Once End Time member Joni Cutler is now a South Dakota lawmaker. It's a journey that's taken years, and she says when she heard the news of a polygamist sect in South Dakota...her heart went out to the women involved because her membership in end time ministries took away something she can never get back.
End time, it's a term taken from the King James Bible. It refers to the end of time, a second coming of Christ ...It's also the name of a religious group Joni Cutler joined around 20 years ago that controlled members...especially women and children.
She says, "If you just looked at the surface the teaching looked like fundamentalism in Christianity but it went beyond that."
In late 1980s, End Time Ministries thrived in Sioux Falls. Cutler came to the church shortly after getting married. She says it was almost like she was brainwashed as she spent 13 years strictly following her leaders orders.
She says they told her, " how high the heels on my shoes could be..how curly my hair could be."
But when she saw how the group wanted her to bring up her family, she knew she had to leave.
"When I was asked to raise my daughters in the same manor...then it became clear to me...this is nothing I want for them," she says.
But Cutler now regrets she didn't leave sooner. She says she followed End Time's belief in prayer, not medicine, when she gave birth to her first daughter. The baby died hours after being born.
In tears she said, "It's a long time ago sometimes its still...."
Painful memories from a time when her life was being controlled by those she thought would protect her.
Cutler left End Time when her husband at the time decided to follow the group to Florida. She stayed with her 4 girls in Sioux Falls and has since re-married. Her first husband Gary Cooke, who re-married and lived with End Timers in Florida, was killed in a car accident last fall.