HANOVER, NH—Times are tough for young people today. Faced with the overwhelming complexities of modern life, many turn to drugs, gangs, and, in some cases, cults. It is estimated that each year, some 200,000 young people fall prey to the abuses of cult life. But in Hanover, NH, some people are fighting back. Here at the Fellowship House, more and more cult members are finding a new life... in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
Helen Hurley founded the Fellowship House in January 1987. Since that time, she has helped over 300 former cult victims escape cult life and find new security in the arms of the Lord.
"Cults are ruthless," Hurley said. "They'll often resort to such techniques as isolation, suppression of individuality, and brainwashing to indoctrinate innocents into total domination by the cult. Here at the Fellowship House, we provide such people with an environment totally different from their previous surroundings, so that they may better reject their sinful ways of the past, and give over their hearts and minds completely to Jesus, that they may better learn his doctrines and teachings."
One recovering cult member, 31-year-old Ronald Shelham, currently employed at the Fellowship House helping others like himself, recalls his experience.
"Back in the compound, they told me that any thoughts that came into my mind other than cult law were evil and had to be wiped out," Shelham said. "But thanks to Ms. Hurley and the others here, I now know that all such heathen lies are merely the voice of Satan, whispering temptation into my ear, trying to seduce me away from the one and only true path of Christ's glory. I have truly been born again in the body and blood of the lamb."
Fellow survivor Elaine Drenholt says her involvement with a cult drained her more than just spiritually. "I used to give all my money, resources, and time to the Cosmic Yoho Radiance," she said. Drenholt proudly notes that these days, she spends most of her time volunteering at the Fellowship House, where she strives to earn salvation through charity, stewardship and volunteer work.
Though cults often keep initiates surrounded at all times by other members, preventing the victim from having the chance to think any individual thoughts, Hurley says that, with time, the Fellowship House can help "break" such conditioning. By providing an environment in which survivors have constant, 24-hour access to prayer counselors and other support staff, the house helps them feel closer to Christ and His all-encompassing love.
"I must help these poor souls any way I can," Hurley said. "If I don't get them to give over their bodies and souls to Jesus, they will be left behind when Jesus returns to sweep up the righteous with Him, sparing them the agonies of Armageddon, carrying them with Him to Heaven on the prophesied day of the Rapture. In the battle at the end of time they will be punished horribly by foul dragons and the demonic armies of Hell itself."
"Look," she said, her expression turning serious, "some of the men and women who have come through the Fellowship House were actually involved in ritual cannibalism at one time. Now they can turn their back on darkness and confusion. They are free to take their first communion, and in the sacramental eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ, they have been washed of their sins by the blood of the Lamb."
After all, isn't that what it's really all about?