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DH left a cult so we could get married - AMA

25 replies

LeafHunter · 01/06/2022 18:49

Ive name changed for this, but was talking about it with a friend recently and it made me think how many people are majorly interested in cults and cult behaviour.

He was in the cult from 18-44, and willingly admits he only left because of me, although other friends have left since he did and they will refer to it being a cult. DH just uses its name.

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wellhelloitsme · 01/06/2022 18:54

Ooh this is going to be fascinating - the psychology of cults is ridiculously interesting.

Did he truly believe the teachings of the cult before he met you or did he already have doubts?

Has he been excommunicated by his family / friends still there?

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LeafHunter · 01/06/2022 18:56

Yes- truly believed and I think he probably would if he’s questioned.

Weve been shunned by the leadership and a lot, but not all people. Some meet us quietly but some will see us in a regular way. He is also invited to a curry every 6months or so with anyone else who has left and a couple of other men who try and entice them back. He goes because he likes the friends and the curry.

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Shedcity · 01/06/2022 18:58

Aren’t you worried he’ll go back? It doesn’t sound like he’s totally left it or it’s ideology behind?
does it effect your day to day life with his beliefs or ways of doing things?

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HappyHappyHermit · 01/06/2022 18:59

Aw, I hope you are both very happy. Were the views of the cult particularly extreme or unusual? If you had wanted to could you have joined?

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LeafHunter · 01/06/2022 19:02

He wouldn’t go back.

He was hugely invested in the social side of things but less so in the teaching. He still believes at least some of it because no one has ever told him since as repeatedly or forcefully that there is only one thing to believe in the way the cult did.

Day to day, it’s the friends aspect that is hardest- he went from stuff happening with the same friends every day (and it was pretty compulsory!) to suddenly having to make new friends at middle age.

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Fjea · 01/06/2022 19:03

Why didn’t you run like hell when you found out he was in a cult??

Did he cut off friends/family when he joined the cult at 18? Has he got back in touch with anyone?

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ermagerdabear · 01/06/2022 19:04

Which cult was it?

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wellhelloitsme · 01/06/2022 19:04

Was he in a vulnerable place when he was 18 and they 'recruited' him for want of a better word?

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butterflyflutterby123 · 01/06/2022 19:04

Fascinating. What were the cult beliefs?

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User65412 · 01/06/2022 19:04

How did you meet?

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PumpkinCrumble · 01/06/2022 19:05

Was it Evangelical/Charismatic Christianity? Or something more “out there”?

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LeafHunter · 01/06/2022 19:05

@HappyHappyHermit I think I could have joined. There was a lot of getting approval from people, and you’re invited as a visitor before becoming a member. I wildly disagreed with a lot of the teaching (it’s very vaguely Christian) and I have a theology BA and MSc. When I raised concerned I was told I must have made up my degrees because I was wrong to not agree with their teaching. There was some standard “you just socialise with these people and not these people” type stuff and then some very dodgy and extreme theology.

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BiscuitLover3678 · 01/06/2022 19:07

How did you meet him?

was his belief waning if he was suddenly swayed by you?

how did they get him?

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BreakfastClub80 · 01/06/2022 19:08

Was it a well known, large cult or a smaller one? How did he get involved and did it require him to live within the cult? How did you meet?

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AlternativePerspective · 01/06/2022 19:12

Which cult was it?

if he still believes some of it, why is this? And aren’t you afraid he could be lured back or that your children might end up there?

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LeafHunter · 01/06/2022 19:12

when we first met I didn’t realise how extreme the views were. It seemed like a really great group of friends who did everything together and had a strong community feel - A bit like friends tv show.

We met through some of my friends who had been at uni with his friends. We lived in different cities and would occasionally all meet up as a big group.

He joined when he started uni. It definitely wasn’t as extreme in its views then and was a more “out there charismatic church”. After 2-3yrs someone else took over leadership and it became more extreme and cult-like. I think it happened over time so people didn’t realise as they aren’t encouraged to share what it’s like.

We had been on a couple of dates when he mentioned he’d had to ask permission from the leadership to date me and some of the rules he was expected to follow by dating me that alarm bells went off. I explained I couldn’t marry him if he was still there but leaving took about a year.

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LeafHunter · 01/06/2022 19:15

It’s small in the UK (two communities) but huge in the Caribbean.

I don’t want to put its name because I’m concerned about it being linked back to me, people only really leave when they’re unhappy, not because of a person!

Im not worried about it impacting us/children etc although I’m curious about how it will be.

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BlackAmericanoNoSugar · 01/06/2022 19:26

Did he have some 'normal' contact with the real world? Could he work outside of the cult, and choose his own career/training etc. Did he live independently or did he have to share housing with other cult members?

Does he have a strong moral compass now that he's left the cult, or does he struggle with what is 'right' without someone telling him how to think?

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LeafHunter · 01/06/2022 19:42

Shared housing with others from the cult and almost all socialising was with them, or in a mixed group of people from both the cult and others. He worked normally but there was a big expectation around behaviour and attitude at work and a lot of people all worked for the same companies.

Strong moral compass, but I’ve seen friends who left after him really struggle with not having someone else in control.

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HappyHappyHermit · 01/06/2022 19:42

@LeafHunter That's really interesting, thank you so much for answering me.

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wellhelloitsme · 01/06/2022 19:47

Did he have to give wages to them / pay tithes?

I'm so pleased that he's escaped and found a lovely partner!

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LeafHunter · 01/06/2022 20:09

@wellhelloitsme yes - a massive 30% of income. I watched (online during Covid) some of the meetings and remember the one which was the leader announcing that was what everyone had to up their giving to. I don’t know what it was before.

This was a group of well paid, highly educated people. I once looked it up on companies house and the financial records showed both leaders at his Uk site earning £100k each.

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wellhelloitsme · 01/06/2022 20:12

God it's horrific isn't it. Especially as those giving up a huge percentage of their salary to make the rich at the top richer (theres a lot of similarity between MLMs and cults!) will be mainly people who were vulnerable at the time they were recruited into the church / cult which makes it so predatory. Awful.

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BritInUS1 · 01/06/2022 20:23

Wow I would love to speak to you both to learn more - anon of course

I do a true crime podcast and cults fascinate me

PM me if interested

I have so many questions

  • how did he get into it?
  • how did it affect his relationship with his family?
  • how difficult was it for him to leave?
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LeafHunter · 01/06/2022 20:32

Hey @BritInUS1 ill have a chat with one of our friends and get back to you. DH wouldn’t be up for it but the friend talks a lot about his reasons for leaving and about the cult with more objectivity that DH.

how did he get into it?

  • His parents were at fairly alternative churches when he grew up so he was looking for something non-traditional when he began uni. But new leaders and vision came in after a couple of years and it’s become more and more of a cult over fifteen years. Bit like how a frog won’t get in to boiling water but will stay in what was cold whilst it boils.
  • took about a year, but there was 3 months of a lot of talks with people, coming to a head when I talked to their leader who questioned my background/degree/views and disagreed with me. In the end the leader said to (now) DH that he was releasing him from the community, that it wasn’t the right place for me and if DH was choosing me then he needed to find something else that worked for us.
  • a lot of his friends who had quasi leadership roles shunned him immediately. Other people came to our wedding then said they couldn’t be around us anymore. It’s been very hard for him to have to make a lot of friends again. Some people have been great but some people blank us in the street.

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