Monday, July 11, 2016

The Residual Impact of Cult Life

I often wonder if there are other former cult members who have been permanently injured from their prior participation.

When I first got involved with Dahn Yoga I had no idea it was a cult or what the business was all about. I was primarily concerned with the exercise and healing component of the classes. Within the first couple weeks, I found out what Dahn Yoga and the Ilchi Lee machine was all about and quit as soon as my pre-paid 3-month membership expired. This was nearly 10 years ago in January 2006. And yet, to this day, my short involvement impacts the way I see and behave in my Christian life and in my relationships...which is pretty synonymous, wouldn't you say?

Whenever I meet new people, particular those who claim they are also Christian, I become grossly suspicious of their motivations and interest in me. I don't act or speak about these suspicions because that would come off as paranoid but I am always skeptical in the back of my mind. This has caused me to create an even larger barrier or wall of defense in my relationships.

After spending and serving over 3 years in a Christian church I moved on and began attending another church. The respective denominations, only for those interested, were Free Methodist and Evangelical-Free. At this new EV-Free church, I was immediately accepted with open arms. I was invited to join all the activities and was even given the opportunity to help with the hospitality team within the first month of my attendance. By the 3rd month, the pastor even asked me to take a greater leadership role in the weekly Bible Study meetings.

This was all good and well, but I always felt a lingering suspicion and even contempt (I'm still working on this) at this new, welcoming, friendly, and loving church. Contempt because how can they be so accepting of me, a newbie, without properly vetting me or observing that my walk in faith is in line with my talk? Well, that, and the fact that the members of my previous churches took THREE MONTHS before anyone even said "hi" to me.

I still struggle with this lingering suspicion in my church, which has proved to be nothing but honest and focused on Jesus and the Bible. I wonder how they can possibly love and trust me as a fellow believer. I wonder if they have any concern that I just may be a cult follower trying to poach and lure away God-fearing believers into another false belief system.

I struggle with giving and receiving trust in my lifelong Christian faith because of my short-lived but traumatic affiliation with Dahn Yoga. I wish I was not deceived. I wish I did not feel like a victim. I pray that God continues to deliver me from these unhealthy suspicions. Please feel free to share how you have overcome or continue to overcome your former cult experiences.