Chapter Eight: Recruitment Efforts for 1966, '67, and '68
Judith Ashley explains the efforts by the Community to increase their numbers during the first years. This includes an explanation of the orientation process plus methods of enlisting college students.
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Recruitment Efforts for 1966, '67, and '68 (Years 2 -- 4)

by Judith Ashley, Psychologist

After the discovery of the New World, it was essential that we begin recruiting immigrants as quickly as possible; otherwise, our civilization would either remain dependent on the old world, or it would ultimately drop to a primitive level. I was responsible for these recruitment efforts, although the task was shared by a large number of people.

In looking at recruitment, it is helpful to explain some of the terms that we used. "The Community" originally meant specifically the original colony in Pennsylvania, but gradually came to mean all of our people wherever they were; you will find this word used with either meaning. "Old-timers" both accurately and inaccurately refers to all the people who were living in our Community before our encounter with the Founder, whether young or old, and also to their children, even if living elsewhere. "Associates" refers to several groups: those who were on a waiting list to join our Community, those closely aligned with our way of life and who spent time in the Community but had never joined, and those who had lived in our Community before but had a home elsewhere now, not because they had quit but for other good reasons, usually to find employment. "Subscribers" refers to those who were not associates or old-timers but who subscribed to our newsletter. Subscribers varied quite a bit in their reasons for subscribing, so while we could appeal to them for aid and new recruits, we could not expect high numbers of them to turn out. "Prospects" were any people or group of people who we felt we could convince to join us. "Recruit" refers to someone who has decided to join but who still has not been integrated. "Newcomers" refers to any prospects, associates, or others who joined and had been integrated after we began colonizing the New World, although it was sometimes applied to oldtimers settling in the New World. "Immigrants" and "settlers" normally applies only to those living in the New World, while "colonists" only to those living in our colonies in the old world; however, these terms were not always used consistently.

Some population figures will give a clear picture. In 1966 (year two), there were approximately 1200 (eight grand) old-timers. About a quarter of them were over 48 (four dozen) years old (a third of those over 60 {five dozen} -- the true old-timers), another quarter were between 24 (two dozen) and 48, and the rest were under 24. There were about half that number of associates, with a greater average age, since we couldn't count grown or nearly grown children disinterested in our project who no longer lived with their parents. It's easy to understand the smaller interest among the children, since they had never experienced the advantages of living in our Community. The subscribers numbered in the thousands, but not the high thousands, perhaps three to five (two or three myriad) at that time. We began working harder to get our newsletter out to more people after we discovered the New World, in order to gain more recruits, Of course, the newsletter could not mention the New World, just our new colonies.

Our recruit planning began, of course, with our talks with the Founder about the New World. However, the details were left to us, and we had long discussions about where to get recruits from, how to introduce them to our society, and under what conditions to take them to the New World.

It should be immediately obvious that we couldn't just haul recruits directly to the New World, letting them know where the gate was located. The New World was so different from the old one that anyone with any sense would spot the differences immediately, unless we placed the gate on some remote island or in some very isolated location. Some of the recruits would quit, go back home, and talk about us. Others would write letters revealing far too much. Therefore, before we could let anyone enter the New World, we had to be sure that they identified with us, were committed to our way of life, and had cut nearly all -- if not all -- of their ties to the old world. Even then, we would make efforts to ensure that they would not know how to find our entrance if they later decided to quit. Of course, if someone did quit and later talked about the New World, the person would not be believed without evidence, and no one would be allowed to leave the New World without a search for evidence.

We saw a three-stage process: introduction, assimilation, and emigration. Recruits would arrive at one of the colonies assigned the task of welcoming them. There, the recruits would attend talks, T-groups, discussions, demonstrations, and would be given work assignments, to show them what our way of life is like. We assigned an advisor to every recruit and kept a complete folder. The advisor's tasks were to form a personal bond and keep in touch whether the person was in the colony, at school, or back home, to keep the person focused on assimilation, to determine the person's limitations and abilities, including suitability for the New World. When we later surveyed our newcomers to find out what had worked well and what not so well, the advisors were given high marks for having ensured that the recruits did not drop out. Those recruits who joined would be sent to other colonies where they would live according to our lifestyle for half a year to a year. This would give them and us ample opportunity to decide if we were right for each other. It's very easy to say that you want to live the simple life until you have sat in an outhouse on a bitter cold night. Those selected for emigration would be sent to the New World during the night, and would arrive unsure of exactly how they got there. They would be kept almost completely in the dark about the New World until they arrived, and the shock their systems received would finish the bonding process. Very few decided to leave after reaching the New World, and that was mostly due to family connections.

However, not everyone would follow that same route. Nearly all of the old-timers and many of the associates could be trusted immediately. In addition, from time to time we would want to acquire some person with badly needed skills who would never have joined a colony, so more direct methods would be used. There was some risk, but not as much as you may think. Try telling someone that you have found a secret door into another world, and see what I mean. The greatest risk to discovery was not through an isolated person with no contacts and no evidence but through leakage of information into our colonies, as our recruits could supply names and other information. Nonetheless, in the future, when we could no longer use colonies, we had to limit the number of people we asked, and we had to know a lot about them before asking them, but I'm getting too far ahead.

The make-up of our two kinds of colonies was somewhat different. The recruitment colonies were designed to handle large numbers of recruits, so the living quarters were mostly dormitory-type rooms, the sessions were directed by old-timers, and the various shops were designed to demonstrate more than they were designed to be used efficiently, although these colonies did provide work opportunities and did try to be self-sufficient. The rest of the colonies were designed to be very much like life in the New World, as much as that was possible. Thus, these colonies were very democratic, and they were not only self-sufficient but profitable. It was quite necessary for these colonies to earn a profit too, as they had to pay for whatever goods were imported into the New World while the New World was struggling for self-sufficiency. Each colonist was asked to contribute a year's work as a membership fee, but they were guaranteed that they would receive a new home and full membership in exchange or that they would receive in cash complete repayment for their labor. Although many kinds of work were available in these colonies, the primary source of income was the construction of furniture and other wooden items, as the New World could supply us with a better quality of wood than the old world could produce. Each colony established its own local markets. Other handicrafts were also sold, but the kind and quantity varied from place to place. Mainly, the purpose of the other work was for self-sufficiency.

