In this episode of The Road to Rediscovery, host Aubrey Johnson interviews religious trauma survivor Andrew. Andrew shares his story of being raised in a Christian cult and enduring religious trauma abuse. He discusses how he has thrived in pursuing psychology to help other survivors and why he believes that you are your own hero. This conversation provides insight into the experience of being in a religious cult and the effects of religious trauma. The conversation discuss the difference between occult and religion, with a focus on the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. 

It is noted that the IFB church follows criteria for thought reform, specifically in their claim that the King James Bible is the only legitimate Bible. It is also noted that the IFB discourages critical thinking. In the conversation, the speaker describes the difference between a religion and a cult. They explain that a cult is characterized by a few key things, including a demand for purity, an ‘us vs. them’ mindset, and a focus on fear, shame, and guilt. They share that when they left the cult they were raised in and found a healthy church, it was a very different experience. 

There was no longer a focus on fear and hate, and instead they felt love and community. The speaker describes their experience of attending Bob Jones University, a school known for its fundamentalist Christian indoctrination. They explain that they left the school in order to explore progressive Christianity, something they had never been exposed to before. Despite feeling nervous, they took the chance and found it to be a healthy and triggering environment. The experience allowed them to connect with people outside of the fundamentalist group they had come from.



But a lot of what I do since leaving that cult is sharing cult information and education, bringing awareness to religious trauma and talking about what is a healthy religion or healthy environment and what's not and teaching people general psychology to help them learn to know really what they need in order to psychologically thrive and grow as a person.

You can research online the criteria for a cult like Steven Hassan's “B.I.T.E.” model Legends criteria for thought reform. And understanding that and leaving a cult, it's not easy because it's your whole world, and it's purposely set up that way.

And that's why I started my podcast, “Speaking up with Andrew Fletcher”, to give people a platform to tell their stories and to encourage other people to speak up.

This was trauma from a lot of the abusive messages I was subjected to in these religious environments. And that was a lot for me to even realize that, oh my gosh, the thing I know they've been trying to indoctrinate me with all these years, it has caused so much harm.

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