Freedom from loneliness (Chapter 5)

Human beings are essentially tribal; built to live in close-knit communities.  Sadly, most “developed” societies have become so individualistic that we no longer know how to live alongside each other in a meaningful way.  Many people join cults and fundamentalist groups in search of friendship and community, because modern life breeds loneliness For the same reason, leaving can seem terrifying, because of the risk of losing everyone that is dear to you.  Suicide rates among ex-cult members are worryingly high, primarily due to social isolation and mental illness.

One of the most agonizing situations is to be awake to the fact that you’re in a cult or high control group, but paralyzed by the fear of becoming absolutely alone if you leave. Thankfully, with the advent of the internet, opportunities to build new friendships now abound.  I have made some of my closest friends online, most of whom I have yet to meet in person.  It’s amazing how liberating it can feel to be able to chat with someone who has been through similar hurts and can understand what you’re going through in a unique way.

However, it’s also possible to get trapped in a web of angry bitterness, by joining your voices to those who are also hurting and want revenge or “justice”.  As you participate online in forums and social networks, you’ll start to notice people who are kind and reasonable, and those who seem to have rather large chips on their shoulders. Tragically, some ex-cult members who claim to follow Jesus can turn out to be judgmental Pharisees who don’t want to hear how you’re doing or open their heart to you; they just want to prove a point and show off their “superior knowledge”.

Of course, it goes without saying that it’s better to avoid such people.   You’ll quickly find that debating with them online is like banging your head against the wall, and although you may end up with a splitting headache, they’re probably thrilled to have successfully drawn you into their argumentative web.

Whenever I discover another ex-cult member online who seems to be a warm, genuine and reasonable person, I send them a friendship request.  At the same time, protecting my privacy online is important, and when developing friendships with people I’ve never met, this is paramount.  I’ve learned to trust my instincts; if I “smell a rat”, or notice something incongruous or out of place, I take steps to avoid making myself vulnerable.  In my personal opinion, blocking, muting, unfollowing or “unfriending” people shouldn’t be seen as “rude”, but a wise move at times, when necessary.

Like any other human interaction, reaching out to others online to form supportive friendships requires give and take.  I’m always aware that if I contact people regularly to complain to them about all my problems and woes, I may end up becoming a burden or a nuisance.   It’s best to attempt to be “slow to speak and quick to listen” (James 1:19), taking an interest in how other people are doing and what they’re going through, in order to build up an honest and genuine friendship.

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On the other hand, it’s not a good idea to play the amateur psychologist, listening to people and giving advice when it’s obviously over one’s  head.  Of course, if you ever hear someone mention a desire to end their life or take other such drastic measures, you need to encourage them to get professional help immediately.

You will meet some people who are happy to talk for hours about themselves and never ask you how you are.  This is a sign that they may have a narcissistic personality, which means that they only care about themselves, and are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions or feeling empathy for others.  This will make them very unreliable and draining friends.  They will want you to solve their problems for them, listen to them at all hours of day and night, while ignoring your needs, concerns and inner pain.  Make sure you set strict boundaries with them, so that they don’t start to become a problem.

In some cities there are support groups for people coming out of cults or High Control Groups.  You may want to investigate these and see if you can find one which is a good fit for you.  If you go along and don’t feel comfortable, don’t feel bad or obliged to continue; it’s understandable that some of these groups are led by inexperienced or immature people who haven’t studied Mind Control or come to a place of peace in their lives.

If you only surround yourself with other ex-members, you may risk getting a little emotionally burnt out or obsessed with the Cult.  You’ll probably go through seasons of seeking out the company of these friends, and other periods of wanting to get away from it all.  That’s why it’s also important to cultivate meaningful relationships with people who have nothing to do with the group.

Making new friends in the “real world” may seem challenging, but it’s not impossible.  It can help to discover what your passion is, so you can find opportunities to meet with others who share the same interests or talents.  Joining an evening class, learning a new language, getting into shape or doing volunteering are just a few ways to get to know potential new friends.

However, don’t feel any pressure to share your life story with them immediately; you’ll want to wait until you feel safe to open your heart to them before letting anyone about the spiritual abuse you’ve suffered at the hands of the Cult.  Don’t allow anyone to make you feel small or ignorant for what you’ve been through; if people demand to know more details about your life than you are ready to share, get some distance from them.

