T Nation

Raised in a Doomsday Cult

This is a sensitive subject I don’t normally tell people, but you’re the internet so lets begin. (Stick it in her pooper)

By the time I was 4 years old, I found myself secure in a concrete fortress underground in the hills of Montana. It was 1990 and the church’s lone charismatic figurehead named “Mother” aka Elizabeth Clare Prophet claimed to channel ‘ascended masters’ predictions of an impending nuclear missile strike against America by the evil Russians.

There I was, with my family and hundreds of other church members, held up in a private $25,000,000 complex bomb shelter system.
But the nukes ever came. Within a week, we emerged from the shelter, slightly weary but with renewed faith because “our powerful prayers had stopped the missiles from ever being launched.” Thats right, WE saved the planet bitches!

If that wasn’t bad enough, the church was also stockpiling mass quantities of gasoline and automatic weapons for “self defense.”

By age 16, struggling for an identity and finally coming to terms that this cult was not the real deal, I felt intense emotions of betrayal and pain. How could they have led me on? How could my WHOLE life be wrong?

I wonder if there are other people that can relate to this story. I am almost 22 years old and have been constantly trying to understand these experiences.

It is easy for idealistic people to get caught up in new age groups, cults, and money schemes. The language used by leaders is pervasive and penetrating. Likewise, the community it provides will shun peer behavior not accepted by the leader, which self perpetuates the power structure of the cult itself.

Is there just something about human nature that leaves perfectly reasonable people susceptible to these self proclaimed spiritual gurus? Or perhaps the entire institution of religion could be seen as a roadblock to social evolution.

PS This is in my head now because I just found out the girl I’m dating was also raised in a cult. How’d I manage that?

that’s an incredible story man.
and a girl with the same background? amazing!

Man, all the cool kids were raised in a cult…

My brother married a woman who he met in a commune, but at least it isn’t fully a cult. Of course, he’s raising his three kids on welfare in a house made of straw with a dirt floor…

Anyway, I’ve noticed my husband and I have almost identical neuroses. Pretty exciting.

I think the same experiences happen in varying degrees to a lot of people. Like when someone is abused and they finally realize it’s not normal. Psychological and physical abuse to children is despicable.

You appear to be shaking the cobwebs off, which is great. Crazy weird with the girl. Stay strong and don’t look back, you’ve been there!

Ironically, that doomsday shelter is looking like not such a bad idea at the moment. North Korea refuses to give up it’s nuke program, Iran is estimated to be 1 year away from nukes (according to European intelligence), and Russia is conducting military exercises in the Caribbean. Where exactly was this place?

Does the cult still exist?
Did you have to fake your own death to get out?
What happened to your Queen?
Are your parents still involved with it all?

Fascinating.

PS Thanks for saving the world man. I for one really appreciate it.

PPS Also I’ve always wondered if these nutjob cult leaders actually believe the crap they spout. Do they really believe they communicate with God? Do they really believe they have soem divine blessing? Or do they think you are all suckers and laugh behind your backs as they order up another virgin from room service?

Why’d I never hear about this before??

We should start a cult

[quote]eic wrote:
Ironically, that doomsday shelter is looking like not such a bad idea at the moment. North Korea refuses to give up it’s nuke program, Iran is estimated to be 1 year away from nukes (according to European intelligence), and Russia is conducting military exercises in the Caribbean. Where exactly was this place? [/quote]

I wouldn’t worry too much about NK and Iran. The US airforce will bomb the sites when they see a missile on their satellite images.

Russia is nothing but a peanut for the US or EU army

[quote]Erasmus wrote:
We should start a cult[/quote]

The “Squat heavy drink milk” cult?

[quote]anthropocentric wrote:
Is there just something about human nature that leaves perfectly reasonable people susceptible to these self proclaimed spiritual gurus? Or perhaps the entire institution of religion could be seen as a roadblock to social evolution.
[/quote]

I think a lot of people are susceptible to being caught out by all sorts of scams made up by clever people. I also think that people who have had the experience first hand and been able to break free are a lot less susceptible to be fall for something like that again.

Logical and reasonable people (skeptics, if you will) are least likely to be pulled into something like this - provided that they have some intelligence behind them.

