Enlighten Me Free


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Question for Joe Szimhart

Hello Joe,
Would you please make suggestions for the first things to do when one realizes s/he has been duped?
What can an innocent person do to manage the feeling of shock and disorientation, the extreme sense of loss, the profound disappointment?

And would you please address separately :hopelessness.
Many thanks

Re: Question for Joe Szimhart


Been there in stages, like a slowly crumbling house of cards. Happily, for me I had a 2 yr old daughter to care for every weekend when I first felt the pain of being a "spiritual idiot", had to pay child support, and I had good work as a street portrait artist for 6 months out of the year and construction and teaching art the rest.
It is good to feel productive every day at something not cult related.
Thoughts can be obsessive about confusing issues, "who am I?, what is real? I "channeled" my anger into research---read a lot of useless books in the beginnning (1980-83) because there was so little good recovery info out there at the time, but at least I learned what was useless!

Being able to network with ex-members is golden, especially those who had similar experiences with the group.
Take it easy with information. One chunk at a time.
One good book is "Take Back Your Life" by Janja Lalich. Excellent resource for recovery from cults.
I know her well---she was in a group (communist cult in the US) for ten years, was devastated for over a year after it broke up due to revelations about the leader. She now has a PhD in sociology and teaches UC at Chico.

If you want to call and talk to me or someone qualified. let me know w private email.


Re: Question for Joe Szimhart

Lostinthedeltaquadrant, Janeway and Voyager do get out in the end!

Re: Question for Joe Szimhart

Joe can you give adice on how ooe can protect oneself against the devil. Your last post about Satan is really scaring the ___ out of me.

Re: Question for Joe Szimhart

I recall, when I first read that book (People of the Lie) by Peck, I was already familiar with exorcism and the main book on the topic, 'Hostage to The Devil' by Malichi Martin. I was at monastery near Abiquiu NM on a private retreat (1983) and a lady acquaintance (who was debating whether to have an abortion) was there too. She (Sara) noticed the book I had in the common area and wanted to read it since I just finished it. I told her to read it from the beginning because the last 2 chapters were spooky, the one on exorcism and one on group evil about the Mi Lai massacre in Viet Nam (Peck was the army psychiatrist who reported on it). Around 1 am I heard a tapping on my cell door (guests stayed in small rooms with kerosene lamps and a small wood burning stove.It was November at 6000 ft altitude, so it was very cold.) It was Sara wrapped in a blanket looking very distressed. She HAD to talk to me. I let her in, lit a fire and offered her tea. Well, she read the chapter on exorcism right away--then immediately dreamt about demons haunting her room. They seemed to remain when she awoke. She was very frightened.

I had an extra bunk on the other side of the room, so after de-escalating her with talk for over an hour, I let her sleep in the room. I just kept gabbing about my recent trip to India till she fell asleep. She slept soundly without incident. I convinced her that her mind was producing the images.

I've participated in minor rites of exorcism requested by 2 men (clients) who thought they were possessed. The minor rite is a simple, 20 minute blessing by a priest with holy water and some prayer--no freaky Hollywood stuff.

I have no fear of demons and I am not sure what they are. Maybe something like a demon exists. I could care less if "it" is out to get me. I have worse things to worry about, like paying my bills, worrying about some jerk on the road running into me in heavy traffic, or properly assessing the next crazy person that comes into my hospital.

There was a time when I was involved with Church Universal (Prophet's cult) that "dark energy" or demons or "black magicians" seemed to bother me. We used decrees to counter and "annihilate" the dark powers. The cult taught that all that stuff was real, so I had some residual effects from the belief for a year after I broke from CUT in 1980. Catholic teaching also posits a "devil" as real, but I am nt going to into that here.

What I am going to say next is purely private approach: As a Catholic I rely on "angels" to protect me from metaphysical evil---the spirits are doing a good job! I sleep well enough, have normal anxieties that I seem to control okay, and I try to live according to the codes in the Gospel. Nothing special. In reality, I have no evidence that angels exist, and if they do, I could not describe one anyway.

As far as how this all relates to JZ and ex-RSEmembers, I suppose it is subjective. If you feel haunted, maybe you need some help.

DETAILS magazine ran a 5000 word feature on my work as an exit counselor in Sept of 1990 (or was it 1991?---it has David Bowie on the cover). The editor chose the title after reading what Mick Disend, the reporter wrote. Mick titled it "Have Reason, Will Travel". The magazine came out with "New Age Exorcist"

From what I know about exorcism, the real thing, it is a lot like deprogramming or exit cousneling as it takes a team usually, and can last for 3 to 5 days on average, 16 hours a day. It is also very different because I do not use a religious approach. To an observer the successful exit counseling process can seem very dramatic--to change someone's unshakeable devotion in a few days and see them emerge as a different, more sober person, or seem to become the person before they were cult influenced.

What I am trying to say here is that there is nothing to fear from a devil unless you invest your fear in a devil---in a way, you have the locus of control always. Some ex-members of new age metaphysical groups remain spooked even more after they quit the group. It helps to have good, reasonable living and thinking habits. That is why I am so insistent on learning good skeptical tools and not relying on irrational and grandiose world views of psychic power. The spooks fade away once my clients learn to redirect their attention and get busy with a life.

Maybe we do live in a spooky world, but unless you are a spook or a seasoned "spook buster", stay out of the spook houses. To me RSE is one of those spook houses. There are far more important things to pay attention to.


Re: Question for Joe Szimhart

PS: Some, maybe most, of you paying attention to this message board have a visceral reaction to Catholicism and might feel that I am somehow promoting a "Catholic" solution to possesssion or oppression by spirits. I am not. There are effective parallel solutions in Hinduism, Buddhism, and skepticism, for example.

The two "possessed" men I mentioned were not and are not Catholics. One was an alcoholic musician with "Woodstock" album credentials who followed Muktananda for 10 years. He broke with the cult after the guru "Baba" seemed to enter him (when Baba died in 1982)and did constantly mock him 24/7. He felt only alcohol numbed it (Baba's mocking) out. When I met him he had this "condition" for 3 years. This is called a warped internalizatioin of the guru---something I've seen many times. It is similar to someone with paranoid schizophrenia---medications help a lot, but this guy would insist he was ONLY possessed. Eventually after many more years after the Catholic "blessing" and considerable sessions with me, tha last I heard he did accept a medical diagnosis and stopped drinking. he was doing well enough.

The other man was a practicing shaman-healer with considerable success for ten years (he never charged money), then something "evil" threw him into deep depression like an "entity" on his back. He was a world class swimmer and a sports massage therapist with great credentials, not a druggie in the least. Again, the "blessing" had some effect to refocus him---- I had to convince him that the locus of control as always is with the patient in exorcism as it is in exit counseling. He became a skeptic in the healthy sense, studied up on the phenomenon, and all his frightening symptoms faded in a year or so. He did not convert to a religion. The solution was to no longer practice metaphysical healing. He is doing very, very well. No medication.

As for the lady "Sara", she was a Unity Church follower and A Course in Miracles person when we met, never became a Catholic. I believe she later had the abortion anyway. Went through a lot of therapy with a Unity type person afterwards. She did some followup with me. Demons never returned the last I heard.
I remained friends with all 3 for some years, never charged them a cent for assistance.


Re: Question for Joe Szimhart

I just noticed this post! How timely!!
Thank you Joe!!!