STONE ONE CONTINUED: Assert: I assert that I am responsible for my own spiritual path.
Instruction: Release your fears.
Taking charge of our spiritual path is a process that takes time and courage. The simplest way to begin is to consider the religious rules and regulations, especially from the past, that have troubled us. We suggest past rules and regulations, because we have had time to process them over the years to determine if they make sense and agree with Love. There is no timetable. We trust that the process will work in its own time and in its own way. Those who were raised in a religion that does its best to convince its constituents that their way is the only true way and their church, synagogue, temple, or other religious institution is the only true way to reach God can have a lot of fear to work through and release. The deeper a person is taken into the hierarchy of the institution, the more control that religious tradition will have over their life. Tentacles of fear will reach into the depths of an individual’s life and wrap themselves around the core of their being to entangle their head and their heart. Any struggle to break free will be attacked by leaders of the community who will belittle, accuse, and do their best to convince them that their questions are stupid, their desire to leave is a betrayal, and their actions will block their entrance into the “kingdom of heaven.”
All religions are not this cruel in dealing with those who choose to leave, but some are worse than what we have described. For those caught up in these toxic forms of religion, their best course of action is often a complete break. Even years and decades later the religious leaders and family members still involved in their prior religious organization will still have the ability to break them down and leave them questioning their decisions and their future. Unfortunately, a complete break from some of these toxic religions involves the loss of community, friends, and even family. They might have to move to a different part of the country, and some might even choose to change their identity. How, then, can we suggest that these people release their fear when the consequences are so great? Because we know that staying involved in a toxic religion is unhealthy, mind-controlling, and, in some situations, evil. The only fear a person might want to retain is the fear of what might happen to them if they don’t leave.
Religious Recovery recognizes the enormity of someone’s decision to leave a religious organization that they believe is toxic to their physical, mental, and spiritual health. We do not recommend a decision of complete withdrawal and removal lightly. In many abusive situations, the fear of leaving is often greater than the fear of staying. But, once that changes to the point that the fear of staying is greater than the fear of leaving, many people find the courage to make the break. Today’s assignment is to simply give serious thought to whatever decision you are facing, and if added support is needed, talk to someone who you trust to have spiritual discernment, a kind heart, and love as the focus of all they say and do.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.