I arrived in Ejido Zarahemla on December 28th, 2015. I remember the date quite well. It was in the evening and I pulled into the side yard of a friend's house. He had left Zarahemla earlier in the year for his own reasons. I was just happy to arrive. I was hopeful that living in Zarahemla would be a good thing for my family.
I was inspired by the ideas that Joel Lebaron had established the community. It was originally called Los Molinos. He originally planned it to be a temporary place of refuge until such time as a more permanent place could be found. Unfortunately, temporary can become more permanent when humans get involved with things. Joel died on August 20th, 1972 and basically the community of Los Molinos stagnated. As I came to find out, the church members openly mocked the teachings of Joel Lebaron and treated him like a false prophet.
This isn't meant to be a history of Zarahemla because a later post will delve into that. I feel liberated from needing to be silent so there is a LOT to say, but this post is to talk about why I left Zarahemla.
After arriving in Zarahemla, I involved myself in several things. I helped a man named Abel educate students whose parents weren't comfortable with public schools and what they were being taught. My wife and I provided supplies, materials, and our own time for the school(all without payment). Abel's wife and her greed for money destroyed the school.
I am going to talk about a lot of the stuff we did for people in the town. This isn't because we count what we do(I probably wont be able to think of everything!), but rather because it's an important part of the the story.
Erica volunteered to help Elvia start up a second school to serve the young kids. She helped to provide support and ideas. Erica has a teaching degree and years of teaching experience and was the only person in the school with a teaching degree. Knowing that Elvia needed tech resources, I provided Elvia with a netbook and a year old HTC One cellphone. Free of charge. After the laptop was broken, I provided her with another netbook for a very minimal price.
At the request of church people, Erica gave two Asian food cooking classes where she provided all of the materials for cooking. She would regularly cook brownies and other foods for people she knew in the town.
When one of Judah Lebaron's wives died, the family wanted a slideshow set to music for her funeral. Even though I didn't know her really, it was known that I could do it. I was given photos and the names of songs to be put with the pictures. I went to Amazon and bought the MP3s myself to make sure the quality of the music was excellent. I spent the time needed to put in titles and different transitions. I didn't care about the work I needed to do because I was serving someone in their time of need.
When Michelle ever needed anything from me, she would call me up. Fr example, she had the uncanny ability to have routers die on her. I replaced two different routers and one power supply for her. I used my collection of routers that I had on hand. When her keyboard went out on a Sunday evening, she called me when I was on a bus in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico and I told her to go to my house and my wife would lend her a keyboard. I still haven't got that keyboard back. When her daughter KC corrupted her iPhone, I spent the time needed to download(not a small feat in rural Mexico) the software image and reinstall it. Moreover, when Michelle's van was running very badly and other mechanics couldn't figure it out, I put my code reader on it and googled the code and possible solutions. I fixed the minor issue and her van once again ran well. Again, I did all that I did in order to serve others.
I could go on and on about all that Erica and I did. Basically, when ANYONE needed a favor, we would do it without hesitation. We spent countless time and money for other people. We did what we could to help other people because that's what people should do.
We know that there were rumors about us from the start. Small town people love to gossip. Rumors were made up time and time again by Lucy and others. I realize it is their extreme jealousy of Erica and I. The townspeople have a disdain for education and they didn't like someone educated in the community because it pointed out their flaws.
The rumors kept building and it had reached the point of ridiculousness. Lucy was extremely jealous for sure.
Anyways, on April 4th, Lucy came to our house to interrupt our Cremation of Impedimenta ordinance. She threatened us. This was the start. She didn't like that Erica was teaching a nice woman in town who didn't bow to Lucy. Remember, we were helping anyone and everyone who needed help.
Things finally came to a head on Good Friday. The townspeople decided to invade the farmland of Carlos. The leader of the Paracaidistas (land thieves) was Lucy's husband Fat Fernando. Fat Fernando is the leader of the Ejido and used that position to financially enrich himself at the expense of others. He touts himself as a prophet in their church. He grows raspberries for a company called Sun Belle. Sun Belle and their support of this religion is a subject for another post.
I decided to go and see what was happening near my house. I pulled out my camera from about 150 meters away and took a video. Oh boy, Michelle came running over and demanded that I stop making any video because the people might hurt me. I informed her that I would record if I wanted to record. As I finished saying that, Lucy showed up and threatened that if I didn't do what she said I should do then I would be kicked out of the community. Alberto was with her and he tried to threaten me physically but he failed miserably. He ended up scurrying away.
The people were incensed that I refused to do what Lucy and the prophet Fat Fernando wanted me to do and decided to label me as an enemy of their god. Never mind all the things that I had done for so many people without hesitation.
A few days later, Elvia asked us to take her to town and have a late breakfast with her. She attempted to collect information from us and tell us a few lies. She related the story that Elias, Alberto's father, had received a phone call from a gringo who threatened him. He used this story to rally the support of others to steal more land. I suspect that either Elias or Elvia made up the story.
Fast forward a few weeks. A good friend was visiting my house and Julio, Elvia's husband, decided to play gangster and threaten this friend of mine. When I asked that he not harass my guest, he decided to threaten me as well. He said that I needed to get out of town or I would pay. Elvia justified her husband by saying that people were nervous and scared after stealing land. (Hint: If committing a crime makes you nervous and scared then don't commit the damn crime.)
Finally on May 19th, Abel's wife Mariela stopped by our house with an important message. She came to tell us that she cares about us and that she heard that they were planning to attack my house and my family in two days if we are still in town. I made the decision to leave town ASAP. With the other threats made, I thought it would be prudent.
Ejido Zarahemla is no longer a place of refuge. The people have defiled the land. The time to repent is at hand. Their iniquity and the cries of the oppressed have reached heaven. If they do not repent then the Curse of Noah will fall upon their people. They must repent like the people of Nineveh did or it will be worse for their people than it was for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.