I’m sitting here looking at the wedding photos of some friends who are unbelievers. (Strange how easily being in a cult can destroy someone’s faith). I realized that a few years ago I would have looked at these same pictures with nothing but contempt for the people in them, because how could they have real emotions? How could they truly be happy? Their marriage was going to fall apart—it was probably collapsing already—because it was rooted in sin. Undoubtedly they were clinging to each other because they had nothing else.
It’s weird, though… looking at them now, I see real people: people who seem to want things; to feel things; to love things. They even seem to care about each other.
Last night I talked to a friend who left the Group when it was broken up in November. She’s always been extremely conservative, and this has created some significant tensions between us.
But last night she was seething. Like me, she seems to be rethinking everything she grew up believing.
“Boze, I just don’t get it,” she said. “Why couldn’t Tyler be gay? Why couldn’t he just go find a guy and be happy?”
Later that night, as we were saying our goodbyes, she said, “The folks at Southwestern—the unbelievers—they knew about him the whole time, didn’t they?”
“Emily*,” I said, “we were the only ones who couldn’t see it. Everyone knew this was coming, except us.”
“Then why didn’t they say anything?”
“They tried to. None of us would listen to them. They were all atheists and unbelievers… or Methodists.”
“What did they say? I don’t remember.”
“They said Tyler was a cult leader. They said this was going to end in tears for everyone involved. The thing is, we thought it was persecution. Why would we listen to them? We were the radical Christians. We had the Spirit of God and they didn’t.”
Emily sat there for a while in stunned silence, internalizing this new information.
“Boze, this is crazy,” she said finally. “They were more loving than we were. We thought we were the ones who had love because we knew Jesus. But all this time, they were the loving ones… and we weren’t.”