Disclaimer: The information presented and opinions expressed are solely the author's Names have been changed to protect identities. The only names kept true are leadership.
Newly 18 years old and having just escaped years of all forms of abuse, I was unsure where to go. A couple of my family members that had visited and spent time on the Farm recommended I go there for healing. They spoke to the leader, Rhonda, on my behalf and offered to pay the monthly $300 fee for me, as I hadn’t been allowed to work before escaping my abusers and had no money to my name. Rhonda called me and wanted to know all about my trauma, and why I needed the Farm. I provided her with the answers to her questions. Her response was that I was the “perfect type of person for the Farm.” Little did I know, I was the perfect target for the cult she and her husband Danny ran. I was told of all the great things the Farm had to offer, all the ways they said they’d help me heal and keep me safe from my abusers. Rhonda even said they’d help me finish high school, as well as acquire new IDs as mine were with my abusers. In time I found they were just empty promises and false hope.
Only a few days after the phone call with Rhonda, I found myself heading toward Holden, Missouri. The car ride was long, and my mind wouldn’t stop running. I replayed the call over and over again. After sharing my deepest, darkest traumas with a stranger named Rhonda, her words stuck with me. I felt wanted for the first time in a long time.
For the first few days I was overwhelmed, yet hopeful. My house leader, C, gave me a tour of the Farm on my first day and helped me make introductions to some of the others. She took me to get some clothes in town, as I hadn’t come with much. The rest I got from a little room they called in their basement “The Boutique”. It was full of clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. All donated to the farm. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself when she was away during the days, and all the other housemates were gone doing their “Community Service”. I decided to bake some cookies and deliver them to other houses on the Farm to finish introducing myself. I had such a strong desire to continue feeling needed, wanted, and liked. I sought validation from those around me to convince myself I made the right decision being there.
My bedroom wasn’t big, and to fit two people in the tiny room we (my roommate and I) slept on bunk beds. I learned all the rooms in our house had bunk beds, and everyone was to share their spaces, excluding the house leaders. There was one other resident in the house as well, 3 of us in total. This number fluctuated often during my 9 months on the Farm. I found it interesting they housed me with the residents older than myself, rather in the house with ladies closer to my age.
My first day of community service I was up before the sun. We had an hour long morning prayer session (a daily requirement), then sent off to do the tasks Rhonda and Danny wanted done. We were required to work long hours, and had no days off. Working all day outside in a crop garden, the physical labor exhausted me. I fell asleep on the couch in my new home during our lunch break, and awoke to the ladies getting back from the end of the community service day, hours later. I panicked and shot up, realizing what had happened. The community service leader intimidated me, an ex military member. I found her at her house, and apologized profusely, promising it would never happen again. Whether that was fear driven from the trauma I had just escaped, or fear of being kicked off the Farm, I’m still unsure to this day. From then on, I was always on time to community service, working my time away (even though the Farm was being paid for me to be there for healing). We were forced to do any and every task Danny and Rhonda could come up with. Whether that was tending to the crop gardens they had, caring for the farm animals, being shut in homes breathing in paint fumes day after day, rearranging Danny and Rhonda’s house, prepping their supplies for the “end times”, cleaning, etc. We had to do whatever they wanted, no questions asked. Some of the work was just time fillers. If the other leaders didn’t get word from Danny and Rhonda on new jobs for us and we were all caught up, they’d find filler jobs in the meantime such as picking weeds or sweeping dirt off of driveways. Heaven forbid these residents paying to be at the Farm have any time to themselves. They kept us busy and took advantage of us to use as their labour slaves. The complete and total control over our schedules and routines being a tactic used for brainwashing (no seriously, look it up).
Even on our “day of rest”, us residents had to clean our entire houses and tend to the gardens in front. After long days of laboring in the hot sun we were required to cook dinner for our house and clean all the dishes after. Us residents were on a rotation of who cooked and cleaned up which days, and rarely would the house leaders help. It was absolutely exhausting. I wondered why we were working so much instead of getting therapy or counseling sessions to help with our trauma. The answer I received was God Encounters. Each week a resident gets a session with a staff member to do these God Encounters, then right back to work. Apparently, the 7-day work week schedule was supposed to be our time to process what happened during our God Encounters. Although we were all there for healing, we didn’t have any options outside of God Encounters, “Art therapy”, and “Equine therapy”. There were no licensed therapists or counselors on the Farm. During my time there they slowly stopped the art and equine therapy. It was just a God Encounters, then working.
