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what cult were you in?
Posted by: Harmonize ()
Date: October 13, 2004 08:35PM

I was in a group called "The House of Israel", whose leader claimed to be, among others, Michael the Arch Angel, Elijah, the Comforter, One like unto Moses, the moon etc. etc. Very convincing using lots of math. I even helped him on more than one occasion substatiate all of this with many mathematical calculations. Let's face it there are a lot of numbers in the bible. He claimed that because of his birtday being june 24th or 6/24 and the fact that God revealed to him the covenant, he was to come to seal the 144,000 servants of God. (6x24=144) I was, I guess you could say, his right hand man. I lived with him for sometime. We drank copious amounts of Scotch, smoked massive amounts of pot, but that was ok, because God's word is spiritual (which I do believe) and not fleshly. As well as picking up hookers downtown. After 11 years of this activity my wife and I were removed from the class/cult because we were supposedly bad examples to the rest of the flock (14 current members). His treatment of my wife was most troubling, as she did not deserve the treatment she rec'd. After reading over 100 letters written by this cult leader in the Napa papers I decided to write my own letter to the editor. The editor, who was the focal point of many attacks by the leader and his minions, decided to run my letter as a front page story. I am now in court with this man who is trying to get a TRO on my wife and me. His whole class has willfully perjured themselves in an attempt to portray us as some crazed individuals. We just needed to empower ourselves, that is why we did what we did. Does any of this make sense to anyone out there?

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what cult were you in?
Posted by: SarahL ()
Date: October 14, 2004 12:09AM

Quote
Harmonize
His whole class has willfully perjured themselves in an attempt to portray us as some crazed individuals. We just needed to empower ourselves, that is why we did what we did. Does any of this make sense to anyone out there?

Certainly does make sense. Congratulations on getting out.
Seems to be a common technique for destructive groups to use on former members, attempt to label them crazy and discount all they say. I've experienced it myself.
There are many great articles on the Ross site, also lots of good info and support on these forums. If you are able, worth seeing an exit counselor also.

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what cult were you in?
Posted by: privateperson ()
Date: September 20, 2007 07:25AM

The Christ Family.which was based outside of Yuma Arizona at the time. The leader, Lightning Amen claims to be the second coming of Christ

This experience completely robbed me of my childhood, left me an emotional cripple, and severely socially stunted in every way you can imagine. We were not allowed to go to school, wear shoes, play, have fun of any kind, in fact we were called "hobbits" to further alienate us and prohibit us from being children. We had to be homeless and traveled like bums, begging for food and passage, it sucked. My mother brought us into this, she like the fact that Lightning smokes pot. Since we left the cult, which is now based in Hemet California, there have been many reports (documented) of child abuse and hard drug use.

I am really glossing over most everything, it would take months to write even on third of it down. Major mind control, guilt javascript:emoticon(':roll:')
Rolling Eyestripping, implying that we would live forever, hey the dude claimed to be God! I try not to think about it. :roll:

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what cult were you in?
Posted by: Fishbulb ()
Date: September 22, 2007 11:01AM

I was with the Apostolic church for about three years when I was young. I had been interested in Christianity and my family was atheist, so when we moved next door to a good :?: Christian family I started going to church with them. Thus began three solid years of fear and intimidation.

I believed the hellfire and brimstone teaching. Why not? They had good, solid answers based in scripture. There it all is, written by God (or so they say....). I learned my answers of God, eternal life, and salvation. And nothing I ever did was enough to please God.

I finally left when I was 13 or 14. I was getting into heavy metal music at the time and they all pulled out their bibles and showed me how metal is "Satan's music" (boy, is there anything the bible DOESN'T have an answer for??). This is no big deal itself but it was the hell-straw that broke this camel's back. Anytime I expressed an interest in anything outside the church, or even opened my mouth, I learned I was going to hell and that God would never forgive me. Finally I figured I may as well sleep in on Sundays since I'm eternally doomed anyway.

