Personal Story of former member(Please note that the names of the people involved in this story have been changed to use only their first and sometimes, last initials to protect their privacy.)
The author is protected by her first initial.
On April 2, 1992 I became a part of the Doranda Blevins Multi-Age Community. When I first moved in there was only one thing about what went on that made me feel uncomfortable. This was the way the religious services were conducted. They included Daronda speaking in tongues, interpreting the Holy Spirits words, and casting out demons. There were demons for everything imaginable - from car problems to someone who simply did not like Daronda. She would often times lay prostate of the floor moaning and weeping uncontrollably. If a person were frustrated, angry, sad or depressed, it was attributed to demonic activity. I had been raised Baptist and all of this was new to me. Sometimes members of the group would take turns sitting in the middle of the room in a chair and everyone else would gather around to lay hands on that person and cast the devils out or pray for healing. Daronda presented herself as a very spiritual astute person who knew exactly what it would take to reach heaven, and also as someone who could save the world if it would just let her.
When I first moved in I stayed at 613 Meremec Station Road. R.D. lived upstairs while D, B, and I stayed downstairs in the basement. S.R. live next door in 611. At the time S.E. and A.B. still had their own homes. Daronda lived in a condo she had occupied for ten years in Carols Wood located in South County off of Lindberg. There were many times that Daronda stayed upstairs at 613 however. When I meved in I was allowed to have pictures of family and friends, as well as receive phone calls from them. I was not prohibited from watching TV nor was I told I could not listen to the music of my choice.
One day a few weeks after I moved in the three of us girls were told by Daronda that we could no longer read any fiction books because they let the demon of fantasy in. WE could read instructional books only. A short time following that we were informed that any type of card game was evil, and that other games could be played only with great discretion. A few weeks later television too was prohibited. Not long after that, all music except Christian was not allowed.
During all the time leading up to this point, subtle hints were dropped by Daronda as well as by B. and D. that the only way to ever get well was to cut all contact with family members and old friends. Daronda would tell the same stories over and over again about what trouble she would have to go through when either of the girls decided to see their families. She said that their families made them emotional basket cases, unable to function in society. I began to know that I too, would be asked to cut ties with family and friends.
At first, I tried to ignore the hints but that only resulted by Daronda confronting me. I was left feeling like I did not have any real choice in the matter. I was told over and again during the confrontation haw horrible my parents were, how they did not want me, they did not love me, and if I were left to them I would die. I was made to know that if I did not follow the "Healing program" - I was out - at the same time, I was told that Daronda did want and love me and that she was the only one anywhere who did. I was constantly reminded of the years I had spent living in and out of friends houses and living on the street. It was told to everyone that I did not have anyone who wanted me except Daronda.
One night following a confrontation by Daronda about my giving up my family, us three girls were instructed to go to my room and clean it out. Nic-nacs, pictures, stuffed animals, -- and anything else that gave a bad feeling - were boxed up. Daronda took the box and told me she would keep it safe until it was okay for me to have it again. Some time later when I asked S.E. about where it was she told me it had been thrown away. Following this particular confrontation, I was instructed to write a letter to my parents informing them of my desires, and to tell my best friend V.M. that I did not want to talk to her for awhile. No certain times were ever put on anything, it was always just said, "until I am well." When I did not immediately follow through with the letter to my family, I was confronted again. This time I wrote a letter. Daronda read the letter and took it to make a copy. She said she would mail it for me.
About five months after I moved in S. was told he had to move because he would not conform himself to Daronda's rules for healing. Around this same time Daronda moved out of her condo altogether and moved into the center. She had D. move into the center with her under the pretext that her and B.'s dependency on one another needed to be broke up. She also said that this would be the summer that D. would, "get her own identity." Every time I had the chance to see Dawn that summer, she was either sad or depressed. She was constantly being confronted and put down by Daronda. She was told that she had a nothing personality and that she was basically a non-person. Daronda deliberately set out to show no emotion toward D. except contempt for who she was and scorn. D. at this time was confused and hurting, she thought that Daronda did not love her anymore and she became more determined than ever to do exactly what it was she thought Daronda wanted her to do and be exactly what Daronda wanted her to be. Many times D. expressed to me her terrible fear that Daronda did not like her or lover her anymore when a confrontation took place. Each time D. was confronted she became more determined to please Daronda - the more she did to please the more she got confronted - and so she set out to please again. This cycle continued on and on - it still does today.
Many times I was told a story about D.'s deliverance. D. herself described it to me. She said that she sat on the floor in the middle of the group. Everyone took turns stripping her down. They told her that she touhgt she was big stuff but she was not shit. Her walk was mimicked by Daronda, and she was told she was sluty. She was told she was mean and hateful and that she tried to seduce every man who walked in the room. She was called names and any bad quality they felt she had was described to her. She was mocked and made fun of. D. told me that at some point she began to realize she had to get out of there - she also said that she decided she might as well kill herself since going back ou into the world would be the same thing. At the times the thoughts came to her she told them to the group and she was confronted even harder. The deliverance process took hours. The result was that most of the demons D. had been possessed by were driven out.
