The Importance of Clarity for Closure
The journey away from the message is intensely messy. It’s unavoidable, and there are many reasons for the emotional mess it makes – all of which are worth learning about.
Why is it worth learning about? Because as your mind, heart and soul wrestle to make sense of the feelings that are whipping you from the inside out, you are in the motion of having a life, and trying to move forward. You still have to function in your home, your family, your job and whatever relationships that are important in your life. Not the least of which, you’re trying to figure out spiritually what happened. And if leaving is a good thing, why does it feel so horrible?
I’ve encountered numerous people who left the Message more than 10 years ago, and even some upwards of 20+ years. In many cases, they were still mentally struggling with guilt, confusion and fear over their experience of leaving the Message. Why?
In the cases I am familiar with, I learned that they had no sense of clarity over what happened to them, about who William Branham really was, or of the emotional trauma they experienced when they left. At the time back then, there was very little concrete critical evidence concerning William Branham. They just felt something was seriously wrong, and they made the dire decision to leave (with great cost). While the act of leaving was a courageous and powerful decision, groups like the Message leave deep rooted trauma and scars. Although they may have been physically free from the Message, they still walked around with the internal wounds they had accumulated and incurred.
The Value of Clarity
In each case, the people expressed gratitude, joy and release having discovered the websites speaking about the problems with the Message. It confirmed their concerns – and for the first time, they were able to piece together things they observed and felt. The clarity they received provided a pathway to closure, and disarmed the lingering fears and unsettled questions.
Besides the issues specific to the Message and William Branham, there’s a body of information available explaining how cults work. For me, I found this the most helpful of all – because I learned that what happened to me was not just accidental and poor judgement. It became more than just a hillbilly preacher who had amazing influence – it was an understanding of human behavior. In the Message, there is a system of influence at play that is characteristic of ALL cults/abusive groups. The message uses these tactics, whether they know it or not. If you were in a Message church – without question, you were being pulled in all kinds of psychological directions, all intended to wear you down, stop you from thinking, and pressure you to “get in line”. It’s truly helpful to understand how and why it works. The goal isn’t to understanding everything; you don’t need to be an expert.
Facing the Past in the Face of Fear/Exhaustion
When someone leaves, it only makes sense that you want to run, get away and never come back. Why would you want to come back to the scene where you suffered? Why reopen old wounds? Why threaten yourself with that feeling of emotional exhaustion? Unfortunately, in some cases, people suffered some enormous abuse. Therefore, it’s absolutely understandable why someone might want to run as far as possible, and hope to never hear the name William Branham again.
Still, my advice to anyone who is on a journey away from the message is that if you didn’t take the time to understand the problems while leaving, at some point, you should to come back and learn. Especially if you are continuing to hurt in a deep, numbing way. Perhaps it will be in a time where distance has given you strength. Perhaps you need to come back in a quiet, slow way. Or maybe, you want to come around with someone you trust who understands what you’ve been through. In any case, to revisit the issues and to take time to research what abuse is, how cults work and what tactics are common between abusive organizations – it will provide you with information that gives perspective and clarity. It’s a key for healing. My guess is, if you are reading this – then you are still actively processing the past. Embrace it. 🙂
Much like a relationship gone wrong, it’s good to take time to think about how it all began and how/why it ended so that you gain the value of clarity and perspective. There are lessons needed to bring a sense of closure so that you can effectively move forward to the next phases of life. It’s the essence of therapy; coming to a place where you surrender yourself to a process of care and help, all with the goal of healing and empowering.
Is Closure Possible?
People have a variety of opinions about true closure. In my opinion, I think you simply can’t forget these things you went through. The imprint it makes is deep. There may memories or reminders that will always trigger strong emotional feelings, and put a finger on buried scars. But, I think there can be a point when you realize it no longer controls you. It no longer imposes itself on your subconscious thoughts. And if/when someone might come along and attempt to employ a cult tactic, you are immune to what used to profoundly effect you. So in that sense, there is a closure to what was – because you are here, in a new and better place.
i totally agree that closure is possible. i would put forth that it is necessary for healing and moving on to love Jesus Christ without reservation. His perfect love casts out all fear. i think there is much to be said about clearing the debris from one’s message past. thank you for your insightful article.
I’ve been away from the message church since 2005 and still sometimes the “quotes and lyrics of songs we sang” pop in and out like an acorn that falls from a tree and hit you — out of the wild blue so to speak – I try to focus on the fact that I have been blessed to know that Jesus Christ is the same and he did perform untold miracles in my day just like did 2000 years ago. Brother Branham’s healing services were the real thing. I still respect him through all the discrepancies that have been found.