It can be scary leaving a group that may have once felt like family. Maybe you relocated to live with them or gave up your job and all your finances. Maybe the group is all you've ever known. If starting over sounds overwhelming, it's okay. Take one step at a time.
Here are five to get you started from people who left cults themselves:
1) Make a plan
If you need somewhere safe to go, reach out to a family member or friend outside the group. Say you need help. Ask them to come get you or find the best way to get to them. If you don't know anyone outside the group, find out where the nearest local police station or domestic shelter is and how to get there. Notice any bus stops nearby. Just get on a bus if you need to. Call a cab if you can. If you fear you will be in danger for leaving, the important thing is to just leave however you can.
2) Pack a go-bag
You may need to leave at a moment's notice. Try to have a bag or backpack ready with a change of clothes, food, and filled water bottles, unless you're afraid the bag might be discovered. Be prepared for an opportunity to leave by keeping money and a cell phone on you if you have them. Wear sturdy shoes.
3) Don’t tell anyone you’re leaving
They may try to talk you out of it, block you, or report your plan to others. Keep your doubts and intentions a secret. Try to go about your business as usual to avoid suspicion.
4) Reach out to others who have left
Talking with others who have left your group can help encourage and validate your decision to leave. They might even be able to help you. Try finding them on Facebook or through friends and family they may have mentioned.
Read stories of other ex-members for encouragement and validation in online support forums. Use public library computers if you can to avoid your search history being discovered.
5) Get professional counselling
There are therapists and experts specializing in cult recovery who want to help you. Many were once cult members themselves. Say you are in a destructive group and need help leaving. They will help you find safety, learn how to filter harmful programming from your own truth, and give you tools to rebuild a life for yourself outside of the group.
Leaving a high-demand group often isn't easy. Remember the reasons you doubt or distrust them.
Remember YOU are the one looking out for YOU.
You are not an idiot or a traitor.
You're a human being deserving of freedom, safety, and support.
(Many people have left, others have been excommunicated. Every story is unique.
Those who have a plan and seek help are wise for the process is traumatic. You will be shunned! Help is available)
I believe there are many good, humble, loving people within the community who would love to exit but the price is unthinkable
How do you stay and survive? There may be some guests who could share some consolation with those in this predicament.
Consolation is exactly what's needed. Not only for those still trapped, but also for those who have escaped.There may be some guests who could share some consolation with those in this predicament.
One thing I can warn against is seeking consolation from anything other than God Himself. Hopefully I'm alone in this, but I struggled for a long time, both in and out of the RFI churches, with the consumption of entertainment media of various and nefarious forms. I was an entertainment-seeking missile. I guess I was looking for something to suppress the cognitive dissonance.
Now that I think of it, maybe there's a reason wine-drinking became such a prolific pastime within the RFI churches. In my time, alcohol and coffee were revered almost as much as the communion, if not more. Perhaps they adopted the 'agape meal' as a kind of 'communal cognitive-dissonance suppressant'.
This may come as a shock to many readers here, but a well-known elder once said the following to me after I'd indicated that I was thinking of leaving the fellowship:I believe there are many good, humble, loving people within the community who would love to exit but the price is unthinkable
"There are a lot of people in this church that don't want to be here, but they're too scared to leave."
That's not an exaggeration. The man obviously knew he was "lording it over"* his congregation and did nothing to set the captives free. Needless to say, that comment (among other red flags) convinced me to leave.
*See Ezekiel 34:4, 1 Peter 5:3, and 2 Corinthians 1:24.
P.S. Please note that I have since forgiven this man for the spiritual violence he inflicted. I can't speak for anyone else, and I don't want to appear self-righteous here. I just want to assure you that it's worth the peace of mind. Of course, I don't know how I'd act if I met him in person again - that's the real test I guess I'll just have to cross that bridge when I get to it... assuming it ever gets built.
"There are a lot of people in this church that don't want to be here, but they're too scared to leave".
The implications of this are enormous and frightening at the same time and shows how far from the Christian faith the fellowship leadership have strayed.
The know people are scared, they know people want to leave, they use fear and exert control over people to keep them from leaving.
Certainly when I attended the fellowship, the unspoken threat of losing all your friends family and business if you left the fellowship was like an elephant in the room. The words that were spoken by the elders and leaders frequently, "if you leave the fellowship, now that you have received this special revelation, your salvation will be in doubt/you will lose your salvation"
The elders may declare who is saved and who isn’t, but I look to God for His word on the matter!!!”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
Whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life!!!
The elders will try to administer salvation by threats and violence but don’t believe them.
We are free in Christ! Don’t believe the lies!!!
It is a difficult place for anyone to be in. We all know the cost for anyone who leaves it is drummed into us every time someone leaves.
But there is always hope and we remember those who have gone before us and show us the way.
I was a child when the 4 corners report from the ABC aired. Seeing this really disturbed me. But I remembered Helen Pomeroy speaking up. One of the first thing I did was track her down through a cult recovery Centre. I also contacted the ABC directly and paid for a copy of that documentary as at the time it was not available except in the archives. Anyway it was a good 10 years from when I first saw the documentary till when I had the strength to leave but I never forgot the courage of Helen being the trail blazzer for others to follow. you never know the impact your leaving has had on some one and if when the time is right they may just reach out to you.
]”God will find a way
where there seems to be no way”
To those in the xCF who would like to leave, please keep trusting God for your deliverance!
* We are praying for you.
* We are praying for your children that God will protect them.
* We are praying for the teenagers and young adults who are being turned against their parents.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
God will make a way,
Where there seems to be no way,
He works in ways we cannot see,
He will make a way for me,
He will be my guide,
Hold me closely to His side,
With love and strength for each new day,
He will make a way,
He will make a way.
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