Woman escapes religious cult in OK

KFOR News Channel 4, Oklahoma/February 6, 2011

Oklahoma City - A 90-year-old Oklahoma woman is determined to tell her story. Her name is Olga Vesta Button. She spent years in a cult, but escaped and survived.

Born in 1921, Olga was forced into marriage at age 15.

Her mother joined a cult when Olga was just a child.

It was a place in downtown Oklahoma City masquerading as a Christian Church.

Olga says, "They talked in tongues and interpreted what they talked in tongues about. They said that the Lord said that I should get married to him."

Her husband was a traveling preacher in his '30s.

Olga says, "He never held my hand. He never kissed me. In all seven years I was with him."

But they did have four children together; three boys survived.

Olga says they lived in extreme poverty, her husband refusing to work.

He was never around.

She was made to pray at least three times a day and was told if she didn't obey, she would go to hell.

In her diary she writes, "Don't get married!"

She desperately wanted out.

She says, "I didn't know what to do about it because I had nowhere to go."

At one point, Olga contemplated jumping out of a window to end it, but just couldn't do that to her mother.

She says, "I hate talking about that. I either cuss or cry. I'm sorry."

But writing about it is another story.

Even though she didn't get a proper education, Olga developed a love for the written word.

It became her therapy, and her way to speak out.

Donna Wiedemann has been Olga's next door neighbor near Mustang for the past 32 years.

She says, "When I read her book I just cried. After knowing her all this time, I didn't know the history. She's like a mother really. She gives me good advice and I kind of have gleaned a lot of things from her because she has a lot of wisdom."

Wiedemann has heard most of Olga's life stories now.

She knows how Olga lost her faith in God and religion and how Olga's sister got brave and took Olga to the courthouse to get a divorce.

Wiedemann says, "You just don't believe in our world that this kind of thing happened."

After she was free, Olga got a job as a waitress at an Oklahoma City pub.

That's where she met her future husband who helped piece her life back together again.

Olga says, "That's why in the book I write, 'If I ever met God, I met Him in the pub and his name was Charles.'"

Since then Charles Button has passed on.

And at age 90, there aren't a lot of people left who remember those days.

But Olga keeps writing.

She wants people to know there is hope and they do not have to put up with oppression.

Her dream now is to turn her life into a screenplay.

Despite her experience in the cult, Olga says she is not an atheist.

She just doesn't trust anyone else's view of who or what God is or should be.

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