Germany leading up to World War I, this book is really a grand history about the pre-Victorian era through the beginning of the war.

By the way, Dad keeps telling me over and over that the moniker "Dreadnought" - referring to the first all-big-gun warships developed by Britain in an arms race with Germany as World War I approached - is an obsolete name. You don't (translated, "I am not to") keep calling today's warships, the ones with the steel-enforced bottoms all the way up the side, by the name "Dreadnought." There is another name. I forget what Dad called them. Sometimes even I don't pay attention! (Or even listen!)) (By the way, this weekend when I'm down in Portland, I might wander on over to the navy base to take a gander at the Dread . . . 'er, the big warships that recently sailed in.)

In 1967, Becky and I participated in a 9-country summer-long odyssey through Europe called the "Teen Overseas Project." It was not a luxury trip. We 30 travelers stayed in youth hostels, some quite spare. (The serving bowl only went around the dinner table once so you had to fork your meat fast.) One of these hostels was an underground World War I barracks outside of Paris. Another was a converted grain mill somewhere in rural England. Your aunt and I bathed in the bottom pool of the water wheel that spun around and around. (God, it's depressing to look at those old photos. I was so skinny then! Yes, 'Hon, me!)

It is amazing when I think of it now, but World War II had ended only 22 years previous to our trip. In many of the cities we visited, there was still evidence of the utter destruction of the war. Scaffolding was still up. Europe's beautiful buildings were still undergoing reconstruction. True to form, your Mama fell in love with a fellow traveler. I smile to think of our last night before coming home to the good old U S of A. Our youth hostel on the last night of this dream trip was a rundown hotel in Paris, near enough to the Montmartre that Jeff and I could see the Sacre Coeur from the roof of this shabby inn. We had chilled a bottle of wine in the sink in our room. We had great fun that night, Jeff and I, the innocent play of two youngsters.

Anyway, your Grandpa's ship was heroic in both the Atlantic and the Pacific theaters. Dad told me that it was early in January 1945 that his ship was ordered home. For the past several months, the USS Wilhoite-DE 397 had been part of a group of other ships who were acting as beacons for bombers flying American soldiers home. (I have a copy of Dad's CO report, a short history of the Wilhoite's action during the war, which he had written for the Fleet Home Town News Center. Let me know if you'd like to read it.)

The world is a wondrous great place, honey.. Just choose your destinations wisely and you'll have the time of your life.

Sadly, you may have trouble viewing my web page. I have an awesome Dell system with a high resolution monitor. On lesser systems you have to scroll around a bit to view the page. Note that this page may take a minute or so to download because it has an audio file of the U.S. Naval Chorus singing "Anchors Aweigh." I hope you can hear the sound and that the slide show works for you. Be patient. Your efforts will be rewarded.

Postscript regarding my website tribute to your Grandpa's destroyer escort/sub killer, the mighty USS Wilhoite DE-397 (this is how we four kids of Dad's learned to refer to his boat).

Subject: deep waters sure do run really, really deep (and so do some "other things")

Dear Daughter,

I felt so proud when I had completed and launched onto the World Wide Web my tribute to your Grandpa's ship that I called him and told him all about it. But after I excitedly recounted my proud tale, I was YET AGAIN in deep water (among "other things"). I have often ended up there. I don't know why. I really don't.

I had eagerly told Dad about the wonderful stories of his that I had included on his site.

"Dad," I said, "I put on there about how you anchored the Wilhoite off Iwo Jima on New Years Eve, 1944. And also the really funny story about how you and your shipmates all went ashore for a little celebration."

And that's when the shit hit the fantail.

Dad said, "Are you crazy? Get that off the Internet!"

I said, "But Dad, you told me . . ."

Well, I did remember Dad telling me about his ship wandering around Iwo Jima, but now that I think of it, I don't actually remember him saying anything about "anchoring off." And while I'm reflecting on it, I admit that I can't imagine in my wildest fantasies an anchor chain 16 million miles long, which is about what would have been required to "anchor off" of Iwo Jima, since it is located in the middle of the deepest ocean waters known to man. Dad told me that he sure as hell hoped none of his shipmates ever visited my web site. I guess there's a little bit of a difference between "anchoring off" and "cruising the waters."

"But Dad, how about your great story about celebrating on Iwo Jima while nobody was minding the ship? That was a great story, Dad!" (In this story, I had always pictured Dad splashing around in the water, chasing after some Oriental beauty after having chugged a few cold ones (he didn't marry your Gramma until after the war).)

At this point in my phone call with Dad, I actually had a brand new revelation about him: There are some things that even Dad fears! I now suspect he was worried that even 60 years later, the United States Navy might be a little "miffed" about this story regarding a bazillion-gazillion dollar military asset. Anyway, the truth is that they actually had left a young tender to look after the boat (Ok, Dad, a whole bunch of sailors. And to be on the safe side, I'll even say that you took your cell phone to shore.) - and especially to watch for incoming radio transmissions - while they went off to have a little party.

Anyway, I'm not going commit to paper or send through the United States mail or fax, email or otherwise "transmit" Dad's actual words about my web site tribute to his boat, about which I had now become sort of sad.

Suffice it to say, honey, there are some good lessons to be learned here. Don't assume that you are entitled to endless poetic license, and never let your mind wander off while you are pretending to listen to someone, or you'll maybe not even live to regret it!

Your always accurate and attentive Mama

Honey: one last thing before I fall into bed.

Your Grandpa doesn't know the FIRST DAMNED THING about how to work his own computer. I ask you - what has happened to our country that we are turning out such Grandpas?

For his benefit (and I sigh in resignation as I say this), I am going to use my small computer expertise to snag my web site tribute to his ship (which has been thoroughly swept for bugs) off the danged site and burn it onto a DVD and send it to him so he can just pop it into his DVD player and watch the danged thing.

What we kids have to put up with for our old folks!


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