I’ve been a silent reader of this website for several years now. For the longest time, I couldn’t understand if I was drawn to ESN due to the “taboo” of it all or because it serves as a confirmation for my choice to depart from the PCG.
I’m a few years removed from the PCG and my perspective has grown a lot since then. I now realize that I’m drawn to this site because of how unusual it is to be a part of a group of cult survivors within the ESN. It’s an experience we all share which has helped me to cope with all of the years of psychological trauma handed down from being in this prison of spiritual exploitation. Frankly, there aren’t many people I meet on a daily basis who can intimately relate to this situation.
I’ve wanted to write to ESN for a while but hesitated, simply because I didn’t feel I had much to offer but here goes anyway: I’d also like to send a message to those who still find themselves “stuck” in the PCG and are worried about the consequences of leaving. Also, to those who may have just recently departed and feel lost without the “group.”
On the other side of your “church” life, is a reclaiming of yourself which is the most exhilarating and lively adventure you can start for yourself. I am one of the more fortunate survivors who was able to leave without being “marked,” and without being told to avoid contact with family and friends (if anyone would like to talk about how and are afraid to leave for this reason, feel free to contact me in private). However, my life was significantly impacted because most of the close friendships I accumulated over the years in the group have become distant or in many cases non-existent. People I’ve shared intimate moments with did not reach out as much, or completely cut me off for fear of being suspended. However, I knew this would happen because I have lost friends who were brave enough to leave the PCG in the past. Although I suspected it would be that way, it does not take away from the hurt or feelings of betrayal. This left me feeling lost and fighting through bouts of depression. However, after a long few years of recovery (reading, self therapy, talk therapy and rediscovering myself), I can say that there’s a lot more hope and love in my life. My perspective of all religions, people and this world we live in has become broadened. My relationship with my family (most of whom are in the PCG) has grown tremendously and evolved beyond the group’s ideology and events. Most importantly, my relationship with myself has made great strides (although there is a lot of room for improvement).
The number one way I was able to navigate this exit process, is simply being patient and using God-given tools of empathy and compassion for my loved ones and friends who still choose to be in a destructive church [aka an abusive group]. Through empathy and compassion, I realized that my loved ones need their belief via the group for reasons that are unique to them; reasons I may never understand.1 Through empathy, I realized that they themselves are doing the best they can in trying to make sense of this chaotic world we find ourselves in. When I was able to move past my own strong feelings towards it all, it allowed for empathy which replaced my resentment for the group with acceptance of things I cannot control.
I hope this letter speaks to someone in a positive way. I hope you continue to grow within yourself and allow God2 to lighten the path ahead of you.
Lastly, I want to say thank you to the people who moderate this site, those courageous enough to post and keep the community growing. I can personally attest that I would have been more alone if I did not have this site to visit throughout my exit journey. Thanks for your years of service and diligence to help people.
Peace & Love,
By T. J. (former PCG member)
June 5, 2022
Note: If anyone would like to email T. J., please contact ESN and we will put you in touch with this person.
Exiters Tell What Has Helped Them Heal From Armstrongism
Some results from our Anonymous Survey, submitted by those who were involved with WCG, PCG, or other authoritarian offshoots.
Recommended Help For Depression:
Victory Over Depression by Bob George (6 Audio CD Set) [offsite link]
Footnotes by ESN:
1 Most members stay due to fear which is a part of mind control. To understand more about this see our Questions & Answers page under “Questions About Members” and especially “Why do they stay?”
2 The real God is the one who can and will lighten our path if we allow Him to. Read: Because God Loves Me and see the small Note at the very end of Mike’s Page page.