Thought Reform
Thought Reform


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In the fall of 1995, I began my junior year of college as a transfer student
at **** University in M***town , USA.  I had no friends when I moved in and
the girls who lived next door took me under their wing.  I really didn't
need it but I wasn't going to argue.  One Friday evening they invited me to
dinner and a meditation at the Opus Dei house on the East Side.  I thought
it would be ok and it would be better than the food in the cafeteria. 
Dinner was quite good and everyone there was very nice.  They gave me a tour
of the house and introduced me to everyone.  There were quite a few foreign
girls there.  Most were from Mexico, but one was from China.  It is she that
I remember most clearly.  I guess I remember her best because of what one of
the women who ran the place said to me.  She said that they had had her for
two years now and had finally gotten her to accept the true faith. I though
that was a really weird thing to say.  I have always had the attitude that
we should leave well enough alone when it comes to religion.  If that
Chinese girl was happy leave her alone.

Well, anyway, having been raised Catholic, I had never attended a
meditation.  The priest read the passage, which I forget now.  Then he
started preaching.  Since we were all girls he started in right away about
the evils of sex.  The thing that ran predominately through everything that
those people preached was the evil of sex.  I don't understand their
reasoning.  They were always saying things like "Men only want one thing."
One of the female leaders had a story she told about passing a man on the
street.  She said that women think about dating that man, romance, marriage,
family...  She said the man would look at you and think sex and that was it. 
What a load of bull.  The scary thing was that all these girls believed her.

Back to the priest.  After his little tirade, of which I remember very
little because I tuned him out, he held a confession.  I thought, what the
heck, I haven't been to confession since I was about 10.  (My mother is a
converted Lutheran and my father had been raised Catholic, school and all.
Confession was not required by them.) When I entered the confessional I told
him I had not been in one for about 10 years.  He said, "well, lets start at
the beginning." Meaning the Ten Commandments.  Everything went well until we
got to number 6.  When he asked me if I had engaged in premarital sex I
answered honestly.  He then then went off on some huge load of bull about
the evils of sex and birth control.  I contended that I would not confess as
I had done nothing wrong.  He said that I had and that I should confess
regardless of whether I thought it wrong or not.  I said that that went
against everything confession was supposed to be.  He then proceeded to tell
me that my use of birth control was a form of abortion and that I was guilty
of murder.  He said that my boyfriend (who I was engaged to at the time and
am now married and have a little boy.) was the root of this evil and that I
had best stay away from him.  This was the end of my rope.  I told the
priest I thought he was full of shit and that I did not have to do anything
he said.  I said that confession was supposed to be me and God with him as a
channel.  I then stood up, turned around and walked out of the confessional. 
The other members were not pleased.  They had heard my raised voice and
wanted to know what caused it.  I simply told them that I disagreed with
what he had to say and cut my confession short.  They told me that was not
allowed and that I was going to hell.  I said I didn't care.  I was then
escorted home.

They did not give up on me although I wanted nothing to do with them.  I do
have just a bit more to tell you but my baby is crying and needs my
attention.  I will write again and finish my story.  Thank you so much for
listening.  This really has affected me and even though my family has
supported me in what I did and my parish priest told me that it was ok and
to stay away from those people it is nice to speak to someone that knows all
about that organization and how something that was meant for good has been
perverted to suit the needs of a few.

After the little episode with the priest and confession I was left alone for
a while.  About a month or so later my friend and I were walking to class
and she told me that she wished I would give joining another thought.  I
explained that I would rather not join any group that tried not only to
control my life, but one that was so quick to condemn me.  She said that
they had discussed me in detail (great I thought, they had a meeting to
discuss me) and it would really make her feel better if I was not going to
join that I would cease using birth control and put the physical side of my
relationship with my fiance on hold until after we were married.  I told her
what I did in the privacy of my own room was none of her business and that I
did not need her or anyone else sitting around discussing my afterlife.  The
subject was dropped and never resurfaced again.

On one occasion, a group of us went to the movies.  Of the 6 of us that went
only 2 of us were not Opus Dei.  That was not uncommon as most of my female
friends were (that would explain why 1: I went home on the weekends a lot
and 2: why I spent most of my time with my male friends or fiance (my fiance
lived 4 hours away, he had a job and I only saw him about every 6 weeks). 
Anyway, the evening went along fine until we passed the Masonic Lodge on the
way back to campus.  One of the girls said that she couldn't believe that
the home of the devil was so close to campus.  I, of course, had no idea
what she meant by that so I asked. She said that the Masons were devil
worshipers and that they did horrible things within those walls.  I just
couldn't believe my ears.  I told her she was full of bull.  The others
piped up and said that it was true.  They said that anyone who belonged to
that group was evil.  I said that that was great to know because my
Grandfather, who was the assistant attorney general of Michigan, was not
only a Shriner but a Jester and that my Mother was a Daughter of Job and my
Grandmother was an Eastern Star.  I told them that before they started
shooting off their small minded ignorant mouths they had better check their
facts.  Just because one doesn't understand something doesn't make it evil.

My roommate my senior year was a member of Opus Dei, but unlike our other
friends she wasn't a pain in the butt about it.  She respected my right to
not belong.  I in turn respected her right to belong.  Usually when they had
their little prayer meetings I found somewhere else to go. YYYYgirl, the
leader was just too much for me.  I couldn't stand her holier than thou
attitude.  She was such a prude.  Well, one night I was there when they had
their meeting.  I chose to stay in my room.  They kept calling to me to come
and join them.  I didn't have to say anything, only listen.  I said no
thanks.  Well, I did hear what was going on and I couldn't believe the load
of crap she was feeding these girls.  All of my friends that were at the
meeting had gone to an all girls Catholic High School, so they were already
way behind as far as relating to the opposite sex went.  They had brothers,
but I guess that wasn't the same. Anyway, she was harping on sex again.  I
was beginning to wonder if they did it just for my benefit or what.  It made
me feel like I was some kind of slut or something.  I had met my fiance 3
years before we got engaged and we never dated.  He was a very good friend
of mine and one day out of the blue he asked me to marry him.  He was the
first guy I had ever been with and we were getting married.  The only people
who had a problem with it were these Opus Dei freaks.  And, I had never told
any of them anything.  So, she is going on and on about how men only want
one thing and the only way to live is to keep to yourself and pray to God
everyday to keep you from the sins of the flesh, Blah, Blah, Blah.  I'm
telling you it almost made me vomit.  I was glad I had stayed in my room
through all that.  After YYYYgirl had left a few of the girls stayed behind.
I came out and we all went to dinner.  During the course of the meal, they
began to talk about what YYYYgirl had to say.  I just couldn't contain
myself.  I asked them how they could believe all that crap.  They were very
serious when they said that sex was at the root of all that is wrong in the
world.  I asked them how they figured that when it was the most beautiful
thing in that it was the basis of creating new life.  Ah, they said, only
within the confines of marriage and only when it results in creating that
life.  I told them if they kept listening to YYYYgirln they would never get
married.  Mind you, I had been out with these girls and seen them interact
with guys.

 I was always so embarrassed and frustrated.  They really had no idea how to
act.  The ones who lived in the Opus Dei house never kept a guy for long. 
They had to be back by 11.00 and the guy had to come and pick them up and
meet YYYYgirl.  It was like being in high school.  I can see the safety issue,
that is good.  And at least someone was looking out for them, but these were
young women 18-21 years old.  If they can't take care of themselves what are
they going to do when they live on their own.  It was a little too
constricting and sheltered for my taste.