The colony in Pennsylvania, of course, was the first to be used for recruits, and it received most of its recruits from the Eastern United States. Two other recruitment colonies were established, one in Missouri for the central states and one in Northern California for the western states. Other colonies were sprinkled around the states, and there were two in Canada (the Canadian colonies could also recruit). We talked about establishing colonies in other countries but decided that we had enough to handle. Getting colonists from other countries to the gate would present a problem anyway. We did accept recruits from other countries who were already in the US or Canada. Of course, these colonies did not all appear the first year. After we had sufficient funds, we would purchase low-cost forested lands and fields in out-of-the-way places, but not in remote areas. The Missouri and Northern California colonies were built up the quickest, but I am getting too far ahead again.

Our initial recruitment effort was mainly geared towards getting associates and absent family members to become involved because we were so short-handed that year, with several hundred (two grand) living in the New World, another hundred (eight dozen) destined for mining in California, a couple of dozen building a station and streetcars in Alabama, another couple of dozen drivers ferrying people and goods back and forth, and with various individuals researching historical and geographical information, looking for sites for new communities, seeking new recruits, or setting up recruitment locations.

Fortunately, our wandering children responded well to our need, and our closest associates also pitched in. Many of both groups were recruited very quickly, although we gave them no special effort, other than needing their help pretty badly, which might be the best recruitment technique anyway. We were also pretty liberal about letting them take responsibility as well. So, being short-handed wasn't entirely a handicap. More important was that we were not short of something for them to do.

During the fall of 1966 (year two) and spring of 1967 (year three), we had a number of week-long and weekend retreats for somewhat more distant associates and for a small number of our subscribers who had impressed us with their interest. We really wanted everyone to come for a week plus the greater parts of two weekends, but some could not arrange that, so we met with them in groups over a series of weekends.

More than half of these recruits were willing to make a long-term change in their lives; their retreats were just an opportunity for us and them to get better acquainted and to decide what their roles would be. The rest were very warm on the subject, but they either had obligations to finish, would only join if we met some hard-to-reach and unknown criteria, or just wanted to flirt with the idea, not marry the reality. If we could have explained about the New World, we could have kept many of these people, as one very real complaint was lack of economic opportunity. However, it's necessary to keep in mind that we were offering these people job opportunities, not just a place to homestead. But job opportunities meant more than a few days of weekly work and equal pay to some: either it meant a larger income than everyone else or it meant some form of social climbing (career success) that we couldn't offer, as we think the person who cleans out chamber pots is equal to a Gatekeeper. We continued close association with those who felt a strong commitment to help us but who could go no further at present, but we cut out of the picture those who wanted no deeper involvement, except for keeping them on the newsletter list. Many ended up dropping the newsletter anyway, as they perceived us as being "too radical," since we expected people to do what they said they believed in. However, it should be understood that a deeper involvement did not necessarily mean moving to the New World or even into a colony, as a number of people could help us better in other locations. Indeed, we often ended up hiring people who were not members of the community at all. However, we tried to use our own people as much as possible.

We did not treat all of these first recruits the same, as some were much closer to us than others. The closest could be used in California or the New World as soon as we needed them, and the ones who were somewhat less integrated could help establish colonies or work for us elsewhere.

The second source of recruits was our subscribers. Fortunately, we had been sending out a newsletter for several years which had been doing a pretty good job of describing our community without reporting too much trivia. We began our campaign by announcing that we had finally found the money to start new communities and that we were anxious to start enrolling newcomers. Then, we followed that announcement with a personal letter. These letters noted the recipients' talents and accomplishments (information that they had supplied in the past), told them that they were needed, and offered them a specific opportunity when possible. However, the letter also pointed out the need for an orientation session, during the summer, to ensure that we were right for each other. If we received a quick answer to the letter, we would call back immediately and make plans. If we did not, we would call anyway. If it was necessary, we went in person. In no case did we push very hard.

Whenever possible, we wanted the prospects to come for the summer, but we accepted visits of as little as nine days (two full weekends and a week), as many of these people had job commitments. None of these people were accepted who could not come for at least nine days.

The method of treating those who could come for the summer and those who could come for the minimal period was different. With the former, we could space out the T-groups and the teaching sessions over the course of the summer, and those recruits learned more about us from working than from the sessions. With the latter, we had to compress everything within the minimum period of time; these recruits received little exposure to our way of life and had to learn from our sessions. The success rate was much higher with those who stayed the whole summer; however, the ones coming for the summer probably were more highly motivated anyway. The ones who came for the shorter time later needed additional help in adapting to the colonies.

Let me go ahead and explain the orientation method used with the subscribers and distant associates before discussing our other sources for members. The same method was used for all, with some adjustment for age, except during the summer of '68, when we were overwhelmed by the number of recruits and had to adopt emergency measures.

Everyone had to begin with a two-day, marathon encounter group session involving about a dozen recruits. Husbands and wives, and parents and children were placed in separate groups (more about children later) and could only see each other briefly between sessions. Members of a T-group were not allowed to leave until it was finished except for brief trips to restrooms and for sleeping at night. Meals were brought to the sessions. During a T-group, members were instructed that they could only talk about themselves or other people in the room; they could not talk about what they knew or about people elsewhere. There was a moderator and an observer in each group, but the observer only took notes, and the moderator only enforced a few rules and prevented things from getting too far out of hand.