At the end of the summer of 1992, D. moved back into 613. During her stay at the center, S. sold her house, gave the money to the center, began fixing up the basement of 611, and moved temporarily into the upstairs of 613. Shortly after the basement was finished she moved into the basement - it had been converted into an apartment. Not long following this A.'s house was sold and she too gave the money to the center. The upstairs of 611 was fixed up and A. moved in.
About a year after I moved in, J.I. moved in. When he first come he would go out and do things with us girls. Sometimes we would go to the park of he would just come over to the house and we would sit around and talk. After J. had been there for about three months, we were told that he could not be around us girls anymore. Daronda said that all three of us were man haters and that we mistreated J. and caused his healing to regress. At one time a few months after the whole group was at the farm in Arkansas, Daronda started to confront us girls about J. She kept us up until three in the morning. The confrontation had started around eight. She told D. that she tried to seduce J. She told B. that she exploited J. She told me that I was basically hateful toward him and that I provoked him to anger. She went on and on about how we could not be trusted with any man. She told us that of she lost J. it would be our faults for treating him so terrible. That if he left and ended up dead it would be on us. After that none of us were allowed to even speak to J. Daronda began to take J. with her everywhere and never let him out of her sight. If she went to Arkansas, so did J. If she went to the store, so did J. Anywhere she went she took J. along. In the beginning, J. stayed at the center with Daronda. Eventually, a condo next door to Daronda came up for sale, it was bought, and J. was moved in. Every morning he was to come straight toher condo after he was dressed. There were many times that J. would get sick of Daronda constantly confronting him and he would go off on her. He would tell her she was crazy and needed help. He called hern ames and physically threatened her. Finally, she brought the problem up with Dr. Krojanker, and J. was put on medicine called Buspar. When he took it regularly like he should he was under control. If he skipped it or quit taking it, he would start to rebel again. She took control of it and administered it herself to guarantee he was taking it.
About a month after J. moved in S.H. came to stay with us. She was presented as a little girl who had many problems, mostly with her mother and she needs lots of help.. Daronda told S. basically the same thing she told the rest of us - that her mother could not take care of her, that she was an unfit parent, and that she was the only person in the world who could possibly make her into a functioning person someday. All of us were always told that it could take years and maybe never would all the damage our parents had done to us be reversed.
Six months after S. came S.G. and J.G. came to stay at the center. Their family had been coming to the Daronda for counseling for a few years. Both of the kids had been doing poorly in school and Daronda convinced the parents that if they let her home school them, she could improve their grades as well as their interest in school. J.G. stayed for one semester and decided he wanted to go home. S.G. decided to stay and is still here. By the time the semester was up she had bonded with S. and had been convinced by Daronda that she too could find health and happiness only through Daronda.
Never at any time did Daronda mention any of us going home. She talked of years down the road and what parts she expected each of us to play in the building up a place where lots of kids could receive the benefits we were receiving.
Shortly after J. came to the center, an old client named W.W. called Daronda and asked if she could take care of his father C. She said yes, and C. came. J. was the basic care giver with him. After he had been there about seven months, he began to get sick. He was in and out of the hospital and rapidly lost control over his bathing, clothing and bathroom skills. Shortly before Christmas, while C. was in the hospital, he contacted staff disease and was put in a nursing home. On Christmas Eve he passed away.
In October of 1993, about five months after C. came to the center, S. received a phone call concerning her elderly father. He was in bad shape and needed help. Daronda sent S. to Florida to get him. He came back and was in our care for about a month when he developed pneumonia and was hospitalized. From there he rapidly got worse. At the same time C. was dying A.R.(S's father) was dying also. Just two days after C. died, A.R. died in his sleep while he was in my care. He left S. a very great sum of money in the area of half million dollars - all of which she turned over to the center before I left.
About two or three weeks after we held the services for A.'s funeral, S. began to act differently. At first, the group just thought it was because she had just lost her father. Later, Daronda decided it was something more. S. seemed to be distancing herself from the group. She was isolating herself. Finally, one day Daronda began to confront S about her behavior. This confrontation was to last altogether about three weeks. It did not take place all at once, but every time S. saw Daronda there were hours spent with Daronda confronting her. If the group were around everyone was instructed to use group dynamics to confront her. During this time, nearing the end of three weeks, Dr. Krojanker came for his regular monthly visit. Daronda decided that S. should have a session with him. She of course included herself as part. At that time, a friend of Daronda named S.M. was coming on the days Dr. K. was there to sit in on sessions in order to get hours in for his degree in counseling - so he too was there. During this time, Daronda suggested that role playing be done. Daronda played S.'s mother and S.M. was a mediator. In the course of the role playing, the topic somehow turned to Daronda and the way she treated S. S. at that time said she felt scorned and belittled by Daronda. She felt that Daronda had a control problem and was mean in order to get her way. Later that afternoon the rest of us went to the center for a group session with Dr. K. When we arrived we were informed that Daronda would not be joining us as usual because she had an extremely hard day and could not cope with anything else. The groups session lasted about two hours. All of this time Daronda stayed in her office with the door closed by herself. When Dr. K. left, she came out and told us that S. had betrayed her and the whole group. She told us S. embarrassed and humiliated her. She also added that it would be all right though because everyone including S.M. and Dr. K. knew how untrustworthy and not credible S. was. The rest of that evening was spent with the group sitting around discussing S. as if she were not even in the room. The next day was a Sunday and we all gathered at the center in the morning for a church service. Talk of the Bible never occurred that day. The whole time was spent with Daronda raging and screaming at S. At one point Daronda screamed, "If you want to act like a dog, get on your knees-get on your knees now!" At this point, she grabbed S.'s hair and began to spank her with her hand. The whole time she was screaming. When she stepped away, S. got up and ran into Daronda's counseling room. Daronda followed. From the other room we could hear Daronda yelling and S. crying. Daronda was saying things like, "So the big S. can cry can she?" and "You want scorn? I'll give you scorn!" "What do you think you're crying for. I'm the one who you betrayed!" At some point Daronda screamed at the rest of us that she needed help. Some of us went into the room. S. was backed into a corner and Daronda was in her face pulling her hair and asking S if she wanted to hit her daring her to do so. After about another hour it somehow came up that the Holy Spirit wanted all S.'s money turned over to the center. After S. said she would do this, Daronda cheerfully laughed and acted like everything was all right. She looked at S. and said that she had known that there was something else wrong with S. besides just her father's death. Starting the next day, S. began to transfer her assets to the company and has been ever since. Sometimes S. still does not transfer something fast enough and Daronda will ask her if she wants another episode like before. If usually happened right away after that.
There are meny times I can recall Daronda going on rampages that lasted for hours. Anytime the whole group was together, she found something to rebuke us for. She would tell us that she could not believe that there were other people in the world who acted the way we did and that we were all power hungry sickies. Always she told us how we were so sick we could not function in the real world. Whenever there was a big issue she wanted solved, she would speak in tongues during a service and then interpret. Always the message was that Daronda was doing what was right in the Holy Spirit's eyes, and that we should obey her in everything. Sometimes she acted like she hated every one of us during one of her tirades. The worst ones were on Sunday mornings and while we were all t the farm. On the Sundays we all had gathered to work on a Bible study program she had written. She had asked a question and when she turned to me for response, I did not answer exactly the way she instructed me to. She went into a rage and said that our biggest problem was that we did not know how to follow instructions and she was tired of Satan using us to attack her. She used that line A LOT. She went on for a couple of hours about this particular issue.
Another instance took place about six months back. B. and D. had gone to the farm by themselves to pick J.B. (a 19-year-old that was coming to live there). They spent the night by themselves. Just before it started getting dark, they went outside to burn trash. While they were doing this an aerosal can exploded in the can and caught B.'s shirt and hair on fire. The left side of her face was burned and needed treatment. Also during their stay at the farm B. had gone to the garden and picked some rhubarb to make a pie. A few days after the girls were back home, Daronda called D. at the childcare. She told her she felt like B. was doing something to let the demons in. She told D. that she was going to confront B. big time. She told D. to tell me and to discuss all the things we had seen B. doing wrong. She also said she did not want B. to know what she was going to do. She said that she wanted everyone to get B. at once and she wanted B. to think that everyone else had been conspiring against her. The next day after everyone got to the center, Daronda started to confront B. She accused B. of trying to compete with her and of sabotaging Daronda in the cooking area. She also told B. that she felt that she must have done something wrong for God to allow Satan to attack her with the fire. B. was instructed that she was no longer allowed to be in charge on any meals until she earned it.
Anytime Daronda made anything for the group, there was a confrontation if everyone did not compliment it. If she made a cobbler and someone did not eat it - she confronted. If she wrote an article and someone did not read it - she confronted. A few months ago she made a professional singing tape. She made it known that she expected everyone to listen to her tape and her tape alone. If she came around the houses and any music besides hers was playing, she would be mad. She always said this was just another way Satan had of using us. We were all so jealous of her and wanted her power so much that we let Satan use is against her.
Over and over we were all told every time we saw her that we were basically losers and demon used sickies. We could not make it in the world and would die without her intervention. She also claimed herself to be the only one anywhere who knew exactly what the Holy Spirit wanted. If someone else in the group would say that they felt the Holy Spirit wanted them to do something, she would pick it apart and tell that person it was not God that told them, but Satan.
She often said she would not follow anyone else's lead because no one else knew what she knew. No one was allowed outside after dark because she said Satan hated us all because of her time we could not even buy our own clothes, make-up or other supplies. She would pick out all of our clothes for us. One time she went and got a whole bunch of hair bows and said she liked to see us girls in them. At that time D. had very short hair and looked ridiculous wearing the,. But she wore them anyway because this is what Daronda wanted.
Daronda was very good at finding what things us kids did not like about our parents and magnifying it to the Nth degree. With everyone of us it was different, but the basic solution was the same - stay away from them or they would destroy us.