Recovery has been more difficult than I thought. Over 25 years of spiritual study and self-examination, and I still find myself wondering if those people are actually right. Will there really be a Rapture? Will non-fundamentalists go to an eternal hell? Am I actually being misled by the devil?

I know I could never accept any theological teaching of ANY religion anymore; I've investigated them all and it's been fun doing so, but I could never accept any one teaching as correct, above all others. If I'm being led astray by Satan then I guess that's just the way it'll have to be. That biblical God is just as diabolical.

For people still in those groups and thinking of getting out: Fear is the basest human emotion. It is far easier to inspire fear in people than any other emotion. Fear is so tangible it is easy for your mind to believe that these teachings are correct; they inspire such a visceral, physical reaction that it hardwires into your brain more easily than, say, something philosophical and thought-provoking.

Don't buy it. If their God hates everyone so much, would you want to associate with him? Do you really think Mother Teresa, Buddha, and that relative or friend that you love so much and who died young, are really burning in hell?

Fear is contagious and spreads through like-minded groups easily. A vulnerable person looking for answers is more susceptible to a fear-based teaching than any other.

And a primal, base emotion cannot possibly convey the truth about the complex whole of reality.

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what cult were you in?
Posted by: richardmgreen ()
Date: September 25, 2007 01:16AM

Quote
rrmoderator
What cult were you in and how did it affect your life? How did you cope after leaving and what advice or insights do you have for others?
I was in Ben Yishai and left it to go to Israel back in May of '78. I was part of the Baal Teshuva movement for a number of years. In '74 I learned about Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and attended a number of his concets. It was Shlomo who invited me to go to Israel. Times were tough and my life hasn't been easy. After I finished my graduate degree in Management in Israel in '86, I went to the Carlebach people for help as my father wouldn't let me live at home anymore. Then, I went to Chabad and I'm lucky I survived them. Much of this has been already documented here on this site. It's been a long road.
I believe that many times, it's dysfunctional family relationships that cause people to go to cults. I am noticing that in people I know from my own neighborhood in NJ.

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what cult were you in?
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: October 01, 2007 06:52PM

I've written most of this before, but I was born in Subud, an eastern religion based on Sufism whose early membership came from Bennett and Gurdjieff. I'm 3rd generation, and my parents met through the group - my mum claimed to have a vision of a man standing in her room and laughing at her. She described it to a friend who said it sounded like my father. They were married ten days later. My mum was pregnant with my sister within 3 months, and I was born just before their 3rd wedding anniversary. My the time I was born my mum had realised she'd made a mistake and had to justify everything by way of crazy lies about further visions, etc. It was a loveless and chaotic marriage which they continued the charade for just for the sake of spirituality - my dad lived and worked 500 miles away and had plenty of well-known affairs.

Subud encourages people to start businesses which my father did, and became very successful. His business partners were treated as FAR more important than his family - he remortgaged the house to give money to them and they later betrayed him, kicking him out of his own company, buying our house cheap once we were evicted etc. We lost everything - and my parents split up at this point, sending me to stay with other members at the other end of the country because neither my mum or my dad could look after me.

I was told on one hand by the women who looked after me that I was special and gifted even though they simultaneously tore down my self esteem and took every single non-cult interest and said it was banned (Subud prohibits "mixing" - interest in other beliefs aside religion), and claimed that all my desires were the result of demonic lower forces. All my music, books, career goals, were the result of my inability to fight the lower forces - my spiritual weakness, my baseness. Throughout my life I was told that I wasn't even a human being, that I was more mineral and vegetable. I hadn't even made it to animal class, let alone human (I was still just a teenager at this point). I had two nervous breakdowns, tried to kill myself countless times, self-harmed and ended up with an eating disorder yet still attended week after week, trying to take on more and more roles to show my spiritual willingness but just resulted in me becoming more and more used by them, more and more vulnerable to increased psychological and spiritual abuse. After seven years of actively being involved in all their activities, having recruited others and acting like a bloody guru myself, everything eventually collapsed when a friend of mine took her life and those I worked for turned on me once too often. I experienced great difficulty trying to leave - endless phone calls, 3am "visits," senior members saying they "just wanted to chat." Both my parents (who are now divorced and remarried - my dad has had 3 wives, perfectly acceptable to them) cannot stomach the thought of me leaving. My mum even now doesn't fully believe I've left - she's in denial, she has a high ranking job and has been dreadfully abused but still tells herself that it's all just a test from the Almighty.

