Jesse Walters

The Church Next Door: My Cult Experience and How I Got Out While Staying Close to God

I’m a Weirdo


That’s right.  I said it and I’ll say it again.  I’m weird and proud of it.

I grew up constantly worried that I was different than everyone else, that everyone was constantly judging me.  For years I would beat myself up over it, but I changed by coming to realize one thing.  No one cares.  Okay, obviously people care about certain things but think about it.

Remember the last time you were at the party and there was that one person dancing the night away like no one was watching.  Did you think any less of them as a person when the night was over?  Of course not.  They’re still the same person as before, now with some killer dance moves.  In fact, you may want to spend even more time with them knowing they’re the life of the party.

“My theory is that everyone at one time or another has been at the fringe of society in some way: an outcast in high school, a stranger in a foreign country, the best at something, the worst at something, the one who’s different.  Being an outsider is the one thing we all have in common.” –Alice Hoffman

For years, after my cult experience, which I talk about in my book, The Church Next Door, it was hard for me to meet new people.  I worried what people would think if they knew my story.  It felt like there was an elephant in the room that I wouldn’t talk about.  That I had a whole other life no one knew about.  Publishing my book was the decision I had to make to prove to myself I didn’t care what people would think, good or bad.  This is my passion and I’m going to stand up for it.  It’s not the easy road, but it’s right one.

That can be you!  You have unique gifts that no one else has.  Embrace your differences.  Show them off.  Go after what you believe in.  Make the world a better place.  Dance like no one is watching.

Please share this with everyone you know.  The more people that know my story, the more people I can help.


  1. I’ve heard it said before too, Let your Freak Flag Fly! Nice job Jesse

  2. I was a nurse at a youth camp about 6 years ago, my first year volunteering there. One of the campers told me in confidence that his bunkmates were making fun of me and calling me weird (I have a physical deformity). “Really?” I said. “Cool!” and I explained how a person having a relationship with Christ IS different – and also that those of us who ARE a little different can reach people that others can’t. I recognized that this camper was also a little “different,” so I hope I encouraged him that being himself could be something God could use.

    Does that make sense?

    • That totally makes sense and couldn’t agree more. I like to think the things that make us different are “gifts” that God has given us. Thank you for sharing your story!

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