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Human Parts
A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.

Cult

In Human Parts. More on Medium.

The story of how he wound up in a dangerous compound—and how he escaped

Two vintage photographs of my dad and his sisters

I was so young when my dad started telling me his cult stories that I don’t think I even knew what a cult was. In a way, I still don’t. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized how unique it was to have a father who regaled his young daughter with vivid narratives from his early life, much less one who survived an adolescence as gripping and gut-wrenching as his.

Now 65, my dad doesn’t look like the stereotype of a traumatized ex-cultist who came of age under the baleful reign of a charismatic leader. Today, Dr…


Ayahuasca gave me back my will to live when nothing else worked

Illustration: mr.babies/Instagram

A couple of weeks ago, on World Mental Health Day, I posted a tweet briefly describing the lifelong anxiety I have experienced after being raised in a cult. I also shared that I’ve found a lot of relief using psychedelics.


It taught me a lot about real life

Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of The Worldwide Church of God. Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

When my mum lost her dad in her early twenties, she was looking for answers and a soft place to land. It was the early 1970s — a confusing time to be human, amidst the Vietnam War, the continuing struggle for equal rights, and the disruption of all kinds of traditional values.

She found sanctuary in the Worldwide Church of God, an American fundamentalist religion that offered a road map for the meaning of life, infused with a little self-help theory and some healthy eating tips.

Aside from its conservative dress code and ban on makeup, the church was full…


When you’re brainwashed, logic isn’t part of the equation

Photo: SOPA Images/Getty Images

To help a novice develop a Buddha-like nature, a monk will pose a paradoxical question — “When one can do nothing, what can one do?” — that the rational mind can’t answer. These questions are called Zen kōans.

We, as a country, are living a Zen kōan. Our president, the molester-in-chief, has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 22 women. His friends — Roger Ailes, Robert Kraft, and Jeffrey Epstein, to name a few — are men accused of sexual assault. His appointees to government positions fit the same bill. More than 80% of American women have been…

Human Parts

A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.

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