Wednesday, September 9, 2015

It Happened to Me: I Joined a Cult in College - xoJane

So yeah, as a teenager, way before I'd even enrolled in college, I was on a quest to figure out spiritual truth, confused, and in a sense, lost. I don't mean in the haven't-found-Jesus-way lost (although fundamental Christians might disagree).  No, I mean I wanted to be certain about my religious beliefs, not in some uncertain limbo where I just celebrated every holiday because it was a holiday. I really wanted to get the significance of it!

Growing up in the south, the lure of Christianity as the answer to my religious questions was inevitable. When I was a college freshman and spiritually curious as ever, I met the group of little zealots of which 'Hilary,’ a sophomore, was the queen bee. She immediately took an interest in me. And as all of my close friends from high school had gone on to different colleges, it was pure bad luck that this was the first big group of peers I called friends.

In real life, groups akin to the Hollywood-concocted Christian Jewels are hardly so black and white in their single-minded intentions. No, they're so much more sophisticated and calculating. Hilary was actually my friend for awhile, as were other members of the group, and it would be about six months of casual get-togethers and outings where religion was seldom discussed before the weirdness began.

The most harmful effect of any cult is its subtle infiltration of your consciousness and your way of interacting. Most detrimental to me was how deeply the experience made me question my own importance. 

If something good happened to me, I needed to attribute it to God. If something bad happened, it was either due to "Satan" or human sinfulness. Somewhere within that equation, I had stopped factoring in at all. Instead of feeling a holy oneness, for years I just wondered why, if I had no choice, was I even here?

It Happened to Me: I Joined a Cult in College - xoJane

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