In any case, it’s good to be prepared for people’s total ignorance, and try not to judge them for it.  Sadly, popular culture has the impression that cult members are “gullible” or even “stupid” for belonging to the group and therefore to blame.   This is called “victim shaming”, and is extremely damaging and unfair.  If you have the chance, you can speak out to contradict these erroneous views, quietly but firmly, to educate people on the reality of Mind Control.  If people value you as a person and are willing to listen, you will have taught them an important lesson.  Unfortunately, people often repeat hurtful things without considering who is listening or could be affected by it.  Never expect total understanding or empathy from anyone, even other ex-members, as you will be sorely disappointed.

On the other hand, you will be lucky enough to meet some rare jewels; people who are highly empathetic and warm hearted, that can relate to your struggles and want to encourage and listen to you.  These people are like sparkling diamonds, to be treasured, appreciated and never lost.

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Freedom from Regret (Chapter 4)

One of the most painful things about waking up from a spiritually abusive group is the sensation that you’ve wasted so much of your life.  All the sacrifices: maybe you weren’t allowed to follow your dreams, get an education, travel, get married or have a family.  Maybe you worked for minimum wage for years and find yourself facing a very poor retirement.  Whatever it is, we all have regrets that burden our heart.

You’ll need a safe space and people you can trust to express these feelings freely.  Suppressing your doubts, fears and regrets will only make them stronger; and putting on a brave face or a positive attitude can lead to serious mental health problems, such as “Smiling Depression“.  It can seem easier to bury these concerns and put them to one side; some people feel so weighed down by all of it that they seek refuge in mind-numbing drugs and/ or alcohol.

The truth is that there are no easy answers or quick solutions to these issues; it’s normal to experience feelings of great anger and even rage towards the Group for all the years of your life that they robbed from you.  Again, it’s good to acknowledge your anger and try to give it a productive outlet.  Many of the Psalms include prayers of desperation, anger and grief.  This shows that far from “putting on a brave face”, we can cry out to God in anguish, begging Him for peace in our inner torment.

Jesus tells us: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27). 

The key to this is found in the previous verse: “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you” (John 14:26).

If you feel overwhelmed by feelings of regret, confusion and a general lack of direction, the best thing to do is to ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit, to make sense of everything and guide you on your path.

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There are no “one size fits all” tips on how to move forward, as we are all at different stages in our search for wholeness.  Some people are a little further ahead on their journey, so they’re able to offer pearls of wisdom that we can learn from.

Some weeks ago, I asked an open question on an internet forum, about how we can move past these dreadful feelings of regret and pain.  Unfortunately, most people responded briefly, with comments such as: “Be bold, have faith, move forward!” and “Don’t become too busy dwelling in the past to build a future! While these words would be great for a fortune cookie,  they’re not particularly helpful here.  The issue is: how? 

When we receive this type of advice, the tendency is to feel guilty for the dark feelings inside, and attempt to cover them up to become more socially acceptable.  However, that will not help anybody.  If you find that the people around you lack empathy and are not willing to listen to what you’re going through, you need to seek out a better support system for yourself.  We will be reviewing some practical steps on how to do this in the next chapter.

In addition, I really recommend doing a quick search on Youtube for information about moving on after narcissistic abuse, as you’ll find that there are many parallels to be drawn with leaving a cult.  There are also some excellent videos on spiritual abuse and cults, by experts in the field.  In order to leave behind our regrets and move towards happiness, we need to understand what happened to us.  It can be a great idea to speak to a properly trained counselor or psychologist; which can be the key to helping make sense of everything.  Whatever route you take, know this: you are not alone.

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My Story – Choose Freedom, Choose Happiness (Chapter 3)

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I was born and brought up in the Church of England, which is part of the Anglican/Episcopalian Communion. My father, a man of great intelligence, love and integrity,  was an Anglican priest. Once I became a Christian at age 15, I would love to sit with him for hours, talking about all the different questions I had about my faith and life in general. He allowed me to develop my own views, whilst providing support and loving guidance.  Very tragically, he died when I was just 17 years old.

At that time, I had a strong but very immature faith.  I was young, idealistic and very intolerant of the flaws I saw in my church, so I started to seek fellowship elsewhere.  I ventured into Evangelical and even Roman Catholic groups, before deciding to explore the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  My path may seem unusual to many, but I was young and very impressionable; easy prey to those who sought to influence and control me.