Generally, everyone would provide an introduction, and then there would be a long period of silence. Finally, members would begin asking each other questions, with no one allowed to break off into a smaller group. Having no one else to talk about except themselves, these discussions would often lead to attacks, à la Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, but the moderator would be there to limit the destruction. As an alternative, the discussion might lead to confessions. Whatever course the group took, people would end up admitting their limitations, and one member after another would surrender his facade and then be accepted anew. By the time the T-group finished, usually on the second day, everyone remaining in the group would be solidly joined to the others. Unfortunately, some people could not last the two days, some of these were sent immediately to another group, others were given individual therapy before going back to another T-group, and others simply left. Many people did not actually need these T-groups; they had no buried resentments and could relax easily with others; however, they found these groups fascinating and were good participants. Many of the participants expressed interest in conducting such sessions themselves, and some of them later became observers and finally moderators.

After the first T-group, there would be a shift to other activities, but after a couple of days or a week (depending on their length of stay), they would return to a second, eight-hour T-group with a completely different set of members. Being more experienced, this T-group would resolve major problems more quickly. After a pause, there would be a third, four hour T-group with another set of members. During these sessions, the moderator, using notes about each individual compiled by previous observers, would bring up problems that hadn't been resolved in the previous meetings. Some of these were personal, but many concerned adjustment problems. Not all recruits followed the same path; those with more emotional difficulties would have additional eight-hour sessions in order to help resolve or reduce them. The net effect of these T-groups was to give a great feeling of solidarity and affinity among the members.

When recruiting among associates and other older adults, we even had special T-groups for their kids, based on age and maturity. Teenage T-groups were much like adult T-groups, except the barriers were even tougher to break through. On the other hand, younger children relate poorly to each other and hope to receive their attention from adults. Our sessions with them were intended to help them learn to relax with each other and play together better. One technique that worked well with them was to get them to play-act various roles. It's amazing how well even very small children can imitate the bad behavior of their parents. We also had some family sessions, which included several whole families, and where we saw problems, we had parent-children or husband-wife sessions. In some cases, severe conflict within the family prevented further integration.

Similar to the T-groups in their freedom were wide-open discussion sessions. Most of the discussions pertained to our policies, but we did not begin with, "Here is our policy; what do you think about it?" Instead, we would give them a problem and ask them to solve it. Usually, the solution they decided upon was the same or similar to our own. Since it's rather weak to announce, "Yeah, that's what we think too," I found a dramatic way of emphazing this. I would place a sealed envelope on the table in front of them, the problem written on the outside, and the solution on a piece of paper inside. A very good question to ask them, after they had resolved several issues like this but were not worn out, was "If your group can discover within a short period of time the same solutions that we put into practice, why doesn't the rest of the world do things this way?"

We also depended on teaching sessions. These were of two types: one to introduce our beliefs and regulations; the other to teach specific skills, some of these needed by everyone, some needed by only a few. The teaching sessions used lecture, demonstration, discussion, and, whenever possible, practice.

One required and early session was on the policies and rules of our community. By the time the recruits got this far, they had been in several T-groups and discussion sessions, so it was now OK for me to just lecture, reminding them of what they had observed or concluded on their own.

Policies are generalized statements which indicate the purpose and general attitudes of our community. Rules are specific statements about what must or must not be done. Our policies ought to have been obvious by this time, but they were written in a little booklet along with our rules.

In talking about our rules, I, or whoever conducted this session, would remind them that in the world at large, society expects people to obey certain rules, but it doesn't explain what they are. Some of these rules are what we call etiquette and have to do with respecting others, such as how to address employers or teachers, how to behave on the job or in school, or how to act in public or on a date. Others concern how people are perceived, and these include how to dress, what kind of hairdo is appropriate, what kind of vocabulary to use, which people are acceptable as friends, what beliefs and opinions can be expressed, what kind of music is tolerated, which pleasures are allowable, and which racial groups are acceptable. Differences with others in these areas can lead to violent reactions, even though no disrespect was intended.

In our community, respect for others is important; the other rules are not; we don't care if people walk around naked, wear their hair long or short, use profanity, have strange friends, have yellow or black skin, have unpopular opinions, prefer strange music, or have unusual tastes. Although there is a tendency within our community for people to dress alike and think alike, we don't consider that tendency necessary or even desirable, and we encourage our children to be themselves.

Society at large does have another set of rules, called laws, which have been written down. These laws have been written down because many people don't obey them any more. Those who don't obey these rules may be punished, and the punishment is sometimes written as well.

Within our community, all of our rules are written down, so everyone knows what they are. They can be changed by us voting on them; it's not easy to change a rule, taking a 2/3rds vote, because we don't want to be flip-flopping every year or so, but they are not written in stone. However, unlike laws in society at large, we expect everyone to obey them. If you refuse to obey them, we won't punish you; you just won't belong any more.

Whenever two people live next to each other, they are bound to have differences. It is best for them to work out their differences, and we teach interacting skills, but sometime they can't. In our community, everyone must belong to a neighborhood and must attend weekly meetings. These meetings are a mixture of T-group and discussion group and handle both emotional and physical problems. In the case of a dispute between two people, the neighborhood will help them come to a resolution. However, if one or both parties is unwilling to cooperate, the neighborhood has a right to impose a solution. This is done with the best interest of the community, the neighborhood, and all parties directly involved. If violence, vandalism, or theft has taken place, the community has the right to examine evidence, to call in witnesses, and to pass judgment. If either of these parties can present evidence to show that this judgment wasn't fair or if either party thinks the judgment was too harsh or too lenient, then the case can be reviewed by a special jury. If they are still not happy, they can leave.

After my introduction, we would give them a copy of the policies and rules and go over the rules one at a time for discussion. We didn't want people to just accept our rules; we wanted them to understand them. Of course, some people had problems with some of the rules. So, we would discuss these more completely. Of course, we could not discuss our rules without getting into values as well.

