I sometimes post stories about the religious “bubble,” where you’re not allowed to have any significant contact with people outside the faith — especially those who have left the faith. In some cases, like with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, if you leave, even your parents will cease having a relationship with you.
The Exclusive Brethren, an evangelical Christian sect, are even worse. You only attend church schools, you work for church members, and spend your free time in church. You don’t watch TV or listen to radio, and even the Internet is limited to pre-approved websites.
Yesterday, on the sixth anniversary of his escape, Hoyle offered some reflections on life outside the bubble.
Leaving a group like the Brethren is an emotional nightmare. To be betrayed and abandoned by those you love causes psychological damage that can take years to reverse. You don’t trust people. Friendships are dangerous. Opening up means exposing yourself to the risk of further betrayal. It’s happened once, your subconscious warns, and it could happen again. You question people’s motives. No matter how much they love you, you’re prepared for a life without them. There has to be a Plan B.
I imagine some of you, sadly, can relate to much of this, having faced some sort of isolation as a result of realizing what you used to believe wasn’t true. Read Hoyle’s full piece here.