Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Allow me to introduce you to Canadian cult survivor, Alexandra Amor, and her award winning memoir.
My name is Alexandra Amor and I am the author of Cult, A Love Story. I belonged to a quasi-Eastern New Age cult in Vancouver, Canada from 1989 to 2000. The road of recovery from cult mind control is a long and arduous one and a discovery I made early on was that it is often a very lonely journey. For that reason I wrote this book to say to other cult survivors, “You are not alone. There are others who understand how you feel.”
I also wrote this book for the families and friends of all those who are involved in a cult. It is so difficult to imagine why anyone would put themselves in a situation as abusive and soul destroying as a cult. If you have a loved one who is involved with a cult, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself a thousand times how it is possible that the intelligent, sensible person you know cannot see that they are being manipulated. In the book I chronicle my personal descent as a model of how one gradually becomes coerced into believing that a guru is telling the truth, even when it causes personal pain and loss and the erosion of one’s spirit.
I’ve chosen the title of my book very deliberately to highlight the tragic, abominable paradox of cults: it is often love that is the lever that gurus use to seduce their victims and then to keep them in line and in their sway.
Writing the Book
It took me a year and half to write Cult, A Love Story, but it took me almost a decade to be ready to write it.
I began writing a mystery novel in late 2007, but during the early stages of that book I noticed that the subject of cults kept trying to insert itself into the plot I was trying to devise. I tried to push it away but it returned, persistently. After weeks of wrestling with this I realized that I needed to write my story of being in a cult. I needed to get that story off my chest and out of my body before I would be able to focus on writing fiction.
From January to September 2008 I worked half-time and wrote the book the rest of the time. Then, in September 2008, I closed down my home-based business completely and wrote full-time until April 2009, when the book was complete. Throughout the writing process, my biggest challenge was to clearly explain how one can be persuaded to believe in and follow a manipulative guru. It is an almost unutterably complex series of mental processes that a disciple goes through and I found it very difficult to express this in a way that potential readers who have never been subjected to thought reform would understand.
I’m often asked if it was painful and/or emotionally wrenching to revisit the events and experiences of my time in the cult. For the most part it was not; I had done a tremendous amount of personal healing work (including therapy and thousands of hours of journaling) before I began writing, so more often I felt challenged by the task of communicating in a clear yet hopefully interesting way. But there were moments when I found myself writing about a particular event that I hadn’t thought of for a long time, particularly if it involved the loved one I left behind in the cult, when I would have to stop typing and simply sit and allow myself to weep over my keyboard. When the pressure of that emotion eased up I would wipe my eyes and nose and keep writing. But later I might have to stop and cry again. I felt comfortable that this happened occasionally. It felt healing.
Writing this book has been a powerful and beautiful journey for me. It taught me several things I did not yet know about myself and about the impact the cult had on my life. It brought me closer to my family, because I was able to share for the first time some of the painful and debilitating experiences I’d had. It gave me a voice, something all cult members are robbed of. It taught me how to be a writer, something I’d been trying to learn for years. And it reinforced in me how passionate I am about helping others who are cult survivors.
In May 2010, I was the proud recipient of an Independently Published Book Award (IPPY) for Cult, A Love Story in the category of Autobiography/Memoir
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Fr Maciel applauds from the other side
Diocese of Delaware just settled with 142 victims for an average of $500,000.00
77 million for 146 victims