One rule, for instance, that caused problems was the rule against owning dogs and cats. We pointed out that they are meat eaters, that if allowed to roam freely they destroy large numbers of wild animals and frighten other wild animals away; "if you have dogs and cats, you can't have squirrels, chipmunks, and birds." I also pointed out that most dogs and cats are ignored by their owners most of the time; cats accept this, but most dogs lead lonely and miserable lives. Dogs are very prone to annoying or attacking every child or stranger. And dogs and cats breed at a terrific rate, with the population doubling every six months to a year. No one who is a vegetarian wants to have to kill someone else's dog. People with pets usually have them due to fear of strangers or lack of company; our T-groups provide mental, emotional, and physical cuddling that a pet can't provide. We ensure that everyone gets to spend some time with the younger children, who love to be handled. We also are always glad for children or adults to come help with the farm animals, including the young which have to be fed. Most of our smaller animals and horses are really pets anyway. I also pointed out that we used trained dogs to help tend our animals and had no objection to seeing-eye dogs.

Another point of concern was our attitude towards animals. We insist that all animals,whether wild or tame, must be treated humanely. No animal can be treated in a cruel fashion or killed just for sport, but we can use them for work if we take care of them, or kill them for food if they do not suffer. We are not in complete agreement about whether it is right to eat animals for food. Some of our members eat only fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables, some also drink milk and/or eat unfertile eggs, some also eat fish and seafood, some also eat chickens and other birds, and some eat mammals. Most of our members lie within the middle of this group. It is not necessary for anyone to eat animals to have a healthy diet. Both meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters have some dietary concerns: animal fat is the primary cause of overweight and obesity leading to heart disease and strokes; a meatless diet can be low in B-vitamins, calcium, and iron. Our overall policy is that an individual may eat any animal that he has raised and killed himself; if the family eats the meat, they must all participate in the death of the animal. We also allow the catching of fish or the gathering of shell food. The community forbids hunting.

We were frequently asked about our attitudes about sexual relationships. We think that far too much emphasis is placed on sex, which is an easy drive to satisfy and quickly gone, and not nearly enough on love, which is harder to satisfy but which can last a lifetime. Love is the foundation of a lasting marriage, happy children, and a healthy community. We firmly believe that intercourse should occur only between partners who love each other and have made a lifetime commitment to each other. There are three reasons for this. First, and least important, we want to prevent the spread of disease, as venereal diseases are both persistent and highly dangerous, due to the method of contact. Second, sexual relationships usually create children, and the whole focus of a society must be on the care and nurture of those children, so they can in turn become responsible adults. We don't consider it adequate to simply meet the needs of these children, as you find in the writings of BF Skinner, as they would grow into uncaring adults; instead, they must be loved and must maintain a tight bond with both parents. Therefore, we see sexual relationships as a responsibility and not as an activity. Finally, we think that people are happiest when they are committed to someone else and have someone else committed to them. Being loved, sharing love, and giving love are far more important than sex. Those people who begin their sex lives committed to each other and in love with each other are much more likely to have a lasting relationship than those who have many lovers or extra-marital affairs. Those who divorce and remarry are much more likely to fail the second time.

However, we deplore the current anti-sex attitudes of society at large. We are not opposed to nudity, erotic literature or photographs, masturbation, four-letter words, homosexual relations between committed adults, childhood sex play, or teenage petting. We instruct young children about sex, and we teach love and sexual techniques (along with other important matters) to couples preparing to get married and also to married adults who are interested. We do not punish, disgrace, or discard women who have had children outside of marriage, nor do we force marriages, nor do we send children born in such a fashion to orphanages, as is common in society at large. We do require the father of such a child to be a parent to that child in every way, but we don't shame him either. After all, the harm that they did in having a child outside of marriage is done to the child and to themselves, not to the community as a whole. We try to prevent divorce by having the couple undergo therapy and frank discussion before marriage and by providing counseling and therapy during marriage. However, we allow for divorce if either of the parties no longer loves the other, but we expect both to maintain their duty to their children.

We also firmly feel that men and women have equal rights and responsibilities, both within marriage and within the Community. A woman within our community can have any job available, as long as she is qualified. However, we also recognize that women and men are physically and mentally different in some aspects. Due to these differences, women are more likely to select some kinds of tasks and men more likely to select others. Nonetheless, our society is based on the notion that each person does his best by being himself, so we don't reject the person who is different from the norm.

Our policies about raising children never got anyone upset, but they did make them curious. So, I would always need to explain them too. We believe that the first few months of a baby's life are extremely important to its sense of well-being and its language-learning ability, so we expect parents to take turns staying with the baby at all times during the first six months. That's a good time for both parents to take some time away from work. Put the crib next to the head of the bed, not the foot, and never leave the baby to cry alone. Speak to the baby often, even read it stories or sing it songs, and if you have more than one native language, use both languages in talking to the child. When the baby becomes a toddler, it should be given freedom to explore the house, and this means removing all dangerous or breakable things. Never punish a child before it is old enough to understand the explanation. When the child begins talking, encourage it and teach it new words as appropriate. Children can start learning the alphabet as early as two. There are three common beliefs about raising children beyond this point, which are harmful. One, from the Victorian period, is that children are just small adults; the second, which the Eskimos believe, is that no attempt should be made to teach children anything until they become mature; the third, which is most common, is to ignore them except when they cause trouble, and then to punish them severely. Children start forming their concept of what it is like to be an adult as early as two. They can have fun and be responsible at an early age, but they will lack our consistency and will make lots of mistakes. It is neither necessary nor helpful to be cruel to them for making mistakes; however, it is essential to be firm and consistent. The most important control is love. Children enjoy learning, and in our school, we give them interesting things to do, and we completely change the teacher-student relationship, so the teacher becomes the helper and the student the explorer. Finally, we do not accept the notion that children all become adults at the same time, so we allow them some choice as to when they become full adult members, but we also give them a test involving difficult moral problems which must be resolved correctly. The day they become adults is the most important day of their lives, so we have a ceremony to match it.

