WHAT I Escaped A Cult
What series of events triggered the countless minute chemical reactions that placed me on the opposite side of an equal sign? What happens to me when I die? What is paradise? What is the meaning of life? Why don’t Dragons exist? What does Divine Judgement mean and why is Immortality so important? Isn’t the point of all of this? So people remember me when I’m dead?
Instead of looking within ourselves, we’ve decided to look above at the great expanse that is both the daytime and night time sky. Whether we worship Sun gods or tells stories about the movement of the stars, we look to metaphor for comfort and regard anything within as exotic or apart of some kind of new age mysticism. There’s a fine line between Religion and Spirituality and in my experience, I’m a skeptic towards Religion and a believer in Spiritual growth. My place isn’t in the argument of what was responsible for the creation of the Universe but how I treat my fellow man, and what I can do to support future generations after I’m dead. Whether I look inward to find answers (or find more questions) or look to figures in history–be they past or present–is my business. If I choose to share that with others, I’m exposing my boundaries to scrutiny. Good people share their experiences and thoughts without stones. Bad people abuse you with their experiences and refuse to listen. They talk so fast the world gets exhausted and fail to see reason. It’s a kind of mob mentality.
I think it’s all kind of bullshit. I’m not arrogant enough to believe I hold the key to societies salvation, and I’m skeptical whenever anyone claims to have the answer to a question with no correct answer. In my life, I’ve followed 2 established Religion: Christianity and Zoroastrianism. I’ve studied a few others out of curiosity and dabbled in Wicca and Druidry; I was seeking an answer as to why I’m gay. I had no immediate concern of the need to know why (I’m not someone who is interested in the nature vs. nurture of sexuality.) I was interested in it on a spiritual level; if I was gay and found love and companionship with the same sex, what did religion think of it? That road lead me to the ultimate conclusion that it’s our actions that define us, not the labels we carry.
My favorite quote about religion versus spirituality is from the film PITCH BLACK where the character Abu ‘Imam’ al-Walid said, “Religion tears people apart, and Spirituality brings people together.” In my experience, there is a lot of truth to that statement, but what does any of this have to do with a 54 minute documentary about escaping cults? Well, there is nothing in the world that is more terrifying than having the ability to critically think stripped away from you, preying on the innocent mind, or being controlled by a glorified soap box because you happen to be in a weak spiritual moment in your life. I see Religion and Cults to be a different side of the same coin, but one has a terrible reputation and the other is a conduit for control and abuse. Which one? You can decide that.
I think those have escaped cults have shown us all one common denominator of our species: to recognize right from wrong and to identify what our own self-worth is. Many can’t escape from the clutches of cult leaders, but those that do deserve a kind of heroic recognition instead of this kind of “oh, you were with a cult? You weirdo” vibe I get from people whenever the subject comes up. No one should use power to control, no one should twist scripture to fit selfish and evil ends, and no one should ever force you to do something you do not want to do.
The monstrosities the victims in this documentary had to face on their road to enlightenment was done by demons in angel
clothing. Child abuse, child rape, and torture are wrong. If you follow a religion or spirituality that advocates these things, you are wrong. If you follow a creed that throws stones at both human rights and civil rights, you are wrong.
I don’t think any of the victims in this documentary did anything wrong. When you’re brainwashed, you can’t be held accountable for your actions… which sounds a little weird and is a sentiment that possibly lets some very real monsters off the hook. But I’m not talking about monsters, I’m talking about people like you and me. People who can’t see ourselves doing anything terrible suddenly faced with a situation where there is no other choice.
I want to hug all of the victims in this video and listen to their story and the life they lead now, because I think they’re all rock stars and I apologize for this ramble. You can watch the full documentary below! Because National Geographic is awesome!