How to Help Friends and Family Get out of a Cult
If you lost a family member or friend to a religious cult such as Scientology, this story offers a way to help them.
People get involved with cults for many reasons:
- They may be married to someone who gets manipulated by the deception, and they go along with their spouse.
- Parents of young children bring them into the cult before they are old enough to think for themselves.
- They may find satisfaction from the way other members treat them at first.
- They may need something more out of life, and they think this is the answer.
- A trusted friend can introduce them to it.
It may become impossible to communicate with a family member because they were brainwashed to the extent that healthy communication fails. They may also be threatened and afraid to share their feelings with other family members who want to help.
There are methods to break through, however, as I was able to do with my sister. It might be possible to discover a weakness and take advantage of that vulnerability to get them to open up and share their true feelings.
Once you accomplish that, you might find a loophole that will get the person to turn around and ask for help.
Do They Really Need Help?
It's only our guess that they need help. We have to accept the fact that our loved one may no longer want to be close with the rest of the family, due to extensive brainwashing.
If there's any sign that they want help, the next step is to find out how much support they need. It may be possible that the cult threatens their life in some way, and they may be afraid to make changes.
We have to try to work with them and not pressure them. Pressure can only have a negative effect, and we might lose the little chance we have to allow them to share their feelings.
Blocked Communication With Family
Scientology considers people who try to get someone out to be a Suppressive Person. They don't allow communication with people classified as such.
At least this was true in the past, but it changed my entire family. Scientology did not let my sister communicate with the rest of us back in the 1970s because my father was trying to get her out.
The last days of my father's life were miserable. He died without having had communication with his daughter. He repeatedly tried to get through to her, but his calls fell on deaf ears. She never responded to the numerous phone messages he had left for her.
Then he died—without saying goodbye to his daughter!
I witnessed this, and it wasn't pleasant. My dad was classified as a Suppressive Person because he attempted to obstruct the progress of his daughter’s training within the cult. His attempts were met with hostility that created anxiety for him and the rest of us. He left this world with deep emotional stress over having lost his only daughter.
I, too, could never get my sister on the phone when I tried to call her. I left messages, but she never called back.
My calls were only put through to her when I said someone was dying or that someone had died. Therefore, when my father died, I got to speak with her.
She came to attend the funeral, but she was distant, and her visit didn't last long. Scientology didn't let her stay to mourn the death of her father with the rest of us. They forced her to return within a day.
A few years later, after another long period of non-communication, I called to inform her that our Aunt had a heart attack. Of course, I got her on the phone, and she came to be with us for a very brief visit.
My Aunt recovered at that time, I’m glad to say, and something good came out of the situation. I stumbled upon a method of breaking through to her. It’s a solution that you can take advantage of too.
Solution: Plant a Seed Offering Assistance
I took advantage of my sister’s visit to get in touch with her deep-felt feelings. I detected she might need help. I realized that she might be kept away from us beyond her wishes.
I could tell she was not herself. She had no mind of her own. I once knew her to have a sharp mind when we were young kids growing up decades before. She was always an intelligent person, and I saw she was losing her ability to think for herself. It was strange to witness that.
Some part of her innermost feelings and thoughts were still present. That was evident while I had a heart-to-heart talk with her.
However, I had to be careful not to alienate my sister. At the same time, I needed to plant a seed, so I told her:
"I suspect you are not happy. I'm your brother, and I want to help you. But I'm not going to lift a finger unless you tell me that you want help."
It worked. A few weeks later my sister called and said, "Will you come and get me?"
Those were such cherished words to me. I quickly responded with joy that I was getting my beloved sister back!
The Great Escape From Scientology!
I purchased a one-way plane ticket to go to get her. We rented a U-Haul, filled it with all her possessions, and we took turns driving to bring her home.
When I picked up my sister, I discovered that her kids (my nieces and nephew) were not living with her. They were living in separate quarters in a military-style unit where other members of Scientology took care of them.
I was astonished to discover that parents were not allowed to bring up their kids. This had a significant effect on their lives.
It’s one thing to finally get through to an adult and get her to admit she needed help to leave the church, but when children are trained from such as young age, it’s next to impossible. It’s all they know!
I wanted to bring home all three of her children too, but my sister showed anxiety and apprehension about that idea. So I had to give in on that plan.
One child, my younger niece, came with us, but she later returned to the church. I never really knew what caused that to happen. My sister was afraid to share all the facts with me. Her anxiety indicated that she was threatened. That's all I could deduce from it.
I regret that I didn’t forcefully influence the outcome to bring back all her kids and keep them out of the cult.
There was a reason why it was so easy to take my sister away from all that. I learned later that she agreed to leave two of her kids behind so that she would be left alone with no resistance from other members of Scientology.
How Scientology Alienates Family
Things are very different today than they were in the 1970s. Scientology seems to have lightened up. Members are allowed to communicate with family now, but the closeness of family ties is permanently damaged.
Whenever I tried to discuss the church of Scientology and its effect on our family, I was met with a defensive argument that went nowhere.
I realized the only way to keep any sort of relationship, although non-existent, was to lay low. I had to avoid saying anything about how I felt.
- I couldn’t discuss the past.
- I couldn't tell my nieces and nephew how their grandfather was emotionally devastated.
- I didn't even share what I had witnessed when I was still living at home with my parents and saw how my sister was forced to alienate the family.
I discovered that I could never ask questions or bring up the subject. I had tried. They would just argue and insist that my interpretation is wrong or that my memory is faulty.
That kept us from recapturing any kind of a relationship. It also created a further distancing and separation from the next generation of grandkids.
If I were to get too pushy, they might have to share that with other church members, who might consider me a suppressive person. If that were to happen, I’m afraid we’d lose any of the communication we still have, just as it were when my father was declared a suppressive person.
I remember the closeness I had with my two nieces and nephew long before they were involved with Scientology. If it weren’t for that, I imagine I might have had a close family connection with them and with the grandchildren.
The grandchildren are all in their own world, whatever that is. I am sure they have no clue why our family ties are non-existent.
I am sure that the grandkids are even further brainwashed and are totally clueless. I often wonder what they think, what they might be thinking, or if they are thinking at all?
Would they ever reach out and ask questions, or did the brainwashing completely remove their ability to have their own thoughts, their own life, and their own soul!
The Next Generation of Children Succumb
What if a more substantial portion of the family is drawn into the cult? What if children were born into the cult in a second or third generation?
These children are completely controlled, and they don't even have a clue why they are disconnected from the rest of the family. That is why it’s so important to try to save a family member before the process continues with the next generation.
Years later, the children may even forget that they ever wanted out, or the memories may have been erased from their minds by some form of mind control. On the other hand, they may just not be willing to admit that they ever wanted out. That might be due to some fear imposed on them by the cult.
When they are young, they may want their relatives to take them. My older niece had asked my parents and my aunt and uncle to take her in, But they all were too old by that time to care for a child.
I wish she had asked me. I was in my twenties and I could have handled it, but I didn’t know she was asking others until years later. That one incident would have changed everything.
When children in a cult grow up and have their own children, that next generation is totally distant and uninvolved with family members who are not part of the cult.
Be Ready to Help With Any Request
Remember how I helped my sister by planting a seed of hope and assistance that later blossomed and resulted in her call asking to come to get her? Well, it can work for you too.
If you have a family member or a friend in Scientology, or any religious cult, and you’ve lost the ability to communicate, plant that seed and wait for the opportunity to help. Do it before it’s too late, and be ready to do whatever you can when the call for help arrives.
For all we know, these people are threatened and afraid to act out against the cult. They may be in a predicament that we don’t know about or one that we don’t understand, and they may not know what to do about it.
I wonder if they ever have the same thoughts that I have—thinking of why there is no family tie, feeling of wanting to be on the other side, thinking of asking for help.
If you ever get that call, be ready to run and welcome your family member or friend with open arms. Be prepared to show them what life is like on the other side.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
My daughter is twenty-three and is in a cult. I haven't communicated with her since she started with it five months ago. I follow their live stream videos daily to see her and make sure she’s alive. She’s lost weight. I set up a wellness visit last week, and a sheriff talked to her and said she could leave. She refused and said that she’s happy there. Did I plant the seed? What can I do next?
If you tell her you will come to get her if she asks you to do so, as I did with my sister, then you will have planted the seed. All you can do now is wait for that call. My sister called me soon after I told her, but she needed to ask me to help her first.
If you had a wellness visit and talked with your daughter, and she said she’s not happy there, then she would be ready to leave the cult.
After planting the seed to let her know the ball in her court, you need to wait for her to make the next move.
It’s just a waiting game at this point. You can’t push, but be ready.Helpful 12
Can I divorce my husband if he is in a cult?
It would help if you tried to find out how that particular cult deals with such a situation. You can try doing a Google search to find others in the same position.
I would suggest that you try to discuss it with your husband. Communication is always crucial in any relationship. If you have already come to the end of your desire to save the marriage, let him know that. Let him know why. Let him know how you feel.
Carefully listen as he responds. See what his feelings are. See if he understands that his involvement in the cult has damaged your marriage.
You need to determine if he still loves you and if that love is strong enough to appreciate your feelings. If not, and if he makes that clear, then divorce might be the only solution so that you can move on with your life.Helpful 6
© 2012 Glenn Stok