The thing that baffles me most about cults is the level of mind control going on and how as humans we can so easily be turned into compliant “sheep”. In the past I have watched YouTube videos and TED talks about how brainwashing works in the mechanics of the brain. It is fascinating. Once you’ve “woken up” it seems so obvious that the “Kool-Aid” that your friends and family – still in the cult – are drinking is obviously hogwash, but I guess I was once in their position. Like them, I was too terrified that my whole reality would come crumbling down to look at the glaring discrepancies and obvious hypocrisy. Too afraid of rejection and judgement. So I stayed in my pitiful fog of denial and cognitive dissonance.

As human beings we need connection, relationships, closeness, community, love, family, respect, etc. and when all of that is threatened – because we are considering that “the truth” maybe isn’t true after all – the stakes are just far too high. To follow the true Jesus Christ would cost all of that, because we’ll be shunned and excluded if we leave. It took me being shunned while *still in* the sect to wake up! It took a full blown mental breakdown. I think soul-shattering, extreme pain from within (bullying, shunning, public shaming, etc) is what wakes many people up. Because extreme pain usually causes us to ask existential questions and causes us to wonder what the point of it all is. The rest of my family are still in the sect. I am the only one out. Sometimes I wish that they’d experience something soul-shattering so that they’d wake up from their fog, but then I immediately feel guilty for thinking that way. Plus, I’ve witnessed some people experience heart-wrenching life events and they don’t wake up. The spirit of religion had such a strong hold on them that even tragedy didn’t push them to seek a relationship with God (versus empty rules and rituals). Thank God that you and I woke up!! It is truly a miracle.