ABOUT THIS BLOG

The Sharon Gans Cult was founded in San Francisco in the 70’s by the late Alex Horn and his wife Sharon Gans. For decades it has been secretly operating in New York City and Boston. It is known by several different names which are listed in a side-column blurb (“Ganscult Aliases”). Gans and her second, Robert Klein, are dangerous con-artists who claim to be "spiritual teachers." This cult is alleged to have been involved in sexual abuse,child abuse, physical and emotional abuse, arranged marriages and adoptions, slave labor, bilking of members' money and life savings.

This blog provides information for current members and others. It also provides a forum through comments and submissions. The posts are organized in reverse chronological order and can be easily located through the table of contents on the side-column as well as searched through the search tool in the side-column.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Minerva Taylor's Niece

(This is a re-post)

Here's a submission we received from Minerva Taylor's niece. For those in the cult who are told by Sharon to do things which alienate family and friends, this is an insight on how your loved ones feel - perplexed, pained, grieving. Sharon is responsible for this misery, and so are you. I know first hand what it is like to have family shun you as a result of Sharon's insanity. 

Ugh. First, I appreciate your blog. Reading this is like a knife through my heart. I am Minerva's niece, with whom, along with my parents and my brother, she "dumped" in 2006. We have all tried to "forget" her, as she commanded we do in a series of horribly hurtful letters, but in the end, it's impossible to give up on someone who you love so dearly and who meant so much to you. Everything that you have written is true, and it's not even scratching the surface. I dreamed about her last night, and did a Google search, and thus found this blog and had my heart broken all over again. I wish you could've seen how kind and beautiful, loving and wonderful she used to be. We were an exceptionally close, loving, fun family. For decades we teased her about how private and "mysterious" she was. My parents came to her rescue so many times when she would try to escape from Sharon (which of course we didn't know at the time, but pieced together long after the fact), as in the time when I was a child and woke up to find that she and my three cousins were suddenly living with us in Sacramento, having ridden all night on a Greyhound bus from New Jersey, escaping in the middle of the night from Greg, the father of my cousins, bringing along all of their worldly possessions in a beat up cardboard box. My father helped her put her life back together, cosigning for her on a house, a car, and business...things he was delighted to do for her, because he adored her. Then one day, she packed her kids up and left everything, even her dog, dumping all of her financial responsibilities on my parents, and moved quite suddenly back to NYC. We just took it in stride and chalked it up to her being "mysterious." We loved her, and didn't want to believe that anything sinister was fueling all of the unexplainable weirdness. Over the years, she suddenly had this very successful business and a gorgeous house in he Hamptons - how? We chalked it up to her being smart and savvy. She married Fred, and we became exceptionally close to his three kids, who are wonderful people. We remained very close, and she would always skirt questions about the details of her life until the Internet made it so that she could no longer deny them. At my cousin's wedding, Sharon and Alex were present, and they were treated like royalty, to the point that we were all like, "okayyyy. This is beyond really weird...we've GOT to figure out what the hell is going on." After that, my brother, who was living in NYC and had by that point pretty much figured it out, confronted her about it. She immediately disowned him, and then wrote my parents a 10 page letter telling them what horrible people they were. She wrote me a letter telling me that I was "ungrateful" because I hadn't written her a thank you note for a book she had sent to my newborn son. Just like that, my loving, beautiful aunt dropped us from her life like a hot rock. You would not believe the cruel and hurtful things she wrote to my father, who remains completely devastated over the loss of his sister. For me, she was my everything - my beautiful hippie aunt who taught me about the Mahabarata and the Beatles, the mother to my cousins who I still to this day love and miss as much I could love and miss anyone. She has left us in an unending state of mourning, and so confused as to what in the world we could've ever done to her to deserve such vitriol and outright hatred.

