What Am I Doing Here

Dedication, Prelude

Watching any single episode of your favorite series isn’t really going to show your friend why you love it so much.  So you summarize, trying to help them see the story arc, in case the couple episodes they start with don’t do it justice.

Let me summarize:

Good people with good intentions hurt each other.  Often very deeply.  Sometimes systematically.  When two good sides are unequally empowered, the more empowered side often hurts the less empowered side.  Not because the more empowered are bad people.  Maybe they are better people! But power amplifies the good and the bad equally.


Also…separating the world into “good” people and “bad” people is a stupid way to look at it.  That’s the crap that gets us into trouble in the first place.

So, if you came here for a partner in vindication, I’m sorry for two reasons:

  1. I’m so sorry you were hurt!  You deserved better.  You weren’t crazy.  It was really messed up.  Your experience does not represent what the Divine wants for you.  People suck.  Your experience sucked.  But you are valuable.  If I personally hurt you, I may have already tried to reach out to you.  I am ready to apologize for the parts I can own.  I love you and the world needs you, scars and all!
  2. You might not find what you want here.  This is not a site for vengeance. There are no descriptions of pure villains here.  I am on your side now, rooting for the victory of the best “you”.

But I’m also rooting for the best version of all of us…humanity…regardless of our last names, and regardless of how deeply buried those best versions are.  This is not a place where I take sides.  It’s a place where I take ownership – ownership of my actions and my truth.

The stories here will seem mostly dark because I’m describing the dark parts of an organization.  It’s not because I’m angry.  It’s because the lighter stories are mostly off topic.

It is not the story of bad people.  I was an early partner in an authoritarian religious organization that did a lot of things I’m not comfortable with. This is the org through my eyes, and my experience…in it, through it, out of it.

No one else was responsible for my bad choices. Some of my problems are their fault.  None of my mistakes are.  The imposed consequences are a mixed bag, as they are with all authorities. The electric chair for running a stop sign?  ….eh…either side could have prevented that one.

The last eight minutes of this Mars Hill podcast episode resonates a lot with my decision to publicize my story:

My story is not my salvation. Nor my vengeance. Nor my purgatory.  It’s just another, slightly-less-interesting (but brutally honest) ex-cult member memoir for the bookshelf…hard drive shelf…?  …bookmark? I don’t know how the internet works.

Among my other reasons for writing (listed here), hopefully my story can provide validation for those in similar situations, and a warning track for those headed into such relationships. I’m more interested in discussing the phenomenon than the characters.  Many of the characters should be allowed to walk away and try to do better.

I’m going to.

What would you like to do?