Fast forward a bit, and we come to my first conference. It was a week-long event where people from outside the Farm would come to learn Rhonda’s teachings. I was excluded from community service that week, as Rhonda wanted me to sit in and learn the doctrine she was preaching. They provided me with her manuals and a notebook to follow along. There was so much information that I never knew about God or the Bible, and I felt like a hopeless sponge trying to take it all in. Rhonda shared her personal stories to justify everything she taught. So many things I didn’t know about the Bible and God until being there, all because it was adjusted and twisted to fit Rhonda’s theology.
Over this week at the conference I learned so many crazy things, including intense stories from Rhonda’s past. I learned she had been abused by her father as a child, as well as other things of her past she publicly shared. It gave me hope, seeing a woman broken and traumatized by her father, now a “prophet” and doing the Lord’s work. If someone with a past like mine could be healed and have such a strong connection with the Creator, maybe I could too. I felt like I could trust her because of this. So I started following her doctrine, including saying “Yeshua” instead of “Jesus”, because “there are many people with that name and demons can use it as a loophole”. I started praying the daily prayer she taught to cleanse my soul, my mind, my body, so that God would see me clean and worthy enough to pray to Him. I was taught how to “protect my doorways” from demons and unclean spirits, as well as much more. During my 9 month stay, I attended 3 of these conferences. Outside of the conferences, we had weekly church sessions that Rhonda would preach and teach more of her constantly evolving doctrine to us.
I’m getting teary-eyed as I write this. The song “Pieces” by Bethel Music came on just now. If you aren’t familiar with the song, some of the lyrics are “You don’t give your heart in pieces”, and “you don’t hide yourself to tease us”. I remember at one of the church sessions Rhonda was teaching about the chase with God. She said that He will choose to hide Himself from us, making us run after Him and chase Him as we have to prove ourselves to Him. Many of her teachings led me to believe if I wasn’t doing all the things she said we need to be doing, I wouldn’t have complete access to God. A perfect example would be her constantly talking about the “orphan spirit”, and how God could deliver us from it, like He did for her. I longed so desperately for this experience she kept talking about. During some of her prophecies over me she would bring it up, telling me how God said I needed to be patient and to keep chasing Him by doing everything she taught us to do to gain the Lord’s favor, and eventually He would do it. I waited and waited, not knowing what to expect when the time came. Looking back now, I realize God doesn’t withhold His love and healing from us. Her teachings couldn’t be further from the truth. My heart is heavy knowing I trusted and believed these things she said, over the truth of the Heavenly Father.
Her teachings have created a mess in my mind. As I try to read the Bible, I have such a hard time discerning the truth of the Lord from the doctrines ingrained into my brain from the farm. I’ll use Sheol as an example. Rhonda taught us that it was a waiting room for hell, and all the traumatized parts of your soul get locked in there. Basically a twisted Rhonda version of the Catholic church’s belief in purgatory. She teaches that a part of your soul can get trapped in Sheol if someone else traumatizes you or sins against you, as well as when you commit sin. So if someone sinned against you when you were 10 years old, that 10-year old version of yourself is in Sheol. If you sinned when you were 15, there’s a 15-year old version of you sitting in Sheol as well. The solution to this that she taught was to use your imagination to meet with Jesus and politely ask Him to go to Sheol and bring out those parts of you so that you become whole and healed again, now that those parts of you are no longer being traumatized by the demons in Sheol. Present day I read the word “Sheol” in the Bible, and I associate it with the Sheol she taught about.
