As another person with no familiarity with "The Walk" but extensive background in a different cultish milieu (they're all as similar as they are different), I would like to add that those who are in have powerful internal motivators that keep them hooked. Many feel that this practice, whatever it might be, however abusive it is, is their only lifeline and without it, they will DIE
. I'm not being overly dramatic - this is what's typically operating deep within the person's subconscious, where they cannot even sense its existence. An abusive childhood plants those seeds deep beneath a person's consciousness, and from there, they play as on a repeating recording, over and over and over, driving the person without his awareness that's what's happening. And you'll find that child abuse is only actively recommended and condoned within certain sects of Christianity - it is yet another of Christianity's litany of shame.
I don't think that most of us will ever fall for things we have in the past, I believe it is time though to get involved again if any of us are harboring bitterness, bitterness is not hurting anybody but ourselves. You need to realize that if you were deceived, it was your own fault. That is a hard thing to say, but for whatever reason, you ignored the red flags, you knew that the Walk was strange while you were in it. I know I did.
I know your heart's in the right place, Chaos. But a question, if you would indulge me - WHY, if you "ignored the red flags," did you do so? What was motivating you to set aside your misgivings and suspicions for as long as you did?
Because just as you remained in despite those warning signs, others are likewise trapped. It's not their "fault" per se - they are helpless to act. Somehow, you managed to get out (and I would *love* to hear the story of that!!), but they simply aren't at that point yet.
It's kind of like in the recent mortgage crisis in the US. I live in So. CA, where housing prices rose insanely high. My neighbors, a couple both of whom are only marginally employed (he driving a delivery truck, she cleaning houses) nonetheless bought a $535,000 house. It's not much, believe me! It's just that they bought at the height of the housing bubble. And thus, they've been in trouble financially for years since - I'm amazed they're still in the house. But anyhow, there are those who say, "People who bought houses they OBVIOUSLY could not afford should be foreclosed on - The End!" I have a different perspective. Buying a house is an enormously complicated procedure with specialized expertise needed at every step along the way. It is rare to find a house buyer who is accomplished in all these disciplines. People like my neighbors trusted the professionals who were supposedly assisting them along the way. They believed the appraiser who appraised their home at $535,000. Why should they not? The appraisal was a legally acceptable document to the mortgage lenders - and aren't they supposed to be regulated, anyhow? The mortgage broker sold them a "junk ARM" - so they were probably paying just $1,000/month for the first year or perhaps 18 months, at which time the rate would gradually begin ratcheting up. What they probably didn't realize is that the difference between the market rate payment and the $1,000 they were paying was being added on to their mortgage balance every month, further inflating the already insane supposed "value" of their property. The mortgage broker no doubt told them that, if their incomes don't increase to match their new payment when the interest rate begins to rise, they can always sell their house for more than they paid for it - win win no matter how you look at it, right?
So can we blame the buyers 100% when they TRUSTED the professionals who were supposed to be looking out for the buyers' interest in this process and not basically trick them into a situation that would ruin them?
I see the people still enmeshed in cults the same way. They were typically hooked in during a time of emotional distress (I had just separated from my husband when I was suckered in) - these groups prey upon a person's vulnerability and they're GOOD at it! Being in a weirdo cult leads to even more shame and guilt, as the person realizes that the weirdness is further isolating him from others in society. This makes him even more dependent upon the cult - see how it works? There's a reason that cults demand weird humiliating actions from their members, and it's all to keep the cult's bank account fattened.
Congratulations on your emancipation. I of course join you in hoping for others' emergence from the chains of obsessive weirdness, though having been in thrall to something of that category, I can't judge anyone else. Been there, done that!
I believe it is time though to get involved again if any of us are harboring bitterness, bitterness is not hurting anybody but ourselves.
I disagree. You've of course heard that old saw, "Fool me once - shame on you. Fool me twice - shame on me." Bitterness is rooted in self-preservation. Psychologists have noticed that people remember bad experiences in a different way than they remember good experiences, and often remember more bad experiences than good ones. The reason they have suggested is that the bad experiences are rooted in surviving, while the good experiences are more about thriving. Thus, remembering the bad experiences is (or was at some point) a valuable survival skill. What, pray tell, are you advising people to "get involved again" in, precisely? Hopefully not that weird cult!!
For me, I have arrived at the conclusion that religions are nothing more than the spiritual equivalent of a Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors ice cream shop. You go in, and you can choose whichever flavor you like. Someone might choose pistachio, while someone else will choose rum raisin or triple chocolate mousse bomb. How bizarre would it be if someone lurked in the shop attempting to convince everyone that his favorite flavor (say pecan praline) was, objectively, the most tasty and that anyone who disagreed with him deserved to be punished - for all eternity?? People should realize that they're free to choose any religion they like the same way they're free to choose whichever flavor of ice cream they want. And those who don't want ice cream don't have to order any! They are free to remain free of ice cream - and religion. There is no reason to believe something there is no compelling evidence for. So let us all acknowledge everyone else's freedom to choose what suits them the same way we insist upon the freedom to choose whatever suits us.