A topic brought up on the discussion group of our Meetup for former Jehovah’s Witnesses was from a post titled “not an ex-Jehovah’s Witness anymore.” It dealt with getting past the identity of just being an Ex-Jehovah’s Witness and getting on with life itself.
There is a healthy stage of anger and frantic reading of material exposing all the lies of the religion, but it’s just a stage of recovery, not a place to reside forever. At some point in the recovery from a religious cult, we need to stop pointing fingers at what’s been done to us and ask ourselves who we are as unique individuals. We’re not just former cult members, we are growing up and being conformed into the likeness of God’s Son. It is not faith to just slam our former religion. That’s no better than Joseph Smith and Charles Taze Russell claiming all the other religions were wrong! Who am I in Christ? Why am I here? What is God calling me to do or to trust? That is what our Christian life is.
This is a great topic and regulars on the Meetup know that I often use the movie “The Truman Show” to illustrate the journey we go on in finding our way out of the controlled environment of a cult. If you have not seen this film, please do. It’s rich in symbolism for a person leaving a cult.
In the end Truman knows his entire world, including his wife and friends, were all FALSE. He’s at that point like many of us when we come to the realization that our religion was false. Notice his questions posed to the creator of his world.
Truman: Was none of it real then?
Christof: You were real Truman!
Great spiritual significance in that! Picture yourself standing before God as you ask Him about the world He put you in: where you live, the family you grew up with, the friends and family you gained along the way, the hurts, regrets, joys and blessings. Like Truman, I will ask about the reality of it, but standing before Him I will know it’s all gone like a vapor. It’s just between Him and I. As Truman grasps this, he poses another set of questions.
Truman: Who are you?
Christof: I am the creator…of a popular television show..
Truman: Then who am I?
Truman was told he was the star of the show. Likewise, God is watching us, individually. We can not use our surroundings as an excuse. He is only watching us and our reactions. Once we discover what the false world was and come to ask for truth from our Creator, the next big question we all face is “then who am I?” If we get stuck in blaming our upbringing or make our religion that of forever slamming the former one, we may be merely hiding from this very important stage of recovery and growth that leads us to ask, “then who am I?”
Yes, I’m a former Jehovah’s Witness, but that is not my identity. He created me to be me and He asks that of every TRUMAN. We are more than what the world did to us. We are what we do with the world He placed us in. In Christ, dominion is restored. By His Spirit, He changes the world as we become who we were born to be. Truman asked the right questions and instead of staying in a pity party or running back to his false world, he faced his fears and walked through a door into a world he knew nothing about. That is FAITH. And that is where TRUE FREEDOM is.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:17-18)
Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie