I come out today as a cult survivor in the hopes of being one more person to speak truth to the unimaginable trauma caused by these cults. It is a very scary thing for me to do as I have been taught my whole life to keep this secret, or risk death.
I have always known I have cult experiences in my background, but I chose not to mention it to people because I did not want to get dismissed as “crazy” because I have seen how people react to this topic.
I have two cult experiences in my background, and in some ways they were related. Both of my cult experiences revolve around an extremely twisted Christianity.
I was raised in what I call The Community. If it had another name, I wasn’t aware of it. The Community involved sexual abuse, sex trafficking, money, drugs, mind control, pedophilia based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, sadism, ceremonies, and what is now an extremely powerful church in the world.
The Community is something I am still reluctant to talk about openly, even though many of its members are dead or elderly. They were, and quite possibly still, very powerful.
The Community morphed from nothing into an extremely powerful church, which scares me in that I would imagine the current church stewards would go to any lengths to protect it, and not allow its beginnings to be public. I don’t disclose the church name out of fear.
Growing up, I lived in a Middle Class neighborhood that only as an adult did I realize was out of the ordinary or peculiar.
My neighborhood was unusual in that all of our family friends (other Community members) were both tied to the beginning of a church, and the children were involved in all types of sexual behavior from a very young age.
They raised us to be extremely obedient, and to not discuss what went on in our community to those outside. In fact, we didn’t discuss it in Community either. We just did what we were told.
As a very young child, I was told by my mother to show up at different places in the Community. Sometimes this involved meeting men who were considered prominent members of the greater community, but they all had ties back to the church.
When I met these men at their places of work, homes, or in a specific meeting place that was designated for these pickups, I was expected to do whatever these men wanted without complaint or any type of resistance. It was through these experiences, I learned my value to my family and the Community was sexual.
Obedience was life or death, so I complied and died a little inside with each occurrence.
One especially sick member of our Community was involved in the mind control piece. He would lock us in a little room for hours and scream at us in the name of Jesus Christ, and no response from us was the right answer to get him to stop. He always finished by telling us because we had not accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts, we were going to Hell. Then he would sexually abuse us while talking in a whisper to Jesus.
My grandmother was a big player in this church. She gave a lot of her time and money to it. It was all she had since her husband was abusive to her.
My parents would periodically leave me at my grandmother’s house, and I always feared they wouldn’t come back for me.
My grandmother had very rigid religious beliefs. Her house was spotless, and there was no room for a normal child in that environment. She had very strict rituals about how meals were to be eaten, and no amount of crying would change the rules. When she bathed you, she scrubbed your skin in the most painful way to clean all dirt and sin from your body.
Still, my grandmother’s house was less abusive than what I experienced at home.
From time-to-time, a well known cult called The Way International (you can Google them or find them on Facebook) would come to town and my grandmother would give me to them. I would ride in the back of a station wagon with other kids I did not know to the bonfire in the woods where other Way members were gathered.
These Way members were all fairly young, mostly in their early 20s. At these gatherings, the Way members would drug us, and teach us about our destinies as children who were chosen to sacrifice themselves in the way Jesus did. They also would talk of bloodletting as a practice to show our allegiance to God. After our religious teachings, the Way members would take turns having sex with us.
Some would say this is fantasy, and that’s ok. I don’t need anyone to believe me at this point in my life. I live with the scars, and have no interest except to try to heal from this.
Part of my point of this writing is to express that the work of the Devil can also be done through those who believe they are practicing Christianity.
In my cult experiences, the only time Satan was brought into the picture was to teach me if I did not embrace these Christian teachings, then Satan would be waiting for me.
When your foundation in life comes from this type of disturbing beginning, you don’t escape unscathed. Your mind is damaged almost beyond repair, and for me, this beginning was partially responsible for my development of Dissociative Identity Disorder.
This is not simply religious extremism. This is a perfect example of how children are subjected to organized abuse.
As much as I would like to believe these people and groups don’t exist, they do. My memories are clear, and always have been.
Unfortunately, every single child I know from this Community suffers from mental illness and/or substance abuse.
Many of us may have physically escaped a cult, but find we can never seem to outrun the cult indoctrination completely. It lingers in our minds and comes out at certain times of the year and through certain triggers we may not even understand.
The mind control programming that goes with cults is extremely challenging to overcome, and with so many people skeptical of the cult concept to begin with, there are very few people in the world who even know how to help people who have received this type of programming.
I would like to say I am in a place where the programming and fear from the cults no longer affects me. Unfortunately, I still have parts of me who believe in these teachings, and when I try to talk with my therapist about these experiences, sometimes my brain takes off like a rocket into paranoia and dangerous false beliefs.