March 28, 2014

Why Be Ashamed Of Having Been In A Cult? - Bruce Atchison

One topic that shouldn't be taboo in churches is having been in a cult. Unfortunately, most Christians seem reluctant to even mention the word. This is tragic since what ex-cult victims need most is understanding.

Having done extensive research for my How I Was Razed book, I learned that victims feel frightened and helpless when they leave their toxic church or aberrant group. During their years in the cult, it became their world. Leaders taught them not to speak to outsiders or have anything to do with them. Consequently all the members of the group knew only each other.

Ex-cult members also fear condemnation by "normal" people. Like anybody who was swindled by con artists, these people feel embarrassed to admit that they were taken in. As a result, they keep quiet and suffer in silence. Some even rejoin the group that had captivated them just for the companionship.

This sad state of affairs must be changed. Having been granted forgiveness by Christ, we must be gentle and caring when it comes to former cult members. These people have been through experiences that we might never have had. The last thing such individuals need is somebody pontificating about what a terrible mistake they made.

Though I wasn't in one of those Jim Jones-style cults, I know what it's like to be misled and not know it. Being young in the faith, and having nobody to disciple me, I know how easily being seduced by cultic missionaries is. What people need when they come out of a bad church is unconditional love and affirmation that they're not bad people because they genuinely believed lies.

It was for ex-cult members and Christians who care about the truth that I wrote How I Was Razed. I wanted to show, not tell, how deceived I was and how wondrously the heavenly father led me to the truth. My testimony of his providential guidance is available in e-book and paperback through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.

Bruce Atchison is a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of How I Was Razed, Deliverance from Jericho, and When a Man Loves a Rabbit. He lives in a small Alberta hamlet with his house rabbit, Deborah.

Twitter handle: @ve6xtc


  1. Thanks for that honest blog, Bruce. We deal best with taboo subjects when we share our own experience. It is an opportunity for others to relate to us and opens a door to ministry with them. Your book is on my 'must read' list.

  2. Bruce,

    Sharing your testimony is a big step of faith. Thanks for taking that step and bringing us to the truth of what lies can do. Satan can be very deceptive.

    Blessings in all you do,

  3. How wonderful it is, Bruce, that you now know the truth and the truth has set you free. How wonderful that you have written this story to share with others.

  4. Hi Bruce,
    I like how you pointed out that ex-cult members feel embarrassed, and how they need gentleness and kindness. I think this can apply to other situations as well, where people have been taken in financially, or in relationships where they were misled, too, or in cases where they have been deceived with new age philosophy. The new cults of today are even more deceptive and are in our churches, I feel. We do need to use so much grace and kindness. Thank you for these timely words, Bruce.
    Pam Mytroen


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