September 8, 2010 by Post Team
At first glance, Jeanne, Amy, Nikki and Desiree does not seem to have much in common. Jeanne is a hotel employee of 31 years of age and mom Amy is a 26-year-old working. Desiree is a 18-year-old who dreams of becoming an FBI agent, and Nikki is a waiter of 26 years of age.
Despite their differences, these women are bonded by the horrors they say they experienced as children. Jeanne, Amy, Desiree and Nikki were born in the Tony Alamo Christian Ministry, which, some say, is a cult.
In the 1980s, Alamo, a self-proclaimed prophet of God, had thousands of devoted followers in the United States, including the parents of Joanna, Amy, Desiree and Nikki. “When Tony would say that God spoke to him, everybody believed it,” says Jeanne.
At the height of the popularity of the ministry, many followers lived in compounds, including one in Fouke, Arkansas. Outsiders had no idea what was happening beyond the barred windows, but these four women know very well.
Ex-followers say that by the end of 1990 Alamo was living in this compound extensively with more than a dozen women, some of whom he called his “spiritual wives.” Although no legal documents were signed ever, Jeanne, Amy and Desiree say they were three of “Alamo wives.” But when they said their vows, just qualified as women-were still girls.
Juana says that when she was 15 years Alamo, who was 59 years old and his pastor at the time, forced to become his spiritual wife and have sex with him. Amy said Alamo did say vote and submit to his sexual desires when she was 14.
Then, Alamo did something that surprised even the reports, his most devoted followers. Desiree says Alamo made her spiritual younger wife when she was only eight years old. Desiree Alamo says she had to have sex with him.
Nikki says she was 15 when he realized Alamo planned to make his next “wife.” Nikki escaped from the enclosure and Alamo fled before had the opportunity to act.
Jeanne, Amy and Desiree say they lived as “wives Alamo” and was abused for years before they could leave. Finally left the room and left the church that once ruled his life.
Then in July 2009, these four young men came face to face with Alamo, once again. This time, in federal court. Despite pressure from family members and friends who still belong to Alamo’s church, who testified against their former leader.
A jury found guilty of transporting minors across state Alamo with the intent to have sex, and is now serving 175 years in prison.
Alamo’s lawyers plan to appeal the case.
Many Americans have never heard of Alamo and his ministry, but LaRowe Lynn, Texarkana Gazette has been covering the story of Alamo for years, says he began making a name for himself in Los Angeles in late 1960.
“Tony Alamo said that God appeared in his body and told him he had to go spread the message of the Lord, or die,” says Lynn.
In 1966, he married Susan Alamo Lipowitz and established the Tony and Susan Alamo Christian Foundation. “Susan Alamo actually operated a television ministry,” says Lynn. “Tony Alamo will make cameo appearances as a gospel singer.”
His ministry won thousands of fans and became a great success. Then, in 1982, Susan died of cancer. Former members say that when the dark side of Alamo broke.
Alamo reports, put the corpse of his wife in the dining room and former church members say they made men, women and children are praying over his body for almost two years. They said their prayers Susan arise from the dead, but when it did not work, says a former Alamo blamed his faithful followers.
Over time, Alamo began to exert more control over the members of Tony Alamo Christian Ministry. He turned to his church in a multimillion dollar business, built on the backs of devoted followers.
“They spent all their time either praying or working in some capacity for ministry,” says Lynn. “They were completely physically, psychologically, if not, well, exhausted. So there was no time for independent thought.”
Emboldened by his success Alamo was not afraid to share their radical views with the world. During an interview in 2008 with the CNN anchor Rick Sanchez, Alamo railed against the Catholic Church and argued that the Bible indicates that puberty is the age of consent.
“I do not know when girls reach puberty. Most of them around 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,” he said during the interview. “God inseminated Mary at the age of 10 and 12. I have to get by having sex?”
Jeanne, Amy, Nikki and Desiree that when living in the Alamo complex in Arkansas, which controlled all facets of the lives of their followers, and threatened with violence and damnation if he dared to disobey. “He was the one who set the rules,” says Desiree.
Nikki says Alamo decided everything from who could get a driver’s license for a member to marry.
Jeanne, Amy, Desiree and Nikki say that when Alamo set eyes on a young woman from his congregation, his parents could not say no. In fact, some believe that one of the women in their spiritual was an honor.
