Friday, January 8, 2016


After reading what I wrote in "My Life in the Cult...," a psychologist friend commented, 

"I was struck by how much your life was centered on self-sacrifice. You were always giving to others and not to yourself. I imagine that you must have struggled with the sense of betrayal when you finally were able to see reality of the situation. Moving to [the tropics] must have been so disorienting that you would have been less able to see the sham. I am so glad that you came back and are patiently navigating yourself back into the Western world."

"Always giving to others and not to yourself." No kidding! My life, 24/7 for 30 years, was dedicated to doing things for others.

But isn't that the idea? Isn't that how true Christians are to strive to live? Isn't it sinful to do things to please yourself? "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily," right?  (Luke 9:23)

Among the thousands of Bible verses and Mo Letter quotes that I committed to memory over the years, my friend's words dredged up this poem that I must have memorized while still in my teens.
By Charles D. Meigs

Lord help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray 
My prayer shall be for – Others.

Help me in all the work I do
To ever be sincere and true
And know that all I do for you
Must needs be done for – Others.

Let “Self” be crucified and slain
And buried deep; and all in vain
May efforts be to rise again
Unless to live for – Others.

And when my work on earth is done
And my new work in heaven’s begun
May I forget the crown I’ve won
While thinking still of – Others.

Others, Lord, yes others
Let this my motto be
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.

(found at:

This attitude became a part of me and naturally carried on after leaving the cult - even more so then, because I was facing the horrible reality of having given my children a crap childhood. The guilt. The burning desire to make things right. I wanted to do my utmost to help them, although I was clearly spread too thin. I'm afraid it was too little, too late for the older ones; the jury is still out on how the younger ones will fare.

This "normal" behavior for me is further COG residue that I have only just now become aware of.


  1. Christian dogma, when applied literally to one's life, the way we were indoctrinated to do in the COG, can have a devastating effect on human development. Many Christians will strongly object to the book I recommend below, but it greatly helped me understand the many ways that interpreting the bible literally and attempting to live by its precepts caused me great psychological and related physical harm.

    "Deadly Doctrine: Health, Illness, and Christian God-Talk"

    "The Christian religion presents itself as the way to contentment, spiritual health, and salvation. But is this really true? Dr. Wendell Watters offers a powerful argument, based on his many years of clinical experience with individuals, couples, and families, that Christianity's influence actually militates against human development in such vital areas as self-esteem, sexuality, and social interactions. The tragic end result of Christian conditioning is too often antisocial behavior, sexual dysfunction, poor psychological development, anxiety, and even major psychiatric illness."

    Here are the chapter titles to the book:

    1. Health and Christian Doctrine: Framing the Hypothesis
    2. Christianity: Its Doctrine and Strategies
    3. Christianity, the Family, and Self-Esteem
    4. Dependency, Interdependency, and Self-Actualization
    5. Pleasure, Suffering, and Guilt
    6. Christianity, Sexuality, and Traditional Gender Roles
    7. Christian Pronatalism and Human Sexual Suffering
    8. Christianity and Major Psychiatric Illness
    9. Christianity and Mental Health: The Research Findings
    10. Christianity and Health Care
    11. Christian Double-Think and Newspeak
    12. The Future: Homo Religiosus or Homo Sapiens?

    1. So true. Thank you for the book recommendation.