I was in a cult.

When I was 21, I took a year off college to join up with a missionary program I’d heard about through church. I thought it seemed fun–a year of classes, and a year in the field, assisting established ministries. Figured I’d use it as an opportunity to see the world.

Long story short, I get there and it’s textbook fundamentalist brainwashing. The people running the show are in your business 24/7, breaking down your mind and reshaping it as they see fit.

Well, if you’ve read a few posts on this blog, you might’ve ascertained that homie don’t play that. You can’t fucking brainwash me. You can’t get in my head. It was a shitty experience, for the most part, from the day I arrived until the day I was finally kicked out after they determined I couldn’t be changed.

That’s not how they’d tell that story, of course. They’d scoff at my calling it a cult, but so did Jim Jones, so…

Anyhoo, prior to that I attended a private Christian school. I didn’t have any bad experiences there, and in fact carry a lot of fond memories of that place with me to this day. I knew plenty of people who did have bad experiences there, though. And there were a lot of flaky weirdos in charge. Some bad shit happened, but I stayed clear of it. I was there, though.

I grew up going to church three times a week. Didn’t have any bad experiences there, either, until my senior year in high school. I was labeled a troublemaker by the good ol’ boy church leadership, and malicious, unfounded rumors were spread about me.

Religion and I have a long history together, and sometimes it’s left a bitter taste in my mouth. That’s what my book Liberty was all about. I wrote it in 2011, and it was a book that not only had to be written, but had to be written by me.

If you read it, and you haven’t been in the types of situations the book addresses, you might think the characterizations are exaggerated. I can assure you, they are not. Everything in that fucked up book is real. I just combined it all together and divided it up between a bunch of fictional characters and set it in the ’80s instead of the ’90s. I heard people say all the shit I put in that book.

I suppose it could be misconstrued as anti-God. Nope. It’s not anti-God. It’s anti-abuse. It’s an indictment of those who would fuck up kids’ minds and lives in the name of God, and such people loaded me up with so much baggage that after 15 years it had to be unloaded before I went insane. Enter Liberty.

Writing Liberty was necessary to the preservation of my mental health, because I’d carried the cross of anger on my back for far too long.

I removed it from publication awhile back, partly because I didn’t feel it was representative of my current state of mind, and partly because it needed a little cleaning up, editorially speaking.

Well, it’s back, because I decided upon re-reading it that despite the fact that I’m now in a different headspace, this book is too damn good to keep to myself. It’s as raw and as honest as it gets in its attempt to expose the inner workings of the tormented teenage mind.

If you like it, I’m flattered. If you don’t like it based upon the presumption that I’m pushing some kind of anti-religious agenda, well, you can go ahead and hate it, but you’re wrong about me and my motivations.

This isn’t a “genre” book. It has no genre. It’s a book that tells a real story about real people. I’m not sure what box to put that in, but I don’t care. I dug deep to pull this story out of myself, and I’m proud of it. I hope you’ll enjoy it.



  1. Oh, I’m sure there are still some errors it it, but I read it through on kindle and highlighted any missing Quotation marks, typos, missing words, odds and ends, etc. much easier than reading on a computer in Word. So it’s definitely been improved. Plus I was able to format it with kindle create which I didn’t have in 2011 so it probably looks better, although the formatting was pretty on point anyway. So much easier to do now. Anyway I’m considering writing a sequel with Terry as an adult. He looks Kayla up online and they start talking about where their lives have gone since they parted. It’ll be past/present alternating chapters that show what happened after the end of Liberty and where they are now. I’ve thought about it ever since I ran into the girl Kayla was inspired by/based on at the grocery store a couple years ago.

  2. I made it free and deleted/re-downloaded it and it still shows the old version. 🙄 So I’m not sure what the rest of the world is seeing if they download. First sentence of revised version has the word “somewhat” removed before “reluctant” so that’s the telltale sign.

  3. […] a cult. Act of Laughing. Liberty. Cults abound in my writing. Of course, I was essentially in a cult for a short time in 1998, but recognized it as such right off the bat and didn’t want to be […]

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