Indoctrination is subtle, slick, and enticing. Nobody forced me to stay in unhealthy religious communities for so many years. I was a prisoner of my own insecure self, sheltered within a fabricated reality. The excitement and emotional highs produced within an environment of group zeal and never-ending religious experience manufactured euphoria not unlike an induced chemical high. Like a fish attracted to a juicy meal, I didn’t see the hook; nor did I want to see it.

 Perhaps this is why many unhealthy churches grow.Human beings are attracted to hype. Look at how the fashion industry, or the advertising industry in general, targets human fear and insecurity by promising a quick fix to our embarrassing imperfections.  

Religious indoctrination can also promise a quick fix by offering an unrealistic, “’Just give it to Jesus” follow-the-leader mentality, particularly to those, like myself, who carry emotional wounds and painful insecurities. A certain security comes with relinquishing autonomy.

I didn’t have to make decisions or think deeply because I trusted my leaders to do it for me. Seeking God for strength to acknowledge my emotional wounds and to help me work on becoming healthy took a great deal more effort, courage, and faith than simply expecting God to take the problems away.


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