HISTORY and TIMES of THE KINGDOM
Recovery from Destructive Religious Experiences
How do you start over? Once you have been removed from the psychological clutches of a destructive faith sytem, how does one begin to put the pieces of their lives in order. Is there an order? How do you know who to trust, who to believe, what to believe?
For me it began with the recognition that what I had been involved so intimately with for my entire life was destroying my family and my relationship with them. I came to realize that what I once perceived as a good thing was slowly destroying all that I held dear. I left in order to save my family, and ironically it was only after I left that I began to critically examine the history and roots of the Kingdom. What I found disturbed me greatly. My wife and I have had the good fortune to have had the acquaintence of good friends who also grew up in this fellowship and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit have found a way out. We have met on a semi-regular basis for six years as a support group. We have one ground rule; anyone may say anything without fear of repercussion or judgement. As our trust in each other grew, and we recognized that God's finger was NOT on the "smite" button of his PC, we each began to leave behind the bondage of that system. We've cried some, and we've laughed some, and we continue to meet to discuss what went wrong, and what went right. I consider myself a very fortunate man to have such friends, as well as a wife who understood me and knew me better than I did.
I have likened my own personnel healing process over the last eight years to sorting through a very massively tangled ball of twine, some of which has no value, some of minimal value, some very functional strands, as well as the ones worth saving; the ones to wrap my life and love within and around. Any such task takes time, and I find that at times I want to hang onto some pieces that should have been tossed a long time back. But slowly, very slowly, we emerge from that cultic haze that obscured the true love of God that exists for ALL his children. As we do, we realize that it's a much bigger world than we were first taught, a much more exciting world; a world that challenges our lives and faith, and a world not to be afraid of but to meet head on, for us and for Him. When I dropped the Kingdom baggage, a weight was lifted off me that I cannot describe. It was liberating to know and live with the knowledge that no matter what I do or where I go, that God will not reject his children. I grew up in the fear that I could, in fact, do something that would so offend and alienate the Holy Spirit, that He would reject me, and I could be forever without Him (if Saul could loose the Spirit, then so could I). It was another example of melding inappropriate Old Testament teaching with the New Covenant, not the least of which included the Sandford doctrine of loosing my salvation, still put forth by the Kingdom to this day. When we have professed Christ, the gospel proclaims we are "FREE INDEED".
The following quotation is from Captive Hearts Captive Minds, and deals with the postcult difficulties many face after leaving:
"Various factors can hasten healing and lessen postcult difficulties at this stage. Many are related to the psychoeducational process. Former cult members often spend years after leaving a cult in relative isolation, not talking about or dealing with their cult experiences. Shame and silence may increase the harm done by the group and can prevent healing.
Understanding the dynamics of cult conversion is essential to healing and making a solid transition to an integrated postcult life. The following courses of action can help:
~ Engage in a professionally led exit counseling session
Educate yourself about cults and thought reform techniques.
~ Go to a rehabilitation facility, especially one that specializes in postcult recovery issues
~ Involve family members and old and new friends, if that feels comfortable, in reviewing and evaluating your cult experience
~ See a psychotherapist or other type of counselor, such as a pastoral counselor, preferably someone who is familiar with or is willing to educate herself or himself about cults and common postcult problems.
~ Attend a support group for former cult members."
We have listed in the "Read More About It" section several good references for those emerging from abusive faith systems, among them being the resource just quoted above. The first thing to understand is YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! What you thought was your own personnel hell, thousands of others have experienced. The cult phenomonon is widespread and universal. The feelings and reactions one has as they emerge from the grasp of an abusive faith system are shared by many, many alumni. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!. This website is here for you because others have travelled this road before. This website doesn't scratch the surface displaying the insanity of just one such group, The Kingdom. Yes there are cults much worse than this one, but none more subtle in their approach to achieve lofty goals at the expense and exploitation of its membership.
Our prayer for you is that if a cult experience has affected your life you will have found this website helpful. If you had family at Shiloh between 1896 and 1921, or family within the Kingdom fellowship at any time during the 20th century, we hope that this website will have proven or prove to be useful to you. There are links below to other websites who are well versed with dealing with cults and recovery issues. Feel free to use them. Write us. We would enjoy hearing from you, and can put you in touch with others who have "been there" as well. We encourage all who are groping for a way out of a cult, or anyone who is dealing with post-cult problems in their lives that you, by all means, seek professional help. At the very least, talk with someone you can trust.
God is watching, and God does care
Reginald Parker, Editor
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Try these links for more information about emerging from cults:
http://www.webzonecom.com/ccn/cults/reentry.txt Coming out of a cult
AFF website tons of good material on cults and healing