Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Leaving a cult is like ... defecting.

(Related: 1, 2, 3, 4)

I was reading an article about Chicago White Sox pitcher Jose Contreras, a Cuban defector, and was thinking of the similarities between leaving a cult and leaving a totalitarian dictatorship like Cuba. How do people defect from totalitarian dictatorships? Up to the time that they defect, they try to give the impression of being loyal "comrades" and then make a desperate dash across a border or get on a ramshackle boat or seek asylum in an embassy. People leave cults in similar ways. Many have left UBF in such a way; packing their belongings in secret or just leaving their belongings, they have left "without saying goodbye." What does this say about cults? About UBF?

And just as it is with defectors from totalitarian regimes, the life after is not guaranteed to be easy. Many foreign defectors have suffered a great deal, finding it very hard to adjust to life outside, in a new land, in a new culture, separated from family, with few resources and few who can understand their plight. I'm sure many of them even have a twinge of regret, but the same many would not give up their newfound freedom and new hope for a better future.

To my fellow defectors, God bless you. You made a difficult choice, and it was the right one. May you never forget the sweet taste of freedom you first had, that you thanked God for.