So, did you ever join a cult? I did, although I wouldn’t have called it that then. Even now, I like to think of it more as a stage of learning that had some pretty positive points to it. I guess for others it was a real nightmare and kind of wrecked their life. Today I had occasion to read some of the history of the church written by people who had different takes on it. It has been a bit upsetting and I don’t think I can be sure who the bad guys were and who the good guys were – just that there were obviously some of both. I’m also thinking that whenever you put people and power together, you are probably going to get some corruption along with the package.
What is interesting to me is that, having joined the “cult” I really became quite busy applying it’s teachings to my own life and didn’t notice a lot of the disturbing stuff that was probably going on. It wasn’t like we were being prepped to drink kool-aid, or shave our heads and wear robes in the airport – but we did do some things that were considered pretty odd to others. But odd in a normal sort of way.
I grew up going to a evangelical, protestant church where my family and most extended family had gone for years. I knew about youth groups, church camp, VBS, and could find scripture references as fast as anyone could and it was okay I guess. But other than the arguments at school between the Lutherans and the Catholics and us, I never had my thinking challenged in the areas of faith and personal philosophy of life. Then along came the cult. After my initial objections, which were more social than anything else, I found it very exciting that I could study the Bible and discover stuff I hadn’t heard about or thought about before. It felt dangerous, but good, that God could lead me to be different for reasons I really believed in. I think it was a good thing that I got excited about God at all and for that I’m thankful.
I’m not in the cult anymore. I’m not saying it was easy to break away from 20 plus years of thinking and doing certain things. There was pain involved. I changed but I don’t really see that God did. I appreciate his constancy more each time I survive another upset. The beliefs I hold about him keep getting more real, more central and more important to me. I believe God has led me into, through and past a lot of different situations and has made something beneficial for me out of all of them. I have no regrets and frankly, can’t thing of anyone I’d like to trade lives with. I also believe that God does this for anyone who decides to trust him to do it.