interview (English translation)

Libelle, no 46, 20 October 2022


Some quotes from the interview:

About the Society: “Everything was at the service of the group, meaning that you also crossed your own boundaries. Perhaps most confusingly, the moment you’re in it, you have no idea what you’re in the middle of. And the moment you step out you have no idea what happened.” 

About the Apostle: “He was our contemporary Christ, and we were His Chosen Ones. I learned to ignore, to lose my own identity, as everything revolved around the Apostle, the group and the mission.” 

About the silencing, then: “What we did was secret. You didn’t talk about it. Out of fear, shame, loyalty, confusion. There were at least ten other ‘Apostle children’ at my school, but no one knew we knew each other. There were two lives that were strictly separated and that no one knew anything about.” 

About the persistent silence, even after leaving the Society: “Nevertheless, we never spoke about that period together. It was too complicated, too painful and too confusing.” 

About the writing process: “I wrote my book Apostle Child because I wanted to understand the history of the Society, and therefore also my own past. It was not easy to delve into this past, question things that were always so obvious to me, discover painful facts, and hear disturbing, stressful stories from other Apostle children. But I am glad that the story has now been written down and shared, and that the book has moved the readers, and has had such an impact.” 

About the book impact: “After the publication, more and more people started to have the courage to share their own experiences, which ultimately led to an investigation, public apologies by the Society, a hotline and complaints reporting centre, and compensation for the suffering caused by the Society. There are no apostles anymore, the ‘apostleship’ has been abolished and replaced by new leadership. I myself have not asked for compensation, want to keep my distance and cherish my independence, and I think it is more important that this story is told and shared. “ 

About the research process: “I think one of the most difficult discoveries is that it was one big game, a theatre play, in which we all participated. Within the Society, everything was scripted from start to finish. We were indoctrinated. There was full control over our feelings, behaviour, emotions and information. As a result, you no longer have any idea what belongs to your own personality and what has been implanted into our minds.” 

About now: “Look carefully, also in your own mirror. Be curious, don’t cover but dis-cover. What I want to pass on to my own children is that they are enough. May they find their own way, and may wander and get lost, surrounded by loved ones, just like I am trying to do now myself.” 

original version: Volledige interview in Libelle (20/10/22) | Renske Doorenspleet