Thursday, 27 March 2014
Realizing the need, some caring ex-cult members have set up groups designed to be a safe place for former members to belong to. Because most Christian churches still lack the insight and compassion to help those who were spiritually abused, various groups are taking up the slack.
The Cult FAQ site is one of many which provide excellent resources. Links on the main page take seekers of emotional and spiritual help to sites providing everything they need to know. I wish I had access to these resources when I left the aberrant house church that abused my trusting nature for more than fifteen years.
As for the types of cults which people have been trapped in, the Cult Watch site is loaded with information. This resource is good for exiting members but it also helps relatives of those caught in abusive organizations.
The Cult Help site also contains an extensive list of cult reviews and information on various "isms." A dash of humor is also added by the site owner to lighten things up. In addition to Christian cults, various types of political, psychological, and eastern cults are listed.
Some of these online groups specialize in particular cults. The Exit and Support Group Network assists as well as supports exiters of the Worldwide Church of God, or any related controlling splinter group or offshoot. This site helps those who have suffered spiritual, psychological and financial abuse as well as exploitation by these pseudo-churches.
A Google search for "ex-cult support will bring up many more links to helpful pages. Some are for particular individuals while others help with those who have left any abusive and controlling group. As with anything in life, check these organizations out before taking their advice.
What a shame that nobody mentored me when I gave my life to Christ in 1969. Had somebody done so, I most likely wouldn't have fallen for the blatant blasphemy preached at a house church. Nevertheless, I wrote my memoir of how I was deceived and how God led me out of the cultic mindset. How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.
I also have set up a group on Linked In called Ex-Christian-Cult Member Support. Anybody who has been snared in deceptive organizations and wishes to talk about their experiences is welcome to join.
Tuesday, 25 March 2014
Unfortunately for me, my mother wasn't aware of this danger and how serious it can be. In the autumn of 1973, I complained to her that I was seeing rainbows around lights with my left eye. Mom promised to call a ophthalmologist about it but she put it off for five months. By that time, I had lost most of the vision in my left eye.
Complicating maters was that my brain compensated for the lost vision by making it seem to me that I still had vision in my left eye. Otherwise, I'd have complained much more strenuously once I couldn't see with it.
I began taking eye drops in 1975. The medicine helped for a while but by 1984, my pressures went up alarmingly. Laser surgery didn't help because the holes made by ophthalmologists soon healed over.
Conventional surgery in 1986 worked for a while but I was soon back at the clinic with high eye pressures. After conventional surgery again in 1990, my pressures stayed low for a few years.
By March of 1995, they had gone up alarmingly. The new ophthalmologist felt shocked that my previous doctor had let the pressure build up while saying he couldn't see anything wrong. The new specialist pulled some strings and got me into surgery that week rather than waiting the usual three to five months.
Instead of cutting a hole and leaving it that way, the new ophthalmologist put in a plastic tube called a Bleb. It's worked remarkably well for me during the past nine years. Never have I needed another operation since.
My poor vision has always caused me grief. In Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School, I wrote about being sent five-hundred miles from home for months at a stretch. I also mentioned my poor vision in When A Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living with Bunnies. Both books are available from the Bruce Atchison's books page.
How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity shows how cruel a certain house church was to me regarding my poor vision. You can read more about how God led me out of that sick congregation at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.
Thursday, 20 March 2014
Throughout the Bible, God warns his people about false prophets and crooked teachers. Both biblical prophets and apostles warn us against the "wolves" among the flock.
This topic is especially dear to me because I was misled by a false teacher. The minister of a house church claimed to have advance knowledge of heavenly things. I eagerly attended his meetings so I could learn the so-called deeper things of God. When Christians contradicted the teachings of our lay minister, I tried to "correct" their thinking. Fortunately for the real gospel handed down from the apostles, nobody listened.
The reason I fell prey so easily to the lies I was taught was because I had a desire to learn more about Christianity. People such as myself are what cultic organizations search for. Hardened atheists and steadfast believers put up too much of a fight. Both kinds of people recognize that these aberrant groups are misled so they reject advances made by these misleaders.
On the other hand, seekers of truth, particularly those who lack discernment, want to learn all they can about God. Satan knows this and intercepts them so they can be steered down the blind alley of deception.
