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This is a question Join us... come join the cult

A friend of mine recently floored me with the admission that he'd spent several years in Eastern Europe with the Moonies. And he seemed so normal. Have you or your mates disappeared into a cult? Now that the brain-washing has worn off, tell us all about it.

(, Thu 26 Jan 2006, 17:46)
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The International Church of Christ
Yep, I was there. The Birmingham branch, back when I was in Uni, and I don't know whether I'm proud or ashamed of the surprisingly large impact I had on 300 people. Highlights of the story:

(Starts boring, but it gets better)

Girlfriend had left me (the bitch is back with me now, but she is a great fuck), parents were going through evil vicious divorce with both ringing me every night for "advice", am in debt, hating degree etc - very depressed. Some fine Scottish filly invites me to a pub quiz with some churchy student bods and they're all quite friendly.

Fast-forward a few months, and my non-church life is still fucked but I'm so popular and successful in this cult that I'm happy to neglect my life. I've taken on some responsibilities & stuff and, being one of the few people of the 200-or-so members to be young, intelligent, charismatic AND energetic enough to not scare everyone away, they put me in charge of "the student ministry".
The BUECU (Brum Uni Evang. Christian Union) denounce my church as a cult and harass me at every turn of course, but I find their - yes - patronising smiles of concern easy to laugh at with knowledge of some basic scripture and some of BUECUs more hypocrytical policies.

I'm still basically depressed and proceed to increasingly divorce my real life from my church persona so, inevitably, I'm fucking things up but don't seem able to stop it. While I'm still very much liked by "the leaders" and indeed something of a Golden Boy during its impressive growth (about doubling in membership over 2 years), I'm also dropping out of my course, having (really really dirty) sex with my boss AND one of the freshers in a flat upstairs whose welfare I'm supposed to be responsible for, and sleeping about 12 hours a day. How I found the time I do not know.

All this, and I'm supposed to be spiritually "more mature" than the 25 people now in my "ministry", who I'm supposed to be "discipling" (referred to as Heavy Shepherding by its detractors - basically, assigning every member a Discipler who challenges, encourages, teaches and damned-well brain-washes the Disciple).

Around this point all the skeletons start falling out of my closet - mainly the sex and depression - but it's barely noticed because there's some serious simultaneous Trouble At The Top - as in the global church leader in LA is being ousted. Massive blow to the churches world-wide, and all the church leaders are being crucified (excuse pun). Everything's looking shaky, but some churches basically manage to hold together through sticking to their basic principles with or without guidance.

Brum church is the central hub for everything north of Watford Gap, so it's a bit make-or-break when the Q&A sessions happen. All the solid members who've been there for years start to get really annoyed at what's happening.

Meanwhile I'm "dis-fellowshipped" (ex-communicated) by the interim leader, who's only a decent young guy who's panicking a bit, but it was all done improperly. I'm distraught and nobody's allowed to contact me except the leaders (though everyone ignored that part 'cos it was all turning runny). When the rest of the solid church membership finds out what's happened they all see red and it turns really nasty.

Seems I was popular enough for this badly-handled event to catalyse a complete schismatic breakdown, and a church of now 300 people totally dissolves in about 3 weeks. I was invited back but declined because I was pretty angry myself.

That was over 2 years ago. I dropped out of my course _formally_, went back home, started life again. Took me a few months to get over it, but now life is pretty good. The girl left the Other Man for me again, dropped her whole life in another city to come be with me :)

It is for that reason that I cannot apologise for length or girth. Anyway, it all fits in the box okay...

There's shit-loads I haven't gone into, but this is the first time I've told the story publicly. Thanks b3ta!

PS There's an entire website devoted to pulling this cult down. I don't think there's much left to do anymore...
(, Thu 26 Jan 2006, 22:15, closed)

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