No One Signs Up To Be In A Cult
They sign up for what they believe is a game changing idea that turns into a nightmare. In my opinion, ex-gay ideology is an example of a "mainstreamed" cult...
In “The Vow,” an HBO docuseries about the NXIVM Cult (non-religious sex cult), Mark Vicente says something to the effect of…
“No one signs up to be in a cult. They sign up to be a part of a good idea, an idea that could change the world for the better.”
When he said that, I couldn’t have agreed more. Anyone who has come out of a cult can recognize that statement as accurate on both an intellectual and heart level.
So, what is a cult? (emphasis mine)
In Modern English, a cult is a term, considered pejorative by some, for a social group defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs and rituals or its common interest in a particular personality, object, or goal.
Cults range from religious, to secular sex cults like NXIVM, to political one that worships a tremendous big orange-skinned bottle blond con-man in the name of being a “Proud Boys.” The parts I emphasized are my opinion of how the definition of a cult directly applies to Exodus.
Just another, you know, opinion.
Even though Exodus was operating from the same beliefs of modern conservative Christians regarding gender identity and sexuality, I still think we were a destructive cult (literally, not pejoratively). Our myopic and hyper-focus on variations of the mantra, “Change (or freedom from) homosexuality is possible,” while living in a complete worldview that ignores all of reality was cultish. We were tone-deaf/blind to the destructive activities of the networks and organization for far too long. Even the phrase, “Heterosexuality is not the goal, holiness is the goal,” (originally coined by my friend and chosen family, Alan Chambers) fits right in with the above definition of cult driven around one issue to attain a goal that no one could agree on with regard to what it looked like; that goal was “holiness.”
Every conversation, interaction, effort, circumstance, challenge, study, or criticism is spun to reinforce ex-gay ideology. Any challenge to ex-gay ideology was met with a constantly reinforced talking point or radio silence.
When you think of “cults” as compared to Exodus, the circumstances were different, and the underlying beliefs were shared with mainstream conservative Christians.
Which makes it so much more dangerous.
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I believe my former employer, my erroneous “calling,” was a cult for many reasons. The main reason is that it was a ministry with global impact and hundreds of member agencies obsessed with a stigmatized view of homosexuality to the point of developing an entire worldview based on that obsession.
I am by no means an expert sociologist. So again, this is all just my opinion.
That said, I am confident I am not far off. I am glad to have been a part of shutting that mess down ten years ago. I wish we had done it sooner.