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IMA (the Move) Religious Cult Disguised as Christian Church


The basic dictionaric definition of a cult is: "a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing" or "a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object."

This definition speaks for almost every religion.

The Move/International Ministerial Association (IMA)

Formerly known as 'The Move' now is the International Ministerial Association (IMA)

The motivation for this article: the loss of our mother and her identity, the suffering of me, my father, and my siblings.The religious cult responsible for this grief is known as the IMA or the International Ministerial Association and/or Delta

It started in the 60s, in the heart of the drug era. An ex-baptist preacher in New Orleans started a prayer group later in Miami Florida. In a time where youngsters searched for truth, the hippie free-spirited thinkers were craving answers. A man named Fife took advantage. He masterminded a cult with various titles in the beginning: the Move of God, the Move of the Spirit, and the Body of Christ. The movement was a non-denominational, non-profit charismatic international Christian organization. Sam fife claimed he would never die. The theology is linked to the Body of Christ cult founded by Donald Barnhouse in Philadelphia 1927-1960.

Fife was considered an apostle by way of the five-fold ministry; a Christian/Evangelical belief of five offices noted in the bible: Ephesians 4:11. Within a few years he established ‘farms’ in Columbia, Canada and Alaska. Thousands of members still live on communal farms all over the world. Non-communal congregations also exist as “city bodies.” No one knows what became of Fife, he was claimed to have died in a plane wreck in South america, but no one could ever find proof.

After his death, his teachings lived on through another minister named Buddy Cobb. A key to play out Sam’s sick movement. He published his own booklets and founded the Covenant Life College in 1982 in Fitzgerald Georgia, Whitehorse and Yukon.

I’ve never seen such a library of tapes! My relatives had to drive 1,500 miles a few times a year to attend a convention! And pay for it!

In 1994, a man reported visiting Blueberry farm where over a hundred of Sam Fife followers lived communally. The man was a Hutterite so understanding this way of living wasn’t abnormal. Each member handed over half of their income to the 'farm'. On one hand, the pastors adhered to those duties, on the other, they were the people’s investment advisers.

Move members dress very conservatively (woman in long skirts, shorter hair) and need permission to go anywhere. Some say they were made to wear caps and dress like Jews. My mother's husband must approve of any clothing article she wears or buys. Nothing attractive or flattering is accepted. He orders her to "take off" anything that doesn't make her appear to be his age (she is 65 and he is 83). Wives become mindless robotic servants for their husbands from what I've witnessed. I feel each untrustworthy person is assigned a personal guide to keep them in line or they are shipped off to a discipline resort (ISOT) in the middle of nowhere.

Advice is given to members by elders in a life or death situation with a family member in or not in the cult. My grandmother had a stroke and they wouldn't take her to the hospital even after he called the elders for guidance. Family visits must be approved by controlling elders.

Our Story..

Working as a home-based group just like the Assembly Body of Christ, one of the neighbors started daily sessions with my mother in one-hour increments right after her nervous breakdown and divorce. She was a single mother with three kids in a very weak state mentally and emotionally.One male member started frequenting our home spending long hours with her.Before I knew it, she was asking me to move out. Then he, (Gerry) moved in with my two brothers still there. All phone calls to and from her were monitored. Answers were dictated by him to me through her.

Shortly later, I was banned from seeing my own brother and had to meet him down the street.My brother was twelve and during this time he was visited by a John Hinson. A year or so later he was into drugs and attempted suicide. We still don't know what this man did to him.I found a pad with this message written on it, "John Hinson staying three days for Eric." What did a small boy need this man for? Who was this stranger she let into our home to do what to my brother? No one knows what he did to my brother, but today he is a drug addict and severely damaged emotionally and psychologically. Any information on this would be greatly appreciated.

Mother Ordered to go to ISOT

It was 1993, when she was ordered to go to a place know as 'I'SOT' in Canby California. It was under rule of self-absorbed narcissist E. Marie Tolbert. My mother's hair was chopped into a man's crew-cut like Holocaust victims and after this deliverance farm experience she had changed identities. Clock pendulums started to affect her head thereafter and she somehow acted 'secretive'. Reliable sources have shared of the organization's involvement with the horrifying torture technique of "waterboarding," it was performed on members who “didn't listen.”