Saying “your prayers saved the world” is something that sounds fantastic but cannot be proven either way so it’s something which is nice to believe in - which is what many people would do.

Very interesting story by the way.

Don’t worry man, I was raised in a cult too. Catholicism is never easy for a young boy to stomach.

In all seriousness, I’m not sure if there’s any sort of real solution to your… story? Honestly, and I hate to sound like a psycho-babble proponent, but I don’t think it’s anything a few therapy sessions couldn’t help. You could really have a lot of crazy repressed ideals and thoughts about things, growing up in the environment you did. Just a heads-up.

Weird story…

I think there were decided advantages growing up in the good 'ole Midwest. It seems the majority of the weirdos are in the south or in extremely rural areas, i.e. Montana.

Question:

Have you ever confronted your parents and questioned their obvious bad judgement for raising you with a bunch of freaks?

I’m not sure I’d be able to associate with mine had they done something similar to me. This coming from another guy who was raised Catholic…

[quote]Erasmus wrote:

I wouldn’t worry too much about NK and Iran. The US airforce will bomb the sites when they see a missile on their satellite images.

Russia is nothing but a peanut for the US or EU army[/quote]

The smart money says that Israel flies by night to Iran the day after Obama is elected in the US. (And all of Europe and the Middle East will (secretly) exhale in relief.)

[quote]Polish Rifle wrote:

It seems the majority of the weirdos are in the south or in extremely rural areas, i.e. Montana.

[/quote]

Nothing good can come out of Montana.

Seriously though, I want to know how one gets out of a cult without some sort of intervention.

“Your Divine Self” by Elizabeth Clare Prophet.

Couple points.

  1. Media/art was heavily used to gain access to people’s imaginations. The extent of the church’s use of media is now evidence in the fact that her son is a video editor and owner of his own media company now.

  2. The Godlike figure at the top of the “I AM Presence” is draped in all white an appears to be feminine in nature – in other words it is symbolically representing Mother herself.

As fate would have it, “Mother” aged. she began to lose her mental capacity and now no longer remembers her own children due to Alzheimer’s disease.

The cult still exists, with some resilient members perpetuating yearly summer conferences in Montana as well as practicing at various locations around the world.

Fortunately for me, my father was never a part of the cult and he stayed home on Sundays, remaining silent regarding these beliefs – he wanted us to “come to our own conclusions.”

(Psychological blabble: it has taken me YEARS to overcome my fathers lack of assertiveness, but my relations with women and people in general are much better now that I have)

My own mom invested DECADES of her LIFE to the church, but she just recently began to confide in me that she is becoming disillusioned with the church itself (most likely because ‘Mother’ is no longer a spiritual figurehead). Only ‘Mother’ was able channel ascended masters in order to dictate future predictions and create ‘meaning’ within followers lives.

The conflict between my own mom and my dad increased as the stark contrast between ideologies became more severe. In part due to the church and in part due to a loss of attraction, my mom divorced my dad when I was 10.

Slowly, I began to integrate into the rest of the normal world…but still…my mom was strict about stuff such as “no rock music.”

My mom remarried to my step dad, who would happen to be an influential figure on the church’s Board of Directors.
The arrangement was that I went to my moms house 5 days a week for dinner and spent the night there one day a week. The rest of the time was at my dads house. As a result, I never really felt like I had my own place – constantly searching for my identity.

By the time I was 16 – and I hadn’t been attending church for a year even though I still had the beliefs – I read about the skepticism’s perspective of Mormonism to understand my Mormon friends. I scoffed at it and it reinforced the validity of my own church’s beliefs.

Then I searched out information about my own church (Thanks god for the internet). The things I found…I was in shock at first.

Slowly I began to disagree with the church, but still hold many of the beliefs (Reincarnation, Karma, Shakras, Power of the Spoken Word, the I AM Presence, etc.) because letting go of 16 years of my life in one moment would have devastated me.

But as a man of reason, the thoughts kept entering my head. What if everything I have been taught to believe is WRONG? I needed meaning and understanding, so I read about the fallacies of other religions while learning the intricacies of the theory of evolution.

