Caught in the spider web, recruited into an internet cult
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Cult. The word sends shivers down the spine of many, and conjures images of a people living together in a commune, wandering around barefoot, drinking kool-aid or dancing in a circle all wild eyed and seemingly out of their minds. That’s the way I used to view cults, something that might happen to someone else, some poor soul who either knew or didn’t know what they were getting into when they joined, but not to me.
I often wonder how it happened exactly, why I didn’t see the writing on the wall. How could I have missed the fact that I was being duped into believing a lie?
Folding laundry one day and going about the housework, I listened to an online video entry from a Christian YouTube channel. A young girl spoke passionately about what God was teaching her and how she was battling evil spirits, all the while evangelizing and challenging fellow Christians to live out their lives for God at full throttle. I was pumped. I wanted to do the same; I didn’t want to waste what little time I have here on earth. Maybe there was more to this Christian life where the miracles of God were unmistakable and powerful, something I could point to and there wouldn’t be a soul who could say they weren’t from God.
Now before I get ahead of myself, I’d better take a step back and fill you in on a few things first. After being born again as a Christian I began regularly watching Christian TV shows reading Christian books, following some Christian websites and listening to Christian radio shows with sermons by well known Bible teachers. Many of these ministries were showing how prophecy was being fulfilled and how that was proof that Jesus was coming back very soon. I read all kinds of conspiracy theories about shady governmental practices; and drew the conclusion that all of this pointed to what we Christians refer to as the Great Tribulation signaling the end of the world and the beginning of the Reign of Christ. I couldn’t get enough and wanted desperately to be a part of all that God had promised to do.
Finally after listening to this woman talk about her supernatural prophetic dreams and visions, the battles she was experiencing with Satan and all the excitement of her daily life living for Jesus, I started wondering how I could have that too. At the time I had been praying for months for God to show me how to be “ready” for His return as Scripture tells us to be in Revelation 16:15:
"Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed."
Maybe this was His way of answering my prayers. I prayed for the Lord to lead me in His will, I wanted to live all out for God too, to live as those Christians in the days of Acts. This started my quest to find how to live more intensely in my walk with God.
I began to look at other YouTube channels by folks who were linked to this woman’s channel and found one who called himself a prophet. I started to research this man and found that others had called him a false prophet. The word was mildly disturbing to me, I knew false prophets were bad and God had warned many times throughout the bible how dangerous they were. Somehow though the warning just didn’t really seem “real” enough to me, almost like the warning your Mom used to give when she told you to stay out of the pool for an hour after eating as a kid, you knew what she said but not really why she said it, I mean how bad could it really be? I’d read so many websites and watched so many TV shows talking about prophecy and fulfillment of it and nothing bad had happened before, why should I worry about it happening now? Even still, I decided to move on and not listen to his channel anymore.
Afterward, on YouTube again, I found another message from a different prophet, it was powerful and although this one did not give any information about the prophet himself, it did give the website called “Trumpet Call of God” where one could find more what they called “letters from God”. Intrigued and curious, I went to the website and there I found hundreds of letters supposedly written directly from God through this prophet. There wasn’t a lot of information about the “prophet” himself available, and as I later found out even his real name had been changed. All of this added to the mystery and intrigue that was slowly building within me as I began to wonder if this mysterious person could actually be a prophet of God in our day. How exciting would that be, to actually speak to a real prophet of God? I yearned for it to be so.
With increasing fervor I read the letters and before long I was convinced that these were in fact letters directly from God through a prophet. I was overwhelmed with excitement. I decided to begin following some of the things the letters were telling me I needed to do, such as observing Sabbath and staying out of the mainstream Church. I’d heard others bring to light some of the same points before in the websites, books and other things I’d come across so it didn’t seem completely foreign to me. I held “church” sessions on Saturday mornings with my seven year old daughter, and did everything I could not to work from Friday at sunset until Saturday at sunset. During one of the first sessions I could have swore I smelled incense and my daughter said she smelled it too! It was a sign.
Shortly after that, I had a dream where I was constantly being pursued by evil spirits because I was “wearing the pretty dress” which I had changed into in the beginning of the dream, and was “speaking of Him”. It all worked together to solidify my belief that these letters were true. I began to look for other linkages with this group, and I found another website through an expert at a knowledge base forum. This one was a blog site from one of the followers of the “Trumpet Call of God” letters. In several of the letters I had read that some of these messages were given during some kind of an online study session; I desperately wanted to join that study, maybe this person knew more about how I could do that. I decided to contact the member from the blog site. He wrote back and gave me all the information about the online studies, it turns out he was actually the teacher of some of the sessions. There were 3 during the week, and 1 on Saturdays all held over the internet via Skype. I was ecstatic and humbled that I would even be invited; I didn’t even think twice about it, I got everything ready to join in on the next study.
That’s how easy it was; from that day on I was a member of a cult. I had no idea of course, I was completely oblivious to the deception I was being fed and the mind control tactics I was being subjected to. There was no shred of doubt in my mind that this was anything but the truth. Now, after being exited from the cult by a professional counselor during a cult intervention, I look back and wonder… if I knew then what I know now, could it happen again? Only God really knows, but I hope that by sharing this with you, it will give you some insight and maybe you can heed His warning better than I did.
I pray you do, as I found out... their poison can be deadly even when it's mixed with honey.
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Beautifully written, but more importantly a testimony of truth, and the rescuing power of God's grace.