Rachel's Story - Part 6
1998 When I Came Back
During my absence, the Leading Brothers had distanced themselves from David. This was especially true of Jeff Lehmkuhl, who during this time, stopped trying for David's approval and instead began to align himself closely with Betty. Soon after I left, George came up and preached on, "seeing the result of your choices in your children." It was implied that it was because of my parent's sin that I was having problems. Of course, he never did anything to help my parents with their "sin." One couple even came and asked he thought my parents should have done differently in order to prevent the choices I had made.
In 1998 I left the man I had been living with. He turned out to be the same as David but without the name Christian attached. I found out 3 weeks later that I was pregnant. I moved in with my maternal grandparents and eventually was able to contact my parents. After a time, I was able to start coming out to the meetings. I had to write a letter of repentance, I had to sit in the back and of course, did not partake of the Lord's Supper. I did not partake for about 7 months and the sat in the back for about a year and three months. I moved in with a sister here in SLO in a tiny studio.
During most of the pregnancy Betty was in San Luis Obispo and had me meeting with her. She blamed a lot of my "failures" on Judy. She said Judy undermined the authority of David by complaining about him to me and by not always doing what he said. Betty was upset that Judy had confided in me regarding the abuse. During this time there was a lot of conflict over the behavior towards me.
David and Judy were not allowed to let me live with them or to help me out. Judy was not even allowed to give me a baby shower. This upset her. She believed that if I had repented of my sin, I should be given help. She was told in no way was she to give me any help.
Despite this, Judy attempted to help as much as she could. She gave me money occasionally to help me afford necessities. Whenever she helped she was punished severely and reprimanded by Betty and the leadership. Judy felt that if we are willing to help people in the world, then why not the child of God. When she said something about it then she was told she was out of place and wrong.
At first I was told to give the baby up for adoption. However, upon discussing it with Bob Anderson, it was determined that I would be unable to give the baby up for adoption without risking the father taking the child permanently.
Then Betty suggested I go and live with the Holders and let them raise the baby as their own but legally retain custody. I said I couldn't do that. That was one of the few times I was able to put my foot down. As the time for the baby's arrival approached I tried to get an apartment for the child and myself. Again Judy tried to help me. She spent hours looking for an apartment for me while I worked and spent her free time taking me to look at the apartments she had found. She tried to raise as much money as she could to get me the deposit for the apartment. Again, she was reprimanded for her help. She was told that if she helped me I would not learn to take responsibility for my choices. Eventually we found an apartment that I could take.
When Betty heard this she told me to come and meet with her. She suggested that I live with a family and work for my room and board so I could stay home with my child. I told her I would pray about it. She said, "If we were to do this who would you consider living with?' Upon that, she pulled out her address book and started making a list. By the end of the week, the Leading Brothers had a letter they were sending out to everyone on Betty's list. I had never consented to this but I felt I had to go along with it.
When all was said and done, my grandparents picked Mexico. They wanted me to go down there before the baby was born.
I was called to meet with George on a Monday. I was told to ask my doctor on my Tuesday appointment if I could leave on Friday to move to Mexico. I was told not to talk to anyone about this and not to tell even my roommate about this. I had no time to give my job or roommate notice. My roommate kept asking what I was going to do about my living arrangements after the birth and I couldn’t tell her. I am ashamed to say I had to lie.
I had a number of complications to my pregnancy that George and Betty knew about even before they asked me to move. I was borderline pre-eclampsia, had been having reoccurring kidney infections, had a possible placenta previa, and another complication that could have required a C-section. Regardless of these complications, they still asked me to move and give birth in Mexico. When Judy protested, she was told she was interfering with God's work in my life and that she needed to stay silent. No consideration was given to her as my mother and the grandmother of this child. Quite the opposite, she was told that because she was my mother she needed to stay out of this completely and in no way help her child or grandchild.
Fortunately, my doctor absolutely forbade it. He was in shock that it was even talked about. I was told to move into my parents' house temporarily. It was decided that once I had recovered from the birth, (two weeks max), I was to move to Mexico. I talked to Bob Anderson and he said not to leave the country until I had a court order for custody, etc.
Then George and Betty decided to move me into Roberto and Jenny Sanchez's house until my legal stuff was done. I moved on my due date with the help of only my mother. It ended up that the District Attorney was never able to find the father and so my legal situation never resolved. I was unable to move.
Daniel was born on April 16, 1998. I was stuck in the hospital for 3 days because of complications. The leadership and George and Betty told everyone not to visit me. Besides my mother, Dave, who is now my husband, and James Aiken were the only people who visited me.
Dave has told me what the brothers said to James Aiken and him privately. They said this was not a joyful occasion. The angels were not rejoicing at the birth of this child because he was a bastard and the result of immorality.
I remember sitting in the hospital for an entire day alone. It was the worst day of my life. George and Betty would not even come to see me even though they were in town.
