@TwoCultSurvivor began as a Twitter account for a new atheist. Me. I was born into a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, an organization considered a cult by mainstream Christianity. I accept that derogatory label because I believe the group has doctrines and practices that are objectively harmful and divisive.
In my late teens, I became involved with a smaller group called “The Way International.” The Way was a different kind of cult, centered around the teachings of a serial adulterer and plagiarist named Victor Paul Wierwille, who taught a peculiar brand of charismatic Christianity that denied the divinity of Christ and the personality of the Holy Spirit. Wierwille died in 1985. Four years later, the organization splintered, and I was involved in an offshoot group for the better part of a decade.
After a while, I became affiliated with more mainstream evangelical Christian congregations. In 2012, after years of struggling with the Bible and my faith, I recognized that I was no longer a believer. I declared myself an agnostic, then an atheist (I am among those who believe the two terms are not mutually exclusive).
You can read more about my “deconversion” in this blog’s first post: Seeing the Dark.
I’ll be sharing my observations about the Jehovah’s Witnesses and The Way on a piecemeal basis. I do not offer myself as an expert on either. I will also be sharing my thoughts about religion in general.
I will say that despite the propensity of cults to do serious harm to their followers, I did not feel harmed by any of my religious associations. The worst that happened was, The Way charged more money than I think it should have for its Bible classes. I know other people in both organizations who suffered much more harm than I ever did.
As a final note, I want to take a moment to formally apologize to a number of people who experienced by anger on Twitter. I offer no excuse for my behavior. Years of indoctrination bottled up inside me and I occasionally responded in anger to some of the comments that were directed at atheists in general and at me in particular. I have made a vow to approach Twitter in a more constructive manner from here on out, and I have stuck to that vow for months now. I am apologizing for my behavior. I am not excusing anyone else’s, either toward me or on my behalf. And I am not recanting any substantive points I made. If I called you names or used vulgar language with you, I’m sorry. I was wrong to resort to such childish behavior, no matter how justified I may have felt in doing so at the time.
Thank you for reading.