Eventually, after associating with the Watchtower Organization for just over 3 years, I began to see the terrible mistake I had made.  I felt deeply ashamed for “allowing myself” to be indoctrinated by them, because I didn’t understand how Mind Control had been used against me.  I see now that when they discover a  young, impressionable and idealistic mind, they do everything within their power to bring you to baptism, no matter what it takes.  In my case, they “love bombed” me with seemingly genuine affection, at a time when I was extremely lonely; I was finishing my last year of University, thousands of miles away from my fiancé (now husband).

Desperate to find meaning, purpose and a sense of belonging, I was enticed into the cult.  As my heart was still grieving the loss of my father, it was no trouble for me to give up things like Christmas, Easter and birthdays, because they all reminded me of him.  Being able to skip over these celebrations meant that I could numb the grief and avoid feeling the deep pain at my core.

During my time in the cult, my personality changed notably.  I became harsh and judgmental, driving many of my closest friends away with my incessant and unrelenting attacks on their cherished beliefs and observances, such as Christmas, heaven and the Trinity.

My poor mother was at her wit’s end.  The warm and affectionate young woman she had raised had transformed into an argumentative, proud and irritating Pharisee.  I managed to ruin at least one Christmas with my toxic criticism and constant reminders of its “pagan” origins.

First my mother lost her beloved husband, then within just a few years, her own daughter slipped through her fingers to join a cult.  She quickly realized that debating with me about the Scriptures or giving me books to read was going nowhere, as I was skilled in the art of refuting Bible verses and simply refused to listen to reason.  I would hide the books she had lovingly purchased as they felt like dangerous kryptonite in my hands.   One day I filled a whole shopping cart with my old Christian books and ornaments that I believed to be “demonic”, and threw them all away.

Beyond any shadow of a doubt, this was one of the hardest periods in the whole of my mother’s life.  She felt powerless to help or influence me and simply didn’t know what to do.  She has always been a woman of faith, and one particular day back in 2007, she knelt down to pray, in desperation.  Much later, she shared with me that on that occasion, an image came into her mind while she prayed:

“I saw a very large rubbery web-like structure that Emily was stuck onto. The cables were as thick as an arm and very sticky; covered in powerful glue and crisscrossed like a web. I  knew that I had to get her out and tried very hard to pull at her but she was firmly stuck and bounced back.  I got help to cut through the thick bonds but it was impossible, as under the rubber was an extremely strong metal cable that we couldn’t cut through with anything. I was dismayed.

 A few days later, while praying with other believers, I experienced God saying that I could not pull my daughter out or cut her free but that that His mighty love could completely melt away the bonds that were holding her.

 It was an enormous weight off my shoulders and I knew my job was to join with the Lord in loving her. I did not have to worry about researching books about Jehovah’s Witnesses or arguing Bible verses with her but just love her and not worry or be afraid as God had it all in hand.”

My mother obeyed that voice, and within just 3 years I began to open my eyes.

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‘The Awakening’

Some people are fortunate enough to have an extreme “awakening” experience, in which they suddenly become aware of the true nature of the Cult or High-Control Group they have been enslaved to.  On the other hand, it can be a much more gradual process spanning several years.  Such was my case.

The first “red flag” that I can identify was on the very day of my baptism.  I was standing in the changing rooms with the other young girls and women, getting ready to go out and take the plunge.  I remember noticing how silent everyone was, and how afraid they all looked.  There was no joy on their faces or excitement in their eyes.  Nobody even glanced at me with a smile.  It was an eerie, troublesome feeling.

Another observation that I made was regarding some of the elderly people that I had met.  I thought to myself: if this is the ‘One, True Religion’, it stands to reason that the older people, who have dedicated decades of their lives to this Organization, should be the most spiritual, holy and loving people around.  However, I found that many of them seemed to be embittered, unfriendly and prone to gossip.

Sadly, I ignored these red flags, and continued to associate with the Witnesses for an extended period.  There were other “warning signs” that should have awakened me from my indoctrinated stupor, but somehow, I couldn’t get free straightaway.  One of these was during a Congregational Book Study, back in 2007 or 2008.  We were studying a rather frightening, red book called “Revelation – its grand climax at hand!”

I found most of it to be somewhat irrelevant and even ridiculous, but one concept particularly shocked me.  I can’t remember the precise details, but it had something to do with locusts with women’s hair and stings in their tails.  The explanation of this was abhorrent to me; absolutely antithetical to a God of love, so I quietly got up and walked out.

I should never have gone back after that; why didn’t I have the sense to stay away???  The truth is that I did start attending less regularly and never returned to the Book Study, but it was a while before I could break free altogether.

There were two main reasons why my husband and I kept falling back into the arms of the Watchtower, despite becoming increasingly aware of their shortcomings.

  1. You can find yourself explaining away many things, when you’re seeking a “higher goal”. We were willing to turn a blind eye to many of the darker aspects of the Organization, because we couldn’t identify any other religion that was preaching the “Good News of the Kingdom” in the same way.  At several points on our journey, when we were sick of the Watchtower, we would venture into other churches.  We found most of them to be close-knit “social clubs”, who seemed to have no interest in seeking the God’s Kingdom.   In each place, we felt afraid to reveal our true identity as “ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses”, to avoid being judged or misunderstood.  Therefore, we were perpetually outsiders, looking in with semi-indoctrinated eyes.   This meant that it was easy to return to what was familiar and where we felt we could be useful.
  2. The instructions in Hebrews 10:25 not to “forsake meeting together” hung heavily over us for a long time. It’s incredible how these words can be used to manipulate and coerce people to go back to a Group they are deeply unhappy with.

Thankfully, I started to realize that when I was out preaching from door to door as a Jehovah’s Witness, I wasn’t actually sharing the ‘Good News’ with people.  In fact, it was an indoctrination exercise, designed to bring people into association with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.  When that dawned on me, it was much easier to walk away for good.

Another very significant, eye-opening moment was at a large Convention, in which one of the speakers mentioned “Serving Jehovah’s Organization”.  When my husband heard that, he was deeply shocked and troubled.  Jesus’ words in Luke 4:8 came to his mind powerfully, reminding him that: “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'”

We were also encouraged by Jesus’ promise that “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20).  We finally saw that we don’t need to be part of any church or organized religion at all to be a follower of Christ.

That’s not to say that we don’t long to be part of a church family where we are loved and accepted for who we are.  As John Donne wrote in his famous poem: “No man is an island”, and we are no exception.   Some ex-cult members are lucky enough to find a congregation where they feel at home and are able to enjoy meaningful fellowship with others; this is something that we have finally discovered.  Sadly, it’s not that easy for everyone.  In addition, it can be recommendable to avoid throwing yourself into another Group before processing what happened to you and giving yourself time to heal.  Otherwise, you risk perpetuating the cycle of hurt and disappointment.

In the following chapters we’ll explore some ways we can break free from destructive thinking and habits and move towards true happiness and freedom.

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Choose Freedom, Choose Happiness – Part 2

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The Question of Control:

Perhaps the most common question that people of faith regularly get asked is: “Why does God permit suffering in the world?”  Before even attempting to answer this, we should stop and listen to a person’s own experience of suffering before we engage them in an academic debate.  Then, when the opportunity arises, it’s possible to give a few words in response to this loaded and impossible question.

The most common answer usually boils down to two words: “free will”.  God didn’t want an army of perfect automatons to love Him and each other out of compulsion.  He chose not to compel us to do good. Humankind has been given the freedom to choose to do good, or evil.  As a tragic, but inevitable consequence, we are surrounded by crime, hatred and insecurity, as well as cases of extraordinary generosity and kindness.

In any case, the aim of this book is not to argue the case of God’s existence or the ins and outs of free will, but to explore how victims of Cults and High-Control Groups can break free from their fears and indoctrination and learn to choose happiness on a daily basis.

However, before doing so, it’s important to gain a clear understanding of the nature of these groups.  The basic litmus test to evaluate whether a group is acting ethically or not, is whether they allow their members free will.

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To evaluate this, take some time now to consider the group you were part of, and try to answer the following questions, (which I have shared in a previous post), with all honesty:

1) Did your studies or training in the group seem to be endless?

 

2) Did you have to give up things that you liked doing in order to be accepted into the group? (e.g. music, places you used to go, clothes, family life, celebrations, etc.)

