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Poetry: Lois Eaton

To a Cult Leader

Lois Eaton

(Inspired by a dream I had after leaving Maryborough/Brisbane Christian Fellowship)

I’m free of you now.

You can’t hurt me anymore,

Though you came to me in a dream.

Your eyes, so wide.

White

Staring

Yet not seeing.

I try to talk to you

But you can’t hear.

I try to help you

But you can’t respond.

I’m free of you now.

You can’t hurt me anymore,

I’m no longer afraid.

Your wife, beside you, turns away.

Her eyes aren’t wide and staring.

Her eyes are clear.

I try to reach her but she turns.

She turns and runs away.

She runs in fear.

Could it be that the very church

That preached the evilness of women

Was run by a woman, not a man?

Run secretly from behind?

See her run.

I’m free of you now.

You can’t hurt me anymore,

I’ve moved on.

I’m free of you now.

You can’t hurt me anymore,

I’ve forgiven.

~Lois Eaton

“To a Cult Leader” Narrative

Having grown up in a spiritually abusive home (I believed that I had been chosen by God to be a reject), I was in a daze of joy when I discovered Brisbane Christian Fellowship (BCF, then called Emmanuel) at the age of 19. At last I felt accepted by a group of dedicated Christians, and I thoroughly enjoyed solid Bible teaching—no more having to put up with Bible teaching that assumed I was a moron just because I was a woman. I still thank God for those early years. It was there I learned to be honest, and to forgive. Free from the bitterness I had learned as a child, I embraced the move totally. No one was more loyal than I. The group wasn’t a cult then, although I can see now that it was headed that way.

Disillusionment set in for me over the years as things gradually got worse. One man got to the top, and I think that power corrupted him. When I saw bad things happen, I would assume that it was only a matter of time and everything would be put right. But things kept getting worse. Through it all I clung to my memories of the wonderful change the group had made in my life—and in the lives of others—in the early years. It was 37 years before I could speak up properly. It was still an act of loyalty when I went to the elders and expressed concern over things that were happening. I thought they would be able to see what I was saying and put things right. Instead, I was excommunicated.

At the time, this experience was a dreadful shock. I firmly believe that I would have had a breakdown if it wasn’t for the peace of God. All through the first night, unable to sleep, I found myself singing that song, “Lead me, guide me along the way. For if You lead me, I CANNOT STRAY. Help me to walk each day with Thee. Lead me, oh Lord, lead me.”

I am now fellowshipping with a group of believers who are very much into searching the Scriptures, including looking into the original meaning of words we take for granted in the Bible. A whole new understanding of Scripture has opened up to me. I am still thankful to BCF for teaching me to forgive. Without learning that, I would have returned to the bitterness I used to live in. If we do not forgive, we ourselves are not forgiven. Now, I am at peace.

For me, the most important piece is forgiveness—it is through forgiveness that we find freedom. There is no other way to be free. This is the lesson Corrie Ten Boom learned after WWII when she found herself face to face with a guard from her prison camp. She found that, as she made an attempt to forgive, God gave her the grace to be able to forgive. Then, when she was working with ex-inmates, she observed that those who forgave found peace and were able to move on. Those who didn’t forgive stayed trapped in bitterness. I am moving on happily, but it upsets me when I see those still trapped in bitterness.