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Date Posted: 19:08
Author: fred krissman
Subject: Re: Sunburst Community???
In reply to: Sonie 's message, "Re: Sunburst Community???" on 22:15

Thanks for cutting through the crap Sonie! It saddens me to see than Norm is still peddling himself as a spiritual leader to another generation of sincere but naive seekers...

I too lived at most of the Sunburst communities, including the Farm, Orchard, and Tajigus (sp?) in the mid-70s, when there were more than 400 committed and talented members staffing at least 4 markets, 2 restaurants, a juice factory, bakery, and warehouse marketing a large and expanding line of goods. There was also a Ranch and a 120 foot white oak schooner trolling the Channel Islands!

While I was there only a year, many of the elders had been there a decade or more... Many of these had inherited money or property from family, which they selflessly donated to Sunburst. Sunburst musicians gave public concerts that were attended by thousands. The energy was so wonderful that I decided to follow Norm Paulson's advice: "judge us by our fruits." That's why I first joined. However, these fragrant fruits rotted into a foul mess during the few years that I was affiliated with Sunburst. How should we judge Paulson after the rapid and rank disintegration of the community?

A small number of parents hired a "deprogramer" to kidnap and pervert 4 adult members. Although they all returned in short order, suddenly Norm proclaimed the apocalypse, paranoia ran rampant, and seemingly overnight he declared major changes in the Sunburst lifestyle, such as a shift from a longtime veggie diet to the consumption of Tajigus-grazed beef. He also proclaimed himself as the holy trilogy (all 3!), reborn in the flesh, incapable of any error in judgment or deed.

After my year of self-committment to the commune ended, I left, unsettled by the recent turn toward authoritarianism, but still feeling generally positive about the wonderful people I had gotten to know there. Some months later several Sunburst "elders " hired me to run their LA-based distribution warehouse. It was as an employee and former member that I heard unbelievable stories of corruption (moral and financial), and of outrageous illegal behaviors of every sort on the part of Paulson and a few elders from other commue members that I worked with. [I was finally fired when I tried to oust warewhouse employees that I had caught smoking dope on the job (ie, truck and forklift drivers)!]

Within that year (1978) more than 300 members left or were forced out. Some former longtime members threatened a lawsuit to recover a portion of their contributions to the commune. Soon all the businesses and properties were liquidated, and most of the assets plowed into worthless desert land in northwest Nevada (still in the middle of nowhere despite the explosive growth in the Vegas area), the resettlement of a hard core of about 30 mainly marginal members to Salt Lake City, while Paulson set himself up in a condo in Oxnard, CA. [There were several long exposes of the commune in the LA Times over the subsequent decade or so. I last heard about Sunburst in 1992...]

I had a dream about what had become "Gun"burst last night and decided this morning to see what info about the one-time community might be online. Imagine my surprise to see that Norm is still peddling his phony spirituality some 3 decades after he singlehandedly destroyed a beautiful movement that he had played a major role in creating! He may not be Satan, but he certainly proved himself to be a corrupt and depraved person linked to child molestation, drug abuse, and weapons stockpiling. My warning to the curious: Run, don't walk, away from him and his rotten fruits!

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