On a fall day in 1999, 19-year-old John I. Post packed up his birth certificate, Social Security card, state identification, favorite blanket and pictures of his family and prepared to leave the religious cult into which he’d been born and raised.
He’d been taught his whole life that anyone who left the Twelve Tribes would die. He had no money. Agonized over the decision to leave. But he couldn’t stay. He planned to walk into town and call a friend for help.
When he finally stood up to leave the Vermont compound, some 15 cult members blocked his path outside, forming a wall. They prayed and warned there would be consequences if he walked out of God’s protection. He’d probably die. Post shook as he moved by them.
“My heart was just pounding and pounding. Was something going to happen to me? I didn’t know,” Post, who is deaf, said in an interview through an interpreter.
As he walked the mile into town, his father followed, imploring him to stay.
“I finally said to my father, ‘Look, please, accept this is my decision,’” Post, 43, said. “And finally he didn’t say anything and he walked away.”
Post was free.
“I’ll never go back,” he said. “Never, not at all. I just feel like, the Twelve Tribes, they are evil.”
— Full story via Shelly Bradbury, The Denver Post
“They are evil”: Ex-Twelve Tribes members describe child abuse, control inside religious cult
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