When you’re an “apostate” they don’t know how to handle you because they may get infected with your “evil”. I am the only person in my extended family to leave the sect I grew up in. Every cousin, aunt, uncle, sibling, parent, nephew, niece, and grandparent is still in the sect.

When I left I was shunned by all of my friends and the entire congregation. I was suicidal because I thought my family was also going to shun me and break off contact with me. But, by the grace of God, they showed mercy. There is contact (via text mostly because I live far away from them, in a different country), but it is quite strained because of all the lies they are told to believe about me – and other ‘apostates’ and ‘worldlies’. I have chosen the way of Satan. I have chosen the easy life. I am lazy and don’t want to serve the Lord. Of course, none of these three statements are true, but it is what they believe whole-heartedly.

The bizarre thing is that they know I am still a Christian and I love God with all my heart, and my whole reason for being is to show love to others and live a life that is honoring to Him. But they still couldn’t attend my recent wedding because they might have been infected by my evil. They must have cognitive dissonance, surely, when they read the scriptures about all believers being one body, Christ’s body. How can the arm say to the leg “I can’t be near you”? It’s just ridiculous. Oh, and they claim to be the one group of Christians with the truth, and the light, and the presence of God. But not attending your daughter’s wedding isn’t love, is it? Where love is absent, God is also absent.

My Dad even went as far as to tell me that God would not be present at my wedding. And I married a Godly man who shines with the love of God. Strange how my Dad thinks he can state where the Creator of the universe is and isn’t. Like he has a monopoly on the Creator. What a deep level of lies and deception!

I am so very grateful that my family doesn’t shun me, like the families of many ex-cultists do. But there is still a grieving. Grief at the loss of proper relationship. Because to them I am tarnished. I can’t be myself around them. They don’t respect my way of life. They don’t ask me much about my job, my hobbies, my volunteering, my husband, as all of these topics are somewhat taboo. Conversations are shallow and mostly about the weather or the grandchildren. It gets tiring, trying to think of safe topics. Sometimes I don’t control or filter what I say and I just speak freely. But it often isn’t worth it because it causes further alienation.

I guess I live in an alien world. Which is the real world. They live in an insular, unreal, world. Inside the sect they refer to “the world” as everyone outside their insular group of chosen ones. My Mom actually told me that I am the most selfish person that she has ever met because I didn’t obey my parents and I left the fold. She told me that she cannot celebrate me because I have caused her so much pain. I asked her what was more important to her – that I continue to go along with a system that I know is a lie and be totally depressed and fake, or for me to be free to pursue a relationship with God in whatever way He leads and be happy and alive and genuine. She couldn’t answer. This system of religion has her tied in knots.

May God set them free from the grips of the spirit of religion – which is a dark, controlling, insidious, damaging and fake Holy Spirit that tries to block relationship and intimacy with our Creator.