Alumni Questionnaire ← Back to Index
What is your name?
To which institutions were you sent?
How old were you?
18 almost 19
When were you enrolled in The Program?
1979-1983 If I'm correct
What was the highest level you attained?
Please describe the circumstances that got you sent to The Program:
I had troubles with my family even before I could really speak. My mother was really abusive physically and emotionally, also being German. My father “never” disciplined me. At 4 years old, I recall telling my mother as I walked out the door, “If this is a family, then I don't want it!” only to have her then say “OK! Bye!” The only reason I turned back was because it was a frosty night and had pajamas on. There was no communication at all, and on top of the rejection in my family, was also given a spirit of rejection which affected my social life and life in general.
Eventually I was having troubles in school, sent to private schools, etc. but nothing helped. I eventually found that another thing I was dealing with was becoming extremely co-dependent. I used marijuana as a relief and never had any run-ins with the law. However, I wanted to finish school.
I was suicidal at 13. Basically, I was a soft-hearted kid just in miserable circumstances.
In which house(s) did you live?
I was in LaJolla, Thomas, TKB and Quemado in the DR, the main campus in Marion and a couple of cabins (whatever) in Canada.
Please describe instances of abuse you experienced while in the program, if any:
I believe deception is a precursor, if not a form of abuse itself. I was deceived by the Founder, Pastor Gordon Blossom, by pictures of unity, etc. I had no idea what questions to ask and was given the impression that this was going to be fun; I was also the oldest student they accepted. I was first of all embarrassed finding myself having to ask to go from room to room and ignorant of their point system.
One day, a guy needed 100% of the house's vote to achieve 4th. I didn't vote because I could see he was fronting and even mentioned it after being confronted. They still gave it to him, so I thought this ain't for me, and refused to conform to their curriculum.
It was “hell” pretty much all through my 2 1/2 years in the DR. I was “targeted” for my “attitude“ and found myself being humiliated almost daily. On top, I was rejected by the other students.
You couldn't slip up at all, or you'd find your points being thrashed and have to resort back to 0 level for the week. And, if you didn't obtain the needed points for your particular level, you lost it.
I was doing calisthenics constantly, humiliated when a staff came over for dinner, and everyone watched as I ran around the house carrying rocks, or having to look at mule dung, in reference to my attitude.
One time a cocky new student came into our house and didn't like me. A couple of days later had to resort to the boxing gloves. With two punches he declined, and I had so much hate and frustration flowing in my blood. He then left the DR a few days after.
One time I had “The Blues” so bad... We were on a house trip and were in Santo Domingo touring the fort. Round 2 hit and I ran back to the washroom. The staff thought I took off, only to find me in the washroom, and for the rest of the day I pretended I was blind because I had to hold the House Father's belt loop.
Bud Teare was known as the biggest threat of staff. He was even flown down to have us hear him do what other staff would do. In Canada I did something menial and was slammed against the tool shed, putting a huge dent a door.
In Canada, one day I was told to pick up a log that was damn near 300 lbs and carry for quite a ways. The House Father and students were carrying a “Squad Log” and trying to pass, accidentally hit his shoulder. Throwing my log down, I asked if he was alright, only to get severely reprimanded. Because I was wearing a red shirt, I had to wear it for weeks while you could hear people scream, “Red Shirt, Red Shirt's Coming!”
The swats, QR, hair cuts, yelling, casita runs, etc.. all exist.
This is just a pinch of what happened.
Describe abuse of other students you witnessed, if any:
Part of getting good points was finding a weakness in anothers and demoralize them.
One time our house failed inspection and as a “free” day we had to climb Mount Megote “twice”. As means of sarcasm you could hear us chant “;Megote 2, Megote 2!” being taxied out of the campus.
David was a student that I believe was mentally challenged and he too was a target of humiliation, Because of it and not quite conforming to their ways, he was also subjected to the cruelty.
I saw a girl with her hair cut and scrubbing a stone with a tooth brush She was the girl I came down to the DR with; her laugh after a while sounded like a lunatic.
One day, as a birthday present, I massaged Jeff's back. Because of he was small in stature, all his muscles were cramped from the numerous casita runs.
One time Greg, a 4th leveller, just up and starting singing “Free Ride” by Foghat because of the strain that was there, and his levels plummeted.
The list can go on.
Do you have any good memories of The Program? If so, what are they?
Honestly, there were. I got along great with the Dominican workers, and also being Canadian helped. They knew what the program was like and hid me while giving me smokes.
My heart went to the people and the poverty they must contend with. It showed me how spoiled and fortunate we are as a 1st world country.
Luz was the best!
There were some good staff: Brad, Dean, Jack Turnbull, and others you felt were meant to be at NHYM and could see they were Christian.
Parent visits were a means I could get away and relax.
What is your overall impression of The Program? Did it “help you”?
I think you get my overall picture of the Program. It did absolutely nothing to better me other than eventually getting my high school diploma. Ironically, my father spent thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars to eventually disown me.
It made me become hard and desensitized. I still have recurring thoughts about the place and was surprised to recently click on E.C. and see what still goes on.
What do you think of the quality of education you received?
The education system was pathetic. Aside of the stress of everyday life, in most cases you had to try to teach yourself. To this day I hold a 3.5 GPA so I am not that mentally deficient, but I can't count the times I went behind schedule.
How old are you today?
Did you go to college after attending The Program? If so, what degrees do you have?
I have gone through an arm's list of colleges and am half a year away from a BA in Music.
What is your profession?
Artist/Musician (composer and song writer) also having revolutionary entrepreneurial ideas.
Do you consider yourself a Christian today?
What effect did “The Program” have on your faith?
I had a real transformation when I was 16 and knew there was/is a Higher Power. My belief is stronger now, having questioned Christianity because of the intimidation and sadistic stuff that “STILL” is happening. I recall the intimidation in this one staff''s eyes and one who even looked sadistic and vindictive, apart from being a macho pig farmer. It was really contradictory and ironic to have to memorize Scripture verses and contend with what was entailed.
Please feel free to add comments here:
To all who know me, I am sorry for giving you those thoughts and feelings towards me with the circumstances we faced. I'm not being rebellious, but am just stating fact(s). I have had this place in my mind for all these years and it aches me to see the stories that come in and apparently it has gotten worse. Maybe this is the way to finally confront the ghost I've had in my closet and be free of it.
Tim, should you read this: there are still a lot of things I could say, and I choose to keep them personal. I am “appalled” to see what still goes on in NHYM. You know that I was thinking about becoming a Group Leader, and hoping that the love I truly have for people would help those kids, and thinking that maybe I could help change the thought patterns and styles of your “therapeutic” ministry.
I was ecstatic that Lare house burned down, because of our name and what connotations may be involved.
I hope you truly reconsider the structure of your ministry, because you know when all I needed was love and my education, the love wasn't there, but I got my diploma.
You didn't break me. I suggest to those who do love their kids to really consider situations at home first that may “oppress” their children before sending them here, because all they really do is add to it. I encourage those who have felt the same way and want to rid of what still may ail them to correspond until we see and hear of drastic change. Even 5th levelers write. I wouldn't be surprised if one day, there's a lawsuit from some kid dying.