Sunday, 13 July 2008

Maybe I should be more tolerant of other survivors

When I worked in a Christian bookshop, I remember being told off for endlessly banging on about the JA. Getting out and getting through all that was the biggest thing that had happened to me...and I needed to work it through in my head and talk it out, over and much so, that I bored everyone to tears with it - especially my poor, long-suffering girlfriend, Gill.

I was preoccupied with it for several years: talking to the press, Newsnight etc, attending conferences, being invited to talk to the Samaritans etc about cults etc...and inevitably, my point of view was very one-sided. I didn't have it in me to see the good in the JA...and certainly would not have stood up for them, as I did for Noel, for instance, when one critic accused him of covering up paedophilia in the JA, etc. But you mellow with the years and when other issues in your life eclipse the old ones.

I should probably remember that other survivors will not have yet processed all their sh1t, and maybe I should be more tolerant than I am at times, particularly on JAW, where my attempts to balance things get me into hot water with very angry people.

I have had a correspondence with an ardent ex-JA Christian, recently (via hotmail), who said she didn't think she could trust me with her story because of my stance on sex outside marriage. I said that I wasn't particularly anxious to hear her story if she wasn't comfortable telling me it, but took issue with her suggesting that I am untrustworthy just because I don't think sex is immoral. She chided me for my pride in thinking I am good, etc. I thought all sorts of unchristian things then, which is my prerogative as an evil backslider ;) ....but I have been there. I was an evangelical christian for years after the JA, so maybe I need to be more christian in how I view people who are obviously still a bit unhinged after their JA experiences. This poor lady, for instance, believes that a brother told her by telepathy that he loved her, before she was then very badly treated by the brethren.

We are all at different stages in our post-JA evolutions. The survivors should, perhaps, remember that and help carry the surviving, even if it means having to put up with their self-righteous crap. God knows, we remember what it was to be just as boring, obsessive, angry and unbalanced. I know I would be desperately embarrassed to meet the intense young man I was when I worked in that christian bookshop.