Rune Rofke - Glenn Emery
In the summer of 1975, when I was 21, I began keeping a journal. I had no idea what would happen next, of course. I simply wrote down where I was, whom I was with, and what we were doing. At the time, I was a carefree young hippie bumming around the American SoutHaest with a small tribe of like-minded people, ingesting hallucinogens and seeking cosmic enlightenment.
Three weeks later I found myself in a religious cult in California. That affiliation lasted for 14 years. I wasn't kidnapped or brainwashed or anything like that. I joined because at the time I was convinced it was the right thing to do, that the world would be better because of what I was doing. I believed it was important. It culminated in a mass wedding at Madison Square Garden on June 1, 1982. The New York Times carried it on the front page the next day. (We divorced five years later. No kids.)
My journal eventually covered three volumes, written longhand in whatever moments I was able to steal away. I didn't know what would ultimately prove important for posterity, so I tried to record everything that seemed significant. As a result, I captured a lot of the prosaic, mundane details of living an existence I never could have foreseen for myself and certainly would not have chosen had I known what I was getting into. Nonetheless, once I was in and committed, I was determined to see it through. I refused to quit.
The saga as I recorded it begins in the archive at the left (Alpha and Omega) with the post titled "Ribbon Falls." It ends five years later with "Epilogue."
The journal is 162 entries, covering a period from July 1975 to October 1980. If you want to know my story and what it's like to be in a cult 24/7/365, this is it. The straight dope. I didn't make anything up. Some entries are short, some are long, but they tell a story that is divided into three parts:
The Beginning (Alpha) covers the period from July 1975 to December 1977. If it seems tedious at times, well... that's the way it was. It was a grueling existence in which the days and weeks and months blurred together. Keep reading. The shit is about to hit the fan.
The Middle begins in December 1977. Something bad happened that became a full-blown psychotic nightmare that eventually led to a nervous breakdown. It was horrible and I wanted to die. Somehow I kept going.
The End (Omega) begins in January 1980. This is the best part, but to understand it you have to read what comes before. It's all connected.
My primary motivation for doing this now is because I'm still lucid enough to remember the highlights and low points and appreciate what this experience meant in the bigger scheme of things. And someday my kids might too.
But more importantly, I felt I needed to explain to my family what happened to me back then. They never really got the whole store.
I have photos and other mementos, but the journal can carry its own weight. The words paint a picture. I did some things I'm embarrassed about and certainly not proud of, but I felt it was important to present the whole truth. So be it.
Stone Mountain, Georgia
March 20, 2009
P.S. Rune Rofke is the ancient Indian name for Stone Mountain.