What’s your story? Samie Brosseau
In Samie Brosseau’s successful application for the 2011 Don Lawrence Memorial Scholarship, recently presented to her by PCMA’s New England Chapter, she summed up years of questioning and struggle in one short sentence:
“At the young age of 18, I left home against my parents’ wishes, and pursued a higher education.”
Brousseau, now, 24, grew up in the Twelve Tribes community in Island Pond, VT., that isolated itself from mainstream culture. Members share possessions, and everyone works in collective enterprises; children are homeschooled, and television, secular books and entertainment, newspapers, the Internet, radio, and higher education are not permitted. When Brousseau left home, she took only what she could carry in a small suitcase. This past December, she graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in hospitality management.
I was home schooled, and the Tribes ran a family organic cafe that I grew up working in. As a result I learned a lot of cooking and baking. My dad also helped start a chain of retail stores for the Tribes and as young teenager I helped out working in those stores.
Not everyone who grows up [in the community] has the opportunity to see anything outside. I started realizing that maybe [the outside world] was not bad like they told us in the community. Often the elders would tell us stories that people in the world were evil and going to hell. When I started talking to people outside the community and building relationships, I think this really caused me to want to see what else was out there. I knew that I did not want to live in the community, but I had no idea what I was going to do.
[Leaving the community] was definitely an immense struggle. My biggest challenge was learning how to file taxes, apply for financial aid and manage funds. I knew at the end of the day I was happier, even though it was difficult than I was when I lived with my family. This knowledge kept me going every day.
I have met many people who have served as my mentors even though they were not related to me.
I am naturally an outgoing person, but since I lived in such a sheltered environment, it has proven difficult for me to integrate myself into the college atmosphere. I learned a lot and just figured it out, and this helped me along the way to relate to people even though my background and upbringing is vastly different. When I was a full time student in college, I had four jobs at one time. So I think I developed a healthy work ethic growing up in the community. The hospitality industry is not a typical nine to five job.
For now, I would love to secure a job in convention sales management or conference services coordinating. Education is very important to me, and long term I would like to attend law school to study hospitality law.
I hope some day to be successful enough to fund a non-profit organization to help those in high control groups and cults. I would perhaps like to start a support group/advice group for ex members of such groups on how to navigate the world.
I’m really impressed with what you’ve done here. I’m looking forward to going through this page as I make the time. This is one of the better ex tribe sites I’ve seen.
What are the other sites you mention?
God bless you Samie. I am a former member of the LDS Church. While the mainstream church is not as restrictive as FLDS, many of the same beliefs are maintained. I watched the program on cults, and am so very impressed with your courage and conviction to help others realize that there truly is hope for a better life. I believe man-made religions such as TT, LDS, FLDS, Scientology and others are so very evil and in direct opposition to God’s plan of salvation and free agency. Keep up the great work, and know that many like myself fully support your efforts. It is a great relief to know that there are wonderful children of God like yourself that take up the challange of exposing these cultist organizations. I truly pray that you can eventually be lovingly reunited with your family. ❤
Oh man. My ancestors were pioneers in the LDS church. My GG Grandpa was the first mayor of Beaver Utah and one of the influential people in making Southern California especially the San Gabriel Valley a hotbed for Mormons. My dad tried to leave the church peacefully, but they shamed him publicly of course. Thankfully, his family has never stopped communicating or loving he or us. My family then became a small group of ex Mormons converting others, until they lost faith there. Needless to say, I’m pretty lost myself. I’ve served time in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has shown me that all religion is just wrong. No one has the answer, but a lot of us think we do. I believe in a creator and higher power, but I don’t subscribe to anyone telling me I’m going to hell because I picked the wrong one. We’re all “brainwashed” by our parents. And we all have to cope with leaving those feelings of damnation and loss spiritually to a point. I’ve been watching this A&E thing too. One of my favorite subjects is the history of world religions. I realized that I’ve had food brought home to me from the “Yellow Deli” in Vista Ca. Never again will I eat there. I’m raising my own children free of religion. Free of pressure. I want them to have an open mind and see what works for them. So much to say, I know you, and everyone else who has commented would understand. Thanks for sharing. I know how you feel.
Hi Mike. know where you are coming from when you said “no one has the answer” but there is an answer which I found on line at http://www.icelestial-epoch.com
Hi Samie.. I too watched your bravery unfold in the A&E Twelve Tribes documentary with Eliz. Vargas.
I had three close friends in the early 1990’s that left our community at that time, to join Island Pond.
We were an extremist small group with Church of Christ beliefs to the uttermost. I was the pioneer for homebirths of my 5 children-homeschooling- and home dysfunction… as our group eventually dispersed. Many lessons learned in those 17 years, and many more to be learned. I believe my friends are still with Twelve Tribes.
I would absolutely love to speak with you sometime. I commend your bravery and strength.
Samie, I think you are amazing. I live in South Africa and I heard your story on television. I work in a small town and have a passion for women who are subjugated. I can’t tell you how much your words touch me… particularly, “I still feel like I am not free”.. I get that. Deeply.
You are so strong!
My brother is in the Twelve Tribes and has been since 1999. Last I heard from him his family is living in Lancaster NH. I am growing increasingly concerned for his well being. I have not been able to reach him directly since shortly after the Child Labor Law violations at one of the NY communities.
Just last year I see that there were remains found on the farm in Australia. What happens when someone passes? Would I even know? Likely not.
He had other family that had lived in the community for a decade only to leave with their children in recent years giving me some hope. Any assistance you can offer or suggestions would be sincerely appreciated.
We have a Grandson that has left the Twelve Tribes and need some information about what you think their next move to get him back will be.