What inspired you to write your memoir?
There are thousands of people suffering abuse, whether it is from an individual or a group. Some get out, yet they are the walking wounded, not understanding what they went through or why. I took it upon myself to find how and why I got involved with this group, and what caused me to stay. I also found while working with people from other groups, that their story was similar to mine, although these groups had very different ideologies. Digging below the surface, it was apparent and quite startling how similar the mechanics of the manipulations of the individuals and the groups were. For the most part, people who exited such situation wanted to go back and lead “normal” lives, which were fine for them, but I was on another path, that led to this book. Wanting to share my experiences, I wanted ex-members to know that they were okay, and to let society know that there is a problem, and that this could happen to anyone. I do not know one person in the United States that was not somehow affected by the planes crashing into the towers of the World Trade Center. I was ready to take a bullet for the cause, and I know full well what a group of people can do when they turn to violence to further their cause.
About your Book:
This book is about my deprogramming from a religious cult, a little of my background, and events that happened during my time in the cult. I have formatted it starting with the deprogramming and the following chapter is some of my background. After this is the introduction to the group and my subsequent involvement. I do this in a year by year format, to keep a consistency through the book. I track how I became further and further committed to the cult and the problems that it caused with my family once they found what I was involved in. Not withstanding their concerns, I became more involved to the point that I was allowed to be security for the leadership, and would have given my life for theirs.
After the deprogramming I spent a period of time in a half-way house to begin to make sense of my experience. The last four chapters of the book deal with some of the larger ramifications of cults in society today.
In 2008 it was the 30 year anniversary of Jonestown. Extremism has deeply affected our society in other events such as the Oklahoma bombings, David Koresh, and the terrorist using planes to take out the twin towers in New York. As much as people would like to consider that this was done by a few disturbed maniacs that are disassociated from society, the truth is much more ominous. Anyone is capable of such acts and everyone is vulnerable of being manipulated.
This is a nonfiction book, and it is a platform for other books to come. This is my experience, and I believe this gives weight to my understanding of the cult experience as one who has been there, and has successfully come out the other side with the knowledge of what has happened and why.
As this was a religious cult, this has its market in spirituality and Christianity, though the process of manipulation can be from any type of human interaction, whether it is an abusive relationship, or other groups that are not of a necessarily spiritual nature. Therefore it is also part of sociology, psychology, and even linguistics.
Rand Burkey was raised in a farming community outside a sleepy little town in Northeast Ohio. Rand grew up during a time that found America in the throws of tremendous change and social upheaval bringing people to question their allegiances, values, and beliefs.
Growing up in a typical Midwestern middleclass family, Rand saw all of this change from the insulation of a life that included faith, family, fun, and work. He was a leader in his church, and had faith in a God that he sought to understand, and had thoughts of going to school to be a minister. Rand was also a leader in school, being a member of the Key Club, a delegate to Buckeye Boys’ State, and a member of the National Honor Society.
After a series of events that disillusioned him from going into the ministry, he found a position in a business that gave him opportunity to advance into a manager training program, which required him to move from his home, family, and friends.
While in this training program, he became involved in The Way, which started an odyssey that would last almost six years, and culminated in his being kidnapped and deprogrammed by his parents. This led to a most unlikely career path for another eight years. The following is the first part that story.
Now a professional consultant/author with 25+ years of experience assisting individuals, families, groups, and audiences with understanding the dynamics of abuse and manipulation.
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
Because of the explosion of the internet, this gives first-time authors the opportunity that are seldom found with traditional publishing. I knew full well that marketing, whether done by traditional publishing or not, was ultimately my responsibility. I was able to retain my copy writes as well as control of the other media writes. I chose Westbow Press because of its affiliation with Thomas Nelson Publishing, simply to make sure that my book was not lumped into other books or publishers I would want to associate.
Originally posted 2012-09-09 07:07:30.