Friends Landing Keeps Us Apart

March 1999
An update on a father’s story

This updates the reader as to events since we last told you our storyof how our son became involved in the Friends Landing group and subsequently discontinued his family relationships. Unfortunately, this does not yet have a happy ending, but hopefully those of you in similar circumstances can learn from what has happened.

In November and December of last year, we continued to dialogue with our son through mostly email as we did not have a phone or address for him. Consistently, his missives were angry and alienating, but he, and we persisted to try to find a way to regain our bonds with one another. It seemed that every time we began to re-communicate meaningfully and we began to feel that our son was beginning to bond with us again, the next letter would be even angrier than previous ones. Each time we felt he was consulting with WhiteWind, and then would push us away more.

It just looked to us as if he was getting deeper and deeper into the group and away from his family, so we made one of the most difficult decisions we have ever made, we discontinued to pay for his college and took his car back. We did this for a number of reasons, but the most important one is that we felt these things were "enabling" him to continue with the group, and by removing these support systems, that he would be less likely to continue in the same way, would be more willing to come home and discuss things with us face to face, and would understand how serious we felt the situation was. It pained us greatly to do this, as providing for our children's education has always been a dream of this family, and we have always raised our children putting the highest priority on education for a lifetime.

We felt that the car was being used by the group to further their efforts, and at the time the vehicle was still registered to us. We could not change the registration name to our son as we did not have an address or location for him, and he would not provide us the essential information to make a registration transfer. With the vehicle in our name, we were liable for any injuries or damage that it caused, and we did not know who was driving the car other than our son.

This angered and upset our son even more. When he returned the vehicle, he refused to step foot in our home, told us we never really gave the car to him and thanked us for "loaning" it to him. We tried to explain to him how we viewed what was going on, and gave him a written, bound and detailed explanation of how we saw things, reaffirming that our door was always open to him, that our love for him was unwavering, and that in essence, "desperate times require desperate measures".

So while the removal of the vehicle provided a format for some continued dialogue with our son, he did not acknowledge understanding why we had to take the action we did. He is a very resourceful young man, and has made alternative transportation arrangements, as he continues to attend the University of Oregon, presumably through loans and full-time employment. We think he is working full time for WhiteWind’s company, Ancient Rites rock company.

He made it clear that I was wrong in implying in my previous story that he has only one pair of shoes. He states he has numerous pairs of shoes. Also, he made it clear that his decision to continue his education is his, and that no one could influence him otherwise.

After seeing that our efforts were not making the kind of progress we had hoped, to help our son reenter the family, we felt it was now essential that we educate the Eugene and Springfield communities about the tragedy that has befallen our family as a result of our son's involvement with WhiteWind and Friends Landing. We prepared and mailed numerous packets of material to local agencies and individuals who either have some jurisdiction over the activities of the group, or may have other special interests in this kind of organization.

This information campaign further infuriated our son. He felt we were characterizing him as being controlled by WhiteWind in the material we sent, and that was insulting to him. This may have prompted his next action, which was to write a letter to all members of the family, family friends and others stating that: all we want to do is control his life, that his father and mother had cocaine and alcohol problems (in one letter I am described as "addicted" to cocaine), that he was suicidal as a child, that he never had a normal childhood after 6th grade, that my wife and I had marital problems and took it out on him, and that all he wants to do is to lead a life free from our control and influence.

This letter, of course, was terribly upsetting to the family members, who now realize fully the gravity of the control the group has over our son. Each wrote responses to him, and all those I read showed the unswerving love the entire family has for him, and hoping for his return to us soon.

All during this time, our only means of communication with him was through email. Abruptly, he changed his email address and did not give us a new one. In one of the letters he wrote, he put a telephone number for them to call, so my wife called that number to find out what happened with the email address. Our son called back and initially told us we were not welcome to call him. After some discussions, we agreed that our relationship needed a healing process, and that we would resume "regular" telephone calls to one another.

This encouraged us, so I suggested that we put aside all that has happened in the past, and meet face to face at a place agreeable to him for the purpose of talking freely, getting all our feelings out, and beginning to rebuild the relationship. He responded positively to this suggestion on a Thursday night discussion. He was to call back on the subsequent weekend to decide where and when to meet.

His weekend call was as angry as the previous ones. His entire tone and mood changed in just 72 hours. All he wanted to know was whether I had told my father of my "cocaine problem". It seems that WhiteWind was away during the week, but returned that weekend. I asked him if he had talked with her since our Thursday talk, and was that why he had such a change of heart in 3 days. He denied having talked with her, and said he can’t meet with me until I am "honest" with my father. I told him again, that I never had a "cocaine problem", that this "demand" was unrelated to our efforts to rebuild our father-son relationship, that this notion of addiction was a figment of his imagination. Also--that his image that he was raised in a severely dysfunctional family was not true, and that this was the kind of language WhiteWind uses in her courses and writings. I admitted while we may not have been perfect parents, we have always devoted all our energy, time and love to our children.

That was the last conversation we have had with our son, and I’m not sure when the next one will be. He is convinced that he cannot meet with me face to face. He seems afraid that I will "kidnap" him. He is being blocked from communicating meaningfully with his family by these extraordinary and fearful suggestions. And we believe WhiteWind has a continual influence regarding this.

So I follow with this message to my son:

I imagine as you read this, it is probably getting you even angrier and alienated from us. I can’t help how you feel--only you can do that. But I cannot do anything, but speak the truth as I see it. You were part of the family until you became involved with WhiteWind. Now you are estranged from us, all of us.

We want you to come home, son. We want to share our love of you with you. All of us do. We don’t want to control your life, we want to share our lives with you, and yours with us. We want to laugh with you, cry with you, and argue with you, debate with you. We want you to be in our lives. You are not now. And the only logical explanation for that is Friends Landing.

I may have said and done the wrong things to bring you back. And maybe I am continuing to do that now. But I can’t just sit here and hope you will return someday. And I can’t just say the things I think you want to hear. I have too much respect for your intelligence to do that. The important thing for you to know, is that everything I am doing is for the purpose of having you be a part of our family again, a meaningful part, a participating part, a loving part. And I will continue to be active in doing whatever I can to bring this about happen.

When you left to go to college in 1995, you made me an Indian-style snake and said that a snake sheds its skin to adapt to its environment, and that you saw that in me; that I adapt to new surroundings and take action to effect positive change in those new surroundings. Well you are right. These are new, and not so good, surroundings, and I am, and will continue to take whatever steps possible to help you rejoin us.

Please come home. You are missed dearly by all of us. We know your family is important to you. So please call us and we can again try to get together and sort things out.

With all my love--

Your Father


Copyright © 1999 Rick Ross

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