I Escaped From The Yellow Deli

Thursday, June 1, 2006

My name is Karen Draper. I live in Utah now but lived in Chattanooga and stayed with the "Yellow Deli" people for several weeks before making my "escape."

I just found this website after hearing from one of my friends in Chickamauga, Ga., that "they were back." Ironically, she has an audio tape of me telling my experience back then. I can remember as if it were yesterday, and I can say I am really concerned that they are back.

I read their "history" page and was shocked that they justified their child-rearing practices by using biblical passages. I watched a mother sit at eye level with her child in a high chair with /a "stick" in her hand. The oatmeal was too hot for the child to eat and every time he put his hand out to touch the food she hit his hand with the stick. When i spoke up for her to stop, I was told abruptly that I wasn't there long enough to speak to anyone about their practices. I was informed that the children did not belong to the parents. They belonged to God, therefore, there was a schedule for child rearing and the parents did not have input on where their child was and with whom.

You gave up everything you had to the commune. All I had was an old bashed-up car and $70. I had no problem giving them my car, but I did not disclose the money I had because it was ALL I had.

They believed that anything in the "outside" world was evil and they drove me to Chattanooga State where I was attending to withdraw me. When I told my counselor what I was doing he just shook his head. I told him I found Jesus and these people loved me and were going to take care of me.

You would have to understand my situation at the time to understand how I was influenced by these people. I was 21 years old and just got out of a three-year abusive relationship renting a room in a house in St Elmo, no direction and no family to turn to. They told me what I needed to hear, they loved me and God loved me and I could come and live with them. When I became convinced, two members moved me out of my little room at 3 a.m. I was driven to their commune in Dalton, Ga.

I was very familiar with the Yellow Deli for I frequented their restaurants and loved their food. I thought they were a bunch of pot smoking hippies that loved each other and lived together. What I did not know was that they did not smoke pot and they didn't eat that wonderful food they served all the sinners. That was my first "red flag." Why did the children of God living with the Yellow Deli people eat crappy food while the sinners dined like kings and queens? They also did not allow us to eat food outside the camp.

One night I was so hungry for some protein I made a deal with the women I was out with if they would stop at Wendy's I would buy them all something to eat. The women were real paranoid that they would get into trouble. Our mission that night was to buy material for "head coverings" that the women wore. Thank God they went for it. We pigged out and had a blast. I promised them we would hide all the evidence so no one would get into trouble. As far as I know they {the hierarchy} didn't find out.

Their paranoia seemed valid as they told me the story about this young man that lived there. I can't remember his name, but he was kinda slow. He was the only one there at the time that was actually getting money from the outside. He was on disability. They found out he drank a coca cola and used his Dr. Scholls shoe and spanked him in front of the congregation. So, you can see how brave these women were to risk eating a burger, fries and coke. Geez, major sinners.

Anyway there is much more to tell, but I think you get my drift. Hopefully they have changed, but I doubt it very much. I believe there is a big difference between swatting the bottom of a youngster who runs out into the street and sitting there waiting for a child to do what comes natural to them and hit them and say it's disciplining and using the word God and the Bible to justify sadistic behavior. I sincerely hope the Yellow Deli people find once again that they can't "save" Chattanooga and leave your beautiful city alone. They prey on the discarded and lost. That is the way I felt when they found me. Fortunately, I had friends and enough knowledge of how I believed God would treat me and his children to know something was terribly wrong.

Oh, by the way, after my escape from the Yellow Deli, I went back to Chattanooga State and the administrative office had not processed my paperwork, so I was only two weeks behind and I did finish and received an A.S. in social workers assistance program.

Anyway if you would like to hear more please feel free to e-mail me back. If this information is going to the Yellow Deli people, my name was Karen Brown back then. I was the one that told Gene that your people were lacking in vitamin B, that their hair was dull, their faces were broken out in acne and they were working too many hours and not getting enough sleep. Maybe you'll remember this conversation. Maybe you'll remember that poor boy you whipped and is that child still with you guys? And remember little Rachel Tuttle. You told her parents that God would heal their child and not to take it to the emergency room which was in walking distance. When they finally went with their God-given intuition and took her she had double pneumonia and would have died if they hadn't taken her.

Go back to Vermont if they like you there. Leave Chattanooga alone.

Karen Brown Draper

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