Mother Forced to Marry Gerry

Gerry, well into his fifties had moved into our home conveniently as the neighbours were trying to rid of him. My mother threw him out for six months, but he came back with three men. These Christian imposters invaded our home and demanded my mother marry this man since he lived there and she was to be ashamed. They used bibles and words therein to induce the intimidation. Thereafter he married Gerry in Ware Massachusetts; the man she told me physically repulsed her.

Gerry's Premeditated Plan

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What was startling was that I found evidence of his dark-seeded ploy. When they moved out, I found a social security number on the back of my mother's painting. It was my fathers! This man had an agenda from the beginning. My mother was led down a dark constrained street of isolation, isolated from family and friends, and anyone that anchored her into her own reality. The visit of three men wasn't until she was finally totally broken down during her shipment to Klamath Falls, then Canby.

By this point his research on the house must have been satisfying, he found no contract that stated the children receive money if the home is sold. This was done with my father's social security number. He had his name on our home the next day. Before this, Gerry did his homework once again. I found papers on his hours of computer research, burial laws and funeral prep. For whom? This was done right before they both moved in with my elderly grandmother. First they got rid of her son whom has Down's Syndrome, and they eventually talked her into selling her house as well having her go to a few Move meetings. Luckily, she decided not to sell. But they were reprimanded by a church manager a lady in a wheelchair, for not having carried it out. The very next day they were off to Bradford Maine, to an apartment already awaiting them.

The members have destroyed or have talked my mother into surrendering all of our family photographs and belongings. No memories left. Things we cannot replace this cult has taken. And ex-mover told me members take the authority over family photographs burning them or ridding of them any which way and sometimes without permission.

My Mother Let Herself Go

Results of behavioral control.

My mother's appearance for an average adult is somewhat disturbing. The dull shabby clothing of a Little House on the Prairie hair-grayed woman that styles her hair in barretts and bangs like a child. No make-up allowed. Gerry, says, "make-up is what monkeys wear in hell." I wonder if he visited often to find out.

Emotional control

She no longer "goes by feelings," emotional control as I quote her, so putting our collie to sleep for reasons of "past life reminders" was due to the Move's teachings or conditioning. What's left if we cannot be human and have feelings? And she started asking disturbing questions such as, "How would you feel if you were stuck in a 5x5 room for a long period of time?"

I've collected over fifteen bibles she 'left' behind not including the ones she took when they moved out and countless notebooks and tapes filled with very complex and abnormal teachings. If anyone is able to contribute to information about the disciplinary solitary confinement that the Move sends people to please leave a comment.

Some referencial testimonials I've found on cult recovery forums:

  • "I escaped from "The Move" in 1978. I was on the farm in Peru. I was lucky to get away from them."

Vennie Kocsis tells her story as a child survivor of Sam Fife's Move of God. Find out more about her at

Vennie is an incredibly gifted and talented young woman. Her perseverance is incredible that she wished to learn and rise above the deep depths of darkness that tainted her life for transforming herself back into the beautiful soul that she is. This Cult is real, crooked, deceitful and needs to be stopped, I know, my mother has been trapped in it for over 25 years. Please support Vennie for her courage in reliving this horror so she could bring other members of this cult or any cult hope to escape and survive and live a normal life.


Isot Survivors & E. Marie Tolbert

Religious Trauma Syndrome

I'SOT Publications Booklet


ISOT Survivors

  • Breaking News 08-11-05
    Stories from survivors of a Dangerous Mind-Control Cult in California, documentation and other links of interest to those interested in CULTs

Raising Cult Awareness Organization

The Horrible Truth about Religion

Astonishing Real-Stories of Life in the Move Cult

Doug McClain SR Criminal Member of 'The Move' Cult

Wilderness Blues

Wilderness Blues

Alaska attracts all types of people: adventurers, nature lovers, entrepreneurs and criminals. It also appeals to those who are trying to escape the influences of the modern world. This book is about such a group and the hardships they faced as they tried to carve out a life in the wilderness, all under the teachings of a self-proclaimed prophet. Grandmothers and babies, musicians, a banker, a baby food salesman and others all worked together to create a home in the last frontier. When Mother Nature and human nature collide, the results can be volatile. This is one man's perspective of life on an end-time farm.