Apologetics, knowing what we believe and why, is crucial to all followers of Christ. Since we are called to be his witnesses, we need to know the truth regarding our faith. When people are immunized against false and enticing doctrines, they can't be fooled by counterfeits.
It's for this reason that I wrote How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. I want people to learn from my mistakes and reject the sensationalistic claims of flamboyant preachers. Studying the scriptures in context is a much better method than listening to TV preachers proclaim wild ideas about their pseudo-revelations. To learn more about how God rescued me, visit Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.
Tuesday, 18 March 2014
Contrary to what God-hating people claim, the Lord has made his presence plain through his creation. Romans 1:20-21 says, "For from the first making of the world, those things of God which the eye is unable to see, that is, his eternal power and existence, are fully made clear, he having given the knowledge of them through the things which he has made, so that men have no reason for wrongdoing: Because, having the knowledge of God, they did not give glory to God as God, and did not give praise, but their minds were full of foolish things, and their hearts, being without sense, were made dark."
But God didn't leave us without help or hope. ? Jesus said in John 3:16-19 "For God had such love for the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever has faith in him may not come to destruction but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to be judge of the world; he sent him so that the world might have salvation through him. The man who has faith in him does not come up to be judged; but he who has no faith in him has been judged even now, because he has no faith in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the test by which men are judged: the light has come into the world and men have more love for the dark than for the light, because their acts are evil."
Right from the start, humans chose to rebel against their maker rather than obey him. History shows how people choose wickedness rather than obeying the Lord. Furthermore, children are an apt example of how humanity is born depraved. After all, parents never have to teach children how to be bad whereas obedience needs to be taught.
Additionally, people suppress the truth to keep their consciences blind. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:21-22, " Because, having the knowledge of God, they did not give glory to God as God, and did not give praise, but their minds were full of foolish things, and their hearts, being without sense, were made dark. Seeming to be wise, they were in fact foolish,"
This shows that everybody knows that there's a creator but they dismiss the knowledge from their minds.
So we can see by this, and many other scripture verses, that God doesn't want people to go to hell but he does respect our choices. If he didn't, we all would be in eternal torment. C. S. Lewis said that believers say "Thy will be done," to God whereas he says to unrepentant folks "Thy will be done." In other words, people volunteer to go to hell.
I wrote about how I came to know God as a loving heavenly father in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Read more about this inspiring testimony at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.
Thursday, 13 March 2014
Because of neighbourhood children throwing rocks at me and calling me names, I often played alone. Nobody was around to hurt me and I could do whatever I liked. I often enjoyed being by myself during recess at school as well. I could let my imagination run wild without anybody saying, "That's stupid."
The first time I lived alone as a bachelor proved to be a drag. The nosy landlady kept barging into my room to tidy up or to find out what I was up to. I once caught her standing outside of my door. She had no legitimate business for being there, therefore I realized she was just spying on me. I once saw her staring through my window as well. Moving from that room was a pleasure and my new room proved to be much nicer.
Though I had to use the laundry sinks to wash up in and I had to share the fridge with my next door neighbour, I loved my new place. Nobody barged in at unexpected moments. The landlord respected my privacy as well. In fact, we became good friends. Paying my monthly rent was like visiting somebody I admired rather than just paying the landlord.
Sharing a room never worked out for me either. At the three boarding houses I lived at, I could never come and go without being seen by others. My Christian faith was mocked at one house by my room mate. He even put pornographic pictures in my New Testament and radio's battery compartment just to annoy me. During my stay at another home, the landlady's son scorned my opinions and threatened to beat me up.
What finally broke the metaphorical camel's back was when my sister Diane and her friend moved into my tiny room. I had to sleep in another room which the landlord kept for visits by his relatives. I felt even more upset when a third girl invited herself to stay in my room.
When I was allowed in my room during the day, my money kept disappearing from its hiding place. One of the girls claimed it was "community property" and they had shared some food with me so I owed them. I never signed on for that.
Never again did I share a room, apartment, suite, or house with anybody. Though Mom begged me to get a room mate so the cost of renting would be cut in half, I never again fell for that nonsense. Family members and friends have stayed at my places of residence for up to two weeks but I never again had any sort of room mate.
I mentioned my trials and tribulations while finding a private place to live at in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Read more about this wonderful testimony of God's providential grace at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.
Tuesday, 11 March 2014
While I understand the need for fiscal responsibility, I also recognize the hardship this will bring on vulnerable members of society. For example, elderly people will have to walk to their local "Community Mailboxes." This isn't much of a problem during fine weather but Canadian winters are brutal across most of the country. Folks who use walkers , canes, and other mobility aids will have great difficulty in just receiving their mail. Many seniors aren't "computer-literate" so they depend on paper mail deliveries of letters and magazines.
People who use wheelchairs and motorized scooters are in the same predicament. These mobility aids weren't meant to plow through snow and maneuver along icy sidewalks. Disabled citizens will have to either wait for an able-bodied friend to help or stay indoors until they can leave their homes safely.
Though blind people learn how to navigate streets and sidewalks, snow and ice pose dangers to them. As fog is to a sighted individual, so is snow to the blind. Ice is doubly perilous when a person can't see it. I foresee news items about disabled people being hurt because they simply ventured out to the community mailboxes.
Doubtless some folks will say that those neighbourhoods which already have community mail boxes haven't had any problems like the ones I've outlined. Though I don't have the statistics, I certainly believe that these sort of accidents will rapidly increase as door-to-door mail service is phased out.
Remember as well that it's the bloated pension liability that is the major cause of Canada Post's losses. E-mail has cut drastically into the corporation's bottom line but people still rely upon businesses and friends to ship them parcels. Additionally, the many postal strikes and postage hikes have caused businesses as well as individuals to switch to online bill payments. The union and management are both at fault for this situation.
My hope is that Canada Post doesn't shut down rural mail service. I depend on that for sending out paperbacks and promotional materials.
Speaking of paperbacks, my How I Was Razed book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers. Visit these sites to learn about the marvelous way God delivered me from aberrant doctrines. My two previous memoirs are featured at the Bruce Atchison's Book page.
Thursday, 6 March 2014
This picture is of my solar panel in my kitchen window. I've recently used this one to charge my Pebble-mini electronic print magnifier, also shown in this photo. Inspired by that success, I've used the panel to recharge my cell phone. These might sound like inconsequential experiments but they could have helpful benefits during an extended power outage.
Suppose lightning or a winter storm knocked out power for an extended period of time. If my cell phone needed recharging, I could use the solar panel. Even on a cloudy day, it provides enough current to top up the battery in both devices.
Back when Canada still had analogue television, I discovered that I could watch TV on a portable plugged into the panel. It only worked in strong sunlight but at least I could find out what was going on.
Similarly, this panel provided enough power to run my amateur radio hand-held transceiver. If the need arises, I can talk to local hams regarding restoration of mains power.
This panel also powered an air ionizer. Made for automobiles, this gadget plugged into the cigarette lighter. Until it stopped working recently, I used it to freshen the air in my kitchen.
I also own four portable radios with built-in solar panels. All I need to do is leave them in a sunlit window for a few hours and I can listen to news reports or music for hours. One radio has the weather band so I can hear directly from Environment Canada regarding upcoming severe weather. I also like just being able to listen without paying a cent for batteries. That was my major complaint when I had a radio as a child.
I wrote about my love of electronic gadgets in my three memoirs. The first two are featured at my Bruce Atchison's books page. How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
A CBC radio show called Inside From the Outside performed a wild west parody where Prime Minister Trudeau was the sheriff of a town. He swore that he would stop the marauding gang who planned to shoot up the main street. Instead of firing at them as they road through town, he just shrugged his shoulders.
As with any comedy routine, there's always a grain of truth. Canada experienced rapid inflation in March of 1973. Whereas the money Dad gave me for groceries was adequate, I suddenly found that prices skyrocketed to the point where I had to scrimp. At one point, I bought mint jelly because it was only 39 cents where as strawberry jam was 59 cents for the same-sized bottle.
When I applied for Social assistance in the autumn of 1974, it was like a windfall. I purchased the groceries I wanted rather than whatever was cheapest. I began buying clothing as well because I finally had more than enough money.
Those financial lessons I learned during my teenage years have benefited me throughout my life. The hard times I experienced during the rampage of "The Wild Inflation Bunch" have formed habits of frugality and thriftiness in me. What a shame these lessons aren't part of government spending policies. Our nations would be far better off with bargain-hunting bureaucrats in charge.
I included stories of my economizing in my three memoirs. In How I Was Razed, I focused on the right level of donations to one's church and other organizations. Read more about my latest e-book and paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.