Steps Forward

Gretchen W., Omaha

I saw a need to run away from the cultish lifestyle perpetuated by the teachings of the assembly when I saw what it really was - a demonic stronghold that demonstrated in the mentality. I believe that if someone truly wants to escape such clutches, a concerted effort to make a new start is essential. This assembly mentality took our desire to live for Christ and channeled it down a path where we 'would do anything for God-give up anything for God'. As our minds were brainwashed, that anything for God became anything for 'The Work'. We were trained to not rely on feelings, common sense, or truth, only on 'the will of God' as interpreted by our leaders and authorities. This is such a perfect recipe for demonic oppression. With our minds checked out, our feelings buried, and our reasoning rendered useless by the teaching that taught us to look not for what was right or wrong, but for the mystical 'will of God', we soon find ourselves operating in neutral. The enemy delights in minds that are in neutral and hearts that are yielded to whatever - not something specific and true - but whatever the 'authority' has for that person. This living life in neutral and not being able to find truth and pursue it is a great hindrance to finding freedom in Christ and true Christian love.

To escape the bondage and oppression that this lifestyle and mindset bring, there needs to be a focused determination to get away from the false teachings and the spiritual oppression that accompanies this type of group. One thing that has been life changing for our family is memorizing scriptures or true statements about hope, faith, and love and reading them aloud, so that the word of God enters the mind through the eyes, ears, and by speaking them. Daily, I would walk and say these verses and other true statements out loud. Soon they became the strength that pulled my heart out of the darkness that had trapped my mind in the assembly mentality of hopelessness, failure, and hesitancy to take proper action. 

We have also gotten professional Biblical counseling from counselors  trained to understand cults.  They also had a good understanding of the Assembly. It has been life changing. I have a friend, who was trapped in another cult for about 10 years. She then spent the next 20 years slowly - very slowly - recovering from the terrible trauma she'd experienced. She mentioned to me that I've escaped this cult bondage faster in 1 year that she had in 20 years; and she believed that had she found a knowledgeable trained professional counselor to help her, it would have made all the difference.

I know that getting professional help and focusing our energy on leaving the old and embracing a healthy Christian lifestyle/belief system has saved our family from many more years of suffering. We found that as we could rightly identify the things that were evil in the assembly, it freed us from the false teachings and ideas that were keeping us from living a healthy Christian life. We've found that as we can admit and see the evil attitudes that we have embraced and let go of them, it's much easier to reach out and grasp true teachings and attitudes. These new attitudes and new healthy activities have brought incredible healing and joy into our lives.

We visited different churches and talked with the pastors about what we'd come out of. We wanted to find life changes for our family and we needed these changes soon.  We had some older children and we didn't want them to only know life in our home as it was in the Assembly. We wanted to fill their lives with good, right things and give them opportunities to fall in love with and learn to trust the Savior cares for them and is interested in their needs and desires. We talked with people and surrounded ourselves with families and mentors who have lived healthy Christian lives. We aggressively look for healthy alternatives. We look for opportunities for our children to experience and grow in ways they never could in the Assembly. We ran from the darkness and we are running towards the balance that our family needs.

Last year, it was as if I had wakened from a dream where I saw a monster was chasing us, except when I woke up, it wasn't a dream - the monster was real. The monster was the Assembly, the thing that I'd thought was so good and so safe.  I felt I had to run in order to escape this monster. In running from the darkness, (not really knowing where I was going) I found I ran into the arms of my heavenly Father.

It has been very painful to admit what I have believed, and face the things I did that were so wrong. Sometimes it seems it would be easier to put my head in the sand and think everything was OK and pretend again that we weren't really hurting desperately inside. I know that God hates sin, but he doesn't hate me or my family. He is more interested in working in us that which is pleasing to Him, than He is in us lamenting our sinful state and wondering if there is any hope of deliverance from the 'wretched man that I am'. I'm finding that the true God of Christianity has quite a different character than the god that I had learned about in the assembly. One book I am looking forward to reading is The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey. I now know that the true Jesus would never hurt and trap people the way the Assembly did. He is a God of truth, acceptance, grace, freedom, and love. He created us all different and He is delighted with his creation. He is able to save each of us to the uttermost!

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