Bloganuary: Advice to my teenage self

Like everything I do, I’m off to a late start for the WordPress.com bloganuary challenge, but better late than never!

It’s a list of daily writing prompts for each day in January, and the first question is: What advice would you give to your teenage self?

That’s easy: don’t join that cult! From 1986-1996, I was part of The Way International, a biblical cult group that believed they have the only true interpretation of the Bible, as it was revealed to its founder, “Dr” Victor Paul Wierwille. They took over my life for 10 years, and I believe stunted my emotional and social growth in many ways.

There’s plenty of information out there about them, and I do believe they caused me and many others real harm. But, for what it’s worth, I also took some good things out of it:

  • I had a marriage that started when I met a fellow “believer”. While my marriage was horrible — and continued long after the cult — I did get one really great thing: an amazing daughter who I love dearly.
  • Because of the pure black and white thinking, I’ve got an understanding of where fundamentalist religions — especially those who label themselves “Christian” — are coming from. This opens doors to discussions I couldn’t otherwise have.
  • Coming out of the cult, and going through another fundamentalist church, has given me a true appreciation for the grey areas in life. I can actually be comfortable not knowing many things now.

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