Thursday, July 18, 2013

Finish the Sentence: The Cult

 This post is part of the Finish the Sentence Friday blog hop. Today's prompt was, "In church/place of worship, I learned to..." Thanks to our hosts: Kate of Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine…, Janine of Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic, Stephanie of Mommy, for Real and Dawn of Dawn's Disaster!

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     I went to a cult in college. Well, it wasn't really a cult. But it was. If this were Facebook, I'd just have to click the it's complicated status button.

     My church was great in a lot of ways. Great music. Inspiring stories. Lots of college students. But then in a lot of ways it was just plain creepy. Don't go to any church but ours. Don't date people from any church but ours. Don't go on mission trips with people from any church but ours. Don't even share prayer requests with people from any church but ours.

     The teaching was great, except for the fact that most of the sermons were about how we weren't supposed to rebel against God's authority (ie the pastor). If you wanted to be a super elite Christian, you had to get a discipler and basically do whatever they said. I knew a discipler who told my friend not to shop at thrift stores because the clothes might have satanic power. I know of disciplers who told the kids they mentored whom they could or couldn't date.

     Eventually, I realized that the things going on in my so-called church weren't healthy and probably weren't even from God at all. I was so entrenched in that community, I ended up leaving in the middle of the night and basically fleeing to another state to get away from it all.

     Yikes, you're probably thinking. My word exactly. But there's a lesson in all of this. I learned that no matter how wise we think we are, we always need to be careful about being suckered into a lie, especially when it comes to matters of faith. People hungry for control can take any number of Bible verses, twist them, and lord their power over their congregations. I'm glad I got out of that place when I did, even though I felt like a fugitive at the time (which, I guess, you could say I was). I have friends who continued on there. We've since fallen out of touch, but I think about them every now and then and wonder what's become of them.

     The Bible is a powerful book. And while I genuinely believe that every word written in it is inspired by God, that doesn't mean it can't be corrupted by sinful human agents. So what did I learn from going to a cult? I learned not to trust every man or woman who can handle the Bible impressively. They just might be handling it the wrong way.

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18 comments:

  1. Wow- what a story. I'm glad you got out, too, and I think your observations and insights about people twisting the Bible for their own corrupt purposes are right on.

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    1. Thanks Stephanie, I'm glad I got out too!

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  2. I'm so glad you got out before they could tell you not to be my friend. I know this isn't the time, but it'd be great to hear more about how something like that could be so appealing to people. I don't think anyone who's never been there, done that understands what kind of weird power people like the ministers at that cult can wield over well-meaning, devout people.

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    1. That's the thing - it started so "right..."

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  3. Eeek! It's so easy to twist and cherry-pick even good things and use them for bad. I'm SO glad you got out unscathed...scary stuff! Thanks for sharing this :)

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    1. very true observation. Hope others don't go through the same!

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  4. WOW...just wow...

    I am so glad you got out, you are right it was not healthy...YES men wrote the bible and added their own human sins and agendas to it. So many wars, acts of evil, and persecutions have been done in the name of God and faith. Just because it's religious doesn't mean it's right, religion is still taught and expressed by humans. I am teaching my son to have faith and live through his faith but not be blinded by tricks of religion.

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    1. Kudos to you for raising your son to use his discernment!

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  5. What a cautionary tale - glad you got out! It's so sad that some people use religion to control others or do bad things.

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    1. Well said, Dana. Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. Wow. A friend of mine was in a similar Church. She felt she was so entrenched because she truly loved the people, just not the leadership. Eventually she made the break. Not as dramatically as your story, but difficult for her.

    I am glad you found your peace.

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    1. I felt the same. Loved my friends there. It made it that much harder to leave.

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  7. So, so true about man corrupting and twisting the words of the Bible. I got caught up in the homeschooling/quiverful movement a few years ago, what a mess that is - mind control. I had to step out of everything related to them which is difficult because I still homeschool. I still get one of their publications on a quarterly basis and want to burn it when I see it. I probably need to work on my bitterness a little. The more people I see fail morally that I had trust in in the past makes me realize how I can only fully trust the scriptures and the Holy Spirit to guide me. It's been a hard lesson.

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    1. Sounds like you've been through some very similar experiences. Sorry to hear that. :(

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  8. Glad you were able to make the break - must have been a tough time in your life. Awful that when you needed that "community" support the most was when you were without it.

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    1. I agree, Chris. I was certainly very confused after leaving and could have really used some spiritual guidance.

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  9. Wow, Alana! First, I am so glad you got our and second, you are so right that man will twist the words of the Bible to fit his own un-saintly motivations. It must have been so scary leaving in the middle of the night! I'm glad you did and I'm glad that it didn't completely turn you off from all religion and faith.

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    1. I'm thankful too Kristi. Definitely opened my eyes.

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