Glori Stiner Cult Conference --the Move

© 2013 Jill Quill


SusanRose6 on January 22, 2019:

Hi Jacqulin, My name is Susan, and I'm working on a tv documentary about The Move. It's an hour episode of a larger series about cults, and the experiences of individuals while in these organizations, and how they final leave. I was wondering if you would consider speaking to me and my producer as we research The Move. If you would consider speaking to us, you can write me at I can explain more about our project. Or, let me know how best we can contact you. Best, Susan

Innov8andCrea8 on April 05, 2018:

Jacqlin: I am very sorry for losing your mother to this cult. I feel your hurts and rejection. A family is supposed to be loving, supportive, understanding, and nurturing to you.From 1987-1993, I have lived on three farms of the Move in three different states. It has not been all peaches and cream.There were a lot of flaws with The Move. One thing that I can be sure of in this world is to read the Bible, Pray, and to discern and believe the Truth. One thing that I see that you are lacking is saying something to your mother about your feelings.Along with Love, communication plays an important part in a family. A mother's love is so important to you as well as a daughter's love is to your mother. Things might be a little different after so many years away. Forgiveness can heal all those wounds that both of you have had in the past. I had met Gerry in 1978. I was 7 years old. I believe that he passed away sometime this year. A family should never be divided. I wish you the very best

Exmover on February 25, 2018:

Yes, I know Frank Lopez. He's a leader in The Move and lives in TX

JOSEPH ISOLA on February 24, 2018:


anon on November 30, 2015:

i was raised in this cult. i was never sent to a farm but ive visited two. they werent as bad as ISOT. ive heard many horrible stories about it. i remember when i was 12 and realized how much everyone around me was being manipulated. i kept my mouth shut after silently denouncing my religion. i watched a friend of mine go through utter hell in the school and church for openly denouncing. he was sent to ISOT and they messed his mind up so bad he became a druggie to numb all the guilt they put into him. his mom is still stuck there separated from her husband and kids who managed to leave. my parents are still in the church sadly but thankfully i dont thing they have any plans to move to a farm and i will intervene if they ever try.

Marc on October 12, 2015:

I was a placement at Isot from 86-88, Ill talk to u about whatever u want, I wasnt raised there so I cant say I know what went on at their residences but we interacted with their kids, teens all the time

Jill Quill (author) from ITALY on June 21, 2015:

Some groups may not fit the definition of a cult, but may pose potential risks for participants. Here are 10 warning signs of a potentially unsafe group or leader.

• Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

• No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

• No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement.

• Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

• There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

• Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

• There are records, books, news articles, or broadcast reports that document the abuses of the group/leader.

• Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

• The group/leader is always right.

• The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

V on April 22, 2015:

We lived in the interior of AK for 36 years. Visited The Land and started traveling there for services and sent our 16 yr old there to go to school. All very good experiences. Theres always going to be deviants in the world. In churches out in the world as well. Sexual molesters are everywhere. Not just The Move. As an adult we chose to be a part of this ministry because God was telling us these same beliefs before we even went to The Land. We sent our son (16) to live there and go to school. He stayed an extra year after High School before HIM deciding what to do with his life. There was no controlling or battering or swaying. As an adult my son has not chosen Gods way. Hes just agnostic at this point. NO one is hounding him, chasing after him or anything else. We have retired and moved to AZ. now. Id love to find a 5 fold ministry. There are good and bad people in the move just like any organization be it church or our own government or schools, or facilities where there are people. You blame the Move but wasn't the abuse there before your family became a part of it?

Jill Quill (author) from ITALY on August 18, 2014:

I am truly happy to have touched you and to be a support. I hope that the future of the Move, Delta, IMA will soon be short-lived.

