Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: Coolhermit ()
Date: March 25, 2008 08:33PM

I never quite fitted into any cults. And I tried, Brownie's Honour.

In 1972 after my spiritual awakening, at my then wife's instigation, I went to the Children of God colony in Bromley (London) for a short while. I found the 'Mo' letters indigestible but liked the company of the disciples. Then they took the bible quotes off the walls and replaced them with Mo quotes. I smelled a rat and then when they changed the witnessing to 'litnessing' and soliciting 'donations' on the streets I left. They told me I was satanic but...

A coupla years later we linked up with 'Christ is the Answer' a USA outfit travelling Europe - not quite a cult but heading that way - anyhow we left them in Rome and they called me the devil.

A coupla years later, my wife was newly pregnant and very ill so we joined up with Bugbroke Fellowship - now the Jesus Army - we never fitted in and 2 days after the birth of our bouncing daughter we were booted out - I was demonised again.

We kinda gave up on religious organisations then and surfed the evangelical/pentecostal church scene. Got banned from the town's churches as I did not believe in hellfire. They tried to banish the demon of error from me and when that did not work they banished me.

So, after 35 years of 'Christianity' I've given it up.

Am I despondent? Not a bit.

I feel closer to the Creator than ever and have no worries regarding others' opinions of me.

We do not have to accept anything anyone tells us about themselves. You are the centre of your individual universe so do not allow yourself to be bullied by 'voices off'.

Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: Coolhermit ()
Date: March 26, 2008 07:41PM

oh yeah - a few years ago I encountered the Twelve Tribes - they had a sprout group near Nottingham, England.

I visited them and was impressed by their demeanour, good food etc. So I arranged to spend a weekend with them.

The weekend passed in a kind of happy blur - ostensibly they were the nicest 'christians' I had ever met but I knew intuitively they were dodgy. I did not like the way they used canes on their kids. They were politically just to the right of Genghis Khan. They also had the standard cult foibles - no salvation outside the group, the apostolic main man and stuff like that.

I guess that for years I held dear he idea that there were loving, faithful christians somewhere and that for 30 plus years I'd simply been unlucky not to meet any.

Now I see that christianity itself, based as it is on one man's (Saul/Paul) proclaimed private revelation is just another in a long line of false teachings.

Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: Resolute ()
Date: March 27, 2008 07:30PM

Coolhermit, hi, This is hard to say without sounding cliched; but, I really mean this: I think God is Truth and that what you say makes sense in that there is a long line of false teachings. I think that Paul being on a road is a good picture for me and I will think about the things and images and stories I like in the bible. However, I do not want to ask for direction from spiritualist types as there are too many people who claim to be able to interpret but really just end up using the stories to press a point or get you on their way of thinking. There seem to be false teachings attached to lots of religions, and lots of abuse too which is painful to read about or come into contact with as it seems to do so much damage. There have been lots of good things written on this strand which are clearing the air a bit. And I'd like to thank the people who wrote on these few pages.

Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: freedom fighter ()
Date: April 09, 2008 03:17PM

I find it frustrating when so many feel they need to find a group to have a pass to God. If you listen to that whisper inside your own heart, that's him talking. It isn't always an outside source or a bolt of lightning to clue you in.

Many have become deaf to that soft whisper of direction. If you quiet yourself you can hear it loud and clear.

It's the self doubt that we feel we are separate from the source and it's through another person or group that we need connection with or we can't see God.

I feel that personal free will is never valued enough. It's the driving force to discovering life and love and to learn with a purpose. I was in a cult that took all that God given free will from me for many years.

Never again... It is so true what you said about being "the centre of your individual universe...".

Freedom Fighter

Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: dwest ()
Date: April 28, 2008 02:46AM

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?

Chabad. I was a minor when I was in for a year or two. Its a blur.

I don't know how it effected my life for sure because it was when I was at the age of discovering myself (early teen). By nature, there are so many other factors. I was scared for a long time when talking to people, I always assume they had ulterior motives. How did I cope? I didn't. I just became even more introverted. Recently I have come out of that shell, am in therapy for all the self-esteem issues I have now based on this part of my life. Another issue is learning to take people at their word. I also have gravitated back to my birth church, the Roman Catholic Church. I am able to sit down and pray to God through the psalms without letting someone else's ideas of what they really mean come into my life. Now, I am working with a group who helps people when they leave a cult. It helps me by knowing I am helping others, and I also validate my experiences by seeing others go through similar things.

