Hi Mike,
I'm back, quite absorbed in what happened nearly 20 years ago, so I'm deep in
The young woman who "deprogrammed" me is named Claire, no last name coming,
but I know she got married anyway. Claire from Baltimore.
I've read more of your website, and I find it so familiar. It has brought
back so many images and feelings. For me, the deprogramming: sincere,
headstrong, passionate people hammering away at me, challenging beliefs I
wasn't even sure I understood, yet all the while knowing I had discovered
something within me that was beyond understanding, beyond logic, beyond words.
It was a gift that could never be de-programmed, a gift that is bigger than
me, bigger than how I choose to believe. A gift that, by the way, had nothing
to do with Stewart Traill or The Church of Bible Understanding. I remember
looking around at all these other seekers, with all these different outward
beliefs, yet again knowing they each shared a similar inner awakening. I don't
think true love is so hard to recognize, and there are so many ways to live
I'm not sure the deprogramming was a complete success: if the goal was solely
to keep me from returning to COBU then yes, but I suspect there was more to
it. It may be simply that an all encompassing form of devotion makes people
uncomfortable. I suspect the deprogramming was addressing this as well. The
message seems to have been, "Believe in God however you like, but keep it in
perspective, and for God's sake, don't be weird."
Let me quickly add that I am indeed grateful for that experience, and would
be even moreso had I been exposed to the abuses that seem so prevalent in
COBU. I'm just pondering the whole picture, with the advantages that the
passage of time can offer.
Mike, I'm thrilled to be returning to this contemplation, inspired by your
site. I realize that for many years I would review, somewhat superficially I
see now, and then put it back on the shelf. This powerful experience, chock
full of some of the most important questions I have ever asked and continue to
ask, such as "Who am I? Where am I going? How may I serve God? How may I pour
love into this world?" were all contained in that pivotal experience. I
remember praying, over and over, "Dear God, is this a test of my faith, or are
you trying to tell me something?" That question has certainly echoed through
many of my ensuing experiences.
I've read through your testimony and found it quite fascinating. Thank you. I
hope your thanksgiving was happy, and best wishes to you and your family as
you wrap up this semester.
Oh, I'm skittish about handing over my last name to the Internet, so I'd be
happy to just leave it as Elizabeth. Thanks again.