Liberte on August 13, 2014:

Jacqklin thank you for being so brave. I will use all your links and support. I will join you in FB as well. My children are the target of a Bible group, I will email you with info. It is a perverse believe that separates families and the practice of closing their nose and mouth to keep them from crying, as it waa told on the you tube, was practiced by my ex husband. Very very true for all who experienced anything close to any of that perverted belief, the Move, The Body of Christ, IMA and now in Alaska Delta is called to disguise themselves.

Jill Quill (author) from ITALY on May 01, 2014:

Elaine my mother was sent to Klamath Falls in September of 1993

Jill Quill (author) from ITALY on May 01, 2014:

Mark R, feel free to use any information in this article you wish. I would be happy be play a part in banishing this horrible organization. I've added a new link on the Move Forward who has organized an August cult awareness conference.

exmover on April 07, 2014:

Survivors of the Move cult can also find support at and on Facebook at

Suzanne McConnell on April 06, 2014:

I have a group on fb called Children of The Move Speak. If you want to speak out about this cult please come and join us. I want to start a project in the near future and need all of you who were children, teens, even adults in this cult if you are willing to tell your story on film, I am interested in listening. I am the author of The Still Before Dawn which is a book about the Move from an abused child's perspective Suzanne McConnell, look me up on Amazon

A on April 04, 2014:

My parents were caught up in this movement years ago and I spent many of my teenage years in the one in Ireland. I found this to be one of the most manipulative and domineering places I have every been. The mainly target vulnerable, lonely and isolated people to bring in as new members. I have seen many very intelligent people sucked into this as well so it's not as if they were preying on the lesser educated. It is sad to see so many people deluded by these lies. If you ever come across any of them, steer clear!!!!

Suzanne McConnell on March 31, 2014:

We all have a "deep need" as Vennie put it, for validation, acceptance, understanding and support... that is why people join a "support group" We don't all have that need to control and dominate others in the group. A true leader leads from behind allowing people to express themselves, or not, and find their own path to healing.

Vennie Kocsis on March 30, 2014:

I have been studying the behavior from the Move experience in many directions for a very long time, over ten years. I have studied it from my own perspective through self education and spiritual guidance as well as professional counseling. This greatly has allowed me to be able to understand how to identify negative behaviors which stem from the religious abuse brought about by the Move. Some of the behavioral bi-products of our abuse are:

Complex PTSD

Delusions of Grandeur/Need for constant validation

Manipulative Behaviors that are programmed into the psyche

Projecting emotions onto others instead of having personal accountability

Anxiety with Agoraphobia


Need for Control of animate objects and the people around us

and quite a few other behaviors.

I've come to understand a great deal from having connected and interacted with survivors who have had counseling and survivors who have not had professional counseling.

I have found that typically those individuals who have or are currently in counseling seem to be more levelheaded and functional, understand how to identify and express their needs without lashing out as well as being able to define their boundaries and say no in regards to other people.

I started a support group on Facebook for the Move so that survivors can come and understand this process. There are some survivors who have a real need for professional counseling, but are not open to any other perspective. They still display those manipulative and attacking behaviors as well as a deep need for validation. I have an immense understanding for this behavior, however, I also know that these types of people are not always safe for those who ARE open to healing/counseling and looking for that specific support.

Suzanne McConnell on March 29, 2014:

It seems odd, but perhaps to those who have studied the results of ritual cult abuse it is not odd, that survivors seem to want to pick each other apart rather than support each other. I heard so many of the survivors who seem to have wanted to lead a support system say that they would never invalidate the suffering of others, that they respected and believed each other, yet when faced with just a little bit of a limelight or some type of power or control it all goes out the window. I have been attacked from many sources within the survivor group and I believe it is because of an infiltration of active Move apologists and defenders, and my father, that want to silence my voice. My strength is intimidating so they are coming at me through weaker survivors who think they are strong. I am guessing that those who have studied cults will understand this better than myself. My voice will not be silenced and I will share the message of who you are and what you are still doing to children in God's name.

