brainwashing

LOCKED IN: by John Huddle

At the 2014 conference for the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), I was in a conference filled with cult survivors. We were sitting in a large circle, some of us child survivors, some parents who had been lured, yet all of us had one commonality, we were victims. We shared openly, and a comradely connection swept through the room.

There was a man with a great sense of humor who seemed to interject at just the right time with softly funny quips that seemed to break moments of heaviness.  He had a gentle smile and kind demeanor.  John Huddle, survivor of Word of Faith Fellowship cult and author of LOCKED IN, ended up spending time with our group of survivors.  It was a great connection of healing and realizing that none of us were alone.  I was thrilled to meet another author, and we exchanged our books with each other.

Huddle’s book, LOCKED IN, opens with a young John, innocent minded, with a heart to do good in his community, a working man who volunteered at his local church.  He meets a like-minded woman and soon marries.  Life seems fulfilling, with Christian oriented goals of giving and helping in the community.  But this simple life quickly takes a turn when a woman named Jane Whaley enters the scene. John’s church, formerly led by Gerald and Linda Southerland, merges with the Whaley ministry and morphs into what would be re-titled as Word of Faith Fellowship.   Jane Whaley rules her congregation with an iron fist.  Her intensive and extensive set of rules are strenuous, dictating everything from styles of dress to her members’ employment, relationships, how children should be disciplined and much more.  In time, John and his wife have a family, but as his family grows, so does the sadistic, abusing and controlling environment and rituals set out by Jane WhaleyThe congregation travels to Brazil on recruiting trips. Over time, John becomes conflicted.  He struggles to come to terms with the truth of what he is embedded in.  Eventually, John is forced to make a decision that will ultimately change his life forever.

LOCKED IN is an excellently written, compelling and fast read.  Well-crafted with a style that can be related with, LOCKED IN allows the reader to follow the slow unfolding of religious based mind control on an adult.  The question of how an adult is slowly lured, turned and trapped into an abusive cult is lain out with brilliant precision.  With an informative forward by Lorna Goldberg, L.C.S.W, Psy.D, former President of International Cultic Studies Association, and quoting cult experts such as Janja Lalich, PhD, LOCKED IN tells the story of how innocent humans are preyed upon by swindlers who use religion to extract everything they can from their victims.

On behalf of Freedom Slips I recently had the honor to guest host one of their broadcasts and sit down to talk with John about the experiences he details in LOCKED IN.  John also discussed the current court case involving assault victim, Matthew Fenner by members of Word of Faith Fellowship.  Click below to listen to John’s interview.

John’s blog is a hub which details the history and the current drama involving the criminality of WOFF.  To stay abreast with the current events of the WOFF criminal case, follow John’s blog.  Word of Faith Fellowship has been deemed an extremely brutal cult and is currently charged with human trafficking of its Brazil members.

Vennie Kocsis is an Amazon best-selling author of CULT CHILD.  She hosts Survivor Voices Show every Sunday, 3PM PST / 6PM EST.  She is an anti-cult advocate and a supporter of of abuse survivors.

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I Know Anger. It Is the Unleashing of Pain.

I visit Ethnic Fest in my city today and encounter an end times, sign toting, fear dealing kid in the park who I wind up so hard, his last words screeched at me are “WOMEN SHOULD SUBMIT TO MEN!”

But let’s back up. It happens like this. I admit. I bait him. I see the big, hypocritical sign. I go cynical and comedic. I go in for the kill. However, he IS partially responsible, since he walks my way.

Everything in its season, yes? Maybe it is his time to be touched.

When he walks by, I beckon him to a table where I sit with friends. They remain silent throughout. Then so, the conversation between the two of us begins.

“I have a question, sir.” I ask politely, pointing to his sign. “What if God tells me to believe something that Jesus says I should never obey? What then?”

“That would never happen.” He states.

“Then why tell everyone to do that?” I ask.

