Once, when I was about 16, I became peripherally involved with a religious Cult. The cult still exists.
"The Way". I was invited to a Bible Study and a Hay Ride. The two men who were "recruiting" in my area were young and very handsome. Very charming. My interest in one of these men actually led me to go to those events.
At this age, I was still fairly independent and I was not good at "biting my tongue". I pointed out a few issues, a few inconsistencies...I was a bit too verbal and too strong. They quickly realized I was not going to be of any use to them. They turned their attention elsewhere and I escaped. At the time, I did not see it that way, did not realize how very close I had come. In retrospect, we tend to see these things.
I escaped one cult to become involved in a different kind of cult...one that was just as dangerous and one that likely harmed me far more.
Recently, I watched a documentary on NetFlix. The name of the documentary is "Holy Hell". It is about a "religious cult"... but when you watch it, it soon becomes apparent that it was not about Religion at all. It was a cult of Personality and a cult of family... the only difference is that it contained many members who were unrelated.
****IF YOUR EXPERIENCE WAS SIMILAR TO MINE, this film could be very triggering. I cannot stress strongly enough that the feelings, actions, mental distress and even sexual abuse of the members struck me very deeply and was triggering. FOR ME, it is important to see things like this...to see that this is not an isolated experience. Many of us share experiences and support. To see one man do to 120 odd people the same thing that was done to me and my family, is eye opening.
Perhaps this is not something that you need to see in your own journey. We each progress on our own paths. Perhaps seeing this film will help someone else to process the reality and stop questioning their own perceptions. The parallels between my life and the lives of these people...the parallels between the mind control, the manipulations, the programming used to achieve the result are mind blowing.
As I watched the film my mind was hearing the words and statements of these people and thinking "Exactly!". As I watched the film, the second time, I actually wrote down the parallels. I felt their pain and I KNEW what they were feeling. While someone who had not been there might not be able to truly comprehend and understand... I DO.
At the end, I felt their regret, their pain, their confusion, their gratitude, their hatred and that remaining ambivalence. I feel it daily.
Each of our situations has similar experiences and differences. Our captivities were not all alike. The abuses we suffered were not the same. The length of abuse, the damages, the depth to which we bought into it is variable.
This video IS MY STORY....told by many strangers and regarding a man they let into their lives and made their God.
This statement, made by a very intelligent, articulate man, while tears flowed in his pain (MANY YEARS after he was no longer involved with his "master") said it all.
“Here I was serving this man every day, carrying his chair, meeting his needs. Hating him for what he was doing. Yet I served him day after day and remained silent, and did what he said and was afraid not to do what he said. I HATED HIM! But here I was in this group, not wanting to leave. Afraid to leave. Not knowing if perhaps I was simply not aligned with God’s path. Doubting myself, doubting what I thought I was seeing. Half convinced that I was simply unworthy. I felt like I was losing my mind! Yes, I was losing my mind”