Suzanne McConnell on March 28, 2014:

Hello, I am the author of the book, The Still Before Dawn. It is based on my story of being raised int he Move. My worst abuser was my own father and many survivors experiences were different based on their own family situation but the doctrine which drove the abuse was the same and it was insidious and destructive. I have often said that my father was abusive before we joined the cult but Sam Fife and his teachings about children gave the dragon wings. Anyone wanting an interview can contact me

Mark Roggeman on March 10, 2014:

I am giving a presentation on The Move the first week of April at a conference. I gather you were a member and your information is first hand. I have been talking with several other former members who grew up in this group. I have been involved in the cult issue for many years and I am friends with both Steve Hassan and Mike Lagone. I want to use your information as a resource. Do you know of any other resources on this group?

Elaine on January 27, 2014:

I left in 1998 so I would have been there when your mother came. Having lived there for 19 years I'm intimately familiar with everything that went on.

Timothy Gras on January 27, 2014:

I am not using my true last name because Iam writing a life book on the Move and my personal life. I was born into the Move, my Father was an elder set in my Sam Fife.

I have lived in Ohio /Alaska /Isot.

The move if full of both well intended people and very sick people as well.

Elaine on January 27, 2014:

I just read this. I was born and raised in the I'SOT cult. Left when I was 19 and have been gone for over 16 years. Very familiar with all of this. I'm not familiar with your story or family, though. When did your mother come to Canby?

Jill Quill (author) from ITALY on November 26, 2013:

Thank you for alerting us even further.

Liberte on November 24, 2013:

I totally agree with your web page I have lived very closed to the hipnotized family, I was married to a man that was over controlled by his family members. They all belong to this cult. They distroyed my family and insisted that we were in the Babylonians churches. They think they are the only ones with the truth. Now they are becoming independent churches to get rid of the scandal they are facing, but they still hold conventions every year. The one I know for a fact is in Blessington, Ireland in mid November! Whatch out, they are after: controlling people, they want your money and skills, they are pseudochristians operating under a mesmerizing spirit.

Vennie Kocsis on October 17, 2013:

Thank you for sharing your experiences. The abuse many of us suffered at the hands of Sam Fife and all of his elders, Buddy Cobb and more to be named was no less than a spiritual holocaust on little children and vulnerable adults. W e are survivors of Sam Fife's the Move on Facebook - It's a survivors only group.

Jill Quill (author) from ITALY on July 31, 2013:

To Raul whom apparently doesn't know the Move well. I have proof of money exploitation, and everything I write is truth no crookedness--unlike the Move cult.

Yoleen Lucas from Big Island of Hawaii on July 29, 2013:

jacqklin - I am curious about what messages you're responding to.

Jill Quill (author) from ITALY on July 28, 2013:

Anyone in the Move should know this information is accurate. If they do not, they should be alarmed. If not, they are in denial.

Jill Quill (author) from ITALY on July 28, 2013:

Mr. Raul, this is the truth because I lived the information I published. Many people wish to view it through religious eyes which distorts. When you can prove the bible is truth you'll have something to share too. Prove to me where my information lacks truth. Numerous others have witnessed and have physical proof of what is written here. Opinions are what you post. Please don't quote the bible to me. You believe they are God's words, I do not.

Raul A. Cardenas on July 27, 2013:

The World is a Cults' galore! Much of the information in your webpage is slanted, if not completely lacking in Truth.

Do not resist the Holy Spirit: Acts 7:51 or God, Acts 5:38-39; 23:9. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit: Eph. 4:30.

In Him, brrc

Jill Quill (author) from ITALY on June 11, 2013:

Please, identify yourself, you didn't leave contact info

exmover on June 11, 2013:

I used to be a part of this cult years ago. I would love to talk to you about it. Please email me.

Jill Quill (author) from ITALY on May 31, 2013:

Thank you

Yoleen Lucas from Big Island of Hawaii on May 30, 2013:

I have not heard of this particular cult, but I do know this is typically how cults work. You may want to check out my hubs, ""Types of cults and How They Attract / Hold People", "How Cults Work", and "My Experience in a Cult".

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