growing up in a cult

only what i need to know
growing up in a cult

what started as a series of blog posts where i would be talking about what i needed to know to survive my childhood is changing into an explanation and examination of growing up in a cult and how i survived. it makes sense, although it wasn’t foreseen. i have a (self-imposed) deadline, so here goes:

i mentioned in my blog post last week that one of the reasons i’m still alive and i wasn’t sold and disappeared was that i was born into a white, upper-middle class family. this is true. it is also true, i think, that another reason is that i was born into the first, or inner circle of the cult:

Hierarchy of Satanic and Luciferean groups: first, second and third circles

The First Circle of the group in which I was raised consists of group members born of the First Circle or the higher echelon of the Second Circle….

The Second Circle consists of people not necessarily born into the group, but brought in at a very early age, usually before one year of age. For example, a child of a Third Circle member or a child recruited by a babysitter or neighbor. They also receive this training, though it may not start quite as early.

The Third Circle consists of people who have come in as teenagers or adults. If these people have children under the age of two, or very intelligent children up to age four, the Children become Second Circle; children who are older remain Third Circle. They will become full-time breeders, prostitutes, or “gofers”. They are never allowed to see all the intricacies of a ritual; they are kept in the back rows. Their bodies will form the outer circle but their backs will be turned, or they will be on the outside of the building. They might be told they are important because they must signal if someone comes around

– Stella Katz, A reversed Kabbalah trainer speaks in Healing the Unimaginable, p 94-95

i say i think because i have memories of being forced to participate in satanic rituals as a child, but due, i believe, to my consistent rebellions i was excluded from participating in rituals later in life. the three reasons for my exclusion that come most quickly to my mind are that it was a way of insulating the inner circle from potential legal consequences if i did succeed in leaving the cult, that it was conceived of as a punishment, and that my consistent actions to disrupt and ruin any rituals i was present at made it a necessity.

to devoted cultists being excluded from the inner circle would have been a serious punishment – a demotion, a loss of power, status and a limiting of my opportunities in life. it also meant that i was at risk of greater violence, up to and including being murdered. for me, though, it was a good thing – i had no desire to participate in satanic rituals and i had zero interest in being a powerful cult member. similar to the broader society, power, status and money in the cult correlate with how much an individual is dehumanized and is willing and able to harm themselves, others, animals and the natural world in order to achieve “success”. i believed, correctly, that exiting the inner circle would make it easier to preserve my humanity.

i was, therefore and thereafter, a low-ranking member of the cult – second circle, i think, although i’m not certain if that is the precise terminology used in the cult i grew up in. i had a primary dissociated identity that didn’t know about the cult. this is a fact that validates my thought that i was a low-ranking member as this type of amnesia interferes with high-ranking members ability to be effective cult leaders. i also remembered being pressured to integrate my non-cult identity with my identities that were aware of the cult. it stopped, for the most part, anyways, when i was about 18.

Amnesia is a benefit during a member’s early years and for low-ranking members. In order to control and coordinate cult life and ordinary life, amnesia is detrimental. The top leaders need to be able to be conscious of both lives simultaneously to run the cult smoothly.

– Jeannie Riseman, A 1940s system of programming in Healing the Unimaginable, p. 89

cults are institutions, ritual abuse is organized abuse

hopefully, this goes some small way to explaining some of the specifics of the cult’s institutional practices. it is useful, i think, to identify cults as organizations and institutions, institutions that have rules, or what would be known as policies in another type of organization. indeed, some writing on ritual abuse and mind control talks about it as organized abuse, which it most certainly is.

because i was demoted from the inner circle i was fortunate enough to never have the cult’s policies explained to me. since i considered basically all of the different logics that the cult and cult member’s used to justify and rationalize it and their actions to be completely fucking absurd i, and i was equally impressed by the secret, special knowledge of how the cult functioned, not knowing cult policy probably kept me from being tortured at least one time: my reaction to this vital information would almost certainly resulted in charges of lese majesty followed by punishment.

instead i did my best to understand what the cult wanted from the outside. i had one good reason for this, and one order. my one good reasons that understanding the rules would help me avoid being punished, and, if possible, help me get rewards, aka how to break the rules and get away with it. my order was to learn what the cult wanted in order to teach other cult members what the rules were, insofar as i understood them. being a diligent teacher i also did my best to help them to understand how to break the rules. in retrospect i think that total non-cooperation would have been the better choice.

next blog post i’ll talk more about what the cult wanted and cult training and cult school.


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