So begins our back and forth banter as I “innocently” start pecking at his cognitive dissonance. I ask blanketed biblical questions as if I “kinda” know the Bible. He quotes scripture like a robot. I act curious. I am wringing him like a sponge to see where his head is.

Then a couple of things happen, and things change to a negative tone very fast.

ONE

“So, the whole ritual of eating bread and drinking the juice, what does that represent?” I ask.

I have on bright blue eyeliner. I am shiny, smiling and leaned forward in interest. To him, I am a potential. His face lights up at the chance he now has. He believes he is educating me. He is in an undercover linguistic role reversal, and his ego is blind to it.

“This is how we signify ourselves. Jesus said, eat of my flesh and drink of my blood…”

“So like cannibalism.” I interrupt.

That’s when the body language shift happens. I see his muscles tense and the anger set in. He just got challenged. This is against the rules. No one trained him for this one.

“YES!” I think to myself. “I’ve got him.”

TWO

At this point, a very attractive young woman, in her possible mid twenties, passes, and she low fives him. I watch as they lock hands for a second. She has on a long, body fitting and low cut, bright green maxi dress. She sashays her hips as her shoulder-length, brown hair sways over her back.

“Good job, Brother.” She says directly to him.

“Thanks!” He responds.

His face changes as she passes. His ego was just injected. He is reminded of why he does what he does, by that beautiful girl in the green dress who says “Good job.” That feels good, something no one often said to him in life. My senses are reading multiple movements, emotions and gray areas at once.

“Flirty fishing, huh.” I say casually.

“Yeah.” He laughs. “No, wait, huh?” His face changes to very serious.

“Oh, there was this cult. You know they used attractive females to lure members.” I explain.

“Oh, no. That was just a girl I met in the parking lot who’s a Christian and KNOWS what I’m saying is true.” He is defensive.

He doesn’t catch my subtle hint, that I am educated on luring and religious scamming; that I used the word cult; that I get she is giving him her approval, and I just watched him soak it in like it was his last drink; that there’s no parking lot anywhere close to the park. She represents their possibility. Evangelism brings income, and pretty Christian girls bring possibilities.

But hey, that’s just semantics. Back to the more important topics.

“Ok, so back to the cannibalism.” I re-direct.

That word is a trigger word for him so I make sure and use it again. I want him to think about it every time he takes his communion. I want to plant anti-virus words inside his programming. He scrambles to talk about signification, and I watch him change with agitation as the conversation grows.

I am fascinated with his body language and eye movement. Each piece of debate is flipping and turning him. I play with him, arguing scriptures, letting him feel like he is winning, and I stay dumbed down.

I rile him back up by accusing him of disobeying the Bible by arguing with me, but because I won’t tell him the exact verse to back that up, he says it’s not in there.

“You haven’t read the whole Bible then.” I reverse taunt. “If you did, then you’d know that verse.”

I want him go look it up, in his need to be right and find he’s wrong. Just a couple cracks in the screen.

I ask him what church he attends. He tells me they don’t have a church. He tells me that they go to people’s houses, “PREY” with them and have Bible studies.

“So what’s your story. Tell me about your past.”

He immediately shuts down.

“I don’t talk about my past because God instructs us to be ashamed of our pasts. To ask for forgiveness for those sins, but to stay in shame. They are not to be boasted about. Aren’t you ashamed of your past?” He demand.

“Not at all.” I calmly reply. “The Bible says to testify about the struggles we come out of.”

“Well, you should be.”

Ah, the crazy making. That is supposed to trigger my shame. Yet, I have none to trigger.

“How sad.” I say quietly, looking directly at him. “To live in shame.”

He is talking over me now, and he is angry. I understand talking over. It is akin to choking someone to shut them up. He is now telling me that I am a woman, and God instructs me to submit to him. I laugh. I can’t help it. It’s funny. I know this one also. They’re trained to try and trigger females with that stupidity. It’s a sad state of mind.

I try to give him a card. He refuses to touch if. Like it might be a demon. I am glad he doesn’t take it. I’m good with this wacko not knowing who I am.