Suddenly, my mental model of the world was SHATTERED. It has forced me to look critically at every aspect of my life and attempt to understand cause-effect relationships between my past and who I am today. As I identify reasons for certain beliefs, I can allow myself to heal and become a stronger person as a result.

It was amazing how many beliefs lingered through out the years.

Two days after my 19th birthday, I found myself about to finally lose my virginity in bed with a really cute girl in my dorm. But at the moment just prior to penetration, I instantaneously lost my erection.

This forced me to examine my understandings of relations between myself and women. My mom was so against sex, she would fast forward sex scenes, would constantly shun sex in the media, and instilled in my mind the idea of no sex before marriage. My conscious mind, despite watching the Real World and plenty of erotica, didn’t recognize those deep rooted beliefs in my subconscious.

It was three months I spent with that girl before I healed myself emotionally enough to the point where we actually started to have real sexual intercourse. (Meanwhile, she told me I was lucky how good I was with my fingers).

I see my mother occasionally now and have had quite a few conversations about the church and how it affected her relationship to my dad. She in part blames her intensity with the church for that decision and is now focusing on her self by getting masters degree for an education career instead of putting her time/energy/MONEY into the church. This is something I support her for, even though I know that she will always have those mysticism beliefs (Astrology, Chanting, Auras, etc.)

Personally, I try to look at the positives of being affiliated with the church. For one, I have a powerful ability to look at my OWN experiences from an outside perspective in order to reach unbiased, reasoned conclusions. My critical thinking and understanding skills helped me excel at the university while the social sphere of college life really helped me understand myself, and also define the person that I really want to be.

So in conclusion…

I went from being a shy kid with alternative beliefs that constantly was hiding his true beliefs in fear of being shunned, to now being a confident young man able to distinguish fact, fiction, the power of emotions, and intense tools of persuasion. This is an understanding that will be used for positive purposes since I have developed a solid personal moral foundation completely congruent for myself.

Whenever I find myself not believing in myself or limiting my ambitions in some way, I reexamine those beliefs and come to more positive conclusions.

I want to follow my ambitions, or at least have fun doing it.

Which is why I’ve had a great time getting up on stage and doing Stand Up Comedy on amateur nights.
I don’t think I’ll talk about the cult in my jokes…quite yet at least.

[quote]anthropocentric wrote:
Which is why I’ve had a great time getting up on stage and doing Stand Up Comedy on amateur nights.
I don’t think I’ll talk about the cult in my jokes…quite yet at least. [/quote]

Dude, that’s comedic gold!

‘I was raised in a doomsday cult. That’s right. We lived underground.’

DO IT!

[quote]GCF wrote:
Does the cult still exist?
Did you have to fake your own death to get out?
What happened to your Queen?
Are your parents still involved with it all?

Fascinating.

PS Thanks for saving the world man. I for one really appreciate it.

PPS Also I’ve always wondered if these nutjob cult leaders actually believe the crap they spout. Do they really believe they communicate with God? Do they really believe they have soem divine blessing? Or do they think you are all suckers and laugh behind your backs as they order up another virgin from room service?[/quote]

“I’ve always wondered if these nutjob cult leaders actually believe the crap they spout”

Either: Yes, they really do, and they’re completely insane. Or no, they are just using demagoguery to control people.

“Do they really believe they communicate with God”

They would say yes. Along with every other religious person. Now, consider that many powerful people who have access to nuclear launch codes and can (and have!) give war orders actually think they’re doing God’s will and are direct implements of that God’s will on Earth. Scary.

[quote]anthropocentric wrote:
“Your Divine Self” by Elizabeth Clare Prophet.

Couple points.

  1. Media/art was heavily used to gain access to people’s imaginations. The extent of the church’s use of media is now evidence in the fact that her son is a video editor and owner of his own media company now.

  2. The Godlike figure at the top of the “I AM Presence” is draped in all white an appears to be feminine in nature – in other words it is symbolically representing Mother herself.

As fate would have it, “Mother” aged. she began to lose her mental capacity and now no longer remembers her own children due to Alzheimer’s disease.

The cult still exists, with some resilient members perpetuating yearly summer conferences in Montana as well as practicing at various locations around the world.

Fortunately for me, my father was never a part of the cult and he stayed home on Sundays, remaining silent regarding these beliefs – he wanted us to “come to our own conclusions.”

