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“Throughout the day I would take breaks in between class and sit in my car to release my emotions, either through crying, screaming at the top of my lungs in anger, or singing (sometimes all at once) until my voice would be gone.”

This is the first time I’ve publicly displayed this dramatic experience my family and I went through.  In fact, his is the first blog I’ve ever written.

Four Years.

Four years of my life twisted together with happiness, excitement, love, peace, faith, and depression, stress, anxiety, heartbreak, loneliness, dissatisfaction, the list keeps going.  I went from one the highest points in my life to the absolute lowest.

I was in a religious cult.  That’s right, a cult.  I went to church three times a week studying scripture and learning what is was like to be a “true Christian.”  I put my heart and trust in these church leaders’ hands to teach me the Gospel.  Each day I thought I was getting closer to God when truthfully I couldn’t had been further from it.

Within those years I had completely changed who I was.  I couldn’t be around anyone that wasn’t part of the church, that wasn’t a “Christian,” because of the anxiety that overcame me.  I felt like I was sinning just by being a part of the world.  I distanced myself from all family and friends.  I just wanted to stay in this religious “bubble” where the sins of the outside world couldn’t get in.  I was only days away from moving to Tennessee to start a new life leaving everyone and everything behind.  I’m blessed to have the family I do.  They said enough was enough.  They knew something was terribly wrong and extreme measures needed to be taken to get me back.

For five days my family locked me in a building with a “cult expert” they hired.  For five long days of tears and arguing something finally clicked.  I began to understand that everything I was taught is not the way God wanted me to live, it was the way the church wanted me to live.  A weight was lifted off my shoulders that I wasn’t able to bare much longer.

“I was getting a grasp on life again after getting out of the spiritual prison that I trapped myself in for the last four years.  Jesse was back.”

These quotes are from my book detailing the whole story.  It’s titled The Church Next Door: My Cult Experience and How to Get Out While Staying Close to God.  I wrote this to help people.  This is an overwhelmingly common issue in the world.  I was fortunate enough to get out when I could, but many don’t.  Many will leave their family and friends or even take the path of suicide as their way out.  Despite my family being able to find the man who led my intervention, there isn’t much help out there for this HUGE problem.  My book not only gives my experience but helps the victims or their family and friends get them out.  I’ve been lucky enough to help a couple families already.

Just from the small group of people I’ve talked about this with, a majority of them have experienced this for themselves or at least know someone who has.  Chances are you do too.  Please share this everyone you know.

From this point on I plan to publish a blog post every week including excerpts of the book, what I’ve learned about life after going through this, and whatever else is on my mind.

This book will be published in the summer of 2015 and is only the beginning of my journey.  God has called me to help with this problem and that’s what I plan to do.  This is my purpose.

This is my mission.