I can see he is really riled up in a very negative angry way. His roots are rocked. I know anger. Anger is the unearthing of pain.

I feel I should probably make a slight turn to calm him and wrap this up.

“Well, let me ask you something. Does the Bible say God is love?”

“It does.” He agrees, still agitated, his foot tapping rapidly.

“And we are made in God’s image?”

“Yes.” He agrees again.

“Then we are all love by that definition?” I ask softly.

He is suddenly silent. It is as if a robot has been turned off. I am actually surprised at this silence. I expected an immediate robotic response of some contrary scripture as has been his pattern. I didn’t think it would be this simple of a concept which would stump his “hell, hatred, believe and obey” theology. He appears, for the first time, to have grasped a simple thought.

I decide it is a perfect time to be done.

“Hey, thanks for talking to me. Now we can go be love!” I say cheerily, waving my hand as I turn back around to the table.

He walks away, carrying his huge sign as he calls back that I am a wicked, evil woman sinner that should submit to him aka he didn’t, as the man, get the last word in or win the possibility of my pocketbook. Or to shove his questions down; to make me the villain because being wrong isn’t an option.

And I’m thinking “People actually let this man in their homes.”

As my friends and I walk out I see another young man just like the one I’d been speaking with. He has this fancy loud speaker hanging around his neck. It has volume buttons and is attached to a headset and microphone; like the ones used at trade shows.

This guy is also holding a sign and is standing on the corner screaming to the people passing by, talking about their sins. No one is paying any of them attention. They are just park nuisances.

“You sound like Jim Jones.” I lean in fast and hard, hoping my voice picks up on the microphone.

He turns the volume off.

“What?” He asks.

“You sound like Jim Jones.” I repeat.

“Who’s that?” He’s got this confused look on his face.

“Google him. He was a preacher who talked in a microphone just like yours.”

The fact he doesn’t know who Jones is lets me know these individuals are trained cultists who’ve been sequestered from common known truths and possibly internet access. Evangelistic missions with youngsters like this are managed by their handlers, who keep them on tight leashes.

These are swindlers’ puppets standing on festival corners looking for their handler’s next victim. Their masters have chosen the most programmed, best looking and youngest, yet legal, of them to send into the streets.

I think of Scam City. There is a tier racket going on. Extremists looking for followers. He has no church. His church is gaining entrance to people’s homes and lives with the use of a religion.

This is a dangerous criminal racket for which the “tourist” of life should be aware. Becoming a “tourist”, away from our own capable existence, molds a human into prey for the predators who use their religious wares to reel in the “tourists” who’ve become lost. But it’s a scam. Beware the mind pickpocket. They take your thoughts AND your wallet.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of CULT CHILD and other publications. She is the host of Survivor Voices Show on Freedom Slips; Studio B.

Why I Refuse To Misuse the Word Cult

There are linguistics experts who teach us that language evolves and changes over time. I cannot disagree with that.  Still, there are many instances that we must look at language in a deeper way. Linguists examine the structures of languages and the principles that underlie those structures. They study human speech as well as written documents.

Pictures and Hieroglyphics evolved to Mnemonics which evolved into regional languages. There are code languages like Cockney and Urban slang, used by oppressed groups as a way to communicate so their enemies cannot understand what they were discussing.  In essence, they use language as a form of self defense.

I have spent many years studying words that have been turned against humanity; words which, some, once held a deeper meaning. I’ve also explored the possible agendas.  I call these “change agendas“; when there is in intent to purposely, over time, change the meaning of a word in an attempt to trick and skew the mind.

Let’s start with the word “Illuminati“. In a conversation the other day, someone said to me “Well, I use it because that’s what everyone knows.”  I, on the other hand, refuse to use it as it has been termed, because I will not give over my own energy in the way it is being used.

