Monday, May 2, 2016

Know Thyself

When I first broke ties with TFI, it was as if my head was filled with mist. Of course, I didn't realize it at the time. As I wrote in Adjustment, my mind was dominated by the slow realization that I had wasted years of my life, and worse, given my children a godawful childhood. The overwhelming guilt of these actions was growing by the day. On top of that, mental confusion.

As I look back now, I shake my head at my naivety and foolish efforts. I realize though, that we only know what we know at the time. We cannot know what we don't know. And I surely didn't.

What do people need, then, after they leave a high-demand cult (or "New Religious Movement" as TFI likes to call itself)? Education. Concerted efforts at concentration and learning. The strength to face up to the reality of the bad decisions made. 

Recently, I've spoken with a few still-loyal cult members. How do they view their pasts and the abusive history of the group? "It was in the past!" alluding to the verse, "Forgetting those things that are behind..." (Philippians 3:13)

Even many ex-First Generation Members (called in cult lingo, FGA's) use that same tactic of denial, which is simply the refusal to face reality. I can see why ex- and current cultists would not want to stop and examine their lives. The horror of a life wasted is too much for the psyche. Their self-narrative of being a "good person," a "sacrificial missionary," won't hold up. So we tend to hear excuses from the ex-FGA's, such as this all-too-common justification, "My heart was in the right place. God looks at the heart." As if intention is all that matters.

But it isn't.

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