Continuing from Leaving the Fold Marlene Winell’s encouraging list of some of the good one can take away from the fundamentalist or cultic experience, mingled with my own thoughts . . . . (See also her newly established Recovery from Religion website.) — earlier posts under the Winell and Fundamentalism categories linked here.
Religious groups often provide opportunities for both training and experience in:
- public speaking
- leadership (youth groups, bible study groups, other classes and public service programs)
- musical performance
- personal assertiveness (especially in cases where believers were to go witnessing door to door etc.)
I recall my old cult’s public speaking club (which was modelled after Toastmasters) would from time to time invite special guests from areas such as business, the military, public broadcasting to further our education.
And speaking about one’s beliefs in contexts where those beliefs were considered strange or sinister could not always be avoided. Some may have learned techniques of public relations to assist them with this. But all would have learned to muster the courage to unashamedly speak up about an unpopular or minority viewpoint. That’s not a bad skill and confidence to cultivate at all. I am sure many ex-cultists find themselves in the proud position to be able and prepared to speak up for those who are, for whatever reason, not always able to speak up for themselves. Constructive involvement in community and positive activist causes and campaigns may well become second nature to many ex-religionists.
Views of ex-fundamentalists will have changed, but the skills and confidence they learned as members of their religious organizations remain theirs to carry with them in their new lives.
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