It's been nearly a year. The last month has been really good because I finished my degree and have had time to reassess things. I've had time to disassemble everything and put things back together, remembering who I was as a child, remembering all the things that on one hand they claimed to support in me whilst simultaneously tearing down everything and trying to replace it with their self-delusion and lies. The worst thing is remembering how I was simply a conduit for them, a walking advertisement who was neurotic on the inside but bright and smiling and singing their praises every time it mattered. The worst thing was feeling that my own problems were MY FAULT, and if I were just more surrendered / open / involved then everything bad would go away. They ALL believe that... it's awful to see, truly heartbreaking.

Leaving was the hardest thing in the world. Worst for me was coping with all the emotions I thought were demonic. I truly believed that I was the only person in the world who felt fear, who daydreamed, who had certain thoughts. Realising how I'd been led to believe that I was totally different from the rest of the world, but actually I was just the same.. that was amazing and terrifying. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy really helped, as was this website and others (a group called Inform here in the UK gave me loads of information). I had to mentally debunk every single lie, I had to cut myself off from everybody in order to see who the real friends were. The initial desire to trust everybody, to look for someone else to save me... I also found myself lying a lot, mainly to myself. Still half believing their lies. There was a moment in CBT about a month ago where I just broke down in tears and told him everything about what I'd been coerced into believing at my most vulnerable. Now I'm just coping with the fact that my entire childhood was a scam - senseless bullshit of which so many thousands of people from different groups everywhere have had the same or similar experiences.

But hey, I'm still alive, right? I can't account for those lost years, I can't understand everything and also I'm not going to burn in hell forever if I can't forgive everybody in this lifetime. I'll do my best, because just for the sake of my own peace of mind I don't want to be angry forever, but I just need to give myself time to go through the rollercoaster as and when it hits me.........

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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: pink1 ()
Date: January 10, 2008 03:08AM

I was raised in a cult from the age of 2 - 14. Firstly it started off as a charismatic church called the Beacon Fellowship and was based in a small fishing town called buckie. The pastors name was Jim Addison. I can't remember when they changed their name but as far as I know it was a legal or financial thing. So they changed to be named Word Of life International, They were involved in churches around the world one I remember in sweden called Livets ord (word of life in swedish, I think) Also Derek Prince ministries. Anyway in the early 90's most of the cult moved thru to Aberdeen city, Scotland they had gotten in toe with Word of Faith from rUTHERFORTON, Carolina USA run mainly by the nutter Jayne Whaley. Things got worse from them, I mean there were always some strange things. But Jim the pastor got even more controlling. There was deliverance circles where someone would sit on a chair and people would stand round them in a circle and scream and shout and use "spiritual warfare" to cast demons out of that person, that person had to cough into a bucket with tissues and that was demons coming out! I was scared, they did it to me too and nothing would happen so I really believed I had this huge demon inside me which would take alot of deliverance for it to come out.
There was also things like we weren't really allowed to mix with people outside the cult as they were full of satan. The services and meetings often went on for long hours and we weren't allowed to go to the toilet during these meetings while "the word of god" was being preached. I was in the music group and I remember having to stand on the stage for hours without moving while the preaching was going on once it was 8 hours. So because of these really long meetings there was sleep deprevation for adults and children as young as 2 there was also food deprevation where we would go upto 16 hours without being able to eat or drink. Jim would scream in peoples faces if they did something he thought was wrong or "out of the spirit" he would walk in with the rest of the ministers behindhim and if hedecided the song wasn't right he would stop the music and scream in our faces, people were very frightened. They feared him, he called himself a prophet, the man of god. There was lots of other stuff like not being allowed to listen to music, all parents were told to discipline their children, including me with a wooden spoon, smacking us. Altho my mum went to far and abused me. We also had to go about in two's and be "accountable" to each other. If you wanted to go on holiday or visited family outside the city we had to fill in a request sheet and hand it to the "ministers" who would supposedly pray about it and if god told them it was ok for you to go then you would go if not you wouldn't get to go.
I eventually got out at 14, it took me three attempts, I was told I would die if I left. many peolple left in 96' the same year as me realising that the place was really off the wall. Word of Life carriedon for a few years,my mum was stil in it, I had to go to her wedding there when I was 17. Then Word of Life went into liquidation owing over 160000. I don't know much after that. They renamed to Destiny house ministries, eventually lost their premises andbegan meeting in a hotel. Now recently its all dissolved Jim and his wife were asked by a pastor of a churchcalled church of the nations (don't know much about them) to stand down as leaders. Jim and Irene Addison still preach all over the world. There's now a handful of people including my mum and stepdad who meet at peoples houses as they are still under the Church of the Nations. My mum now admits after 12 years of me leaving that they were "cultic" and "it wasn't the best envirnoment for me to grow up in"