What is the meaning of Illuminati?

il·lu·mi·na·ti
iˌlo͞oməˈnädē/Submit
noun
people claiming to possess special enlightenment or knowledge of something.
“some mysterious standard known only to the illuminati of the organization”
a sect of 16th-century Spanish heretics who claimed special religious enlightenment.
plural proper noun: Illuminati
a Bavarian secret society founded in 1776, organized like the Freemasons.
noun: Illuminati

What is the meaning of Cabal?

ca·bal
kəˈbäl,kəˈbal
noun
a secret political clique or faction.
“a cabal of dissidents”

Imagine the private elite meetings, where the Cabalists laugh about how the world calls them illuminated. If you are a believer that words hold power, think about where you are directing your energy, using a word which implies that individuals who enact immense harm on other humans are the love and the light of the world.

The Cabals of Earth are far from being “illuminated”. 

Let’s move on to the word whore. In my study of the sacred whores, I discovered “The Sacred Female” by Art Noble.   He has recently passed on, a sad loss of a kind acquaintance and an amazing researcher. There was a time BCE, when the Sacred Whores were revered, spiritual women, extremely particular with whom they coupled, usually Kings, Emperors; men of royalty.

220px-Milkau_Oberer_Teil_der_Stele_mit_dem_Text_von_Hammurapis_Gesetzescode_369-2

In Hammurabi’s Code of Laws, the rights and good name of female sacred sexual priestesses were protected. The same legislation that protected married women from slander applied to them and their children. They could inherit property from their fathers, collect income from land worked by their brothers, and dispose of property. These rights have been described as extraordinary, taking into account the role of women at the time.”

The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine By Nancy Qualls-Corbett

If the Jesus of the Bible was an enlightened man, it would be a fair deduction that he would have chosen to couple with a Sacred Whore such as Mary Magdalene. Yet, as the creators of religion were enacting the dis-empowerment of women, they gradually turned this word into a negative.

So if someone calls me a Whore, attempting to insult me, I smile and say “thank you“. It is a compliment, as I actually am highly spiritual and particular about with whom I share my body.

Cult is another word which appears to have a change agenda attached to it. Originally applied to Christianity by Christians, it is derived from Latin and means “to worship.”

Definition of cult
1
: formal religious veneration : worship
2
: a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents the cult of Apollo
3
: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious (see spurious 2); also : its body of adherents
4
: a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator health cults
5
a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (such as a film or book) criticizing how the media promotes the cult of celebrity; especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad
b : the object of such devotion
c : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion the singer’s cult of fans; The film has a cult following. (Merriam-Webster)

Enter the era of mind control, secret government operations like Jim Jones, the possible testing of mind control through religions, or government programs hidden inside of a cult, and the use of the word cult as it originated in reference to religion.  Suddenly religions did not like the word they had created being applied to them, because the world now thought of Jim Jones or Charles Manson.  Enter the change agenda.

Separating religion from the word cult, through experts, organizations, academic publications and media, even though the dictionary still clearly defines its origin to this day, has been a subtle and effective agenda.

Ever heard of The Mandela Affect? If you are told something enough, or if a group that you follow tells you something is truth, you will not hesitate to believe it, even if you have access to information that would tell you that truth is not correct.

One truth that cannot be changed is that, by definition, all religions are cults. If you worship, you are exuding cult behavior. One could ask, then, are all cults bad? I suppose that would be up to an adult to decide. However, I say that anything which teaches the human to work hard and achieve, just to give that “glory” credit to an invisible entity for which their is no proof, is a purposeful dis-empowerment and a subtle mind control trick that keeps human self-empowerment wavering.

Some cult experts seem to dislike it when I discuss the issue of the change agenda in regards to the word cult. I also find it quite odd that so many religious individuals have ingrained themselves into cult advocacy work and institutions. This means cultists are essentially “helping” cultists. See the problems here? Can the brainwashed truly help the brainwashed? One may say that if someone is still worshiping, then they are still under cult thinking, after all, it’s merely the definition of the word.

When words are improperly used, with an agenda to skew the mind, this is called neuro-linguistic programming. You have been programmed that a Cabal is bright and illuminated, therefore, you call it the Illuminati. You have been programmed to believe that a whore is a woman who sells her body to anyone or has sex with multiple men, therefore, you use the word whore as a derogatory term towards women you dislike. You have been programmed to believe that not all religions are cults.

You are being programmed through language. I highly recommend that you read Cathy O’Brien’s blog post on Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I recommend that you study neuro-linguistic programming and understand when it is used against you, it is a powerful and dangerous weapon. One thing I can guarantee, is that you will not look at language the same. If you are a mindful individual you may be more cautious with how you use words, and the energy with which you project them.

Enlightened Ones, We are the Illuminati. Take back your power by being extremely aware of your words and the intent with which you speak them.

Sacred Whores, continue revering your bodies, being spiritual and extremely particular about who you share your body with.

Religious humans, accept that you have, through indoctrination of worship, become a cultist.  Ask yourself why you can’t 100% believe in yourself. You came to this planet with the Knowing of your own DNA. Wipe out all programming and listen to your OWN body’s DNA cells. They are trying to talk to you, but you have been handed a band-aid cloaked in joy which has become a mesh that buries the sounds of your existence.  Learn to enjoy being silent long enough to hear your OWN voice.

Language is incredibly powerful and stays inside your psyche until you choose to correct it and/or reject it. Choose your words wisely. You are projecting energy every time you speak. Science has proven that your DNA can be re-programmed by words and frequencies. Don’t believe me? Give it a try yourself.

Vennie Kocsis is the author of CULT CHILD, an Amazon best-seller in cults and religion/2016. She is an advocate against child abuse and indoctrination. She is currently writing RISE OF SILA, the sequel to CULT CHILD. Her other publications and art can be explored at her Official Website

What Happens When We Dissociate?

How does Dissociation work? Is it okay to Dissociate? What happens during Dissociation? So many questions are posed toward the phenomena of trauma Dissociation.

The scientific process of Dissociation is a brilliant function of a human being’s DNA ability. There are many aspects which could be deeply examined in regards to the phenomena of Dissociation.

  1. Where does the DNA brain and body energy go when it leaves?
  2. Is the ability to Dissociate related to how much torture/pain a human can endure?
  3. Can Dissociation be controlled by the carrier?
  4. What happens during the Dissociative process?
  5. Why do some abuse victim’s Dissociate and not others?

In my memoir, CULT CHILD, I go into great detail about my Dissociative memories. These are real experiences which are extremely clear and prevalent in my memory. They have never changed. They have only been verified.

My Dissociation process as a child did not disappear, but instead, evolved as I became an adult. When I begin to feel my energy separate from my body, a myriad of physical signals happen first.

Sounds disappear. My body feels as though it is floating. My heart rate speeds up. I begin to see my current reality in third person perspective, as an outsider looking in. This happens in a matter of seconds. Then in a blink, I am elsewhere in my mind. I, personally, tend to travel to a dimension outside of my current realm.

Because I dissociated so much as a tortured child, it seemed like a natural and smooth transition to evolve the methods I used to transition, into my own meditative states. If my environment is right, I am able to push through the physically uncomfortable Dissociation transition to access differing sectors of my brain. Now, it is a willful and purposeful action.

The most pertitant element has been grounding to insure I am not left with aftermath; that I can come back to my present reality and be able to function at my own current level. Therefore, before using this technique I usually hold an object in my hand.

For me, there are now two types of “Dissociation”. One, emerged out of a childhood fear, fight/flight instinct, which I used as I was universally assisted through surviving cult inflicted torture.

The other would emerge as a flipping of those ritual tools, utilizing the survival abilities of my childhood abuse as newly assistive methods through which I now freely access the other dimension.

So, from my experiences, there is no set answer to the “What happens when you dissociate?” question. There are too many mitigating factors.

