Dear Mr. Ross,
My husband and I are conservitive Christians whose 19 year old daughter left home one year ago to go to JPUSA for two weeks. When I contacted the offices there to ask them to send her home, we were told that [she] was 19, did not have to "submit to her father's authority," she could "spread her wings" and I should quit practicing "smother love."
I later received a letter telling me she was sorry that she hurt me, but she "HATED" me and she was staying there. [Now her] letters are getting so strange we don't even know her anymore, she's like a "groupie." She hasn't told us about any of her friends and her new "mom and dad" have neglected to contact us.
Her aunt went to Chicago to visit and told us that ... she said that she would never return to the "police state" that she "escaped" from. I cannot tell you how horrified we are ... these allegations [were] not mentioned to us. Christianity 101 in relationships [teaches] go to someone who has offended you and talk about it.
We recieved a note [from our daughter recently] telling us about the "Cornerstone Festival" and all of the "AWESOME" and "TOTALLY COOL" bands" and "by the way, some guy asked leadership if he could have me and I prayed about it and [God] said YES, so please pray for us as we begin this journey!" We haven't heard one word about [this] until now and nothing more than [his] name. This ["guy"] has never contacted [us]. JPUSA has become her "authority" and we found out that [this "guy"] is [much older than our daughter]. One cult [JPUSA] member contacted me and said if we didn't "accept it" she would make sure [our daughter] had a big wedding and her husband would "give her away."
[Our daughter] was given every opportunity and [grew up] in a positive, loving environment. I am so scared that we are losing her for good and that my grandchildren will be raised in the slums of Chicago. I met one woman who has two adult children living there. They both went there after high school, one married a girl who was raised there and another married a man nearly 20 years older. [The woman I met said] I should just "accept it," or I will "lose her for good."
We try to keep in touch with [our daughter], but she [says] her calls are screened. Our relationship is an inch deep and a mile wide. I can't console her or act like a mother. She said that someone used to read her letters before she read them, to keep her from being "upset." We begged her to come home and said we would be willing to all go to a counselor. She said that she could come to our home for a few days, but we would have to submit to her "peer counselor." She would not see a Christian counselor, except for a few days, with her peer-buddy present.
I have asked [JPUSA] leadership if [our daughter] could receive professional Christian counseling and they said only those that were a "danger to themselves, or a danger to others" could receive professional help. One [JPUSA] member flung himself off a roof to his death--so much for professional help.
[JPUSA] takes care of all of [our daughter's] creature comforts,[but] at this point, she is building a house on the sand. When she crashes, she will think that God ... has let her down, or worse yet, there won't be enough left of [our] real [daughter] to escape.
I know that God is utterly reliable, I really do believe that and even feel that some days. On other days, I want to pull my hair out. Is there anything I can DO? Not that prayer isn't SOMETHING. I just wish I could DO something [to] ... get our daughter back.
Note: See Update to Mother's Story