Mar 31, 2023
Rhonda's parents joined the Holy Order of MANS (standing for Mysterian, Agape, Nous and Sophia in Greek, or mystery, love, mind and wisdom in English) when she was a year old. The San Francisco-based group held classes and meetings studying a mix of religions, initially leaning heavily on New Age concepts and Christianity. Children were not allowed to live with parents, so she was raised on a farm with other kids as her parents moved through the ranks of the organization.
The Holy Order changed and dropped its New Age associations after the Jonestown tragedy in 1978, when a similar group called the People's Temple very publicly met its end in a massacre. Rhonda's parents left shortly after that but continued to practice the concepts they had learned regarding vibrations, colors, light and music.
Rhonda's life was structured by her parents' beliefs, especially her father's disgust for particular forms of music and aspects of mainstream society that he deemed "evil." Eventually convinced that she was evil as well, Rhonda dealt with her parents' judgement, lingering trauma from being raised on the farm and current inability to fit in with "normal" people through substance abuse and other unhealthy practices. But in her 20s, she began to seek help and returned to school.
In this one-on-one chat with Rhonda and Dhyana, we discuss a brief history of the Holy Order of MANS, Rhonda's conflict with her parents and their decision to send her away when she was young, her struggles to fit in and the journey she went on to heal.