 

3) Were you encouraged to cut off good friendships or close family ties with people from outside of the group?

 

4.) If you belonged to the group for most of your life, are there things that you would have liked to have done but you couldn’t, as they were incompatible with the rules of the group?

 

5.) Did belonging to the group involve dressing in a certain way and using a particular terminology?

 

6.) Did you notice a double moral standard in the group, where individuals pretend to be an ideal person in order to be accepted?

 

7.) Did you have to project or maintain an outward appearance of happiness within the group, although deep down you were sad or dissatisfied?

 

8) Did you have to make more and more of an effort to continue being an active member of the group or are you requested to give more and more money?

 

9) Was criticism within the group or listening to critics forbidden and punished harshly?

 

10) Could you reject any instruction or order from the group, although publicly it is phrased as a “suggestion”? 

 

11)  Could you question any teaching or doctrine of the group, although the criticism may be well founded and expressed respectfully?

 

12) Are those who reject or criticize the group or its leaders said to be rejecting God himself?

 

13) Are the leaders enormously relevant to the group members, and does their influence affect every aspect of the group members’ lives?

 

14) Are the leaders seen to be superior the rest of the members?

 

15) Do they claim to have divine authority or to have been appointed directly by God?

 

16) Do the leaders affirm that only they can communicate with God directly and receive his instructions for the group?

 

17) In the meetings of the group, are certain phrases or concepts reinforced periodically and topics repeated frequently?

 

18) Did expressions of love/brotherly affection within the group often seem fake, superficial or insincere?

 

19) Is it forbidden to date or marry someone who does not belong to the group?

 

20) As well as the communal meetings, is it obligatory to attend large conferences or other special events, and are members constantly kept very busy in activities related with the group?

 

21) Did you ever have the feeling that you were never doing enough to reach the prize or recompense that the group promotes?

 

22)  Out of loyalty to the group, were there things that you must not say or secrets that you could not reveal?

 

23) Did the members of the group claim to be the only ones who could please God?

 

24) In general, do the group members feel superior to those who don’t belong to it?

 

25) Does the group teach that they are the only ones who will be saved, and that God will destroy or punish all those who don’t belong to it?

 

If the majority of your answers to these questions are “yes” (except 10 and 11) you were definitely involved in a sect/cult.  Perhaps, as you were considering the questions, you  recognized that your church or denomination was not particularly extreme, but that it could be classified as a “High Control Group”.  In either case, the probability is that you have been left scarred and wounded, and eager to make a fresh start.

On the other hand, it’s possible that you’re following this blog because you have a friend or loved one who is trapped in a destructive cult or religion.  I sincerely hope that reading it will leave you with some pearls of wisdom that will help you to understand and empathize with them better.  However, for a more in-depth analysis of how to help people wake up from one of these groups, I would strongly recommend Steven Hassan’s book: “Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs”.

This blog is primarily directed towards those of us who have suffered at the hands of an extremist or fundamentalist religion, that sought to override our free will for years.

 

 

Struggling to write a book

As I lay in my bed this morning, feeling unwell, tired and lonely, my mind was overcome with dark thoughts.  I’ve been planning to write a book called “Choose Freedom, Choose Happiness”, but today, I felt like a fraud.  How can I even consider teaching other people to move towards these goals, when I have such a long way to go myself?

In attempting to research the book, I’ve been reading up on the subject of escaping and recovering from spiritual abuse.  A lot of the material is written by psychologists with years of experience, diplomas and PHDs.  Who would want to listen to an amateur English teacher like me??

However, some dear friends and my darling husband have been very encouraging.  Whenever I try to give up on the project, they remind me that I have a voice and something to say.

I don’t feel pressured by them, but I do find myself absolutely overwhelmed with the idea of writing, editing, attempting to publish, advertise and sell my work.  It seems like an insurmountable task.

So, I’ve decided to make it a little easier for myself.  I’m going to write my book in installments, here on this very blog.  That way, no one will care if I’m not a psychologist or haven’t got my life all sorted out; I can simply express everything I have to say, in an attempt to journey with others who are walking down the same road.

This is my introduction to the book:

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Choose Freedom, Choose Happiness

For most of us, coming out of a cult or religious “high control” group can be a frightening and traumatic ideal.  We can feel overwhelmed with questions and doubt, and it’s not uncommon to experience intense mistrust of others and fear.  We have chosen freedom over mental enslavement, but it comes at a high cost.  However, it is the only road to true happiness.

