The Death Of Self
(Fred and Ramona at Islamic radio station in the UK)
"To those observing such authoritarian groups from the outside, it appears that members give up their power to the leader. But most disciples did not have very much personal power to begin with. What in fact has been given up is their power and self-determination. Since for many their previous choices did not bring them what they wanted, giving up self-determination does not at first seem like much of a loss"
-The Guru Papers
Follow the following link
to the audio of a speech given by Ramona Africa that is followed up by MOVE "supporter" Fred Riley and you will hear a very clear-cut example of the kind of mental impairment that several years under MOVE’s influence will cause.
In this instance, what is not important is the remarks by Ramona Africa. She gives her well-rehearsed speech to the British audience that she has been using for the past decade or so, complete with some added references to MOVE’s purported concern for animals. A play to the crowd by a certified player who will spout off anything for some cheap applause.
If you can get past Ramona’s pandering inducements to Fred’s portion of the speech, you will be rewarded with what sounds like a rambling child, but is instead a grown man in his thirties.
I was around MOVE when Fred joined up with the group. He was than the quintessential "searcher". The kind of person that cults like MOVE so readily prey upon and who end up often being the most dedicated. Fred came to MOVE without much to lose. A drifter of sorts, in need of a bath, and leaving behind a trail of broken relationships, Fred embraced MOVE with a creepy enthusiasm.
Remembering back to when Fred first came around MOVE, I recall one very specific when he quite literally crawled up to Ramona Africa and put his head in her lap like a little lost puppy.
For his dedication and subordination of self, he was rewarded with a MOVE "wife". Fred was given responsibilities within the group and went from a complete "nobody" to "somebody" in a short period of time.
In his speech, Fred re-counts his life "on the farm", where he admittedly abused animals. Just what form that abuse took is left to the imagination. But as a current acolyte of MOVE Fred is still mis-treating animals, it is just that now he believes that God is on his side in doing so.
He makes numerous self-pitying references to how the "system" has failed him and how MOVE has been his saving grace. For Fred, the monolithic system, is by definition, everything outside of MOVE. He doesn’t spell that out in his semi-coherent and intellectually deficient rant, but it is an inherent aspect of MOVE’s "theology".
Fred’s apparent anti-intellectualism is not cause for reproach in a group such as MOVE, but instead is something that is to be rewarded. The abandonment of mental and ironic faculties are the price to be paid for the illusion of security and "love" within the confines of the group.
While in general society being a mental cripple can make like excruciatingly difficult, in MOVE it is something that greases the wheels of the cult’s machinery and makes one’s life within that much easier. The less one thinks and the more one cedes life’s choices to the group’s leaders, the greater the supposed rewards.
But if you stick around long enough and you open your eyes you find that the "love" given to you by your MOVE family is dependant upon your laying prostrate at the feet of the group’s leaders.
It is hard to tell if Fred realizes that fact yet. One thing you learn in MOVE is to be a good actor. To the outside world you are expected to mouth the lies of those around you with a smile and re-count the multitude of ways that MOVE has enriched your life. But what goes on inside the member of an authoritarian sect is often quite different from the false edifice that is projected on the outside.
The constant destruction and re-building of one’s sense of self by the group dynamics and MOVE’s psychologically destructive "meetings"leave the mind recoiling with fear. You never know when the rug is going to be pulled out from under you, what the next order will be, when your loyalty will be questioned, when you will be asked to do something that you find morally reprehensible, but feel powerless to resist. It is a terrible state of affairs and can seem in-escapable.
But escape is what is necessary to regain your sense of dignity. It is a hard road, but one that must be traveled if you are to be free.