Escaping a cult and recovering
Date: May 30, 2004 04:07AM
Hurting, you asked, “Can you let me know how you came to the realization that that church was up to no good?”
The realization, while it took a long, long time to bring forth positive fruit, began when I was ages two and three. My pastor screamed at the top of his lungs from the pulpit, screaming until his face literally turned purple and big blue veins stood out on his neck. He would spy on the members of the church, punish them, and rant at them in his office, bringing them to tears. Mother was very similar. I was unimpressed with their G-d; rather, I hated Him.
As a teen, however, I turned toward our G-d because I wanted to live a better life, and I saw Christianity as a way to do so. However, when I asked why they observed Sundays instead of Sabbath, they could not give me a logical answer. Still, I stayed. They would not allow us to read other literature or have anything to do with other churches, which, I was taught, did not have the “whole truth,” so it was all I knew.
However, one of my pastors kissed me very inappropriately in a dark hall of the church when I was 17. This put some real doubts in my mind and led me to believe that it was not just my mother and my first pastor in that church who were dead-wrong. Still, I grew up, married, and reared my children in that church, afraid to leave, because they taught me that Hell awaited those who did.
After I was widowed, another pastor asked me a sexually inappropriate question. This pastor also had some very unorthodox ideas I could not swallow. Yet another later touched me inappropriately, and when I confronted him years later, he denied it. Still I stayed, for Hell yawned darkly before me.
Another thing that really bothered me was their attitude toward education. Their pastors were very proud of being mainly biblically self-taught, and seminary was totally unacceptable, while college was strongly discouraged. My parents would not allow me to go past high school, because college was sinful. When I married and started taking college classes, they condemned me. Additionally, when I took Greek, they had a fit, but when I took Hebrew, they went completely bzerk, finally assure I was, indeed, evil. When I bought NIV Bibles for my Sunday school class, rather than having them read from the KJV, I was completely anathema.
What really made me leave this church which moved pastors about like pawns upon a chess board was a four-year encounter with pastor I will call “Bill” who, while in that church, was truly out of his place. Bill was the first pastor I could trust enough not to fear being alone with him. He loved our G-d, and he loved people. Bill was a gentleman, a thinker, and a mover. But because of all these things, he chafed the leadership to no end. They sent him off and replaced him with one of the worst pastors I had ever had. He was the one who kicked me out. Later, Bill was similarly kicked out.
I am very grateful they kicked me out: they did for me what I was not strong enough to do for myself.