One thing I want to say, and that I would say to HER given the opportunity, is that if you want to do this with your life, fine. Clearly we can't stop you. But understand that you have destroyed many lives, and for WHAT?  You are responsible for an inordinate amount of pain. And there's no philosophizing it away: YOU are SOLELY responsible. 1) She STOLE my relationship with my cousins, who even as adults are so conflicted about all of this and feel such loyalty to her that we no longer speak - utterly devastating - I want my relationship with them back. 2) She DESTROYED her family, stealing a full-blooded sister away from my three cousins. Side note on that: I have no doubt that she was absolutely commanded to that against her will. She hired private detectives to find this girl, my cousin, and take pictures of her on the school playground and give her constant updates on her life. 3) She nearly killed my father, who loved her so fiercely, by cutting him off - cutting us all off - and BLAMING IT ON US in the most horrible, hurtful manner you can imagine. Thank god my grandparents aren't alive to see what she has done and the pain she has caused my family. If anyone has ANY doubt as to the power of this group, I hope that I have given you a sliver of proof. Powerful enough to make a person from the most awesome, loving family you can ever imagine not give two shits about completely destroying the lives of their own children and their exceptionally loving immediate family. We will never get over the pain. We will never stop hoping. I know that beautiful woman is still inside somewhere. I will never stop thinking that she will come back to us.

Sorry for the length of this, but I get the feeling you'll forgive my lack of brevity. Thank you for all that you have done to expose these people.



8 comments:

  1. Wow. Thanks for posting this, Mr. S. It made me cry. The "collateral damage" ... so fucking awful. And for what?

    And a note to Minerva's niece: it is brave of you to share this and so very important! I thank you for your courage and honesty.

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    1. She really is. I remember Sharon haranguing Minerva to cut ties with her brother. Minerva used to speak of her closeness and love for him, but Sharon turned Minerva around through sheer intimidation and gas-lighting.

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    2. That is so sad. I have to tip toe around a family member who is in the school/cult. I received a form letter that I know was not my family members own words but it basically warned me never to ask about it again (once I figured it out). I have chosen silence instead of losing my family member for good but do feel the change in the relationship acutely. I did finally tell a few other family members and all of us agreed that confrontation would push the family member away for good. would love to know if there was another way to handle it.

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    3. Hi Anonymous - It's so hard to say without knowing the details, the context of the family, the person. But some general considerations that I've seen work with others: keep believing that the person you know and love is still alive inside there. Let him/her know that you really miss him/her. Ask questions, listen more than talk. Remind him/her of things from his/her past that he or she loved, had passion for, perhaps things that could be missing from the person's life b/c that person is so busy with cult stuff. Rather than confront, invite, s/he is most likely feeling a level of isolation that's both hard to explain and generally accepted in cult world ... so I agree, you really, really don't want to push him/her away.

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  2. Fuck Sharon. Odd thing - as a Boston-based minion, I never met Minerva. I did get legal papers from her lawyer once. I thought, "... who serves legal papers to a complete stranger? I guess someone who is in a cult does that."

    Short version of my legal oddyssey; nothing came of it, except now I have lifelong pro-bono legal protection from a global firm and it left me assuming Minerva was as awful as the rest of 'em.

    But this contribution from her niece, this heart wrenching account, gives me some empathy for a woman who was trying to suck me into some b.s. lawsuit. She really gave up everything. What a fucking waste.

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  3. Thank you Neice for writing! It is sadly the journey of so many of us. Those that didn't or couldn't get out!
    It took me 2 decades to understand!
    It took me 2 decades to understand!
    The Blame of the Victim, as you said M' s letters did to your loving family,  is exactly what "they" the cult leaders do to members. It is a long messy trail of abuse,  intimidation, flattery, and more abuse.  I consider it akin to torture and brain washing.   I am STILL repairing the damages to myself, and my family.  The cult destroys families and individuals. Period. A dear friend of mine is still in,  her sister tried to confront her and she also received 'the letter'  telling her to back off.  I am going to share this post with her. 
    Thank you so much for sharing. I loved Minerva when I met her. I Loved her.  But we didn't really see much of her after a few years.   She reminded me of a girl who kept believing she would get a pony for birthday, but doesn't cry when she gets fooled,  just pretends to herself that she'll get the pony next year! But that was really Everyone of Us. But it was Way more serious, loss of family, spouses, children, having people ripped from our lives! And then being told to get over it! It's awful, inhumane,and horrendously cruel what they DO! It happens under the veil of fear,  threats,  vunerabilty, and silence.  It is nothing less than psychological rape. Please accept my heart felt grief at your and your family's anguish. I will keep you in my prayers. We all become stronger as we share our stories.