After finally leaving, it can be tempting to “hibernate”.  We attempt to turn the page, “move on” and create a new life for ourselves.  This is important, but if we’re going to achieve this, it’s necessary to become truly free from all the negative and harmful thought patterns that were instilled in us.  Otherwise, we could end up falling into despair and deep loneliness, which could lead us return to the Group or become prey to destructive behaviours such as alcoholism, other addictions, mental illness and even suicide.

It is possible to become free, in Christ, who tells us: “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36).  Why is it then that so many of us who follow Him don’t feel free?  There seem to be so many sermons and messages preached from the pulpit about how we should be feeling, that it can be very hard to admit that it’s not what we experience on a day to day basis.

Jesus also tells us: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31).  Very sadly, many church leaders and organized religions who claim to “abide in” our Saviour and to teach “the truth”  are in fact “ravenous wolves” (Matt 7:15).  Are we free to question them?  Could we have an open debate with them, in public or in private, to discuss what they do, teach and how they behave?  Surely, there must be some Groups whose leaders are open, transparent and humble enough to be willing to do this, but the majority put themselves up on a pedestal above public scrutiny.

This is the root of our lack of freedom, in my opinion.  If we’re part of a High Control Group whose leaders seek to govern every aspect of our lives, how can we be free?   And even when we manage to escape their grasp and get out, they’ve already infiltrated our minds, so they can carry on influencing our behaviour every day of our lives… Until we put a stop to it!!!

That is the aim of this book, in a nutshell.  To identify the ways and areas in which the Group poisoned our minds, so we can gradually start to think for ourselves, and free ourselves from their toxic influence.

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Partaking in the Lord’s Supper

We could call it “Communion”, “Passover” or the “Eucharist”.   There is one large group of people around the world who know it as the “Memorial”, although most of them do not drink the fruit of the vine or eat the bread that represent the sacrifice of Christ’s body and blood.

However, Jesus tells us:

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Many of us who have come out of a cult or high control group want to continue following Christ’s teachings.  We don’t “throw the baby out with the bathwater”.  We desire to remain true to Him.

That’s why a small group of us have decided to get together today to commemorate Jesus’ death on the cross; to remember his sacrifice and obey his command to “do this, in memory of me” (Luke 22:19).  We would like to invite you to join us today (Sunday 9th April 2017), via Skype, at 9pm Eastern U.S. time.  That’s 6pm California time, 8pm Central U.S. time and 10pm in Chile, where my husband and I live. If you’re unsure of the time zone, this is a helpful website to look it up.

To join us, you’ll need to download Skype onto your computer, tablet or telephone.  Then, once you’re all set up, search for the Skype name: emily.skye.walker, then send me a request.  Please do this 10 – 15 minutes before we’re due to start, so we can do a quick sound test to check your audio settings.

If you’re unable to meet today, there is another session if you’d like to attend, scheduled for Sunday 16th April at 1pm New York time (6pm UK / Portugal / Nigeria, 7pm Central Europe / South Africa).  It’s hosted by Joe Mason Emerson, from the Six Screens of the Watchtower.  If you live in the USA, you can call in on your phone, to (+1) 712 432-8710 & then give the pin number 9925#.  Remember to click *1 to mute or unmute yourself.  It’s possible to call in on this number from abroad too, or join us by video conference by clicking on this link.

In fact, this telephone / video conference takes place every other Sunday at the same time.  To find out more about this, search for “News Freedom Fellowship” on Facebook.

This evening, we’ll be singing three songs, composed by my husband.  I’m going to put the lyrics here, so those who want to can sing along:

My Faithful Saviour

(Rev 3:20,21)

Come soon to my door, Sweet Saviour.

I am here, I come to you, come to me Redeemer.

I have kept my watch, just to hear your voice.

I will open, I have prepared, a banquet in your honour.

You have given your life, to give life to us all,

now I offer you mine, as a promise of love!

In your Holy dwelling place, forever I shall rejoice!

I long for you my Jesus, may Thy Kingdom come!

Rule in me, ‘cause I’m of thee, come, sweet Saviour, come!

Lord of all creation, everlasting King,

in Thy Holy dwelling place, make me worthy to be.

