Posting by ex-LYMer Alexandra Amaya on FactNet's LaRouche message board, Friday, Feb. 13, 2004, 11:04 PM
I personally have had the unfortunate opportunity of being in the LaRouche cult. I met them while I was going to City College. I believe my problem with saying no and wanting to do good things for actual "good causes." I love to help anyone who is in need, whether it's AIDS or an animal shelter. Apparently I didn't know what I was getting into when I met them.
This guy who I met handed me some literature and asked for a donation so I gave him $5. I thank God that was all I gave him. I made the mistake of giving my address and phone number. After a couple of days he started leaving me phone messages non-stop and kept telling me to call him back at the office. I did after awhile to see what this was all about. So they came and picked me up at my house to go to a meeting. It's funny these people will do anything just so you can go to their "meetings." At first they were nice and asked me questions to see if I had read their literature. I really hadn't read thoroughly but I did read, kind of half read, one of their pamphlets. They told me "to just come to a meeting and see if you want to be a human being and learn about ideas..." Yeah, so I did. I am person who likes to learn and is always open to new things. This is one characteristic about me that made me very vulnerable to getting involved with them also along with saying no and wanting to help. I am a volunteer junky so their meeting seemed to make a lot of sense to me. This is the third thing that helped them trap me. I was still a young kid and like all people when we are young we tend to not know a lot and look up to the adult leaders [and] take what they say very willingly. For this I went in head first.
I started coming to meetings and started deploying with them soon after that. It didn't take too long for their brainwashing to start working on me because I [am] very easily influenced. I tried so hard to please them and I was willing to do anything and everything for them just to be accepted. For the first three months I was there, I was almost fully transformed psychologically. I was out there almost every day with them going to universities and public places. I got people to take literature and got donations and even got someone to come to a meeting. This was done all pretty much to please them. I kept trying to take in everything that they were feeding me and understand what their beliefs [were]. This didn't totally sink [in] because I kept telling myself that I would make sense of it all later. The whole entire time I was accumulating literature that I thought was interesting and what they had recommended to me.
I rarely was ever home. I stopped going to class and I gave my mom some bullshit excuse that I couldn't go to school anymore because I couldn't handle it. Well duh! The reason I couldn't handle school was because I was with this cult.
I even went to a cadre school in Los Angeles. I was really excited about it because [we] were going somewhere far and to me it was a fun thing to do. They would say that I was excited about going for all the wrong reasons. Meanwhile through all this I started to miss my mom and my friends. I shut out anyone who didn't agree with their point of view. Now that I look back on it I can't believe how much they had changed me.
One day while making calls to get people to come to meetings at the office I talked to a girl named Denisse who apparently was in touch with reality more than I was. I attacked her personally for her airhead-like ways. After I got to know her I knew I had judged her wrong. For this the cult always berated me for even talking to her because she was questioning their ways. She was the one person who helped me get back to reality. Even if she did act kind of stupid she only did it as a defense mechanism. She was only there to make them shut up because if not they would begin to attack [her] for rebelling. I picked [up] on this for awhile and I started to make my comeback very slowly. There is a lot of psychological damage that we both went through. She kept me sane and I am very grateful to her for that. Without her I would've committed [my] life to them already. When I was in the cadre school in LA, I said I wanted to join. I liked the environment in the office down there rather than in San Leandro.
The cult members noticed that I spent more and more time with Denisse and they resented that very much. So they started telling me that she is very "degenerate" and dumb. This is how much of reality that they screw up. Degenerate means having no morals and how did she have no morals?
You have to keep in mind how much psychology plays a role in this. It can make or break you and for most people it breaks them like me when they [are] in these cults. They might as well put a collar and leash around your neck and call you "Spot" because that's all you are--an animal that does what they want you to do. This is how they control your mind through psychological attacks like the ones they made with Denisse. You tell them where you are from, where you have been, what are you planning to do and your whole background basically and they use that against you later when you say you want to leave. I know that this is pretty much what the cult experts have already talked about but I speak from experience.
After six months I had reached the end of my rope. I was having problems with one of the older leaders and my solution was to leave. So much of Denisse's advice had already sunk [in] that I was planning my escape from a mile away. One day while I was deployed with this leader and someone else we got into a fight on the street. He told me that I was immature and everything had to babysit me all the time. That was the last straw for me pretty much. While I was at one of the member's houses I had called my mom to come get me from San Leandro. I was very scared because by this point almost all them were ignoring me because I wanted to leave so they gave up and told me that I didn't want to be a human being, didn't care about humanity. I went to ask one of their new members if she and her mom could give me a ride to the BART station. She said no because she and her weren't going that way. This made me scared and paranoid because I was all alone in this. I got the phone book and called a cab and it took me to the BART station. I went back home with my mom and never saw these people again. From time to I saw them at the university where Denisse went. They ignored me because they knew I wasn't going to listen and I was pretty much a lost cause. For three months after things were quiet and then they started calling me, harrassing me, asking me why I left. I would start fighting with the person on the phone and tell them to lose my phone number. It's funny how they use the most innocent thing as a phone call to mess with your head. So this is my story. I have never been able to pay attention to people who in campaigns like these trying to hand out literature or wanting five minutes of my time. There still is a lot of damage I have to uncover that I didn't know was there.