  • a human’s level of pain tolerance
  • a human’s mental strength
  • an abuse victim’s environment
  • an abuse victim’s DNA
  • the type of abuse enacted

For instance, my Dissociations found me continuously returning to the seventh realm, as I know it, while another abuse victim I am friends with jumps to a planet within this galaxy. Yet another abuse survivor I know remains on the ceiling, watching the full extent of their abuse. One element I observe in regards to the extent of an ability to control Disaociation seems to also include a human’s personal evolvement. The more evolved human deals with less fear, thereby being able to travel easier.

To answer how one dissociates would be to speak with every abuse victim who has used Dissociation to cope. While our experiences and circumstances are all differing, what we do have in common are the physical signs, as described above.

Possibly, when we master the skill of traveling, not in fearful Dissociation, but in an ability to focus, using Dissociative abilities to access the levels of our own existence, we have come to explore our memories from a place of empowerment.

This takes work. It has taken me years to evolve my methods. I am still evolving them as I am determined to access more of my mind’s caves. It takes being healthy so the body doesn’t fall ill. One must be able to be in a soothing environment to do this work. Because it is emotionally laborious, most Dissociation carriers avoid the exhaustive journey.

Yet, I say that if one chooses to face the layers of their own dissected childhood, that through the exhaustion, tears and haunting images, learning to stay grounded and traveling into Dissociation has been one of my strongest developments.

Vennie Kocsis is a 2016 Amazon best-selling author of CULT CHILD, a memoir detailing her abusive childhood in Sam Fife’s Move of God cult. She is currently writing the sequel, RISE OF SILA.

“Dead, Insane or In Jail: A CEDU Memoir” by Zack Bonnie

 “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.” Lily Tomlin

Let Me Be

art by Jonathan Weiner, San Francisco, CA 2015

Accented with unique and relevant art by Jonathan Weiner of San Francisco, CA,”Dead Insane or In Jail: A CEDU Memoir“, by Zack Bonnie, reveals with precision the mind bending abuse enacted inside of the youth reform industry. “The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry”, by Mother Jones, explains the birth of this industry and provides the following graph.  CEDU had roots in Synanon and began in 1967.

how_a_cult_spawned_the_tough_love_teen_industry_630x738

It was indeed an industry of profit as parents were indoctrinated with the belief that any slightly “off” behavior by their teenager was a sign of serious problems, resulting in parents not only giving away their children with the belief they were helping them, but additionally being swindled out of millions of dollars.

Dead, Insane or In Jail: A CEDU Memoir” opens with Bonnie taking a ski trip with his father. Subsequent events find a fourteen-year-old Bonnie checked into a youth reform facility in Idaho. He is tricked, and left there against his will. Thus begins the enactment of Bonnie’s mental shattering. Overnight, he joins the ranks of the large number of throwaway youth in the eighties, who eventually were labeled “Generation X“.

With every phone call monitored and Bonnie’s parents receiving false reports of his progress, he becomes trapped in an intricately woven scheme of abuse.  He has no means of escape.  He is unable to relay his alarming conditions to anyone.  Forced through bizarre, psychological techniques to become emotionally naked, Bonnie is often left confused about what is real in his mind.  The children are left unsure of what a right answer to staff questions should be.  They are love bombed, then verbally abused, with severely psychotic mind control rituals. The CEDU facilitators often use the children’s personal family dynamics to manipulate them.

“To not share would be to betray them and the confidences that they shared.  I said the most innermost things that made my voice tremble to admit, bringing an ancient anger and self-hatred to the surface.  It wasn’t just the situation; it was where it was taking me, inside myself.

I’m useless.”

Who used to say that to you?” Keith’s soft voice back at me.

My father.”

Your father called you useless?”

Yeah.

Had he really? Yes, he had.

Say it again. ‘My father said I’m useless.’ Good. It hurt you? Yeah. You can say that again, that’s riiiigth.”

Tess and Keith repeated what we said a lot. Just about every time a kid in my group said something, Jasper, Tess, or Keith was there to repeat it. This is how we always seemed to get roped into going deeper within ourselves.