Our rule that everyone would receive the same amount of pay per hour of work sometimes raised concern. I explained that we recorded this work as hours and not as dollars. Some objected, saying some people's work is more valuable than others. My answer to this was, Isn't this true in a lot of cases simply because we wish to reward some people more than others? We reward the engineer much more than the social worker or teacher, but which task requires greater ability and effort and accomplishes the most good? The university professor receives several times the income of the grade-school teacher, but which is really the better teacher and doing the more important task? Children with great teachers in their early years of school will do better in life than those with great teachers in their last years. In a university, do the very best professors receive the highest pay, or is the top pay awarded for some other reason? Or on a job, do the best workers receive better pay than their fellows? Or is it some fellow sitting at a desk somewhere who receives the highest pay?

Some objected to equal pay because some jobs required much more preparation than others. A doctor would have to spend years in school, would need nurses and expensive equipment to help him, and would spend time working when the patient was not around. I would explain that we compensate for all that. If we had a doctor, he could charge for his schooling, both time and money, his nurses and equipment, his rent and insurance, his working time not spent with a patient, and any other legitimate expenses. What he could not do is become outrageously wealthy at the expense of his clients. I pointed out that it's fairly common for specialists to use low-paid workers to do most of the work and then to charge the client the top rate. It's common for a lawyer or other professional to let the secretaries do all of the actual work, except for talking with the client, and for him to receive nearly all of the benefit.

Another question I was asked was about the person with a great deal of talent, such as an extremely original and talented painter. Shouldn't he receive more pay that someone who lacks any useful talent? I would answer that in our Community, those with artistic talents can depend on regular employment, while talented artists in the world as a whole end up starving. We could not pay them extra for their talent, as this would be a matter of current tastes. On the other hand, the person with no talent would find few opportunities for employment and would have to find another source of income. In fact, one argument against equal pay often overlooked is how hard it is on the lazy or unskillful worker. If you can hire someone for much less than you get paid, it might not bother you if he is slow or unskillful. But if it cost you as much to hire him as it does to do the work yourself, he'd better be good. Equal pay has three tremendous advantages, as far as we are concerned: 1) It forces people to find work in the areas where they have ability and interest, since there's no profit in being an untalented worker at an unpleasant job. 2) It encourages people to work for themselves. We think society is much healthier and happier if people are capable of doing a wide range of tasks and are comfortable with doing their own work. 3) And it prevents the creation of a special class of people who think they are better than everyone else.

A number of our rules were anti-pollution rules, and I always pointed out that one of the greatest differences between our society and society as a whole is in our attitude toward Nature. Historically, the United States has always seen Nature simply as a resource that can be exploited. We see it as a resource which must be cherished. Therefore, while we tend fields and manage woodlands, we consider a part of our mission to keep both in excellent condition; therefore, we plow compost, leaves, and manure into our fields, grow cover crops of clover, and allow fallow years as well, and we use dead and fallen trees for fuel, allowing our forests to grow. Since we don't believe in air pollution, we use efficient wood heaters, and we use them only when necessary, wearing warm clothes inside during the winter. Since we don't believe in water pollution, we are careful that our animals can't defecate into the streams. We also avoid using any pesticides, herbicides, or commercial fertilizers.

Some didn't understand why we would use outhouses, which they considered unsanitary, instead of flush toilets, which they considered sanitary. I explained that we compost all human wastes, so they can be recycled into the soil, rather than flushing them through a septic tank into the ground water. Our outhouses are fly-free, and all human wastes are turned into compost. We are careful to use nightsoil (the term for human compost) on crops which won't be eaten, such as cotton or flax.

We made an effort to show everyone how everything operated in our community, but we also gave them a chance to try the things that looked attractive to them. We had a wide selection of work activities. For those who wanted contact with nature in their work, there was the garden, the fields, the pastures, the beehives, the fruit trees, and the animals. Animal care included everything from shearing sheep to training and working with oxen. For those who wanted to work with their hands, we had pottery-making (we made all of our own dishware, for which there was now a great demand), glass-blowing (mainly for curios, but about to be expanded), printing (our brochures and newsletters), and every part of cloth making from spinning to final tailor work, carpentry and housebuilding, stove building (we were welding our stoves from steel plate), and -- of course -- furniture-making. For those interested in working with people, we needed lots of recruiters, advisors, and T-group moderators. We were always on the lookout for recruits with special training, geologists, chemists, metallurgists, electricians, surveyors, engineers, and so on, with the medical people considered the most valuable. It was sometimes difficult to find tasks for these people, but it was extremely important to let them know that we needed them. And finally, we did not neglect the arts. Those who could write, paint, sculpt, sing, act, or play an instrument were given that kind of work as well. We did have to explain to a few of these people that their work had to be appreciated for us to pay them for it. Those with great unappreciated or unrealized artistic talent would still find our communities great places to work, since they would have half the week free.

I should add that in addition to all the workshops and shop work, that we also provided activities and entertainment. We stressed the need for healthy exercise every day, and we offered lots of hikes, ball games, and other recreational activities. At night, we offered music, singing, and plays, putting immediately to work any recruits with talent. We made sure that the meals were of high quality as well.

I guess I have made everything sound very easy. It was an awful lot of work. There were hundreds of people to keep records of, to plan activities for, to feed, to find sleeping places for, to demonstrate to, and to help. In persuading people about our ways, we couldn't expect a single presentation to change everyone's viewpoint, nor could we afford to be repetitious, so we had to approach the issue from multiple routes. However, it was essential that we explained not only our behavior but why it was our behavior before the behavior was encountered. We could depend on social inertia to some extent, as generally, people will go along with something as long as it does not do violence to their sense of judgment and as long as they still feel as if they are part of the community, and we worked hard to make sure that they felt a part. However, we had to ensure that they wouldn't join, move to the New World, and then decide that they wanted to reinstitute the bad policies of the old world.

However, we didn't win over everyone, and sometimes we were met with hostile questions. It should be understood that hostile questions at this point mean that we haven't been reaching the questioner, and therefore, for that reason, we could ignore the question as far as that one person was concerned. However, once such a question was asked of us, it put us under an obligation to prove to everyone else that we were sure of ourselves. A poor or confused answer could cost us a number of new members. Besides, that hostile questioner might be asking something that is on other people's minds.

For this reason, we practiced asking each other hostile questions ahead of time. This not only prepared us for the questions and the tension but also tended to relax us as well, because we knew if we could answer those questions, we could answer anything. Following are some typical questions that could be asked with their answers.

Q. All this talk of freedom and democracy is hokum! What's the difference between what you're doing and communism? How can you call yourselves free when you let society control your lives?

A. There's a great deal of difference. Unlike in communist states, everyone is free to leave at any time, if they don't agree with our policies and rules. Unlike with the US government and most democracies, instead of voting for a representative who makes the decisions for you, each person gets to vote on every new rule and every decision that is made. In the Community, you get to choose your occupation, and since you work fewer hours, you have more freedom to pursue your personal interests.

Q. It seems to me that this is a godless group of people. The Bible says you must believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved. If you really believed in God, why don't you emphasize God's message?

A. If you wish to join a group of people who share many of our values but who interpret the Bible more literally, we suggest joining the Amish. We consider them wonderful people.

Here, there is a wide range of belief from conservative Christian to Buddhist to atheist, and we allow each person to interpret the world and the universe uniquely, so there is no standard set of religious beliefs. In fact, we have a rule against harassing people about their beliefs. The one religious belief that we all share is that each person must find an individual path to God -- "the kingdom of God is within you."

Q. Working just a few days a week might sound fine while you're young, but when you get old and have no medical insurance, you will suffer as a result. Why don't you tell people the truth about this?

A. The cause for so much bad health in old age is a poor diet and insufficient exercise. We have many old people within our community, and none of them are living a life of daily pills and weekly visits to the doctor. The largest portion of the money spent on old people in the US is spent in a frantic attempt in the last year of their lives to extend their lives a little bit longer. We believe that these last-minute attempts at reversing the inevitable do more harm than good. We want people to die with dignity, with their friends and family around, not in some cold hospital.

In our Community, we provide the personal care and security that people need during their old age, something you can't get in society at large. We are happy to pay for medicines and medical treatments that prove to be necessary, but we labor while younger to avoid the need for them while older.

Q. This group is much too pious for my tastes! No pot, very little alcohol, no smoking, and no free love! How can you enjoy a life like that? How can you call yourself a free society if people can't experiment with pleasures?

A. There are other ways of reaching a high than through the use of drugs, ways that are more satisfying in the long run. Any pleasure provided by smoking will be paid for with a shortened life span and some real misery in the end. We strongly believe in enjoying sex and love, but we think love is something which grows over time and requires a great deal of commitment; therefore, it can't be described as free. Any children produced will be a major responsibility. As for sex, we think it's empty without love, but in any event, promiscuous sex unnecessarily exposes one to disease.

People do experiment with those things in our society, as elsewhere, but it's a frustrating place to try to enjoy those behaviors. Those who wish to experiment would be better off going elsewhere.

Q. It sounds as if your life is pretty hard on women. No finer things in life, just the risk and pain of childbirth.

A. We have as many women as men, and they seem to be enjoying our lifestyle. There's lots of craft activities and social involvement, which women really enjoy. In society at large, women sit at home watching I Love Lucy reruns all the time. As for childbirth, we train young women on how to have babies with a minimum of pain, and they don't lie there suffering until the doctor yanks the baby from their bodies.

Q. Do you really expect us to believe that you can earn a living by working two days a week?

A. Some will work less and others more. A Thoreau-like individual with no children can average less than one day a week of work, while someone who wants a lot of things and who has children will have to work a lot more.

We can get by on two days of work per week because we don't have mortgage payments on large expensive houses, high fuel bills from heating them to summertime temperatures, individual washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, and vacuum cleaners, big new cars and long commutes to work, and big lawns with lawn mowers to run. In addition to the two days per week that we spend on income-earning tasks, we also perform many tasks at home which reduce our expenses, such as growing gardens, making clothes, and canning foods.

Q. Are you really expecting us to give up on all the pleasures of modern life just to live in miserable little huts, eat potatoes, and use an outhouse?

A. We don't think that the average American life is anything to want to seek. The person spends most of his days earning money at a job which he can lose at any minute. He comes home in the evening too tired to do anything except watch silly TV programs. He spends part of his weekend tending to his yard and another part taking care of his automobile. His house is cluttered with junk, his diet is unhealthy, his groundwater is polluted, and his environment is artificial. We don't find our way of life to have such serious problems.

We have social and intellectual activities going on every night within our community, and we spend a lot of time on recreational activities that are good for our bodies and which help us enjoy the beauty of Nature.

Q. Don't you have a greater health risk from all those wood stoves heating your houses than you would have from smoking? Isn't use of all that wood destructive of nature?

A. First, we don't burn nearly as much wood as you think. Our houses are well-insulated and pick up solar heat through south-facing windows during the day, and we wear much warmer clothing during winter, since we consider high indoor temperatures unhealthy. Second, we use stoves which burn the wood byproducts more completely, so the amount of dangerous gases in the air is greatly reduced. Our chimneys are high enough that whatever smoke is produced is blown away. Third, we use fallen dead trees and branches for most of our fuel, and trees with poor quality wood for the rest. Finally, we spend more time outdoors and less time indoors than most Americans. Our kids play outside most of the time, and we are out there with them when we are not working.

Although I have been talking about the process used with associates and subscribers, these same methods were used with all other recruits as well, although they were refined with experience and adapted to different age groups. As an example of the last, one of the strongest motivations for young men is young women, and vice versa, so we worked very hard to ensure an adequate supply of both sexes. Young people were more valuable to us than older people for a couple of very strong reasons: first, they were more adaptable to new ideas and conditions, and second, they would soon have children of their own to increase the population. Every person recruited who would not have further children was equal to one person, but every person who would have children was equal to at least three others during his own lifetime (child, grandchild, and great grandchild). That is, assuming that children are born mainly while their parents are between the ages of eighteen (a dozen and a half) and twenty-four (two dozen), and that the parents average two children, we find that by the time a couple reaches the age of seventy-two (six dozen), they have two children, four grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren, which they share with other grandparents, of course. This is a three-fold increase. Of course, some couples would not have any children, and some would have three or more, but the average holds.

The factor which helped us most in our recruitment was the sweeping cultural change just beginning to spread across the country. Young people were starting to grow their hair long and wear granny glasses. They were strongly interested in a more organic way of life, and they found themselves rejected by their parents. They wanted more responsibility for their own lives, and they were opposed to the war in Vietnam. They didn't want look-alike row houses or sterile factory jobs. They read books about experimental communities and how to do everything for themselves. On the negative side -- as far as we were concerned -- they were often experimenting with drugs and sex, a powerful combination.

Our discussions of how to link up with these people led to several methods which were employed simultaneously.

First, we used ads and articles in various publications from Organic Gardening to numerous counter-culture publications. And, of course, we produced a magazine and some books of our own. These methods were most effective with the older young adults, who were already employed, but who were looking for some better solution.

Second, we sent recruiters to pop, folk, rock, and other music festivals, as this was a great way to meet everyone from everywhere in a hurry. We also sent them to other places where the counter-culture was likely to gather, such as the beaches.

Third, we located areas inhabited by counter-culture street people, and we seeded those areas with information about us. In particular, we looked for runaways -- children who were running away from home and who were likely to run into more trouble than they could imagine. Runaways needed more therapy work than the other recruits, of course, but they were the most loyal, once they got past their problems. Runaways were more likely to be female while college recruits were more likely to be male, which was very helpful as well.

Fourth, we joined protesters of all kinds, from those protesting nuclear plants to those protesting racial discrimination to those protesting the war to those protesting anything else that we disagreed with. We were always welcomed at demonstrations because we would arrive as a group of supporters, and we would provide cash to help their drive. But, as individuals, we would use the opportunity to distribute our literature and to find those who wanted to live like us.

Fifth -- and strongest, we went to the colleges. Our own children were our first source of contact, and many of them, who were in college at the time, became recruiters themselves. Our methods of recruiting college students looked at several characteristics of student life at that time.

Most students in the sixties were living in dormitories on campus, where they had little freedom. The males could not play music in their rooms or even engage in spirited conversation without getting into trouble. They were likely to be thrown out for the least infraction. The females were practically living in prison, at least in the more conservative schools. They could not leave their dorms while wearing pants or shorts, they had to state in writing their destination each time they left (and would be punished or expelled for lying), and they had to be back at the dorm early in the evening (at one school at nine o'clock). Few places were available for living off campus, and these were often highly undesirable. The professors made no attempt to help their students pass, and therefore the failure rate was often as high as 50% during the first year. Male students who failed could expect their next stop to be Vietnam, as the draft swept up all those who were not college-deferred. Finally, the students often had to struggle to pay for their schooling.

We could help solve all of these problems and gather recruits at the same time. First, we could buy large, old houses near the campuses and fix them up for living and eating quarters. These buildings would quickly pay for themselves and at the same time provide excellent recruits, as we would screen those who entered. Besides providing a better environment, these homes would lower the cost of going to school, and we could offer the students work around the house during the school year and in the colonies during the summer. In addition, we could compile information about their professors, so the students would know which ones to take, and we could tutor them with their classwork. And if any students did fail or decide to quit, we could offer an alternative to Vietnam.

In some ways, our homes had to be as strict as the dorms, as the schools and the communities the schools were in were very much worried about drugs and sex, especially since our students tended to be long-haired and even bearded. So, we had strict policies against alcohol, drugs, and "sleep-in's." To keep noise from disturbing the neighbors, we built a well-insulated room in each home where the students could turn the volume all the way up without disturbing anyone.

Of course, our real purpose was not making money, providing living quarters, or helping students pass but to recruit for the New World, so we made strong efforts to pick the most likely candidates for our homes. To make our efforts a little less obvious (as students could lie if they knew exactly what we wanted), we made up a special "psychology" questionnaire asking all kinds of random questions which would allow us to ferret out the students' attitudes and motivations. The more closely the new student fit into our pattern of thinking, the more quickly we could use these students to recruit more students, as we were not only interested in the limited number that could stay in the home. We used various methods to attract additional students, including parties, special lectures and presentations, trips involving outdoor activities, vacation trips to a colony, and "job" offers for the summer (we would pay the students minimum wage for all working hours in the colonies, which could mostly cover the cost of a year's schooling if the student was very economical). And, of course, we passed out newsletters. Special efforts were made to attract those with special abilities which could be useful in a new civilization.

The first summer's recruitment consisted primarily of associates and subscribers, as has been said, but we did get a number of college students, with which we began our recruitment for the following year. The establishment of homes at various campuses was a task which took years, of course, but we weren't slow about it. Carlos Zimmerman headed the task of finding and purchasing suitable houses at schools where we already had students, and then his father, Jake, would travel around with a crew, making necessary repairs, preparing the houses for use as dorms, and taking care of problems as they developed. Our students would move in immediately, and the process of filling the home would begin, with close friends often the first members.

Most of our houses paid for themselves and were sold for a profit when we could no longer use them, but some never worked well, supplying few recruits, and even getting into trouble with the local authorities. The situation changed constantly. One year, with good student leaders, a house would furnish a flood of recruits. Then the next year, those students having moved on to the colonies, the same house would produce no results, and perhaps even lose money. The problem was not always due to the students in charge, as the political situation and student populations of the various schools were in constant flux as well. When students left without having recruited other students to take their place, we were usually forced to shut the houses down, although we would make an attempt to keep a house open, unless it hadn't been furnishing any recruits for a while. As a whole, the best houses had graduate students running them, as these students were more mature and experienced, and kept us informed whenever problems developed.

During the year 1966, our only recruits were our own people plus a few associates. During the spring and summer of '67, we invited the rest of the associates and all of our subscribers. During the summer, we also had several hundred college students, recruited by our children in college that year. For that first year, instead of concentrating on furniture, we build new buildings for dormitories and meeting rooms. We also constructed large numbers of stoves to replace those moved to the New World and to supply future colonies. We also built new spinning wheels, hand looms, and harvesting equipment for the same reason. We were purchasing antique treadle sewing machines and overhauling them. And we had an awful lot of dishes and cups to make in our ovens. Food production was also increased, as much as possible.

Only a few of the college students stayed with us at the end of the summer, but we did not expect to ensnare them the first year anyway. Instead, we wanted them to begin recruitment efforts in their schools, and Carlos and his crew were soon going around finding quarters for them.

In our recruitment efforts, we were helped by several changes taking place at that time. First, liberals in the US ceased to support the Vietnam war. One cause for this change was the Tet Offensive, which began at the end of January 1968. Eugene McCarthy led a "children's crusade" with a strong second place in New Hampshire in March, which caused Lyndon Johnson to withdraw from the presidential race. Robert Kennedy also began his bid for the presidency. But Johnson did not give up on Vietnam, so the protests continued. Second, the hippie movement was now spreading all over, fueled by young people's interest in music, which was often -- but not always -- singing our tune. The Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco became a hippie homeland. Third, the civil rights movement was having a major impact. Martin Luther King was killed in April, and riots and destruction followed.

Although we continued to receive a trickle of recruits throughout the year and had weekend and holiday workshops for our best college recruits whenever possible, when the time approached for the summer college students, who were coming not only to be introduced to our way of life but also to earn funds for the summer, we began to realize that we would be overwhelmed. The only solution was to send people to the colonies as quickly as possible. We asked those living at the colonies to plant as much garden stuff as they possibly could, even though they couldn't tend it all. We sent surveyors to map out building locations, and we sent as much building material as was available, with instructions to purchase more locally, as necessary. We also sent tents. We sent the students we had already had sessions with directly to the colonies. When the first schools to let out sent us the first students, we spent a week on them, and then sent them to the colonies with the task of building new communities with nothing to live in but tents until the new buildings were completed. Of course, we sent a few experienced workers and leaders to guide these projects.

We tried to hold sessions with all the new students, but as the number of students arriving kept increasing, we found it necessary to send some out to the colonies without any preliminary sessions. Build first, talk later. We did make every effort to send the most self-confident and to keep those who needed more help adjusting. In spite of sending away as many as we could, the Community was bursting with people, and providing enough work for everyone was a challenging task. According to our records, over eight thousand (five myriad) college students showed up that summer.

It was a good thing that we had gone prospecting in California, as our costs greatly exceeded our income that year. Out of our own resources, we didn't have enough food to feed them all or enough building materials to shelter all. The advantage of the summer recruits was that they provided lots of labor during the working season without needing to be fed during the winter; the disadvantage was that they created terrible management problems.

We also couldn't send any emigrants to the New World that year. In fact, we had to get many settlers to come back to help handle the emergency.

However, everything did look a lot better for us as the summer progressed. The hectic struggle eventually gave way to a more gentle pace. We had greatly increased the number of our recruiters, and we knew that many of the recruits that summer would eventually become full-time members. Our colonies now had buildings for people to meet in and live in.

We made trips to the various colonies for work sessions with the students who had built them, and I was pleased to see that throwing them into the water had not caused an undue number to drown. I also was careful to ensure that each colony would have sufficient people to harvest and put up whatever crops were grown, as the food would be greatly needed the next year. In some cases, I was able to convince college students to stay through the fall for that reason. Actually, for the majority of them, there was no real advantage to us for them to finish college, but they had been motivated in that direction for many years. If any did seem inclined to stay, we would talk to them about their options, encouraging them to stay but not insisting upon it.

We did have some problems with our first T-groups and orientation at these colonies. The students had already bonded and formed their own associations, and their value system was not always the same as ours. The discussions became pretty lively, and we had to be careful not to alienate the whole crowd. Our biggest problem with them was over drugs, alcohol, and sex. They tended to see us as square and uptight, and we tended to see them as undisciplined and illogical. After some confrontations of this kind, we decided to downplay our differences, on the assumption that greater maturity would change their views. However, we were also careful to weed out the potheads and the promiscuous, sending them elsewhere. It was at this time that we originated the colony we secretly called Hell. We sent all those we could not control to Hell, where we furnished no support or guidance and expected them to get discouraged and leave. We were surprised after a few years, when we discovered some of them making a success out of it, and we welcomed them back into the Community.

Two events that summer had a profound influence on our recruits. One was the assassination of Robert Kennedy near the beginning of the summer, and the other was the Chicago Convention at the end. The second event was powerful and was televised for a week, so we actually purchased TV sets and antennas, the first that the Community had ever seen, just so our recruits could witness what was happening. The Chicago Convention was a meeting of the Democratic Party to choose its candidate for President of the United States. Inside the convention, there was plenty to protest, as Johnson -- although no longer a candidate himself -- used his power to get his man elected and his planks enacted over the boos from his opponents. However, the real action happened outside, where the Chicago police attacked both demonstrators and campaign headquarters in their attempt to support Johnson. We witnessed police clubbing peaceful protesters, and then we heard in the news that the young people were the cause of the problem. No one could witness those events without feeling alienated from politics.

All in all, the summer of '68 was a great time for recruiting, but I wouldn't want to live through it again.

Chapter Nine: Standards Adopted for the New World


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CHAPTERS: | Rolling | Bees | | Copyright © 2003 Ken Kifer | February 22, 2003