(Psychological blabble: it has taken me YEARS to overcome my fathers lack of assertiveness, but my relations with women and people in general are much better now that I have)

My own mom invested DECADES of her LIFE to the church, but she just recently began to confide in me that she is becoming disillusioned with the church itself (most likely because ‘Mother’ is no longer a spiritual figurehead). Only ‘Mother’ was able channel ascended masters in order to dictate future predictions and create ‘meaning’ within followers lives.

The conflict between my own mom and my dad increased as the stark contrast between ideologies became more severe. In part due to the church and in part due to a loss of attraction, my mom divorced my dad when I was 10.

Slowly, I began to integrate into the rest of the normal world…but still…my mom was strict about stuff such as “no rock music.”

My mom remarried to my step dad, who would happen to be an influential figure on the church’s Board of Directors.
The arrangement was that I went to my moms house 5 days a week for dinner and spent the night there one day a week. The rest of the time was at my dads house. As a result, I never really felt like I had my own place – constantly searching for my identity.

By the time I was 16 – and I hadn’t been attending church for a year even though I still had the beliefs – I read about the skepticism’s perspective of Mormonism to understand my Mormon friends. I scoffed at it and it reinforced the validity of my own church’s beliefs.

Then I searched out information about my own church (Thanks god for the internet). The things I found…I was in shock at first.

Slowly I began to disagree with the church, but still hold many of the beliefs (Reincarnation, Karma, Shakras, Power of the Spoken Word, the I AM Presence, etc.) because letting go of 16 years of my life in one moment would have devastated me.

But as a man of reason, the thoughts kept entering my head. What if everything I have been taught to believe is WRONG? I needed meaning and understanding, so I read about the fallacies of other religions while learning the intricacies of the theory of evolution.

Suddenly, my mental model of the world was SHATTERED. It has forced me to look critically at every aspect of my life and attempt to understand cause-effect relationships between my past and who I am today. As I identify reasons for certain beliefs, I can allow myself to heal and become a stronger person as a result.

It was amazing how many beliefs lingered through out the years.

Two days after my 19th birthday, I found myself about to finally lose my virginity in bed with a really cute girl in my dorm. But at the moment just prior to penetration, I instantaneously lost my erection.

This forced me to examine my understandings of relations between myself and women. My mom was so against sex, she would fast forward sex scenes, would constantly shun sex in the media, and instilled in my mind the idea of no sex before marriage. My conscious mind, despite watching the Real World and plenty of erotica, didn’t recognize those deep rooted beliefs in my subconscious.

It was three months I spent with that girl before I healed myself emotionally enough to the point where we actually started to have real sexual intercourse. (Meanwhile, she told me I was lucky how good I was with my fingers).

I see my mother occasionally now and have had quite a few conversations about the church and how it affected her relationship to my dad. She in part blames her intensity with the church for that decision and is now focusing on her self by getting masters degree for an education career instead of putting her time/energy/MONEY into the church. This is something I support her for, even though I know that she will always have those mysticism beliefs (Astrology, Chanting, Auras, etc.)

Personally, I try to look at the positives of being affiliated with the church. For one, I have a powerful ability to look at my OWN experiences from an outside perspective in order to reach unbiased, reasoned conclusions. My critical thinking and understanding skills helped me excel at the university while the social sphere of college life really helped me understand myself, and also define the person that I really want to be.

So in conclusion…

I went from being a shy kid with alternative beliefs that constantly was hiding his true beliefs in fear of being shunned, to now being a confident young man able to distinguish fact, fiction, the power of emotions, and intense tools of persuasion. This is an understanding that will be used for positive purposes since I have developed a solid personal moral foundation completely congruent for myself.

Whenever I find myself not believing in myself or limiting my ambitions in some way, I reexamine those beliefs and come to more positive conclusions.

I want to follow my ambitions, or at least have fun doing it.

Which is why I’ve had a great time getting up on stage and doing Stand Up Comedy on amateur nights.
I don’t think I’ll talk about the cult in my jokes…quite yet at least.[/quote]

Deep stuff, man. Each of us has to figure out our own way, and it looks like you’re walking yours.