Rituals involve teenagers verbally confronting themselves and each other.  Every detail of their life is invited to be shared as their overseeing handlers note them to use against the children later.  Rounded into groups, they are put through almost daily, mind bending sessions of unimaginable attacks as staff strategically controls the children into turning on one another.

FullSizeRender

art by Jonathan Weiner, San Francisco, CA 2015

Zack describes session after session, as every part of the children’s emotions are controlled and manipulated.

Bianca, what do you remember about your mom? She used to have a name for you, too, didn’t she?”

I guess so.” Bianca Taylor picked up her cue from Tess.

Yeah. What was her favorite nickname for that beautiful little tyke? Can you remember for me?

She used to call me Rainbow...” Bianca started crying. I wanted to start crying from watching Bianca, who I’d never really even talked to. Seeing raw sadness like that felt like a punch to the solar plexus.

Toughen up.

The berating of kids is a carefully crafted tool.  Broken down into nothing, with their self-image lost and lacking any emotional worth, the children become easier for the staff to manipulate.  Using every piece of their fragile lives, the staff takes as many opportunities as possible to verbally abuse the children.

I can’t hear you, Bianca. A spoiled little bitch? Spoiled little bitch. LITTLE BITCH! Why did he call you that? That’s right, let me hear you.”

Go for it, Wally…GET IT OUT, PEOPLE. That’s RIGHT!”

A SLUT! Who said that to little Daphne? You really let that little girl down, didn’t you?

Yeah? When? After the abortion? Say that again, Narissa – you’ve got to stop being that girl with the reputation? Look at her!

Here’s some tissues, Bianca. Let it go.”

Catch terms such as “bans“, when children are forbidden to speak to one another, and “bad rapping“, children saying bad things about each other, are among a plethora of rituals used to manipulate the minds of vulnerable teenagers.  Meanwhile, the children are allowed to smoke cigarettes and other self-harming behaviors, geared to feed into their anxiety, which grows, the longer they are forced to remain inside of the program.

Bonnie’s writing style allows his reader to easily flow between what he is forced to witness happening to other children and the silent thoughts he is disallowed to ever let leave his lips lest there be intense punishment.  The children are trained to adhere to a system filled with mistrust and expected betrayal of one another.  They are strip searched upon admittance to the program.  They are heavily worked.  They are humiliated in front of one another.

Yet, even trapped inside such a sordid system of complicated tier goals, systematic punishments, humiliation and anger, Bonnie’s resilience becomes his counter weight as he journals.

“Guess what I went through my truth prophet August 9 & 10 and I found out that I basically I was a dick at home. I have been mulling it over in my mind and I know the point of raps and prophets.  Just to make you cry a lot so naturally being the way I am I didn’t cry. – Author journal entry, 11 August 1988 (one month at RMA)”

Through this writing, Bonnie brilliantly flows between descriptive enactment of the program and his attempt to retain a critical thinking mind.  Bonnie takes his reader’s hand and pulls them directly into the center of his deeply intense experiences.

Bonnie navigates the CEDU system until he can no longer withstand the thin line between the reality in his mind and the constant psychological belittlement he daily endures.  One day Bonnie decides to go on the run.  Will he make it out?

Dead, Insane or In Jail: A CEDU Memoir” reveals the sadistic truth of the youth reform’s use of mental and physical abuse to control children.  Never has a book had an impact on my own teenage memories since I was a young person reading “Run, Baby, Run” by Nicky Cruz. The detail through which Bonnie brings his story to life is exceptionally mapped out.

Dead, Insane or In Jail: A CEDU Memoir” is guaranteed to make you intensely feel. You will be outraged. You will ask why and how a human being can do such things to children. You will laugh, and you will cry. You will cheer for the incredible strength and courage Zack journeys into as he brings his teenage memories to life on the pages of this exceptional book.

