The Attleboro, Mass., cult followed the pattern of many other destructive groups. It started with Robidoux’s father, Roland Robidoux, who when Jacques was little was a Worldwide Church of God member. At the time, Worldwide was a fundamentalist, anti-Trinitarian sect under the strict leadership of an “end time prophet.”
Roland Robidoux left Worldwide with other disgruntled friends when Jacques was 4 years old to start their own church. It eventually employed many Worldwide practices, including suspicion of doctors and educators and a ban on wearing jewelry or using makeup. That began a long slide into increasing isolation and heterodoxy, even as the group claimed to base all its beliefs on the Bible.
The Robidoux church eventually split, with part meeting in the Robidoux home and becoming a commune, according to a history Pardon researched. Members worked as masons, carpenters, and chimney sweeps. As the founders’ children grew up, they married each other: Jacques married Karen Daneau, the daughter of the group’s co-founder. At its peak the Attleboro group had about 40 members. They saw themselves as the only true Christians, the true “Body of Christ,” and the institutional church as a false religion.
Bigger trouble came in the late 1990s when the group’s leaders discovered books by Carol Balizet, founder of Home in Zion Ministries, who urges withdrawal from seven systems of the world: government, religion, education, science, the arts, medicine, and finance. The Attleboro group closed bank accounts, cut off outsiders, avoided medical care beyond natural remedies, forbade eyeglasses, and began practicing home births.
Jacques became an elder and joined his father in leadership. The group began putting a greater emphasis on members’ revelations, which they saw as having the same authority as Scripture.