Some men have claimed to have all the answers to life, and especially the answers to evil in the world. Many, when exiting such totalistic groups, are unable to believe in anything anymore. But isn’t this exactly what the leader wanted to happen to those who would leave? If we didn’t believe in his “truth” or his “god” he really didn’t want us to believe in anything ever again. It was as if he said, “You will do it my way, or you will not do any way. You will believe in my god, or you will not believe in any god.”
Those Who Have Been Spiritually Betrayed
As a result, those who have been spiritually betrayed often go in many false directions, such as New Age ideas, mysticism, the occult, joining unusual sects or other religious groups, and turning to atheism or unbelief–anything except Christianity.
Why? Because the man who had all the answers, for the most part, succeeded in moving members’ minds away from ever trusting in, or believing in, any spiritual belief system outside his “one true Church.” It was programmed into members’ minds to hate (and fear) Orthodox Christianity.1 His goal (whether deliberate or not) was to destroy true Christianity. This is exactly what all Bible-based or apocalyptic cults are capable of doing to those who immerse themselves in the founder’s literature and teachings.
Some exiters have decided that reading atheistic books is the answer to helping them “think logically.” These books, however, have ended up causing many to lose any faith they may have previously felt they had and to become deceived again–this time in believing the words of others that say the Bible “isn’t true and Jesus never existed.” This is only another form of bondage.
One of the Tragic Results
Why does being in a destructive, abusive organization cause so many to end up this way? When trust is placed in someone that we believe is “sincere and a true spiritual leader,” a man who “knows the Bible,” only to find out later it was all a lie, we are betrayed in the deepest sense of the word. To fear or distrust anyone in a position of spiritual authority and not be able to read or even believe in the Bible as the Word of God anymore is one of the tragic results of being involved with a counterfeit “church” and counterfeit “gospel.” The leader has succeeded in destroying minds, souls and spirits, since the exiter did not continue obeying “the government of God.”
But isn’t that what they were doing anyway? Destroying lives? How many were free and happy? Our choices in the “one true Church” weren’t really free as they had to line up with what was being taught, and if we questioned the authority, we were threatened with being destroyed forever. We were used and controlled without any room for individuality, creativity, or talents. We were slaves that were slowly dying under grievous burdens and abuse. And when we couldn’t measure up anymore, they threw us away, knowing that if their programming had gone deep enough, we would never be able to trust or believe in anything again concerning a loving, personal God.
True God of Love Never Taught
Obeying the leader did not lead to lasting peace, neither was it “God’s way.” It was a destructive, soul-damaging lifestyle that was presented as “the Truth.” The true God of love was never taught, nor known, in this “true Church.” There was a false spirit and a false Jesus inside, which is always true of any mind-manipulating group that twists the Word of God and engages in exploitation and abuse. That is why the focus was on the “Church” and “the Government” and “the Law.” Without understanding this knowledge, exiters can find their faith almost nigh to impossible to rebuild.
When leaving these types of groups, it is hard for anyone to understand how there could really be a God who loves them and who is completely different than the leader’s “true god.” It is not without tremendous effort to get the teachings and methods out of us. If we choose to dump the whole lie and decide the answers are found in reading books and material by atheists (known as “free-thinkers”), we will find ourselves–perhaps permanently–turned in that direction. We may call it “shunning religion,” and “being free,” but we are actually turning our back on the true Creator who exists and who wants us to personally know Him and experience His love and mercy. We are also choosing to take a chance that there is nothing beyond the grave.
Questions Were Cultivated
No man can give us all the answers in this life and why things happened as they did, but if we stop and think about it, do we really need them? Think back to the beginning. Who was it that cultivated those questions in the first place? Even changing things whenever he decided? Do we really have the wisdom to determine how God should have acted in a certain situation in our lives, or even down through history? Isn’t it enough to know that a God of love has revealed Himself in His Son, who willingly came to this earth to give His life for us; who suffered more than anyone ever has, or will, and who loves us with an everlasting love? Do we understand that He has forgiven all our sins, no longer holding them against us, and that we don’t have to feel that we must do something (a ritual or work) in order to know He loves and accepts us unconditionally?
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11-28-30).
Jesus can give us lasting freedom from guilt and fear, but it is very hard for many exiters to accept this because the lies have been so deeply programmed into their mind. Even so, if we are determined not to let the group–whether it be Worldwide Church of God, Philadelphia Church of God, Restored Church of God, Living Church of God, or a similar controlling, abusive offshoot– succeed in destroying our hope in finding that which is true and lasting and healing, the fear-based lies we once believed can eventually be rooted out and replaced with truth.
Exiters Choose Different Ways
In spite of all this, some exiters will either go back to the way they were before they entered the group (without any religious beliefs whatsoever, or highly skeptical of the Bible), or continue to hold on to things they believe they “proved” themselves. They will make excuses and use false rationale for everything, including all the suffering and misery others had to endure and all the things they lost out in their life. They will not be able to see how shallow the group’s relationships are, since they are contingent with staying in the group (i. e., their “family”), and they will not see that the leader twisted the Word of God almost more than anyone ever has. They will only see the group as “God’s one true Church” and not for what it really was–a mind manipulating cult with a disturbing background, and whose only goal was to control and exploit others for money and power.
He Remains Faithful
If what we choose is atheism, and the negativity which almost always goes with it, we are free to go that way. But if we decide to turn to the true Jesus, the Son of God, who, in His incarnation was very God and very man, and offer Him our questions, our pain and our disappointments, we will begin to experience a freedom we never had in the group. There is peace, mercy, grace and healing to be found through Jesus alone, and which He will freely give through His comforting Spirit when we place our faith in Him and believe on Him. Although our understanding of all this does not come quickly, or all at once, He remains faithful, and will never cast us away or punish us for our questions or struggles with Him. He is more than willing to help us if we humble ourselves before Him. When we are able to read His Word instead of literature from those who say they have “the truth” and “the answers” or “new revelations” about life or the future, Jesus will begin to show us that He is Truth and Life indeed. We only have to go to Him and ask. He is able to enlighten all our darkness. (John 8:12)
By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™
Are Atheists Happier Than Others?
Some have wondered if atheists might be happier than other people. If one is willing to do some research on this subject, they will notice that the biggest practitioners of atheism were the ones that caused more death and suffering than all the religious crusades combined. Communism and Nazism were led by a belief in atheism. Many famous atheists were shown to only find happiness in hating, criticizing and demeaning others. The facts are clear that atheism has caused more unhappiness and insanity in this century than all the religious conflicts of the preceding centuries.
Madalyn Murray O’Hair Murder (statement by her son William J. Murray) [offsite article]
“Hatred of religion is rooted in Communism.”2 ~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
What About Thomas Paine’s Book?
Thomas Paine, a deist, published his book Common Sense in January 1776. This ancient book has been one which some atheists (or “deists,” “freethinkers” “unbelievers,” or “humanists” as they call themselves) feel can be used to disprove the Word of God.
Thomas Paine on the Bible (brief review)
Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason: A Critique (point by point review)
Paine’s later work, The Age of Reason, is being used by some former members of Worldwide Church of God as a “reliable source” to discredit the Bible.
Paine Was Interested in Freemasonry
Thomas Paine was interested in Freemasonry. His pamphlet, “Origin Of Free-Masonry,” proposed that Masonry’s embodiment of the sun worship of ancient Druidism was a legitimate alternative to Christianity. He notes that Freemasonry’s god, “…Osiris and Isis, theologically represented the Supreme Being and universal Nature…” ~Writings of Thomas Paine, Thomas Paine’s Origin of Free-Masonry, published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1896
Paine Known to Be an Alcoholic
Another interesting bit of information is that Paine was known to be an alcoholic, as was Herbert W. Armstrong. A good book describing the traits of alcoholics (and which briefly mentions Thomas Paine) is The Secret History of Alcoholism: The Story of Famous Alcoholics & Their Destructive Behavior by James Graham. Mr. Graham asserts that alcoholism causes egomania, displayed in such behaviors as denial, lying, overachievement, grandiosity, etc. (Note: There are different stages of alcoholism and while HWA was not in the latter stage; i. e., a drunk on skid row, he was nevertheless considered an alcoholic and observed drunk on numerous occasions.)
Only a handful of people attended Paine’s funeral.
Refuting Common Atheist Claims:
Best Arguments Against Atheism [offsite article]
Was Jesus Christ just a CopyCat Savior Myth? [offsite article]
A Refutation of The Christ Conspiracy [offsite article]
The New Priests of Atheism (3 part series; includes history of atheism) [offsite article]
Recovery After Exiting a Spiritually Abusive Group
Covers thought reform, manipulation, coercion, deception, peer pressure, guilt, fear, phobias and threat tactics used by the group leader.