“My mom told me that the only person who was going to marry Tony Alamo,” says Amy.
Alamo once “married” to a daughter, Joan says that he used to satisfy their sexual desires. “Tony Alamo had up to 13 wives. About, I would say half were minors and had sex with each and every one of us,” he says. “He preferred the younger.”
Four days after Alamo married Jeanne, his eighth “wife”, she says he made her have sex with him. “I believed that God told him that I must have sex with him, which was supposed to be his wife, that whatever I’m asked, I had to do,” she says.
When Desiree was a child of 8 years old who loved playing with dolls, she believed that Alamo was a prophet. But, he says, still felt that was what was going wrong.
“I just remember that I brought Tony in his room at one point. He put me in bed, said the marriage vows, said:” I have a wedding ring, and after that, it really became final, instead of a marriage license, she had sex, “says Desiree.” I did not know about sex. I knew nothing about it. What kept going through my mind was: “How can this be true? Is not this wrong? ‘”
Despite what had been taught throughout his life, Nikki says she also felt that the handling of Alamo and teachings were wrong. “I thought, ‘If this is heaven and this is what I will get to heaven, I’ll have to go to hell,’” she says.
Nikki said that in 1999, after she realized she would be the next woman’s spiritual Alamo, took action. Although Alamo had been taught to fear the outside world, she found the courage within herself to work.
One afternoon, Nikki says she fled the room. She evaded the Alamo security guards running through dense vegetation for hours. “He sent everyone to look up and down the highways,” says Nikki. “They went through all the shops, all fast food places.”
After running several miles through the woods, Nikki was exhausted and terrified. Finally, he saw a house in a field and ran to the door. Vince and Karen Coker, strangers living in the house, took a leap of faith and invited her to spend the night.
The cokers offered Nikki a change of clothes, a hot bath and a bed to sleep in. “I remember laying in bed. I felt a little safe,” says Nikki. “I thought, ‘Maybe, maybe what I really going to help.”
During his stay with the cokers, Nikki made up a story about who he was and why he ran. Vince and Karen say they did not believe him, but knew she needed help. It ended up buying a bus ticket Nikki to California, where his mother, Lisa, was living.
When Nikki came home from her mother, she discovered that her mother was still being controlled by Alamo and his followers.
“I received a phone call from Tony himself,” says Lisa. “Tony told me to be [Nikki] arrested. I said:” Tony, I can not do that ‘. ”
Instead, Lisa’s possessions packed her daughter and told her to go. “[It was] one of the saddest moments of my life,” says Nikki. “She put me on the bus, and absolutely broke my heart.”
Alamo allowed Lisa to give Nikki and 50 and a bus ticket. “I went around the country for nearly three months trying to find a place to stay,” she says.
Today, Lisa is no longer a member of the Alamo church, and looking back, she says she must have done something to protect her daughter. “I think I was out of my mind and let it happen,” says Lisa.
Although Nikki’s mother, has left the church, some members of families Desiree Amy and Alamo still believe is a prophet. Their mothers, even testified against him in federal court.
“[My mother] hated me now, I’m sure, because I testified against him,” says Amy. “When we were sitting in the room, called me a” stinking weasel. ”
Despite his testimony and the conviction of Alamo, Desiree said her mother is in denial of what he did to her and other girls. “She thinks that Tony is really this man of God,” says Desiree.
“So your own mother does not believe him?” Oprah asked.
“No,” says Desiree. Oprah Show producers went to Alamo for a statement, but he never responded.
But the Church of Alamo, which is still in business, has sent us a message. This is part of the same, word for word.
“Tony Alamo world has no secrets or child brides. He is the worst person in the world secret. His church and are open to the public every day, and he is very open, like an open book. Oprah and the media government and Roman Catholics are in the conspiracy against him and his church. ”
In April 2010, Nikki returned to Alamo compound in Arkansas, for the first time since she says she escaped. His visit brought back many memories.
“Many people have lost their childhood and innocence there,” says Nikki. “That’s what I want people to see and realize. … Do not be so blind. Do not just say:” It’s not my business. They are the neighbors. “Hell was in there.”
If you notice something odd about a neighbor, relative or friend, Nikki invited to speak.
“I do not care if someone says, ‘It’s not their business,” she says. “You know how they are desperate we needed someone to poke their noses into something that was not his business? And nobody did.”
Oprah.com printed on Wednesday, May 26, 2010
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