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Zack Bonnie

Zack Bonnie is in the process of re-launching his website, complete with an audio-book of  DEAD, INSANE OR IN JAIL: A CEDU MEMOIR, which is available in paperback and e-book. Additionally, he is beginning the publishing submission process for the sequel, entitled: DIJ: OVERWRITTEN.   All of Zack’s work can be explored at his WEBSITE.

To subscribe and stay informed as Zack continues developing his literature, please sign up for his NEWSLETTER.  You may also follow Zack on Facebook and Twitter.

Personal Note: Sometimes a book is so well written, it sinks into the skin of a trauma survivor like me, who found incredible familiarity in the words I read.  This author touched my heart deeply when I met him. The ache in his eyes was familiar. The strength was admirable. The energy was filled with the passion for advocacy. So, dear Zack, please forgive my delay in this long overdue review of your book. I truly wanted to give you the honor you so rightly deserve. Love, Vennie Kocsis  

Motherless On Mother’s Day

by Vennie Kocsis

I don’t quite understand these constant holidays, dedicated to moms and dads and bunnies and love. I see them as marketing scams, a way to boost economy almost every month, by throwing in a Holiday.

But hey, maybe I’m bitter.

On these days I am reminded of my absent mother. See, not only did she pass away in 2007, her mother’s soul was stolen when I was three.

Recruited by an ill-intended woman into a sinister cult, my mother was forced to be separated from her children, initially physically starved through food rationing. After years of brutal torture, all of our spirits were broken.

Emotionally, I never had a mother. In cult life, I was rarely allowed to express my feelings to anyone. This was considered to be self centered behavior, a feeding of the flesh and a sin in the eyes of God.!!If by some chance I caught my mother in a listening mood, my emotions were most often turned back around on me.

“Suck it up, buttercup.”

This was one of my mother’s favorite phrases.

These days feel so distant to me. Social media is filled with flowery and adoring words dedicated to mothers. They are loved and adorned with the flowers of sparkly attention.

I wonder if those mothers are supported every single day as they raise children, work and juggle schedules. I wonder if they have their own mothers to love them.

My mother is not here to love me. If she were here, she would most likely be in the midst of her Queendom, wearing her dark “Godmother” sunglasses which she’d taken to wearing for her glaucoma.

She would be the center wheel, the rest of the family mothers in her shadow, as she preened. There is a wince inside of my star heart, a little ache to return, back into the portal where my real home awaits.

I see the outstretched arms of my celestial Mother, her lips parted into a smile reflecting light from her pearly white teeth. She is waiting for me. She is proud that I succeeded in my mission.

“Welcome Home.” She says softly.


(Gif by Vennie Kocsis)



There is no banner or trumpets to celebrate my return. We are not a star family of false pretenses. She gives me the intimate connection which supersedes any material gift.

She holds me inside of her love, and as her arms wrap around my body, I sigh a heavy breath into her chest. I am home again.

To the mother in the starlight, who visits my dreams at night, soothing my cries, stroking my holographic hair, I am alight in your glory. We will see victory in this round.

Around My City She Sleeps

There are people who learn to trust the streets. I think of their lives, how they have made darkness their day and daylight their night so they can stay alive.

Where is the safe space when the alleys are teeming with the unloved at night, ravaged by the anger in their souls, screaming out their behavior and trying to numb the pain?

I understand why she sleeps in the day, quiet beneath an office building eave, on a porch never used. I watch the employers walk quietly past her, making sure not to wake her as they enter their offices.

This mixture of compassion and hopelessness fills my observation. She is sleeping soundly where she feels safe. Somehow, there is a silent understanding of this, and so she is left to rest.

I wonder of her story, who hurt her heart, body or both. I wonder when she gave up, how old she was and what would make life different for her.

Caught in a moment around my city, I see the humanness of humans. I feel the dance of empathy and indifference from those who walk past. If they let her sleep, they’ve done enough.

And I feel a woman with a ghost story, thankful for a tiny porch and the chance to sleep in quiet, beneath a mound of blankets, escaping reality for a few short hours.

Around my city, she sleeps, the wind weeps and minds escape into dreams.

©venniekocsis.com