You have given your life, to give life to us all,

now I offer you mine, as a promise of love!

In your Holy dwelling place,  forever I shall rejoice! 

The LORD is my Shepherd

Psalm 23

THE Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

In greenest pastures He makes me lie down,

beside the still waters He maketh me rest,

Through the right path He leadeth me for His name’s sake.

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

no evil I will fear Thou art with me.

Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me,

wherever Thou carriest me so tenderly!

My cup runneth over, Thou restorest my soul.

Thou anointest my head with the most scented oil.

You build a protection from my enemies

and there Thou preparest a table for me.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life for Thou art with me.

And when I hear His calling, when my time has come,

forever I’ll dwell in the house of The Lord.

“In Spirit and in Truth”

John 4:23

Oh Father God, Oh LORD of all, show me the way,

to break free from the lies, and liberate the ties,

through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Give me a heart, to recognize, your guiding voice,

among all those who claim, to be the only way,

and represent your name.

I will flee, Oh God, religion and control,

from the Pharisees, who love to judge and shun.

By your grace, oh Lord, teach me to be free,

in Spirit and in Truth.

Protect me, LORD, from hungry wolves, in sheep’s wool clothes

who seek to own my mind, my loyalty and time

and take that which is thine.

I will flee, Oh God, religion and control,

from the Pharisees, who love to judge and shun.

By your grace, oh Lord, teach me to be free,

in Spirit and in truth.

Renew my heart, my God, my Rock.

Time to celebrate!!

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Celebrations are an integral part of life.  They bring people together, provide a natural break from our routine and give us the opportunity to focus on what really matters in life.

Sadly, many of us do not currently experience the true joy of celebrating with others because our minds were poisoned by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.  Even when we’re free from the cult, contemplating things like Christmas trees or decorations etc. can bring forth a myriad of doubts and uncertainty and it can seem easier sometimes to attempt to avoid the whole thing completely.  Therefore, it’s highly likely that we remain lonely and isolated, still unable to celebrate with those we love.

Celebrating is very important, but if the traditional holidays fill you with dread or hesitation, there are other options!

Why not start some new celebrations with your own friends and/or family? One thing I like to do is to celebrate “FRIENDIVERSARIES”.  All you have to do is establish an approximate date on which you met a good friend, put it in the calendar, then plan something special!  It’s a wonderful way to cherish precious friendships.

If you have children, nephews or nieces, step-children or grandchildren, why don’t you celebrate a “FAMILYVERSARY”?  There may be a special, significant date for you as a family, or you can select one at random, then start creating special memories together that you will treasure for years.

Another idea is to create a GLOBAL day of celebration for ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses.  For instance, a “WAKE UP DAY” that would be a time of international festivities, celebrating our awakening from the cruel cult that dominated our lives for so long.

It could also be the perfect opportunity to reach out to friends or family members who are doubting, inactive or disfellowshipped Jehovah’s Witnesses, in order to build our relationships with them and give them a safe space to express themselves freely.

We would like to propose a symbolic date for this celebration. For example, Friday 3rd February 2017.  This will be remembered as the date on which the “Faithful and Discreet Slave” finally admitted that they are not inspired, nor infallible, and therefore was never God’s channel of communication with mankind.

On that day, ex-JWs can unite in small groups around the world, with our closest friends and family members who have supported us, to celebrate our FREEDOM!  With parties, dances, rich food and beverages and of course… CAKE!!

pinata

It seems that nowadays, Instagram is full of annoying pictures of cakes with the jw.org logo all over them – how they make our blood boil!!

So, why not beat them at their own game?  What about an international ex-JW cake contest?!!!  Personally, I’ve been wanting to have an impressive “jwfacts.com” cake made for a while, but this is just one idea!  My husband suggested a pyramid or the Watchtower logo with a plane crashing into it 🙂 🙂 🙂 The number one rule is: Let your creativity run wild!! Let us know what you think of these ideas!

We understand that the Watchtower Victims Memorial Day on July 26th is a very important and significant day to remember and commemorate all those who tragically lost their lives to this heartless cult, but we also need a day to celebrate.

We would like to collaborate with ex-JW activists around the globe to make this day a success.  It would be great if you could share this initiative with others, and.. let’s get the ball rolling!!!

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