There are many other things that went on but thankfully as far as I know no physical sexual abuse altho Jim would talk about masterbation and beastiality and homosexuality in te meetings.

I'm realising more and more that I'm still not over it all, I still have nightmares. I have been diagnosed with Borderline personality disorder, I've been in a psychiatric ward 5 times, I severly self harm enough to need general surgery 5 times and have tried to commit suicide 8 times.

I've had therapy but we focused mostly on the abuse I got from my mum. I can't find any therapists in Scotland who specialise in ex cult members. I'm just hoping that with more therapy love from my Gf and time will help.

I've been told I'll never be fully well and I blame the cult partly for that. I guess I'm still angry and want revenge. It ruined my childood and is continuing to ruin my adult life!

Helen x x x x x

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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: freedom fighter ()
Date: January 10, 2008 01:13PM

Pink1-
I wouldn't believe whoever told you that you'll never be fully well. Yes, your experience will always be with you, but it doesn't define who you are. Remember always that you grew up with so many lies it's difficult to sift through them all, but it's not impossible. Just remember you are a free soul that had a really crappy experience. What makes it difficult is that you were so young. It's hard because you don't have memories of a childhood free of abuse. You are free now. Try to just imagine how you would build your life free of these painful memories. When you imagine something positive it eventually takes root. All great things simply started with an imagination. I wish you well. That's my prayer for you.

FF

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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: SuzyQ ()
Date: February 18, 2008 06:44PM

Raised a Jehovah's Witness and spent a few years in a Gurdjieff group recently. In between, read and tried out a lot of different stuff without getting involved in any group.

But hey, It was worth it, I've finally become enlightened and realize what a load of crap ALL mystisism/cult/new age/religion is.

It was an important part of my life and I definately understand why people get involved in these things. It's not easy to accept that we are born and then we die, and there will always be unethical people willing to take advantage of this fact...as well as sincere, but nonetheless deluded others willing to "teach" people what they do, and what they believe in, to be able to get through the day.

It's just my take on the matter,

Suzy

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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: HisForever ()
Date: March 24, 2008 11:38PM

"Lakeside Tabernacle", in Lakeside, CA in the 1970s. It had about 300 members at its height, with branches in Indio and San Jose. Headed by a family of dominant women, the eldest was a former Four-Square pastor. It was a Kingdom/End Time Cult, with heavy authority and some communal living. It disbanded when Jonestown happened, and everyone realized we looked a lot like them. Here's the short version... [lakesidetabernaclecult.blogspot.com] I've been looking for other former members and created a blogsite as a meeting place.

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