Father Ramon Anglés (center) and Rose Anderson (back left) on the Saint Marys Campus in September 1991.

I emerged from a cult and into the real world at the age of 23, a destitute mother of three children. I was 14 years old when I went into the cult, but my childhood years before that had been anything but normal.

My mother’s mission to ensure my salvation began in the months after my birth in February of 1977. She gazed at me in my crib, contemplating my innocence and the seriousness of her responsibility in the eyes of God. …

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I have been subscribing to Christopher Rufo for months for know-thine-enemy reasons.

He sends these long messages that you can read all the way through, right in your email inbox. The story he wants you to read and how he wants you to interpret it is right in front of your face. It’s easy, it’s convenient. He’s got a catchy subject line. You get drawn into reading. He might invite you to watch a well-produced video. At the end of each communication, there is a call to action: to help him in “the fight against Critical Race Theory” by donating…

Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

It was one of the most terrifying things to ever happen to me. How I got into that situation is a tale in itself.

When I left the cult my family joined when I was 14, the new millennium had just begun and I was about 23 years old. Having overcome my childhood brainwashing and made a break for freedom, I now knew that someone else — multiple someone elses — had done horrible things to me and ruined my chance at a normal life. I grieved that loss.

I had left my family and friends behind. I was terrified…

Photo by Viviana Rishe on Unsplash

I love my reader comments. All of them. Most of all, I love the ones that argue with me or try to discredit me because they keep the conversation going even better than the positive ones.

I am very grateful to Jim for leaving the one below on my article about the false dichotomy of racism and antiracism. Read his comment by clicking the link below.

The article Jim is referring to is “Invasion of the Antibody Snatchers: How White People Colonized the COVID Vaccine” by michaelharriot, who writes for The Root, a Black news and culture site. …

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

How I went from an ultra-conservative cult to the urban environment of York, Pennsylvania is a long story for another time. But I will say that renting a suspiciously cheap apartment site unseen isn’t one of the smarter things I did during that time.

It was now 2003, and I had been outside the cult for about two years. I was trying to return to Maryland and something like the life I thought I would have had if my mother not taken me to Kansas to join a cult twelve years ago. I was now relatively proficient at using the…

Above: Hampton Mansion on what used to be a plantation owned by the Ridgely family of Baltimore County. The stately example of Georgian architecture looms high above the slave quarters at the bottom of the hill. Photo by Rose Anderson.

The speech I made as an eighteen-year-old, in which I extolled the virtues of old-fashioned European women and condemned all others as “modern Gorgons”, didn’t come out of nowhere. Neither did Donald Trump’s executive order proclaiming a Classical standard of beauty for Federal buildings.

When my family moved to St. Mary’s, Kansas, I was only fourteen. …

Photo by Joseph Allen on Unsplash

I can think of a couple of possible reasons why Richard and I might have started leaving letters in that coffee can in the woods. I just don’t remember which one was actually the deciding factor.

I met Richard F. Keyes III when I was about thirteen years old, in the phase of my life between my mother’s discovery of the Society of Saint Pius X and my father’s death four years later in 1991. I had been homeschooled and completely isolated for three or four years. During those lonely times, my mother was driving me and my siblings an…

Two Birds on an Abandoned Building. Photo by Rose Anderson.

Driving alone in my car listening to the radio, I heard something that made me cringe and exclaim out loud, “Ohhhh nooooo…”

Apparently, the broadcasting company, the radio show producers, and probably dozens of other people involved didn’t think the moment was objectionable at all because they had chosen to replay it. The broadcast was from 2019 and I was hearing it in 2021.

A white program host was interviewing a Black musician. As the grand finale question, he asked her (I’m paraphrasing): “I’m White. My audience is White. …

Above: “Moot Courtroom” by College of William & Mary Law Library is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When I heard that the jury for the trial of George Floyd’s accused murderer was being re-examined to see if they might be tainted by knowledge of the $27M settlement paid from the City of Minneapolis to the victim’s family, I thought back to the last time I appeared for jury duty. It was about 10 years ago.

I got the summons in the mail. I did the whole thing where you call the phone number and listen to find out if you have to go in. I drove to the Baltimore County Courthouse. …

Photo by Andy Feliciotti on Unsplash

On April 2nd, 2021, nearly two months after hundreds of Trump supporters swarmed the Capitol in hopes of throwing out a legitimate election, increased Capitol Police presence remained in Washington DC. On this beautiful sunny spring day, a suspect rammed his vehicle into two officers outside the Capitol building.

As TV news cameras panned the scene, I wondered why there was no information about the suspect. Those details seemed very slow to emerge in this case compared to the lightning-fast pace that other suspects have been identified to the public.

The next morning, I searched for articles that might give…

Rose Anderson

Artist, storyteller. My childhood in an ultra-conservative cult is a lens on constructs of race and patriarchy in America.

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