Something remarkable has happened. Two women I know have each published a memoir. One woman is near my oldest daughter’s age and the other, like myself is a grandmother. As any writer knows, writing is hard work, to say the least, a memoir especially. In my opinion, these memoirs are groundbreaking because until now the writings about the Love Family have been written by observers , journalists, and historians, not by people who dedicated years to living beliefs and ideals that were initially presented.
I believe in the power of story. It is so important right now, especially for women. Too long those of us who have been subject to emotional and physical trauma or manipulation have kept silent. People have asked me over the years (in reference to both my abusive husband and the Love Family) “Why didn’t you just leave?” I was married to an abusive man for several years before I ran in fear and the memory of that particular night is etched into my mind and has changed my life forever. I spent most of my adult life in the Love Family even after I recognized the financial and social discrepancies, the manipulation, and the patriarchy. Why I stayed and hesitated to express myself until years later is a complicated issue. Those who have not walked in those shoes may never understand.
The memoirs of my friends describe the journeys that led them to the Family and the lives that ensued. There is a common thread that weaves those of us who lived together during those years. There are also as many variations of stories and experiences as there were people. A person’s truth is a person’s truth.
From my perspective women in the Family were not valued and respected, simply put. Or maybe we were just overshadowed by the rule of serving the whole first, core families second. Certainly, we were not encouraged to speak out. It was more important not to make waves or ask questions. As ideal as it seemed in the beginning, the Family morphed into a microcosm of the world at large with the same problems. I did not live in fear there but as a woman, I felt repressed and manipulated as the years passed.
There are those who had a different experience. Some aspects of a big family were positive and I am a better person with a wealth of experience. I gleaned some lasting friends and the children that we raised together have bonds to this day. I learned a lot about my self and about human nature. I have to believe that we did change the world for the better for a time.
Below are links to the memoirs: