Although this guide has been written for former Christadelphians, the issues considered are not by any means limited to them. Leaving a religious community is well recognised as being a difficult process and this is true whether leaving is voluntary or not. With the advent of the internet the issues being considered are becoming far more well recognised and it can be noted that moving forward is a particular difficulty for ex members from certain religious groups. Many of these are frequently labelled as “cults,” although there are difficulties defining what a cult actually is. Their general characteristics are that they are “high commitment” churches, are often exclusive in their demands on members, and promote exclusive mindsets. These act as real or mental barriers to those outside the group and often result in former members being left poorly equipped to function easily outside the group. This can even be true for the children of members who decide after being brought up in the movement to not join.
A similar group which is of particular interest is the Jehovah’s Witnesses which theologically has strong similarities as well as shared history to the Christadelphians, but promotes the same kinds of mindset and beliefs towards outsiders. It is more hierarchical than the Christadelphians and is probably more prominent because it has both a more rigorous practice of shunning former members and also far more members. Another group worth noting is the former Worldwide Church of God. It again historically had many similarities of approach and doctrine. Huge numbers left because of total reversals in doctrines and the absolute turmoil that created. The difficulties however are general to a far larger group of churches than these – from former Mormons, Scientologists and even many churches with orthodox Christian beliefs.
This guide is a basic attempt to explore the difficulties former Christadelphians face, both psychological and practical, in order to help those who do so. It may be of value to those considering joining them as well as having some relevance to those who are considering leaving. It could also clarify for some children of Christadelphian why they find certain areas of life difficult too. They may not have made the connection with their ability to operate in the wider world and their upbringing. In many cases even former members have taken years to recognise certain associations and have only learnt after counselling and depression. It may also explain why certain Christadelphians struggle with issues such as depression. It should be noted this guide deals with complex issues about how we learn, how our thinking affects us, how it works and therefore will need some future updates.
The objectives of this guide are the following:
It is needed because:
It’s intention is:
This is currently a framework and any useful suggestions, help and advice are welcome.
Everyone’s experience is of value, but different both in reasons why they leave and how they come to leave. Reasons of how they leave can be:
Reasons why people this happens can relate to:
It is acknowledged that moving forward after leaving ones church or religion is difficult and the more different that group is to mainstream society or other churches, and the more high demand it is, the harder moving forward can be. However there are personal elements as well as elements which are related to this process and worth exploring:
Issues Related to the Christadelphians:
Issues Related to Ourselves:
These tend to be interconnected, but there are many practical, emotional and spiritual elements which will need resolving.
Use all the help and resources you can, these may come from many different sources such as:
You could consider: