I am unloved, I am not capable of love. These are things I was told. Pastor W told me that my Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins didn’t truly love me. They may have told me they love me, but if they didn’t have God’s love inside them, then they didn’t truly love me. Only those who have Jesus’ love inside them are able to show love. But it is not truly our love, it is love from Him. This is what I was told repeatedly. I remember this feeling of revolt at first. “That’s not true” I would think, “my family does love me, I know it.” Over time, I started to believe the Pastor. I did not want to, it was subconscious. This lesson that I am in right now. I am supposed to see that I am a sinner in order to ask Jesus in to my heart. To be able to truly see the depth of my sin, I must confess every little thing that I do that is sin. They take all my confessions with a straight face and then send me back to work. I don’t know where I stand. The W Pastor also tells me that I need to have a picture of what it will be like in Hell. Dark, alone, forever. I am so afraid of this, but I know I need to be not only afraid, but I also need to see my sin. I am confused, I don’t know how to do this. I long for a hug from my Mom or Dad. I want to tell them that I love them. Last week I did tell them I loved them. They told me that was a lie. I am not capable of love because I don’t have Jesus. I feel everything slipping away. I have no friends at school. I am the outcast now. Because my will is too strong. I am not broken yet. I am stupid and can’t figure out how to see that I’m a sinner. I am arrogant, because I refuse to see the truth of my sin. That I am a sinner that is incapable of love. No one wants to talk to me and I don’t blame them. I feel like everything I learned about self esteem in elementary school was a lie.
It is not unusual for assemblies to be spontaneously announced. Today, Pastor W tells everyone to stop working and bring their chairs to the center of the room. He calls me to the front. Mom and Dad are not at school this day. I am afraid and feel completely alone. I walk to the front slowly. I know this will not be good. Pastor W starts asking me questions. I was not answering them correctly, and Pastor W was getting agitated. I was feeling desperate. I am tired of feeling this way, always wrong, always alone. The next question, next wrong answer. He slaps me on the back of the head. No one is shocked. No one will stand up for me, I know this now. I break down, I cry. I will not answer any more questions. This is what he wanted. He wanted me to give up. As long as I was answering, I was showing that I still thought I knew the answers. I was meant to see that I don’t know anything. To my surprise, He tells me that I am ready to ask Jesus in my heart. I go back to the nursery with Pastor W’s wife and another woman. There must always be witnesses. We say a prayer, and I feel so relieved.
The end of the day, Mom and Dad pick us up from school. They are very happy and proud. While I am telling them what happened (minus the slapping, I assumed they knew that) Edward walks in the room. He asks me why I am looking so pleased with myself. I told him the news, yet he did not seem happy. He is supposed to be my grandpa and he doesn’t seem happy about the fact that I secured my eternity in Heaven with him. I found out a few days later that he and Chris were leaving the church. They must have been unhappy with many things. I was relieved because I didn’t want them to be my replacement grandparents. On the drive home, Mom and Dad told us that we were going out to dinner to celebrate. A rare luxury. We went to Petosa’s in Monroe. Dad ordered me a slice of the Mile High Mud Pie that I shared with everyone. It was so good. I was happy to be a part of the family, together, happy, smiling, it is a perfect memory. I felt that Dad was proud of me, and that everything would be okay.
Author’s notes: I am a spiritual person. I do believe that God heard my prayer, and was with me. Throughout my time in the cult, I felt a presence by my side. Even when I felt completely alone and dark, I felt something, sometimes very small, by my side. I had faith that I was not alone. I still feel this way today. I do not have many religious guidelines, and it is very hard for me to go to a church. However, in my meditation and yoga I find peace and connection. With the universe and the spiritual world. I also still struggle at times with accepting love and acknowledging I am capable of loving others. I am learning to embrace love. I enjoy telling people that I love them, and really meaning it! I have to tell myself that I am lovable and worthy of love. A new affirmation is I am capable of love.