In our world of technology and advancements, it is sometimes hard to envision mankind choosing to remain in the “dark ages”. The “Sectarian Song” formally introduces the reader to those who would rather poison the minds and souls of its followers, than nurture growth or change. As a child, Michael, along with his two brothers and one sister, lived with their mother and her stream of “gentlemen” callers. A few of her suitors were reputable, but once a child was fathered, the mother usually broke off the relationships, moving on to her next conquest. One such affair with Mahmood Saleem went from bad to worse when his true violent side was revealed, leaving the family with a decision to be made. Stay, and be abused daily at the hands of a supposed loved one, or flee to find safety somewhere else. To this end, Jacqueline Wright, his mother, was lead to “The Temple of Love” where followers were seeking new members to be welcomed into the fold. In her fragile state, she believed every word she was fed and so the children were forced to join the “Nation of Yahweh” at the behest of their mother. They believed they were leaving a bad situation for a better life, only to discover that this “life” was really a well disguised hell on earth.
Unfortunately, as in most cases, what can seem perfect on the surface usually hides an ugly truth within its shadow. From day one, the love and togetherness preached to the masses was shattered by the blind eye of prejudice. The families were separated into female and male groupings, one never seeing the other unless in the public rooms. Michael was not “pure” in their eyes being that his parents had different ethnic backgrounds and so the “leaders” felt he was to be made an example of whenever a disciplinary situation arose. If you didn’t do the chores expected of you, you received a beating. If you didn’t bring in at least $10 in donations from the daily canvassing ($20 for adults), you received no food for the night. In one instance, the children were to answer back to their elder in chorus with “praise, Yahweh”. Michael’s younger brother was a mere 11 months old, barely able to say small, easy words and so he did not respond. The result was an ongoing beating for the next 6 hours with rods on this poor defenseless baby that nearly killed him. The tyranny and battering they received was horrifying. Appalling acts of this nature continued day in and day out, dispensed more frequently with time. Eventually, it came to a point that it was either stay there and suffer under their hands until death, or make a break for freedom and try to trust that someone would help even though their “mother” abandoned them. The strength of the child prevailed and Michael, along with his brother Brian, took advantage of an unguarded door which lead to their escape as well as the eventual downfall of the radical organization.
Although author Michael Klein managed to physically escape the terror he was accosted by as a child, he is still haunted by the psychological effects today. His heroic effort to expose the many forms of abuse suffered by the members of the so called “Temple of Love” still shows the fear ingrained within his being, as he wrote this work under a pseudonym to protect himself. These many years later, with the leader “Yahweh Ben Yahweh”, a self-proclaimed “messiah”, dead and gone, his unfortunate legacy lives on within the survivors. Every step they make toward self-healing and acceptance, making them a step closer to sponging his stain from their souls.
For a look within the shadowed lives held by many cult victims, and the darkness that can seep from mankind’s soul when led with hate instead of love, read this harrowing tale and aim to “make good” in the lives you touch.