Each of us experiences our reality based on our given (or taught) perspective.
While many of us are lucky to have free and open access to information—whether in books, online, or from other people—that isn’t the case for everyone. For those raised in insular, fundamentalist, or even extremist settings, the outside world may seem like a foreign place. The closer (and more closed) a community is, the easier it becomes for its leaders to spread their version of the truth while demanding loyalty from others.
Nowhere is this more true than in many cults, where members are often subjugated by leadership into following specific terms and conditions. Breaking these may hold serious consequences.
In no case is this more sad than for children brought or born into cults or very insular, extreme communities. Raised to believe that their way is the only way, many of them may face a reckoning should they ever get the opportunity to think or make decisions for themselves. Some of these very people who were able to get out shared their stories with Reddit.
When I read a book about our sect that told its actual history even though the leaders always said it was created in the time of Jesus and passed down over the millennia in the same form. (slovenry)
I always thought it was funny that anyone could believe the “”true”” sect of a 2000 year old religion was founded in the United states lol. (Nonames4U)
I was born into a radical pentecostal church during the early 80’s and 90’s when “exorcism” was a thing. They would perform these during Church and home groups on Sunday nights. It was always interesting to watch because the people would go all out! Talking in a different demon voice, ushers needing to hold them down and convulsing on the floor.
It was Sunday night and I was at our youth pastors house for home group, I was 14. After the singing and praise the youth pastor started his speech, “there’s someone here who’s been backsliding away from God. They’ve changed and seem to have..” blah blah blah
I remember thinking ‘ooooh who’s it going to be today?’ and that’s when I heard my name called and, “can you please come to the middle”. Definitely took me off guard, but like a good sheep I went.
Everyone gathered around me, started putting hands on me and speaking in tongues. Then the youth pastor placed one hand on my back and the other on my stomach. As it started to kick off, getting louder and louder! That’s when the youth pastor started to give me the Heimlich! Basically getting his hand all up under my rib cage, it hurt and only got worse. I was thinking to myself, ‘how the hell am I going to get out of this?’, so, I faked being slain in the Holy Spirit and fell to the ground. I stayed still and everyone backed off and continued praising the Lord.
What felt like an eternity, I was grabbed by the arms and they moved me to a different room. I waited a bit longer and finally got up and left.
I haven’t been to church since, I’m 39. (2milehigh)
Unable to Stay, Unwilling to Leave
It was a Sunday, Sundays we’d usually go during the day and afternoon. But after the first part, when my parents sat me down they told me that we were leaving. I recall being sad because I was playing a game with my friends, at the time I was confused.
My friends that I grew up with ignored me like I didn’t exist, I felt like everything I knew was gone. Later on I slowly pieced together what went on there was not normal.
I noticed the manipulative tactics such as showing us graphic videos of people dying and being ripped up because they didn’t follow God. They told us that if we didn’t ask the Pastor for permission in relationships we’d end up being abused. They made us have no TV to isolate us, but there’s more.
But it was very difficult leaving. It felt like my entire life was a lie, and everything I had learnt for 12 years was taken away and I was left clueless as ever and couldn’t relate to anyone.
I am now 19. Things haven’t been easy because I felt as if a lot of my childhood was stolen, and I missed out on a lot of pop culture, and things that people my age enjoyed. It’s not really easy because I feel incredibly alienated and confused about most things. But I’m getting better. 🙂(NigerianPrince___)