On good thing I can say is that they always were ladies and I never saw one
of my friends get stupid drunk and get taken advantage of.  But, I had none
of that babysitting and I never did either. There were many times when we
were just hanging out and one of them would say something that would just
blow my mind.  One day LLLgirl said that she thought sex was disgusting and
the very thought of it made her physically ill.  I told I was very sorry to
hear that. Another time my roommate was trying a number of dresses she had
borrowed from another girl for an upcoming formal she was attending.  My
roommate was a beautiful girl.  She was 5'10" blonde and very bright.  The
dress she tried on was form fitting, but very conservative.  I told she
looked fantastic.  XXXgirl freaked out and told her if she wore that dress
it was like begging her date to rape her.  I just couldn't believe it. 
Needless to say she did not wear the flattering dress.  Although XYZgirl, my
roommate listened to them I alway felt that beneath her exterior she had a
streak of rebellion running through.  It has taken her a while but she is
now starting to break free. My friend XXXgirl, had come to college to study
Biology and Chemistry.  By the time she finished she was studying Speech
Pathology and planning to become a missionary with her sister LLLgirl.  By
the end of my senior year I could no longer stand to be around XXXgirl and
LLLgirl they were getting more and more wrapped up in the whole Opus Dei

The final blow was an episode involving a friend of mine.  I had grown
accustom to spending Friday nights alone while they were all at the weekly
meditation.  Usually, I went to the 7.00 movie on campus.  Well, this guy
named ZZZZ, whom I had a few classes with, saw me nearly every week and I
was always alone.  One week he invited me to sit with him and all his
friends.  I accepted and it was the beginning of a great friendship.  ZZZZ
was very active in the church and often served as an Eucharistic minister
(is that what they call the lay people who serve the body and blood?  For
some reason my mind is drawing a blank.  I am ashamed of myself.) Well, one
day XXXgirl and LLLgirl were over at our place and XXXgirl started going off
on how she thought it was atrocious that a GAY man was allowed to serve the
body of Christ.  I asked her what she was talking about.  She said that ZZZZ
was handing it out at mass and he was a PRACTICING GAY.  I said that ZZZZ
was a good friend of mine and that he was probably more Christian and
Charitable in his actions and thoughts than she was.  Well, she and LLLgirl
were horrified at the very idea that I was friends with such a person.  They
said that YYYYgirl had told them that there must have been something wrong
with any girl who preferred the company of men over women and they had to
keep an eye on me to save me from the "depths of hell." Can you believe that
someone actually used the phrase "depths of hell?" They said that
fraternizing with someone who was participating in moral sin, like ZZZZ, (I
think they put me in this category as well) was going to put a strain on my
relationship with God.  I told them that they were the most hypocritical
people I had ever met and that if they thought so lowly of me then they
needn't come round anymore.  They left but within a couple of days they
apologized and said they still wanted me as a friend.  I can forgive but I
never forget.  I figured and still do that they were under some sort of
spell, so to speak, and that they were not really thinking for themselves. I
really believe it too.  I think that is why I still protect them.

As far as the M**town chapter of Opus Dei is concerned it is like some
sort of Brainwashing Camp out of some crummy "B" movie.  It really is.  I
feel as though the reason they harp on these girls and fill them with fear
and loathing about men and carnal pleasures is to keep them submissive.  If
they fear what is on the outside they will never trust anyone but their
leaders. Those girls believed everything they were told by the leaders of
their chapter.  It is too bad that some people can not speak nor think for

I can say a few good things about that group.  I learned quite a bit more
about my religion from them.  There were many things I didn't know about and
they shared it with me.  I may have learned about it anyway, I did attend a
Catholic University, but maybe not.  I also grew to appreciate my parents
and the values they instilled in me much more.  I was always taught to do
what I thought was right not what others told me was and to remain loyal to
my friends no matter what others said about them.  I never compromised my
principles and I am glad of that. There have been instances since then that
have tested my integrity and I am happy to say that standing up for my
ideals gets easier and easier even if the consequences are getting tougher. 
I guess I have a lot to thank Opus Dei for none of it happens to be what
they wanted it to be however.  Too bad.

Thank you so much for allowing me to tell my story.  It really has been very
cleansing.  I hope I can continue to write to you on occasion if I have any
questions or comments.  I look forward to reading your second document. 
Your first was the only one that I read on the web that I thought was fair,
professional and insightful.  Thank you for that.  I feel this is a very
serious subject and you have dealt with it most gracefully.  Thank you

Bless You,   
            XXXXX XXXXXXX

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