Diary of a cult member

MSNBC/January 29, 1999
By Stacie Kern

North Texas -- 16-year-old Randall James committed suicide Thursday at his high school. Journals he left behind indicate a confused young man torn between a dangerous cult and doing what was right. They give a frightening look into the world of a teenager who took his own life.

John and Theresa James say they had no idea their son Randall was so torn up inside, not until he killed himself and left behind personal notes and a journal describing every day of his life for the past year. John James says, "He was extremely confused. He was being bombarded with questions in his head, 'What's right, what's wrong, what do I believe, what am I doing, what should I do next.'"

Through words and pictures, Randall described his involvement with a so-called Wiccan Cult. The beliefs were far from the traditional Wiccan Religion, whose members practice white magic, and encourage harmony with nature. His dad says, "It's contorted and deformed the way they've done it. There's nothing good about it. The Wiccan Religion was of good things that you can do and anyone that would do evil with it was not accepted and they were cast out."

Randall, too, was apparently cast out of his group once members realized his true intentions, to help others get out. His father found a disturbing letter filled with threats from a fellow cult member. John says the letter said, "We will join together against you, your Catholic, anti-atheist group." The letter went on to describe how Randall's deviation from the cult would result in a so-called dreamscape trial. Randall's step-mom Theresa says, "Entering and attacking a person through their dreams. They quote, unquote, kind of call it a dreamscape and even if the person doesn't want to participate they can still do it."

Randall's journal also described the study of two books: The Necrinomicon, or The Book of the Dead, and The Satanic Bible. Some cult experts say whatever his intentions, Randall was simply messing with something way too dangerous. James Walker of Watchman Fellowship, Inc. says, "There's a lot more to it than maybe they initially believe. Rather than just an innocuous investigation or morbid curiosity, they actually find themselves being drawn into the lifestyle. A lot of times the quest for personal power becomes overwhelming."

It's advice too late for Randall James, but information his parents hope will reach others whom may be lost and searching for answers. Randall's family and friends gathered for his funeral in North Richland Hills on Monday. Pastor Dennis Baw told the congregation Randall is now living peacefully in heaven.

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