Re: what cult were you in?
Date: April 06, 2019 08:59AM
My mom was Lutheran and my dad was agnostic, so I definitely can't blame them for what happened to me. I got progressively more involved with Fundy Christianity until I finally went too far and got into a full- blown cult. It started when I was 8 and started going to a Christian scouting group at a little evangelical church. I went every week and to their summer camp too. That was when the idea of hell was first instilled. I worried about my dad's soul and about my own commitment....heavy thoughts for a preteen. I would read the Bible but it didn't really appeal to me. Then in high school I got into Campus Crusade for Christ. It was really beautiful at first and I felt really committed and close to God for the first time. After this wonderful first year, Crusade brought in adult missionaries to evangelize the school. Some of them were really pushy and wanted us to drop all our outside activities to do ministry and bible study on weeknights. I'm not really sure why it was ok for this to go on in a public school. A lot of these kids came from Catholic or mainline Protestant backgrounds but that didn't count with Campus Crusade. I finally dropped out as I hated the concept of seeing everyone as a potential recruit and hated always feeling guilty about everything and feeling controlled. When my dad died none of my Crusade " friends" came to the funeral or even called. Looking back I feel the experience interfered with my sense of autonomy and boundaries. It wasn't truly a cult but it paved the way for what came next. I went to college in a different state. I was so happy there, joining a sorority and meeting new friends and dating. I decided to get involved with a bible study or church group. I saw a poster on campus about a Christian group and called the number. I met with two young married couples and they seemed to know all about me. They told me God had called me to a higher walk and that I would need to drop out of my sorority, stop seeing the guy I was dating, and change the classes I had signed up for (theatre, music) and take typing and Greek instead. So I did all those things. One of the women became my " shepherd" and scrutinized my every action and thought.During this time I went to one of their training seminars and met the leader of the group. I will never forget his cold eyes, and his wife's haughty demeanor. I felt a panic and nausea in their presence. I wasn't in this group very long, not even a month, but the year was ruined. I flunked out and had a breakdown. I felt abandoned by God and was constantly afraid of everything. I took a year off and then transferred to another college and graduated, but there was a dark cloud over my life that never really went away. I feel embarrassed that I was so traumatized by something that only lasted a few weeks. I think it's because of when it happened, right as I was on my own for the first time, with a glorious new life opening up-then this. I struggled for many years, mentally and financially. Spiritually I was dead. Along the way I raised a daughter, and although I tried to give her a spiritual foundation and took her to a nice, normal church, she saw what effect Christianity had had on me, and when she was in her early 20s she converted to Judaism. It's brought her and her husband and children nothing but joy and I am so proud of her overcoming the poverty and sadness of her childhood. If it wasn't for her, I would be sorry I was ever born. I worry about her soul and the souls of my grandchildren, but then I look at their dear happy faces and think, they are going to hell? What kind of monster would torture His poor creatures for eternity? I would be a monster to believe such a thing. If there really is a hell, then the universe is a fundamentally malignant place, and it would be better if nothing ever existed. I look at nature and it seems that a cruel God could not have created such beauty. I choose to think better of God than His followers do. Things have been pretty good for me later in life. I was diagnosed as bipolar and medication has really helped me. Morbid religious obsessions are common with bipolar disorder, so I have somewhere else to place the blame for my troubles, not just on religion. I am lucky to be able to work full time and enjoy many friendships and enjoy the outdoors and hobbies. I even belong to a church, though it's mostly for the fellowship and music and I don't go every week. But underneath always lurks the terror of hell and the realization that I was never really a Christian and never wanted to be. So I surely can't blame the cult for most of this. Still, if I could change one thing in my life, I would never have called the phone number on that poster. Instead I would have walked confidently into my college years, with all the excitement and joy the opportunity held for me.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2019 09:07AM by Indigo bunting.