recovery from a cult
Posted by: LET31257 ()
Date: June 22, 2003 12:50PM

I left a Christian cult after 15 years of attendance. It's been 4 years now since I left and I'm still learning about how to cope with it all. I was the only one who left the church (a small independent fundemantalist church) although I heard others had left years before I became a member. Immediately after I left (actually I was excommunicated and turned over to the devil) I had panic attacks and couldn't sleep at nights. In the minds of the church, to leave them is to leave God. I was terrified that I actually had turned my back on God. I guess the things which have helped me the most has been the information I've found on web sites. I would describe my church as :
#1) central control around the pastor's wants and desires. He set the tone.
#2) Condemnation of most other churches round about us as compromisers. I think this came from a pridefull/elitest attitude.
#3) rigid/legalistic life style.
#4) manipulation of members (usually this took form or peer pressure).
#5) painful exit process (excommunication and shunning). This is very difficult to bear.

I have found that I must think for myself and not doing so plus a passive nature made me easy pickings for an authoritative minister. Life now is an exciting and new experience and at the same time loaded with anger and resentment. It's great to out of the "fishbowl" and to see life from a different perspective, but dealing with the feelings of being emotionally abused and used is difficult. I invested much of my time and money (tithes) into the church only to have them all scorn me for leaving. I thought they were my friends only to find out the friendship is conditional on maintaing a good relationship with the church. Throughout all of this I'd have to say that time does heal.


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recovery from a cult
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: June 23, 2003 11:18PM


Good for you for getting out and working on recovery. It really is a difficult journey because, at least for me, I knew in my entire being that my perp was really miserable inside, yet he was devaluing me. I wanted to let everyone know the real story, but since he was a "professional", I would have looked like the nut. It's the same with spiritual leaders, and part of the reason people get screwed by them. If you can't trust clergy, church members, doctors, etc., who can you trust?

It will take a lot of time. I still get confused as to what was real, and it's been about 2 yrs since last real contact with my perp. Hang in there.


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recovery from a cult
Posted by: alera ()
Date: July 03, 2003 10:05AM

I can certainly relate to leaving a fishbowl.

I went through a conversion seven and a half years ago. I still consider myself Christian-in fact I've had a lifelong interest in the faith. However, I have serious issues with most organized forms of it.

My background is conservative but I have visited so-called liberal churches and had the same feeling something wasn't right. In both instances, it was more important to tow the line that it was to think independently.

I really studied the Bible and theology and have learned a great deal academically. But I am shocked at the number of blind followers in many churches-whatever someone said, they believed it. And very few people ever saw the real world. The real world can be goofy and frightening but there are some neat people out there, too.

I kept thinking I would find a church home. I've joined two in these nearly eight years and I will not go back.

Good luck,

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recovery from a cult
Posted by: greenberean ()
Date: July 04, 2003 04:11AM

Your story is similar in many ways to ours. My wife and I left a charismatic cult-like group (we were excommunicated for disagreeing) last year. Oh, the persecution was -and still is horrible. The pastor told lie anfter lie about us, and we are still the hottest topic of gossip there a full year later! We first thought that we had found a group of people who loved us unconditionally, and we thought that we were all friends, and would remain so always, no matter what disagreements we might have. Oh, but how wrong we were. We lost lots of "friends" to this monster of a church, this mock representation of a just and good God. We attend church still, one more orthodox and not controlling; and now our faith is fed primarily from personal study and research. There are good recovery forums on the internet, as you know, and I can say that I was very bitter at first, but now we are beginning to think of those who wronged us a almost human again! LOL ........Almost....
(still so hard to believe so many people could be so 2-faced and blind) God help them.

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recovery from a cult
Posted by: Cyranothe2nd ()
Date: July 28, 2003 04:41AM

I left a hardline legalistic type church three years ago...I definately get what you are saying about the fishbowl. I remember driving a few weeks ago and thinking about how we were taught that we needed to be "seperate from the World" (capital W) and I thought, " I LOVE this world. How wonderous and beautiful and terrible it all is! How could I ever want to be seperate from it?" But it took YEARS to get to that place.
Problem with fundamentalism is that it twists all the regular mundane things of life into evil and sin. It takes a long time to get rid of that guilt and stand on your own two feet again.
Best of luck to you in your journey, Larry.

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recovery from a cult
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: July 29, 2003 08:29PM


I read your other post and can SO relate. I was in a very abusive relationship at age 17, and was more afraid of speaking up about that because of the punishment I would receive in church than I was of the abuser. Clergy laid on so much guilt about everything - even thoughts - that it took a long time to get over that training and think outside the box. Unfortunately (or maybe not), this early training helped lead the way to the messianic sociopath I encountered recently.

The church I belonged to was Christian Reformed. The demonination is not considered fundamental. In fact, they berated the Netherlands Reformed church and two Bible churches in town as being too strict (my 1 sq mile town had 12 churches) and the Catholics just plain wrong.

Even though I "got out" when I was 18, it's taken nearly 30 yrs to see the full effect it had on me, to see how I dissociated from the abuse and how it happened again with the sociopath.

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Re: recovery from a cult
Posted by: notperfectyet ()
Date: May 26, 2011 12:20PM

I am recovering too. I attended a ministry that was all 'hype', selling a lot of things for money, money, money and smoke screens for the 'behind the scenes'. It took me a minute, but with God's help I was able to pull away......I also, decided this after my mom passed away from cancer in december of last year. This ministry was not really there for the people, but only for what they can get out of them. I am disgusted with the fact that I was duped into really believing that this ministry was for real. When ever anyone would ask to see the financial statements they would supposedly get very edgy! I am so glad that Jesus loves me enough to help me out of that horrible experience. It took some time, but God stood by my side every step of the way. I am with my father now and helping him out since my mom passed. I have other issues to deal with too and I am Thankful God delivered me out of that ministry. The ministry is at Saturday night, but airs their programs on Sunday at 11a on Channel 6 CBS in Richmond, me this is very deceptive!

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