Wednesday, October 25, 2017

One of Us


I strongly recommend "One of Us," a documentary (now streaming on Netflix) that follows three people who have left their ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. No longer "one of us" to their family and friends, each person has a distinct story, a unique trajectory out of their former lives. You'll recognize the same themes we've encountered in Laestadianism -- ultra-Orthodox Lutheranism, if you will.

In a magazine interview here, one of the men in the documentary explains his former faith:

"Does it withhold a broad education from their children in order to keep the children narrow-minded and uneducated? Yes. Does it vilify the outside world in order to keep its members from joining it? Definitely. Does it have a fear and/or doomsday element to it? Of course. Is there ex-communication for those who dare to leave? Oh yeah."

"For most of my life, I believed that all non-Jews hate us and want to kill us. I believed that all goyim are murderers, rapists, degenerates and dirty second-class citizens. Of course, they/we aren’t but I was taught that in order to make the secular lifestyle less appealing. I was told horrible things would happen to me in this world and the 'next world' if I leave. I was told I would end up a criminal or drug addict. Many members of my family refuse to speak to me to this day."

The Laestadian version of "One of Us" has yet to be made, but a proposal is in the works, and if you are interested in supporting it, let me know.


Saturday, October 07, 2017

Insights from a Cult Recovery Counselor


Interesting insights about recovery from high-control groups. 

"There's this dichotomy I've noticed with people who are raised in cults: they are made to feel that they are better than the rest of the world, they live in a higher sphere, they are closer to God, they are the chosen ones . . . but at the same time within the group, they feel very low, so they're higher than the rest of the world but they're knocked down with the group . . .  and you never quite know how to meet the world face to face . . . (that) you're not less than, you just are a part of the world with everybody else."