Another part of Rhonda’s brainwashing technique was diet control. We were forced to go on a strict Keto diet, because Rhonda said so. I was made to feel guilty by my house leader when asking for foods I thought were healthy, such as carrots or an apple. Rather than filling my body with fuel made for us by the Lord to endure these long work days, we were forced to eat an unhealthy amount of dairy and meat. Later on in my stay, we were even forced to fast. It was a multiple day water fast, and the only person excluded was in recovery from anorexia. It was announced in front of many that she couldn’t participate, and why it wasn’t allowed. I felt so embarrassed for her. As for the rest of us, the Farm needed to “come together as one through this suffering”, as the demons were coming against us harder than ever in the ever constant spiritual battle above the Farm’s “dome” Rhonda constantly spoke about. She’d go on about the dome of protection placed over the Farm by God, and we had to do everything we could to keep evil from getting in. This included rebuking birds in the sky, new people that questioned Rhonda’s doctrines (they were evil witches, she’d say), limiting the type of music we listen to, movies we watched, etc. Everything was a ”doorway for demons to come through”. There was a point where even simply reminiscing about things of the secular world, foods we could no longer eat, songs that don’t bring praise to God, we’d have to rebuke with a “Red X”. This Red X was supposed to be the blood of Jesus covering that thing, and once again purifying our minds and blocking the doorways that could risk evil to get through to the Farm. Craving cake? RED X. Humming a song by Katy Perry? RED X. The list goes on and on. Our free thinking was discouraged, as we were all simply sinners by doing anything against what Rhonda taught.
On top of forcing the Keto diet on us, Rhonda heavily promoted some supplements that were meant to heal the neuronal pathways in our brains. Only those with money (from themselves or their supporters) were able to obtain these. I was desperate for healing, so Rhonda worked out a deal with me. If I cooked meals for her and Danny, she’d provide me with the supplements. These were expensive, so I had to cook for the couple multiple times a week to try and pay the bottles off. No matter how tired I was from community service, I had to go cook for Rhonda. Even on the days I was scheduled for cooking duty in my own house, I’d have to rush to make it work to cook at both houses. I was pushing myself well past my limits of exhaustion, all in the pursuit of healing I’d never receive. Resources were non-existent, including medical care. I dislocated my shoulder while being there, as well as falling ill multiple times. Never once was I taken to see a doctor. Many days after dislocating my shoulder, Rhonda brought in a “chiropractor” that was a Farm ally. Rather than treating me as a regular health care professional would, this chiropractor prayed over me and said she found an unclean spirit in the dislocated shoulder, which is what caused my injury. She then prayed to have the unclean spirit removed.
All of us residents were cut off from the world while at the Farm. Our phones were confiscated, we had no access to television other than pre-approved movies, and radio privileges were revoked during my time there. If we wanted to listen to music, it had to be a pre-approved CD. Phone time was limited to 1 hour on the weekend. We had to have our phones on speaker and sit in the common areas of the house so our house leader could listen in on our conversations. We were not allowed to go on social media or the internet during this time, and the only reason we were allowed to text was if it was to check the availability of the person we were calling. I was lucky enough to be allowed to use the house wifi, as my phone had no SIM card, and I needed it to use FaceTime to be able to reach my family. We really only had our bubble of the Farm, shut away from the rest of the world.
Multiple times during my stay at the Farm I felt uneasy of continuing to live there, every part of me screaming to escape. I had even packed my bags a few times and was ready to walk, literally. Keep in mind I had no idea where I was, how to get to the nearest town, had next to no money to my name, and didn’t have a phone with cell service or data to help me find my way. Regardless, I was determined to leave. Each time leadership would remind me of my abusers, and tell me they’d find me if I left. They’d go on to say I would no longer be protected by God if I left the dome of the Farm. I’d be walking away from all the plans God had for me. Hearing these things was enough to get me to stay. I was scared.
There was one point during my time there Rhonda gave me a message from the Lord in front of a huge room full of people. I wrote it down in a journal, and it is truly twisted. In this message, Rhonda tells me that God said He wanted me to “surrender the right to ask ‘why’ questions, and to surrender the right to decide what I am going to do when I am not happy.” She told me the Lord said “Choose how you’re going to respond when you don’t like what’s going on. If you don’t, that is how Satan has tripped you up, and trapped you by speaking your mind about things that are going on, which results in getting you so unhappy you bolt in rebellion”. This was exactly what Rhonda said was a direct message from God to me, through her. A message that conveniently came after I had questioned authority many times, discussed my concerns with other residents, and tried leaving multiple times. She gave fake messages from God to work in her favor.
