Remember that Time We Almost Joined a Cult???

Here’s the story! We booked an Airbnb for 10 days for an important family gathering. Actually, I picked the Airbnb and booked it myself, and I’m taking responsibility for that wacky situation! The plan was to gather Alison’s entire family in one place to celebrate the 80th birthday of Alison’s mom over the Christmas holiday in 2018. After reviewing tons of ideas for fun destinations mom chose Sedona for the big gathering.

I gladly volunteered to find and book the perfect house because I LOVE travel planning (and traveling). Choosing the best house wasn’t that complicated since the City of Sedona is not that big, with a population of around 10,000 residents. There weren’t that many vacation houses in Sedona that can accommodate 11 adults comfortably.

From left to right and shortest to tallest: Ali, Alison’s mom, and Alison

We wanted to spend meal times together around one big table and we also wanted lots of elbow room since everyone (except me) is around 6 feet tall or well over that height. We also wanted to have different common room spaces that people could gravitate to for naps, reading, playing games, and chatting. And we had a rather large Christmas tree to accommodate as well since it was the holiday season. After my brief research project there was only one Airbnb that met everyone’s hopes and had enough bedrooms and living space for all 11 people for 10 days. So my fun research project was over before I could really dig in!

This is the beautiful rental house I found for us in Sedona. We loved it!

That one house I found was called “Moondance Sedona Sanctuary.” After showing off the photos to Libby and getting her usual high level of enthusiasm about the idea, I booked the house. I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve card for the booking. POINTS!

Coincidentally, when we booked that house we were also preparing to sell our home and leave Seattle to travel around the world full time. Making the logistics for everything all jive was a bit complicated, but all-in-all it was still relatively easy for us to figure things out.

Alison and I arrived in Arizona a week before the big gathering, and we drove to Sedona with her mom a few days earlier than the rest of the clan to get the party started. We had a fabulous time walking the property, checking out every room in the house, picking our bedrooms, and imagining which bedrooms the rest of the family would choose for themselves.

This photo cracks me up! Mom’s birthday celebration was wonderful and so were her two favorite cakes made from old family recipes. Why pick when you can have both!

And truly – we all had an amazing time together in Sedona! Having everyone together for that long was a treat! Every night we enjoyed our favorite family dinners. Every day we took walks and enjoyed the outdoors. We all played games and talked and laughed. That was probably my all time favorite Christmas experience as an adult (so far).

After a week at the house the big birthday party and Christmas were behind us and we had a visit from a Sedona local who was related to one of our in-laws. We’ll call this lady Sally for this blog post. Sally arrived at our Airbnb for a visit and before she even closed her car door she was shouting, “You’re staying in a house owned by the infamous cult leader, Gabriel of Sedona!” Huh???

Red Rock State Park is a beautiful place for a long walk with the family!

Yep. Sally said this incredibly creepy guy Gabriel (not his real name) was eventually “encouraged to leave Sedona” because of a long list of offenses, including a routine of absorbing whole families and then relieving his followers of their finances. She told us a sad story about a close friend of hers who got caught up in the spiritual trickery of the cult and became one of the cult leader’s “wives.” She was required to drop all communication with people outside of the cult so Sally has no idea what happened to her. Of course that was a very upsetting story for Sally, and that information got all of us pretty freaked out.

To add insult to injury, Sally pointed out right away that this expensive Airbnb was an income source for the cult and they had profited from our booking. Even though the cult was gone from Sedona by the time we arrived, there are still a variety of businesses in Sedona owned by the cult that put money in their accounts and also serve as active recruiting tools. Sally picked up one of the brochures in the entry way, offering guided spirit journeys and tours of the vortex, and said that group was part of the cult and those tours are major recruiting vehicles. There was stuff like that all around us. Hellfire!

Sally said we should watch the 1998 Dateline story about Gabriel and his cult that night, which of course we did. I was able to find that expose on YouTube, but as far as I can tell it’s been taken down since then. Which is unfortunate since this cult is still growing wealth and capturing new followers. But now there are other stories out there about what people have experienced in losing family members to this cult or best of all, people escaping and getting their lives back.

Midway through the Dateline show Alison’s mom shook her head and said, “The things you see when you haven’t got your gun.” Which prompted a round of hysterics from me and Alison. That old saying in Alison’s family originated from Alison’s great grandmother, Mother Packer, who lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1800’s.

[Note – if the mention of guns strikes a nerve in you like it does in me, keep in mind that old family saying is a snapshot from a very distant time.]

This is a photo of Alison’s great grandmother, Mother Packer. We aren’t sure of the exact date but we know she was living in Berkeley, California and this was taken around the end of the 1800s.

So wow, we gave a rather large pile of cash to this Gabriel of Sedona character (born Tony Delevin in 1947) who changed his spirtitual name to Gabriel of Urantia since he left Sedona. After watching the Dateline show we toured the house again with new eyes. The only books in the house were written by Gabriel and the cult, the CD’s were also and the cult’s tourism brochures were everywhere. Even the house cleaners were part of the cult. What we called the yoga room suddenly looked creepy and all of the spiritual touches around the house lost their groovy appeal. Ick.

We are very conscientious about how we spend our money and we want to be wallet activists whenever we can. We would never have intentionally handed over a giant stack of cash to this cult. This experience was a great reminder of the importance of being mindful about where we spend our money and who will profit from our spending, even with something like booking an Airbnb. Lesson learned! Now when I research Airbnb options if the host is a company instead of a person I do more research before booking. And if we ever come across Global Alliance Properties (their property management business) or Global Community Communications Alliance (the cult) – we will steer clear.

If we had it to do over again, we would have made a different choice for the location of our family event. But what’s done is done. We left with wonderful memories from our family adventure in Sedona in 2018, and a very weird story to tell.

That’s our family at the Sedona house. I’m trying to gain a few inches and keep up with the kids by standing on a rock!

15 comments

  1. Reblogged this on Truth Welcome Here and commented:
    Conscientious Individual Regrets Giving Large Pile of Cash To Tony’s Cult! This blog post is a somewhat hilarious and also instructive account about how unsuspecting, well-intentioned folks can end up monetarily supporting Tony’s slave plantation. Airbnb users, take note!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello – I’m wondering if you might be open to speaking with me. I am a producer on a narrative podcast. Would love to share more and speak with you about this if you have a few minutes.

      Thank you,

      Patia Eaton
      patia@kastmedia.com

      Like

  2. I’m glad you had a good time and didn’t join! It’s super to read about someone who conscientiously considers what their dollars are supporting. The cult leader Gabriel has millions of dollars in assets, but his followers have nothing. If they want to leave, they leave in dire poverty with nothing. Often they have less than nothing, because he doesn’t pay their debts when they join; so many of them are in default to creditors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am joking that we almost joined – no way in hell I would go anywhere near that cult. I was pretty horrified to find out where our money went. And also horrified that they use those businesses to try to recruit new members. When we arrived I noticed the cleaners were in a car that was marked with the same name as the brochures they left behind – that tour group they use for recruiting. We really had no interaction with the group ourselves. Thank goodness. And by the way, congrats on leaving and making a new life for yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I figured you were joking! Yes, I used to work for the cleaning company when I was there. The whole way you wrote this is an excellent use of comic irony. You see the truth, but you also see how others may not see it and may go down the same path you went and end up in tragedy. Some of us that have dealt with the real world effects of Tony’s wrath need a dose of humor once in a while! We all know megalomaniacs can’t handle teasing, so tease away! A bunch of us are trying to bring more awareness to the deceptive tactics they use, so that people know ahead of time what their dollars are supporting.

        Like

        • Hello – I’m wondering if you might be open to speaking with me. I am a producer on a narrative podcast that often covers cults. Would love to share more and speak with you about this if you have a few minutes.

          Thank you,

          Patia Eaton
          patia@kastmedia.com

          Like

  3. This was the house I lived in for many years with my father, Gabriel of Urantia. I left his community a year ago and my whole family has exiled me. These photos are nostalgic since they show me the house I lived in with strangers occupying it. I understand your concerns giving money to a money hungry cult. It’s a beautiful home and I am glad you all enjoyed it, but yes, where our money goes is important. I am also very careful where I put my money, so I understand your concern!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow – thank you for your comment! Yes the house is beautiful and the whole Sedona area is as well. Sometimes I wish we had found out about the cult before booking that house, but at this point I can only be grateful that our family had such a wonderful time together there since I can’t get our money back. More importantly, I really want to congratulate you for making that change. The more I learn about that cult the more I imagine it would be incredibly difficult to leave and create your own life. Bravo for setting out on your own path!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello – I’m wondering if you might be open to speaking with me. I am a producer on a narrative podcast that often covers cults. Would love to share more and speak with you about this if you have a few minutes.

      Thank you,

      Patia Eaton
      patia@kastmedia.com

      Like

  4. I have lost family members to this destructive cult. I am glad you enjoyed your time in Sedona and appreciate your remorse over putting coins in their coffers. You didn’t know. And to Lionqueen444, I am wondering if you would consider connecting with me? Anything you might be able to share with me about Fane and family would go a long way to easing my mind about their situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment. Hopefully you can connect with this other person and share some info between you. And I share your hope that your family members and the rest of the followers will walk away from this cult someday! Take care.

      Like

    • Hello – I’m wondering if you might be open to speaking with me. I am a producer on a narrative podcast. Would love to share more and speak with you about this if you have a few minutes.

      Thank you,

      Patia Eaton
      patia@kastmedia.com

      Like

  5. Did MNMom612 get to have an update on her family in Tony’s Cult? I might be able to help. I have a loved one that recently got recruited and we are still talking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment! I don’t know if MNMom612 was able to find out anything but I can try to put you in touch with her directly. I’d also love to put you in touch with one other contact, so I will DM you. Thanks!

      Like

Leave a Reply to Ali Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.