Have you ever read something, a book or an article, and discovered a new word that completely unlocked an experience or feeling you’ve had that you couldn’t quite describe before that moment? That happened to me on a recent flight to Colorado.
I often use flights to catch up on work or sleep, but last trip I decided I wanted to read just for fun so I opened up my iBook and checked out what was new on the market. The first book that appeared was, “Becoming Free Indeed,” the new release by Jinger Duggar. You might recognize the name from the famous Duggar family of ’19 Kids and Counting’ that was on TLC for years.
Jinger is the sixth child of 19 and this book is the story of how she walked out of a cult (IBLP – Institute on Basic Life Principals) and into a true relationship with God.
Jinger is 30. I don’t know what I expected when I turned to page one, but it didn’t take me long to be engrossed. Before I knew it I had read more than half the book on my flight to Denver. So. Much. Wisdom.
I have used the word ‘deconstructed’ previously when describing my walk out of the Mormon religion. It was the only word I could come up with to describe the dismantling of the lies from the truth of what I had been taught. But it never felt accurate. The use of deconstruction in modern language generally ends in, “I threw it all out the window.” But that’s not what I did.
When I came to the Mormon religion, I was seeking a relationship with God. What I found was a religion of works. I was exhausted in the end and had never felt further away from God. When I left Mormonism after reading the Bible, I had to look at the whole picture and strip away the part of what I had learned that was not true. The parts that didn’t align with what the Bible taught had to go. What I was left with was a picture of Grace and Mercy and a knowledge that faith in Christ was not only enough, it was everything.
Jinger uses a phrase for having gone through the same process as she pealed off the lies told to her by the man at the head of the IBLP cult and supported by every follower who she was surrounded by. What remained was a love for God and a saving faith in Him. She calls this “disentangling.” And that word is a beautiful description of my own journey.
Her book is well written. It describes her story from what she was raised to believe and what those teachings did to her self-esteem and view of people and the world, and her climb out of the lies as she learned to read the Bible as the seamless story of love and grace that it is and how it applies to her today. She also touches on the aftermath of making the transition – it’s not roses on all days.
Leaving behind the constructs of a cult makes you vulnerable. When I was Mormon I had a huge community of others who rallied around me and lived as I lived. I didn’t have a need to reach out to people outside the group, though I did have some relationships that existed outside. But, my closest friends, we all subscribed to the same belief and acted it out in the same ways. When I left I had to try on every belief to see if it still fit, to see if I would keep it or let it go, and that is a very lonely place to be. And I was doing that while meeting a lot of new people that didn’t know where I had been or what I was going through and sometimes explaining it all was so overwhelming that I just didn’t even try. Most days I felt like I was having a major meltdown only no one could see it. There were some days when I was afraid someone was going to ask me, “how are you?” I was sure I would melt in a puddle of tears on the spot if they did. It was by far one of the most challenging times in my life.
Jinger’s story is one of emerging. Of learning her true identity. A journey of learning to think for herself and apply what she found to be true. I identify so much with her words and experiences as she disentangled from the lies she had been surrounded by. I felt proud of her. She is brave. She chose truth over lies, even if it might have cost her important people in her life. Fortunately, she maintains a relationship with her family who are still believers in the IBLP lifestyle. But as she walked away from that lifestyle herself she had no idea how it would end. That’s brave. And it made me reflect on my own story for a moment and realize, in walking away, I was brave, too.
I recommend this read to anyone. Those who may be struggling with living in untruth and wanting to understand the difference, and those who are wanting a closer relationship with Jesus. Jinger’s testimony is laced throughout and the book is laden with Bible verses that helped her heal. I am thankful for the nudge of the Spirit that day that made me decide to “read for a change” and led me to the word that was the cherry on top of my personal story. And I am thankful that today I lead a life disentangled from the lies, a life where I know my true identity in Christ. Amen!
4 Replies to “Disentangled…”
Great reminder on Valentine’s Day. God’s love is unmerited and unconditional…free from his loving heart for each of us. Thank you for sharing your journey!
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Thanks Paneen! You and our BB group are definitely part of my story! A part I love dearly!! Thanks for your support.
So good! I definitely want to read that! And I always knew you were brave. Not just from leaving Mormonism – but in your everyday life, your choices, your career and goals. You are brave. Inspiring. And I’m blessed to call you my friend.
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Thanks, friend. That means a lot!! 🤗