Moral Injury and the Oasis of the Heart

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Among them was Carey, who, listening to Powell, felt a connection to someone for the first time in years. Steven Velez was there, too, flashing back to his time as an Army staff sergeant in Afghanistan, when he was too traumatized to help his comrade. But it helped to put down the words and read them aloud to his fellow veterans.

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He was honorably discharged from the Army last August, and found work as a nurse at a home for the elderly in Crescent, but he realized he no longer had it in him to do the job he once loved. He quit and is pursuing a degree in industrial engineering. He spends much of his time on his farmland, in his family since his great-great-grandmother arrived in Oklahoma to start a new life after being freed as a slave. Sometimes, he talks to God as he clears the brush around the walnut trees.

He still takes medication for anxiety, depression and insomnia. But more than anything, he leans on the seven veterans.

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Their cellphones have become a lifeline, with daily texts. Helping them helps him, because he sees that he can still heal others. Hearing that brought relief for Powell. The girl still comes to him in his dreams. Not long ago, he envisioned her running through a pasture, and he yelled at her not to leave. But he can put a distance between who he is now, and what happened then.

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Rather, we focus on discussions related to local stories by our own staff. Steven Velez was there, too, flashing back to his time as an Army staff sergeant in Afghanistan, when he was too traumatized to help his comrade. But it helped to put down the words and read them aloud to his fellow veterans. He was honorably discharged from the Army last August, and found work as a nurse at a home for the elderly in Crescent, but he realized he no longer had it in him to do the job he once loved. He quit and is pursuing a degree in industrial engineering.

He spends much of his time on his farmland, in his family since his great-great-grandmother arrived in Oklahoma to start a new life after being freed as a slave. Sometimes, he talks to God as he clears the brush around the walnut trees. He still takes medication for anxiety, depression and insomnia. But more than anything, he leans on the seven veterans. Their cellphones have become a lifeline, with daily texts. Helping them helps him, because he sees that he can still heal others. Hearing that brought relief for Powell.

The girl still comes to him in his dreams. Not long ago, he envisioned her running through a pasture, and he yelled at her not to leave. But he can put a distance between who he is now and what happened then. By Julie Watson Associated Press. A doctor had filled a syringe with painkillers. Powell pushed dose after dose into her IV. The next day, Powell joined the Army. The woman wrote that after consideration she declined the offer.

Not because she was necessarily opposed to the idea, but because something seemed out of "alignment" with the situation, including that it was not being discussed openly within the group and that de Ruiter — "the living embodiment of truth" — repeatedly asked her not to tell anyone. She recalled him saying, "The world is not ready for this.


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People will not understand. Some openly, others behind the curtain.

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No surprise here," the woman wrote. No way," he wrote. The group's "Accountability Committee" — originally formed in the wake of Katrina and Benita von Sass's lawsuits — also sent out an e-mail acknowledging "some deep considerations, that are troubling to many. But for some, this new openness around de Ruiter's sexual relationship may have come too late. And revelations of sexual relationships with other women have revived lingering questions about the events that led up to Anina's death. In a group where questioning de Ruiter can be both subtly and openly discouraged, "the disclosures," as they are being called, have sparked unprecedented dissent.

Discord has continued to simmer on chat boards and in private groups, in discussion threads with titles like "John de Ruiter Disclosures: What Do They Reveal? But De Ruiter's personal pull is strong, the community he has created a powerful glue. He has been questioned before — after his breakup with Joyce, with Katrina and Benita, then Anina — and has always survived.

The University of Alberta sociologist Dr. Kent, who has now been watching the group for two decades, says a sense that the outside world is against de Ruiter could even be used to de Ruiter's advantage, and he could see de Ruiter expanding international operations or embarking on a big new project as a way to bring people back together. Kent says an increase in talk about the apocalypse, which some former followers have reported to him, could be a way to draw the community closer and shut out any questions and doubts, which many followers will be happy to do.

It is very hard to leave," Dr. Kent says. I'm not sure," said one woman, who said she believes she was targeted when she left the group.

I'm not sure if that's part of the game, part of what he's playing or if he believes it. Scientific studies have shown that concentrated staring can have profound effects, and staring is a well-documented method of both persuasion and seduction — capable of inducing significant changes in perception, a sense of being detached from the world or in a dream, and feelings of being in love.

Stanford University hypnotism expert Dr. David Spiegel says there is also clearly a "hypnotic-like potential" at de Ruiter's meetings, which could evoke the powerful responses some people experience. Spiegel says he was personally able to replicate a profound religious experience in a patient through hypnosis.

From her home in Holland, Joyce de Ruiter Kremers has been watching, waiting for others to understand what she saw clearly nearly two decades ago. I really do care about John," says Ms.

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Somewhere there is just a normal guy who should be living just a normal life, who is loaded with qualities and I think was once a guy with integrity… I think that the best thing we can do is to help to pull the curtain back. I actually think that would be good for John. She says she hopes his followers will at least be willing to listen to their doubts, no matter how difficult it is.

On a Sunday afternoon, inside a grand building in west Edmonton, John de Ruiter sits silently under a beam of light, gazing out at a room full of his followers. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe. If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters globeandmail. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter.

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Healing a Wounded Sense of Morality

Anina was one of hundreds of followers who sat silently with John de Ruiter, staring at him in the hope that he would stare back. In an intense and intimate environment, it is not unusual for both male and female followers to believe they are in love with de Ruiter. Stephen Kent warned in the de Ruiter group's early years that 'John has embarked on a dangerous path, one that promises great rewards but can lead to terrible tragedy.

The von Sass sisters, Benita and Katrina. De Ruiter and his wife Leigh Ann, shown in Anina and her father. Anina, middle, and her sisters Johanna and Anna. Some journals appear to refer to sexual encounters between her and de Ruiter, though a law firm representing him denied this, telling the family that these were 'visions.