Even though I mostly write about the dangers of being in a cult and the challenges that follow during the recovery process, I have to admit that I have personally benefited from looking at my cult experience objectively. In this blog post, I will reflect on the positives that I experienced in the cult, as well as how I have used those positive aspects of the cult to shaped my life today.
Benefits that I personally experienced
- As a young child, I used to be extremely shy, withdrawn and introverted. I was able to overcome my shyness and become more outgoing as a Jehovah’s Witness, since I was expected to engage in the preaching work and do demonstrations in front of an audience at the kingdom hall. Furthermore, being interviewed at conventions and being cast in a drama performance also caused me to come out of my shell and become more confident.
- As a Jehovah’s Witness, I was enrolled in the theocratic ministry school, which helped me develop public speaking and teaching skills so I could be more effective as a preacher.
- I had the priviledge of travelling and helping in the kingdom hall construction work in South Africa. I thoroughly enjoyed travelling and building in rural areas which were sorrounded by beautiful nature. Also, it was heartwarming and faith strengethening to experience the generosity and kindness of fellow JWs.
- When I moved to Thailand, I joined a Thai congregation and fellow JWs often invited me to their homes to teach me basic phrases in Thai so I could preach with them in the Thai field.
How cult experience has shaped my post cult life
- Due to all the time I spent in the preaching work, I am able to strike up a conversation with strangers to this day. This skill came in handy when I struck up a conversation with a stranger on a train and this led me to my current job here in Sweden. I have been working in the same company for 4 years and that stranger has since become a colleague and beloved friend.
- I enjoyed having deep discussions with people as a JW and that love has continued to this day. The only difference is that now, I don’t talk to people as one having superior knowledge and having the intention of someday converting them, but I talk to them with an open mind. Consequently, I’ve had the most genuine, respectful and eye opening discussions I’ve ever had in my life!
- As a JW, I thorougly enjoyed doing research for the theocratic ministry school. Looking back, I realise that I was only allowed to do research in publications which were approved by the leaders of the JW organisation. Even though the research I did back them was limited, my love for research and learning was nonetheless ignited! As a result, I am currently pursuing my honours in psychology and I hope to pursue my masters next year.
- Lastly, leading bible studies with individuals when I used to be a JW made me realise just how much I loved teaching. I currently work as a teacher. Speaking of teaching, the little bit of Thai that I learned from my Thai congretation in Thailand has come in handy in my current job. I have a Thai student who had a particularly hard time following my English instructions to stop being rambuctious. To his utter astonishement, I said a phrase in his mother tongue that stopped him dead in his tracks! I have since earned his respect and that has made my life somewhat easier as his teacher.
After speaking to numerous new friends and aqcuaintances, I realise that they too have been in contexts that have developed certain desirable skills and traits in them. Therefore, this leads me to believe that I could have easily developed similar skills or traits in other non cult like and less dangerous contexts.
Finally, my positive reflections about the cult do not in anyway mean that I would recommend anyone to join a cult, nor do they minimise the damage that comes as a result of being in a cult. The next post will be about some of disadvantages of being in a cult and how I have overcome them since my departure from the cult.