Once I got home from the hospital, they come over for about 5 minutes on the way out of town and gave me $50.00. After the birth, Betty did not come to SLO as often as she had during my pregnancy.
During my pregnancy, Bob Anderson had told me not to break contact with the child’s biological father so that when I went to court I would be seen in the best light. However, David wanted me to have no contact with the biological father. I was in a double bind, I would have to either blow my legal position, or face the wrath of my father. In an immature move, I told David Geftakys I had no contact with the biological father even though I had been in contact with him. I was not in a relationship with him but I didn't know how to be in a spot where I was safe. I saw my options as:
I would be in jeopardy (I thought) with the law because I had not kept in contact with my baby's father.
I would be in trouble with David because I had kept in contact with my baby's father.
The result was a decision by the Leading Brothers. When they found out that I had lied to David, they once again said I could not partake. They did not ask my reasons or take into account the surrounding situation. I was not allowed to partake for about 5 months. At that time, I was still only allowed to sit in the back.
After the baby was born, I went back to the Sanchez's house. At first, they did not allow me out of my room. This turned out to be a misunderstanding between the husband and wife, (the wife had told me I couldn't leave my room but that wasn't the instruction from her husband). I was not allowed to make any calls or to answer the phone. I was not to go back to work.
Later I was allowed to call my parents or my attorney but I had to talk in the kitchen, in front of them so they could monitor my calls. I had medical bills but was not supposed to work. I asked Roberto if he would help pay for my bills and he said, "Not unless God tells me to." I was not allowed to use my car. I could only go somewhere if Jenny took me. I was not supposed to use my car because I was not working and therefore I should not have any money to pay for insurance or gas.
I was a 20-year-old woman with a baby and I was a prisoner in this home. I cooked breakfast and lunch everyday and dinner 2 to 3 times a week. I did all the laundry and the ironing. This was on top of all of my regular jobs and supervising the children for clean up and babysitting when Jenny went swimming at the pool.
Six weeks after Daniel was born I decided to go back to work part time to pay my bills. I got up at 5 AM so I could get lunch and breakfast ready and get my jobs going. I left at 8:45 AM so that I could take Daniel to the Foy's house and nurse him before I went to work.
I came home at 12 and worked in the home from 12 to 3 then back to work and home at 5. I nursed Daniel for all of his feedings and I was able to get all my work in the Sanchez home done. I was exhausted, lonely, and discouraged most of the time.
Judy had requested to be able to watch her grandson while I worked but again was told this would be too much help for me. Latter when I had to get a professional babysitter due to Shelia's health issues, I was told I could not pay my mother to watch my son. It was better that I pay a perfect stranger to care for my son than for his grandmother who loved him to care for him.
Roberto didn't like that I was working a job in addition to working in his home. I asked if I could do less "Room and Board" work and pay a little toward my room and board instead, because the workload is so hard. Roberto wouldn't do this and said it wasn't what we agreed. Then Roberto told me I had to quit my job that day. No notice, nothing.
I was unwilling to do this because my employer had been so good to me. I called George and he talked to Roberto and I was able to give notice at my job. I wanted to move so badly. I was told that I was the reason their children misbehaved. I was told I didn't work hard enough. When Judy came over to try to help me, we were criticized. I was praying to leave but didn't feel I could leave on my own.
Jenny was very abusive to her children. When she got angry she yanked them around by the ear or arm. She would spank them excessively with a large number of swats. Her children threw themselves on the ground and had tantrums often. She left them alone while she slept for long periods of time.
After I moved out, she was walking down some steps and fell. In fear of twisting her ankle she "lightly tossed" her 1-year-old baby boy onto the cement and it broke his arm. Her children have often been to the hospital for serious injuries but I do not know the particulars of the other "accidents."
This was the reason I had Shelia F. watch Daniel and not Jenny even though Jenny told me to let her watch Daniel on a number of occasions. Jenny and Roberto's bedroom was right next to mine and I could hear them yelling at each other almost every night.
When they had been yelling, I got a lot of grief from Jenny the next day. I called Betty to see if she could help me but she said that I had decided that this was God’s will for me and so, now that the going had got tough for me I should not abandon God's will. She washed her hands of the whole thing, refusing to even take responsibility for having set the situation up.
When a friend of mine asked me to house-sit, I decided to ask Roberto. If he said OK then I would do it. I asked him, on a Tuesday, and he asked if I thought it was God's will. I said, "Yes," and he said, "OK."
I called my friend and told her I could do it. The next day, Wednesday, Roberto told me he didn't think I should house sit. I told him I already made a commitment and I will not back out. About two hours later he came and told me that his idea of God's will for me, and what I thought was God's will didn't match, so I needed to move by Friday! That gave me three days to find a place to live. I had lived at his house three months. Graciously, the Foy's allowed me to move in to their home and were very kind to me. I remained living with them until my marriage.