We have torn down what we thought was real, and now it's time to rebuild.

Updated: Sep 1

I called an old friend this morning whom I have not seen in close to 15 years. She and I were raised together, in a way, though in different states. Her family was part of our cult group, so we spent lots of weekends and holiday breaks with one another. We have some funny stories between us.

One of my favorites is of the time she used her art skills to draw bruises and scrapes on me, making it look as though I had been in a fight. Her younger sister—whom I adore, but did not always see eye-to-eye with growing up—and I pretended that an argument had escalated to a new level. We got their mother in on it, who announced to my mother when she arrived to pick me up:

“Well, the girls had a bit of a disagreement today…”

My mom was horrified. “Naomi has never done anything like this before!”

It was so funny. Their mom’s performance was perfect; brava, ladies.

Today, my old friend and I caught up a bit on where we are now and where we’ve been. I found out she has also stepped away from the cult, courageously asserting the truth of Christ and his condemnation of false teaching. She has walked a road I have not had to, since my parents are deceased; she has had to assert her newfound Christianity with her parents, whereas I have not. And I will soon walk a road she has not had to, since many of my siblings are now prominent figures in the group, whereas hers have all separated from it. But this is how it goes: we all have our struggles, our crosses to bear, our stands to take, our hills to be willing to die on. We would both die for the truth of the gospel.

I have not been to the hub location of our group since my dad passed away in January 2007, so I’ve been fairly out-of-the-loop on new happenings and theological discoveries among the members. Though my friend is no longer a trusted individual of those still committed and practicing our previous belief system—and therefore is no longer privy to its inner-workings—she did know things that I did not, such as who has picked up the torch in my dad’s interim.

As I listened, I wasn’t surprised at the information I heard. It all sounded crazy, but I’m used to that. I did feel a familiar twilight zone feeling, though, wondering how all of it could even be real, while having no doubt that indeed it is.

After the call, my heart caught up with my mind and the heavy weight of these broken lives made it hard to stand. The reality of the devastation and repercussions of false teaching being passed down to younger generations is a painful one. I know that my nieces and nephews are being raised to either carry the untruth to their future children or to go through the immensely difficult transition I have gone through.

My heart breaks and goes into mourning.