Report by a Young Woman about Her Feelings after a Conversation with Holic Recruiters (2000)

About a year ago, at the Alliance Conference in the town of Bad Blankenburg, I had a conversation with followers of [Horst] Schaffranek [another cult]. Afterward, a woman from Austria spoke to me. Her exact Bible knowledge and her rejection of the entire faith-based conference were conspicuous. At this time, I myself was relatively dissatisfied with my own faith life. Her lines of reasoning and her talk of community and consistent discipleship found fertile soil in me. I noticed [while I spoke with her] how I became less and less independent in my thinking. Our conversation lasted almost three hours; after around two hours, I wanted to be alone, in order to process what I’d heard, and to discuss it all with Jesus in prayer. But she didn’t want to leave me alone. I began to feel ill at ease. After we traded telephone numbers, and she invited me several times to her community in Oelsnitz, I could go.

Despite some good aspects of the conversation, there remained in me a great emptiness and fear. I was disappointed in myself and continually replayed the conversation in my thoughts. She had accused me of, e.g., inconsistency, because I work the night shift (at a youth center); [according to her,] that was wrong. Everybody in her community, even the nurses, would arrange it so that they didn’t work night shifts. Back home again, I talked with our pastor and his wife, who warned me away from further contact with these people, because they had clearly made the law into their idol. After the woman phoned me again, I could tell her that I really had no interest [in the group], and I could ask a few critical questions. At that, she began to revile me as a nominal Christian and to hurl similar abuses at me. After a series of insults, she hung up.

It didn’t go well for me for quite a while after that. I was discontent [and had the feeling that] I never did enough for God. I felt like a lukewarm Christian, one who merely ‘talked the talk,’ and who apparently disappointed God. This conviction dragged me further down. [Things went that way] until finally, in a pastoral conversation, it was made clear to me that God primarily loves me; He has accepted me; and He died for my sins. As I, for the first time, became aware of and experienced this love, I felt incredibly free, and I bathe in this love every day.