Hopeful disciple and his family after leaving Gloriavale last year. Now they desperately need help getting to the dentist.
A family who left Gloriavale nine months ago are raising money for dental treatment they say was caused by years of dental deprivation.
Hopeful Disciple and his wife Victory left the West Coast Christian community to protect their children.
“The damage was done. People are hurting and there was no way to deal with people who hurt,” Disciple said.
“We realized that our seven children – we had six when we left – realizing the likelihood of them growing up unscathed was next to zero.”
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They were working and living on a dairy farm on the west coast when their farm was struck by lightning in September.
“We lost everything again and the local community was very supportive in getting another house and rebuilding ourselves, but it’s still taking its toll,” he said.
The next shock was their dental bill, he said.
They visited the dentist for the first time since leaving and were shocked but not surprised when told they were in desperate need of treatment.
Disciple, 31, said Gloriavale under-18s have access to free dental care, but once he turned 18 he felt he couldn’t apply for dental care – not to mention extras for dental hygiene appointments or flossing.
He was allowed to go to the dentist just before he left because he was in a lot of pain and was told he needed thousands of dollars for work.
The isolated west coast Christian community of Gloriavale has stood apart from the rest of society for more than 50 years.
But he said he couldn’t ask executives for that much money, opting instead for the dentist to fix the worst tooth.
“Any time you need anything for yourself, you feel bad,” he said.
“Most of us wait until the pain is so bad we haven’t slept in weeks before we feel like we’re allowed to seek treatment, and then we often get turned down because there’s no no money,” he said.
His wife twice requested an appointment with the hygienist and was refused.
According to its annual report to Charities Services for the 2019/20 tax year, The Christian Church Community Trust, the tax-free registered charity behind Gloriavale, made a profit of nearly £2.8 million. dollars and assets of $41 million.
Its annual revenue was $18 million, up from $20 million in 2019.
Disciple said they had become so used to living in pain that it seemed “normal” to them.
He was surprised to discover on leaving how cheap the toothpaste and dental floss choices were at the supermarket.
He said the couple were in a lot of pain and needed fillings and root canals worth around $8,000.
A landmark labor court ruling last week ruled that three former Gloriavale members who worked up to 70 hours a week were not volunteers, a ruling that could pave the way for compensation for them and others community members.
Big clients are now reconsidering their dealings with the West Coast Secret Community due to concerns over potential worker exploitation and the use of child labor in its businesses.