Category: By Pam


Permalink 10:19:56 pm, Categories: By Pam, 1088 words   English (US)

From Deception Into Strong Delusion

There is an experience of my life that I have written often of here and have covered it from many different angles. I have called it legalism, religion, and even spiritual abuse. This experience is a few years behind me now but I am still processing and coming to understand what happened to me there. From where I sit now, looking back, I would bring that time in my life into sharper focus by honestly saying that I was once a member of a cult.

Cult is a scary word that defies solid definition. Wikipedia offers up 26 pages in an attempt to nail down the meaning of the word cult. Usually, a group is not definitively labeled as cult until there is a mass death of some sort. However, there are many cults that never reach this extreme and most of them maintain an image that gives them somewhat of an acceptable image in the larger community. The cult that I belonged to still maintains this image and many would say that I am being much to extreme but I know what I live through and thanks to God, managed to escape.

Cults come in many forms. Some are religious and some non-religious. Some are Bible based and some are not. The cult I belonged to was and is Bible based and this is what gives it strength; enabling it to maintain a strangle-hold over those who are trapped within.

To be taken into a cult one must first be deceived and then when one gives their selves over to the group deception is given the power of strong delusion. It is a delusion of goodness, unity, and safety. A delusion of right doctrine and practice. A delusion of doing what is right when all the rest of the world is doing wrong. This delusion may take hold as a clique within a church or it may engulf the entire church and the larger denominational organization. The cult I once belonged to has its own parochial schools and colleges and they are in their strictness unsurpassed. I was deceived into believing that this was the place where I could bring up my children and protect them from the crumbling popular culture. Their methods of mind control and discipline giving the illusion of young people devoted to and living their lives for God.

My desire to raise my children for God and protect them from the world was so great that I accepted many personal restrictions in order to become a part of this group. I dressed as I was told and I only listened to what I was told was acceptable. I did not go to movies. I went to church at least, three times a week. I tithed and I gave to faith promise. I gave a great deal of my money and my time. My husband and I worked in the ministry of this church nearly as much as in our jobs. We had no time for friends or family and we lost touch with many. Our life was this small church. Guilt was the bolt on the door that kept us from leaving. Guilt so heavy that in all the years that I spent there, I never once told of how Jesus saved me. It was deemed inappropriate to even discuss what I had been before. The pastor became the Lord of my Life and also the Lord of my family and Jesus was given the second seat. All of our family problems were taken to the Pastor and when my son had problems at Bible College the Pastor and the Pastor who had been there previously were called before we were. Every part of our lives was subject to their control.

It embarrasses me now to admit that I was once the member of a cult. When I look back on it, I am amazed at how easily I was drawn in and how easily I gave myself completely to the control of others. I know though that this is a common occurrence and we are living in times that the Bible teaches are of very strong delusion. Delusion so strong that if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived. There are many like me with new cults being formed every day. In churches and outside of them. Their leaders first being deceived themselves as they deceive others leading them together into strong delusion. Jesus says that we will know these false prophets by their fruit. I know the wisdom of this now for false prophets are very good at using words that sound right, even the very words of the Bible. What they can't do is produce the fruits of the Spirit for they are of God and not of the prophet himself. I know now that I must listen to the words of who-ever's teaching I am listening to but keep my eyes open to what is being produced in the lives of the listeners as well as my own heart to know the truth of them. The Word devoid of the Spirit is reduced to only words and they will not produce what only the Spirit can produce. If there is not love where there should be love and no joy where their should be joy, then the Spirit is absent and what should be a church is only a cult. If in the place of Jesus a man and his teachings are lifted up, this too is a cult. If in the place of hearing of what God can do in my life and the life of others, I am heaped with guilt and forced to strive for what Jesus offers freely through the keeping of rules and rituals, this too is a cult. If taken out of the world and kept separate through the piling on of guilt and fear when Jesus teaches that I am to be in the world but not of it, this too is a cult. Any religious leader who would replace Jesus in my life and my Heavenly Father as the ruler of my life, is a false prophet. Any leader who would lead me away from other brothers and sisters in Christ who might not agree with him, is also a false prophet. These are the fruits of a false prophet: fear,isolation,other-control,the division of families (even between man and wife), guilt, hopelessness, darkness, and even death. Know them by their fruit, not by their form, and avoid them.

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