I grew very depressed toward the end of my time at Farm, to the point I started self harming again. It was something I had struggled with in my past, and the place that I was meant to be at for healing delivered me right back to that mental state. Despite being in shambles, I kept it to myself, and tried to endure the pain on my own as I went through the draining daily life at the Farm. Eventually my depression weighed on me so heavily, I decided to bring it up to my God Encounter facilitator. She was a lady I had grown to trust. I wrote down everything I was thinking and feeling, and allowed her to read it. She asked to share it with Rhonda, so I agreed, thinking maybe the “all-knowing” Rhonda would have an idea on how to help me heal from the pain and depression I was suffering from. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
A meeting was called. I was told by Rhonda and other leadership that I was a liability to the Farm because of my self harming, and that I must leave. I cried and pleaded for them to let me stay, to help me so I could heal from all my past trauma, the depression, etc. They used my prior attempts to leave against me, saying I wanted to leave before so I should be happy I was “allowed” to leave now. I had nowhere to go, and I was terrified. I was expected to arrange for somewhere to go right away, and had to be gone within a week. Missouri is very far from anyone I knew, and I wasn’t sure what to do. I was ashamed, having to call people and explain why I was being kicked off the Farm, asking for help. In the meantime I was still required to work the long hours of community service, cook for my household, cook for Rhonda & Danny, etc. A few of the girls I thought I had grown close with also struggled with self harm prior. I thought maybe they’d be open to sharing their testimonies, to see if I could find a way to get better fast so the leadership would change their minds and let me stay. Although the girls shared with me while leadership wasn’t around, word got back to them. They immediately moved me to a new house, isolating me from everyone. I was no longer permitted to work community service with the rest of the residents after that. My remaining days I was forced to work in solitude. None of the residents were allowed to talk to me, and I wasn’t allowed to talk to them. I was completely alone. While I was searching for somewhere to go, a couple of new residents arrived at the Farm and were placed in the home I had been moved to. I somewhat befriended them, but we were still separated all day during community service hours.
The leaders showed me what I thought was grace at the time, extending the deadline they issued for me to find somewhere to go. Eventually I found somewhere, and the details of my departure were arranged by the leaders. The Farm leaders ended up holding their word to help me get a state issued ID so I could leave, as I would need it to fly out of Missouri. Many times I requested a meeting with Rhonda. I wanted to speak with her before I left. I had hoped I could change her mind, or maybe she’d pray for me, just something. It wasn’t until an evening right before I was set to leave did she give me a few minutes of her time. Her reason for the visit was to collect on the remaining amount of money I owed her for the supplements, as I’d no longer be around to keep cooking for her to pay them off. I had only a few hundred dollars to my name, and knew I’d need every penny when I left. I tried offering the remaining supplements back to her, but she said it wasn’t worth anything to her as the bottle was already opened and missing some of the pills. I was forced to pay the difference with some of the little cash I had. Her eyes were cold when she looked at me, and I couldn’t see any sign of emotion or compassion. That night I was finally able to see the true person Rhonda is.
My heart aches for the residents that were there when I left, as well as any that have spent time there since. So many were stuck, trapped so deep under the weight of the guilt brought on by Rhonda and her teachings. Some think they are living in Heaven on Earth, completely brainwashed. I even believe some of the leadership is in that position. All enamored by Rhonda, the connection to God they believe she has over them. To be in her favor was to be in His. I pray they’re all delivered from the Farm, and that the Lord will deprogram the brainwashing that has been done, to heal them from the trauma they have endured. To this day, there’s still so much trauma for me to work through that I was subjected to during my time at the Farm. I hope this story is able to shed light to those who don’t know about the true ongoing events at the Farm, and comfort those who have escaped. You are not alone.