Advice? Seek therapy. Do not go with an MFT/MFCC but a psychologist. I hold little against MFTs but they are not equipped in their training to deal with the many issues that come out of our experiences. They are Marriage and Family counselors and are great at normal life issues. They are not so great at "I left a cult and have no life skills". Personally I am spending half of my student funds to see an MD for therapy. It took a long time for me to realize spending money on this is okay because I am worth it. For years I thought it was throw away money if I spent it on something that is not tangible. If you are recently out of a cult, let me tell you, you are worth it too.

If you were a child in a cult, you may want to pursue taking the GED exam if you live in America. Many community colleges offer GED Prep classes for little or no charge. The exam itself is less than 50 dollars in most states. This will help you obtain employment. If you later wish to attend college, most accept the exam in place of a high school diploma.

Read General Interest Magazines at least once a month. This includes magazines such as People or Us & Time or Newsweek. You can read them for free at your local library or scan them at the checkout line. I found this really helped me to become more aware of the world around me. It also helped me to chit-chat with others I came across, and I appeared more "normal". It helps to be able to join others in "water cooler" talk. I knew who Paris Hilton and Britney Spears were when they were in the news and everyone around me was talking about them. When people talk about the Primary Elections I did not have to sit on the sidelines feeling dumb.

I also visit daily and scan the headlines. When I walk by the newspaper kiosks I scan the headlines. Together these activities take less than ten minutes but I can communicate with others around me. If there is a giant plume of smoke in the air, I know it is caused by a fire in the county south from me. This is very important, I believe, in integrating back to society.

To this day I have a list of key words that were drilled into me in the cult. I remember them so if they come into my thoughts, I can stop my thoughts before they stray into "cult think".

These are just my experiences.

Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: mysticjaw ()
Date: June 09, 2008 07:25PM

I have been involved with three cults in my life. I my teens my mother dragged me and many members of my family into EST and its offshoot organizations. In my early twenties, my mother once again dragged myself and my family into the Sterling Institute of Relationship. In my mid twenties to my early thirties, I was personally involved with a cult church and its offshoot, The Church of Divine Man and its Seminary The Berkeley Psychic Instittue.

Now in my 40's after some good psychological counseling, I have put it all into place and I am moving forward with my life in the direction I really want to go, namely that of obtaining a doctorate in Psychology and becoming a Clinical Psychologist.

Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: pauker ()
Date: July 11, 2008 02:32AM

Old Est-hole. You can fill in the blanks from there, and you'd probably be right. (sigh...)

Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: Guruphobiac ()
Date: July 11, 2008 03:08AM

Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA. We kicked the corrupt, philandering, lying guru, Yogi Amrit Desai, out in 1994. Kripalu continues on as a large retreat center a la Omega or Esalen, peddling a mix of useful activities and assorted newage (rhymes with sewage) nonsense.

Desai continues on as a guru on a much smaller scale at his Amrit Yoga Institute in northern Florida.

Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: Emma C ()
Date: October 06, 2008 03:53AM

I was in the Diamond Way cult for just under two years.
They brainwashed me, and it took for me to stop doing their practises for me to break free of this brainwashing.
I am now back in contact with other former members and other people they wouldn't let me speak to while I was in the cult.
I feel somewhat ashamed that i was taken advantage of, but I also feel richer from the experience, because I have learnt from my mistakes, and am now more able to recognise cults.

Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: FreeAtLast ()
Date: November 13, 2008 06:42AM

I was involved in Set Free Ministries in Anaheim, CA for several years. (This church branched off and there are now several Set Free Ministries throughout the United States. Also, the leader's (Phil Aguilar) son (Geronimo Aguilar) is now the head of his own corrupt church in Richmond, VA called The ROC (Richmond Outreach Center). The deeds of that group are just beginning to come to light and people are just now started to speak out against the drugs, sexual dalliances, money issues and corruption in the leadership.

Unfortunately Phil Aguilar is still out and about and still leads a much smaller group. Back when I belonged it varied from 1,000 - 4,000 membership every Sunday. Now, he holds much smaller meetings at one of his 'Homes' on Archer Blvd. in Anaheim, CA.

Here's one of my posts about Set free in which I shared some of the more detailed articles about Set Free:


Here's a more recent article about the troubles the leader of Set Free got into: []

As to the comments of a couple of people to this thread that they are 'their own masters' and 'have never belonged to a cult, well, I'd suggest that such a thread is not meant for you to respond. This thread topic is strictly a question for those of us who HAVE belonged to a cult and just want to get the word out about the group. It could come off as condescending to those of us who apparently aren't 'our own masters.' That type of comment helps no one and could hurt someone who is struggling with the realization that they were duped or sucked into a corrupt group. Until you walk a mile in our shoes....

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