At 23 years of age, my outwardly perfect life was a sham. Accepting Jesus washed my sins away, but it did not erase a lifetime of dysfunction. Inwardly, I was an insecure, self-loathing mess. For now, this is all the explanation I can offer for what follows.
I awoke from a nightmare to find that I’d lost my wife and two infant children to a cult. I was given a choice; submit to the cult leader or I’d never see my family again. This, I could not do.
In the beginning, the cult appeared to be a “Christian community” populated by dozens of seemingly perfect families. Among them were bank executives and powerful business leaders. Their connections were deep and far reaching. To de-mask the monster, I needed proof.
To my surprise, my old friends David S. and Frank P. were already aware that something was wrong with this seemingly idyllic, supposedly Christian community. They knew of ex-members and when they told their stories, it was worse than I thought.
When the lid was blown off, life became a media frenzy. There were newspaper and television interviews. The whole Northwest gasped in horror, and yet at every turn the courts ruled in the cult’s favor.
Unfortunately, the divorce separated me from the support of my church. I was terrified for the safety of my children and fear ruled my every thought. My only lifeline was the merciful faces of David S., Frank P. and the handful of others that populated the seats of the courtroom behind me.
It ended with a heavy handed victory for the cult. God’s people and I were left in a devastated heap. How could God sit back and not crush them for their deeds? What would happen to my children?
Months later, there was one more court battle. However, this time it was the cult that lost. Before dropping me off at the ferry, Frank P. took me to his house where a new box of books sat under his dining room table. At home, I opened the cover of “This Present Darkness” and I knew the prophecy was fulfilled.
Still, after all I’d been through, it took a couple more years before I hit bottom. Then one night in a nightmare, I saw my little son abducted, mutilated and buried in a swamp.
I awoke crying out “Please Lord, don’t let this happen!”
Again, I heard the voice of God “And if it does, will you follow me?”
In an instant, I understood; things could always get worse. It was my fears that kept me from following God.
“Yes Lord, even if this happens, I will follow you!”
Over the next year, Pastor Joe S. helped to restore my walk with God, one step at a time. The dysfunction that ruled my life was dealt with. The favor of God rested heavily upon me. Soon I was recruited into fulltime ministry, helping others to be delivered as I had been.
Come back tomorrow, only two segments left.