Triggers, powerful memories that recall cult life,“means God is trying to tell you to go back,” Kelly said.“When you get cognitive control over the source, it helps you overcome it.”
Later in the afternoon, Steve Eichel, a psychologist dressed in a Hawaiian print shirt, is introducing a seminar about sexual recovery in the ballroom.“I have to say I feel a little strange here, being a male introducing three women on a panel related to sexuality,” he said.
Carla Brown, director of the Edmonton Society Against Mind Abuse, was the panel’s first speaker. Brown, a statuesque blond who resembles Ivana Trump, left a Christian cult eight years ago.
“After my miscarriages I felt I wasn’t useful to God any more, I started to realize I was traumatized,” she said.“Apart from being a breeder in this religious group, who was I? That thought began my recovery journey.”
Patricia Miller, another former cult member, said sex was important in the cult, and when she failed to perform, she said she was abused.
Following the last session of the day, conference-goers mingled by the koi pond, discussing Tom Cruise, the apocalypse and narcissism.
Goldberg, the ICSA president, shared a story about a young man who recently came to her support group. He was involved in a cult that promised financial success selling $1,000 encyclopedias.
The cult had identified an ideal recruit, Goldberg said.
“He was a graduate looking for a job,” she said. He was “perfect.”