I think many of us have questions about “why did God allow this to happen to me?” Spiritual deception and betrayal are not easy to make sense of.
When I first listened to the program and sent away for literature, I made my own choice to do so because I felt it was a good decision. What I had no knowledge of was thought reform, coercive persuasion and propaganda techniques (methods which all false prophets and teachers make use of1) and I was not aware that abusive, controlling, religious groups often use “church” as a front to deceive and exploit others. I was young, naïve, and living away from home (which I am sure played a part). As a result, I succumbed to it all, believing it was “truth from God” that no one else was teaching. I was unaware that I was allowing a man to interpret the Scriptures for me.2 But he did indeed manipulate and twist my mind, causing me to trust only him and no one else. I was deceived into knowing that black and white rules and rituals would lead me down the wrong path. The more I surrendered myself to every last vestige of what he taught, believing I was in God’s “one and only true Church”3, and that he and “God’s government” were always to be obeyed no matter what and never questioned, the more I came into slavery to an organization more evil and dark than anyone could possibly imagine. “Truths” of God turned out to be doctrines of bondage,4 happiness turned into depression, success turned into failure, joy turned into grief, and as the years passed, it slowly began destroying my life and my family’s, while we only blamed ourselves.
Finding out that we were deceived by evil men who chose to lie, deceive and abuse, without any conscience, is devastating. But as I look back, I can see God’s hand on me throughout my entire life–and, yes, even while I was in a “cult.” I know I made a wrong decision to go in there (and God allowed it because He doesn’t control us), and I know there were further wrong decisions made while in. But looking back, I can see that since I was His child, He helped me while I was in the midst of those wrong decisions. He’ll do this in any tragic or difficult circumstance that comes crashing into our lives. He’s there; He hears, and He’ll help us to make a way to get through it.
Some of our losses can never be fully regained, nor the full reason “why” it happened revealed in this life; however, if we spend too much time dwelling on the “wasted years” or the “whys,” we will become disheartened, and fail to make the present moment all it could be. The true God of love will always desire to draw us closer to Him in the midst of it all, as He makes Himself known to us. He is able to use any experience we have endured, no matter how horrendous it was; take the evil and the pain and work it into something good for our life. He will even send others to encourage us when we are down. But most of all, He will stand with us and strengthen us when no one else is there.
There are those of us who believe we were Christians before we entered, but then, after leaving, we often find that we lose our concept of God, and it turns into a horrific struggle to try to understand what He is like, and if He is still there.5 But one of the things I came to recognize was that He came along side me during those times and encouraged me (oftentimes in little ways) when there was no one else that understood. He also sent songs and sacred hymns to comfort me, and helped me over time to understand more of his marvelous grace and everlasting love.
God never stopped loving me and He never stopped being there. In spite of all my mistakes and failures, He heard me, He intervened, He sustained me–and at the right time He helped me leave before it was too late. This is the true God of love (not the “god” taught by the leader), and this God and Savior is always there for us in spite of our not being able to “feel” His love; in spite of not knowing who He is, or what He is like anymore. He doesn’t ever reject us or cut us off. He’s watching over us and yearning to heal us and draw us closer to Him. We can come to have a loving, personal relationship with Him. He will always be faithful and will never forsake us or leave us.
So in conclusion, we may have spent years inside an abusive, mind-controlling organization, but to finally come to understand more about the Person of the Lord Jesus–His redeeming love, His grace, His complete and total forgiveness, His ever abiding presence, and His gift of everlasting life–ends up being more important than anything else in this life. The true God is a God of all comfort and He alone can truly comfort us in the way we need comforting. In spite of being betrayed in the deepest sense of the word, He can enable us to receive the grace and strength to somehow go on. He will never leave us nor forsake us. And someday, when we enter into His presence, He will wipe away all tears from our eyes and make everything new. How much our hearts will then rejoice!
By A. T.
Exit & Support Network™
“I don’t know what your circumstances are, but if you are a child of God, I am sure you can testify that God
has brought you up to the present moment hasn’t He? … Do you think He is going to let you down now?”
~J. Vernon McGee (from his notes on Philippians 1:6)
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:38-39.
It Was Christ (when no one else could understand)
Footnotes by ESN:
1 Seducing and lying spirits, working through their “ministers,” are able to use methods of mind control to deceive others, especially those who are lacking in spiritual discernment and/or an understanding of the Scriptures. (See Chapter one of ESN’s critical review of Mystery of the Ages) [opens as PDF]
2 Read: I Listened to a Man
3 Read: Where is the True Church?
4 See our Booklist which covers the bondages we were under.
5 These feelings are a result of the group leader being able to transfer the member’s feelings for God to him and the government in the organization. Leaving the group then results in the member feeling he has “lost God.” This is a mind control technique. (Read April 24, 2006 letter to ESN: Techniques to Gain Control)