The Courage to Change

Kristen - Bridgewater, Connecticut
Entered on May 8, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65

When I was fourteen, I joined a fundamentalist cult and fell in love with God. I never intended to join a cult anymore than people who board a plane expect to be hijacked. But somewhere in there, I realized I had been duped and things had to change.

Change takes courage. I believe that courage can be found in the most ordinary places. For me, it was in the wide-open eyes of an infant. His eyes demanded honesty. Here’s what happened.

My husband arrives home from work a little after five. He is happy. He gathers our three-month-old son in his arms and lifts him over his head.

“How is my little man today?” he says and covers Joshua with

kisses. I worry sometimes that he will be too rough with the baby but I know he would never hurt him. He adores that child.

“Alec,” I say. “We need to talk.”

“What is it this time? Can’t you at least wait until I take off my jacket?”

“It’s important, Alec. What I have to say may change the way you look at God and the ministry forever.”

He looks at me, examines my face. He can see I am serious. He returns the baby to his basket.

“So what is it?” He tosses his raincoat onto the couch and it slips to the floor. Neither of us rises to pick it up. My heart is pounding and my face feels red.

“The ministry isn’t what you think it is. The Doctor isn’t who you think he is, Alec. It’s all a lie, one big lie.”

“Where is this coming from? I don’t understand.”

So I explain. He stares at me, absorbs each word. When I tell him about The Doctor, he holds up his hand.

“Wait,” he says. “The Doctor had sex with you? While we were married?” The words dangle in the air. He turns and looks out our sliding glass doors towards the mountains in the distance. I worry that he will not believe me – that he will fly into one of his rages. If he hits me now, I know I deserve it.

“You’re not making this up, are you?” He sits down, puts his head between his hands. I wait silently for what is coming. Then he leans towards me. “Oh Kris, I’m so sorry,” he says and I burst out crying.

Alec writes the Doctor, confronts him. The Doctor invites him to his private quarters. He persuades Alec that he has done nothing wrong. I am just misguided. The Doctor is sorry I am hurt but he says he has only done what King Solomon did. Within a few years, Alec understands what the Doctor was talking about.

My love affair with the cult lasted fifteen years. Cults are easy to fall into, hard, if not impossible, to escape. You think it’s just a matter of walking away but it isn’t. Your heart is captive. Even to this day, twenty-five years later, I grow nostalgic for the blissful abandon I once felt in the so-called ministry. I will never allow myself to feel that way again and I suppose that’s good. For me, the innocence of my newborn gave me the courage to face my hypocrisy and fall out of love. And that’s exactly what I had to do.