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  4. To Minerva's neice, I understand that words cannot erase suffering. I remember your aunt so well from my very first night. She was just back from giving birth in 1988 and I thought she was indeed a beautiful hippie, with such a lovely smiling face. I didn't understand the dynamic then between her and Fred, though I do now of course. I never got very close to her, but she always seemed like one of the kinder ones to me. I'm sorry for your loss but it has nothing to do with you and your family as people. She is "brainwashed" - it's a real thing and she has been deeply under for decades. And even she could one day come back to you if you wanted her. But be very careful. People learn tricks from Sharon and apply them when "out" sometimes to their own ends.

    Here are a few things I learned about families: One woman had a connection to my family through her aunts, who I knew well. Another ex-member knew this woman's cousin. After we both left we decided we should tell her cousin what was going on. The friend did this and the whole family, including the cult member's husband, had a meeting about it. They were so terrified of losing her that they decided not to confront her, but to let her continue her membership and BE SURE SHE NEVER GAVE THEM ANYMORE LARGE SUMS OF MONEY. She had once given them about $10,000. I assume it never happened again, and I assume she still doesn't know that everyone in her life is aware of where she goes those nights and weekends. Another woman I knew who had many sisters and a large cheerful family that spent a lot of time together was told to cut ties with her family without any explanation. She did this and caused everyone, including herself, great pain. I believe she eventually was ALLOWED to reestablish some contact but I don't think anyone ever really got over it. One reason she did this was because Sharon had already kicked her out for a year - when she came back she was terrified to do anything that might put her in trouble again.

    Mr. S is correct - Sharon feels threatened by families - it's a practical point as they would stop her victims from paying out. But I also wonder if it's psychological as her own family was so completely screwed up. I heard form a fmaily member of hers that her own parents were desperately worried about her mental health and believe her to have a serious chronic illness. She resented her mother for dying when Sharon was youngish (not THAT young) and she REALLY resented her father for remarrying. Her own marriage was ridiculous as she used her first husband to support her 'career' and then when she ran away with Alex, did what she could to get money from him, and then to take the kids. She demonized him to her children, and then created a ehllish and abusive environment with Alex and HIS children so that her own children and step children grew up to either repudiate her or only suck up to her for what she could give them. She is now alone, and most likely still on painkillers, addled and old in her multi-million dollar Condo. She has her money and her cult. I would not be her for the world. I would not be near her again for a fortune.

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  5. Rereading this comment of mine from three years ago, I would make no deletions, but a few additions, or to try to get some more nuance here: I don’t think that the way Sharon messes with people’s families is necessarily her own particular pathology, though her own is completely screwed up, now even more so. She has no concourse with any relations. Boo hoo. BUT to set out boundaries and limits to people about their families tests member’s loyalties and depth of being consumed by her reality. It’s power. If you are willingly to say to your closest loved ones who have known you since you were small, who know your history, your growth, everything - to say to them “fuck off”, even temporarily, then Sharon has you forever and she can make you do anything. That’s it. If you refuse, she knows that she has to work on you some more and you may find yourself, in some line of work, or meeting, being held up as a failure, railed at, corrected endlessly - it will have nothing to do with your family, and that will never be mentioned or connected, but it will have everything to do with your refusal to obey. They will crush you into submission. If you are wealthy they may crush bit but are also likely to give you everything you think you want. Suddenly you may met a possible life partner at a School event - the person likes you! School gave you a mate and babies! Wow! You may be offered a job connected to a school member’s company - wow! You may receive a number of compliments about how evolved you have become - you are a number 22 man or woman! Wow! But there will be another test of some kind - and it will be something would that will isolate you and hurt those you love. I gar-ron-tee!

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