StorieS (5/22/2019 Onwards)
Stories will now be posted one at a time in this section to give equal space to each story, thank you to everyone who has shared.
Story One: They basically roasted me in from of about 50 people until I cried, it was the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.
I wanted to send you a message because I’m at [ Coffee Place ] and there are 2 girls sitting next to me that I was suspicious are apart of Xenos, I swear I have a 6th sense for people who are apart of that cult. They are talking about how they are trying to recruit people into the church and they are angry because a girl is prioritizing taking her SAT’s/ACT’s and that they are going to keep pestering her to put Xenos first and put school on the back burner.
I swear I know when they are apart of Xenos before they even talk!! It’s crazy. If people are overly nice to me and ask me for my contact info or act like they want to be friends right off the bat, I’m 100% sure they are Xenos folks
That cult is so disturbing, I have literally lost friends to them because they don’t allow their members to hang out with anyone outside of their organization. It’s sad. Thanks for spreading awareness!
I lost my best friend to Xenos, she can’t go anywhere without a member of the church. I invited her to a yoga class and she had to bring someone with her and then they both pestered me to believe in god and come to their “taco Tuesday” at their ministry house. I was like PASS. I have already been a victim of being recruited by them!
She just says she has to be with someone from the church. I had a coworker in 2012 ask me to meet up with her for lunch, she asked me to drive her back to her house, I knew nothing about Xenos at this point. Her house was on campus off of indianola, she invited me in and I met her room mates, all seemed like nice people. I was on the fence about my religious beliefs at that point. They invited me to an event at the central teaching building off of 4th street, I went and met a ton of nice people, again completely unaware that I was being recruited, everyone just seemed like nice normal college kids. They drank, smoked, partied. I went to a few home church meetings and just sat and listened, attended some other events with the group, they didn’t pressure me to talk about god at first.
Then they started to get angry if I couldn’t make it to the 5-7 events a week they scheduled, the summer was ending and school was starting again, they asked me what I was going to give up now that school was starting- my job, my family, etc. they told me I needed to move into the ministry house, I told them no. I tried to stay friends with the people because I had low self esteem and not a lot of friends at that point and I liked the social aspects and they kindness of the people. I attended a home church meeting and one of the members told me that god puts me on the back burner because I’m not dedicating my life to Xenos, that I can’t just come and go as I please, I’m not allowed to sit and observe or just listen to their central teachings. They basically roasted me in from of about 50 people until I cried, it was the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. My friend that originally brought me there just sat there and didn’t say a word. I just got up and left and I never talked to any of them again.
Story Two: “We were put on display in front of our home church and made to confess embarrassing details of our sexual experiences (in our current and previous relationships). We were voted on like we were participants in the worst kind of reality TV show ever, the church members deciding whether or not we were sincere in our repentance. “
My experience in Xenos is similar to many others’ in the college group. I attended from 2001-2005.
After becoming increasing active in my home church, I decided to move into a ministry house after receiving some pressure from leadership. Even though it meant that I could only attend school part-time (ODU had a weird policy about off-campus housing), my discipler (who was pretty much making all of my decisions for me at this point) convinced me it was the "right" thing to do. This was on top of my Xenos principles classes, CT, home church and cell group. I was devoting pretty much all of my free time to Xenos, effectively forgoing any non-church relationships and activities. I was put in charge of finances for the house and [ House Leader ] (the house leader) was put on the account as well. As an account holder, I started to notice strange things happening with the statements -- a large purchase at the CSCC bookstore, movie tickets at AMC theatre, etc. When I brought this up with [ House Leader ] (the only other person who had access to the account) she seemed surprised and said only that she was planning to pay it back. Then I noticed that some of my personal items were also missing. A pair of socks, a scarf, little things like that. She denied taking them. Her father, also a leader in the church, was arrested around this time for soliciting prostitution from a man in a public park.
Also around this time, I started dating [ . . ], against the will of the home church leadership. They would question me about our relationship constantly, giving stern advice and direction. I remember my discipler would drive around looking for my car and calling my cell phone to check in on me. Eventually, [ . . ] and I fell into "sin." Because we were both living in ministry houses, and because of [ . . ]'s "history," we decided to keep it a secret. After all, we knew we could get excommunicated. I had no family in town, and had alienated my non-Xenos friends long ago. I decided to move out. [ House Leader ] threatened to take me to court.
Eventually, plagued with guilt, we admitted our "sins." We were put on display in front of our home church and made to confess embarrassing details of our sexual experiences (in our current and previous relationships). We were voted on like we were participants in the worst kind of reality TV show ever, the church members deciding whether or not we were sincere in our repentance. [ . . . ] was excommunicated. I was not, but chose to leave anyway. After spending a few weeks in more or less isolation, I decided to come back to the church and was given a number of assignments to prove my sincerity (even though I hadn’t been excommunicated). One of the leaders invited me to a church dinner. I attended. While I was at the dinner, the leaders were on a retreat and found out that I was at the dinner. They asked to speak with me and told me that I had been wrongly invited and shouldn't be there. And I could stay if I wanted now that I was already there. It was humiliating. But more than that, it was the last straw. I threw out my half-eaten meal and left immediately. And that was it. A while later, I heard one of my housemates had been pregnant while living there.
I did not feel loved, appreciated or accepted. I had given my all for years to a faith and to a group of people who were willing to cast me and the people I loved out of their lives. I know no church is perfect, but the blatant hypocrisy and unloving actions at Xenos made it clear to me that I wanted no part of what it had to offer.
Story Three: “Xenos is nothing but poison. They will shame you for having raw human emotions and yet behind your back they have the same feelings about something going on in their lives. They act like they are saints and can do no wrong, and try to deny their actions even after admitting them to you. They take pride in their wrong-doings and shame people who are not like them. Pure, pure snakes. They are about equal to those you see screaming "FEAR GOD!" on the corners of the streets. “
I attended Xenos for about 2 and a half years. Everything that I've read so far on this website is spot on. The false friendship, the shame, the pressure, the gossip.
I was invited by someone I met in Art History my second year of college. She invited me to go to the art museum downtown, and I happily accepted because I was having a hard time making friends on campus. We talked and had a great time, and she brought up Home Church. She said it was a small gathering of people that hang out and go over Bible verses. It sounded interesting so I went with her the following week. I'm not religious, but it seemed like something new that I hadn't done before. Vinyl, is the name of the group. The greeting was warm and welcoming and I met so many people that I had great conversations with, was exchanging numbers with and planning hangouts. After a few months I had really started to feel like I was making friends.
About a year into me attending, I had broken up with my emotionally abusive ex boyfriend. It was hard, and I felt lonely and in pain. There wasn't much support; only the usual "Have you tried talking to God?" Which, I understand that that may work for some people, but it didn't work for me. I wanted to talk to someone face to face, in person, that I could poor my heart out to. But no one was willing to listen. I was only met with Bible verses and cold shoulders.
I had spent the next 6-8 months going on a couple dates and becoming too attached to the few guys I dated. Being in an abusive relationship does that to you. You long for true love and compassion and someone that doesn't use your mental illness against you. I spent some time crying over the failed relationships and tried talking to my "friends" about it. But again, no one would listen. I was met by my "friend" with a harsh comment, and she didn't even look me in the eye when she said it: "Do you really think you can be happy work someone who's not a Christian?" The amount of insensitivity in her voice was crushing. I went home right after.
Fast forward the next few months towards the end of the year, around mid September. I met someone. Someone that I am going to be celebrating 3 years together with this year. A great, loving guy that helps me with my anxiety attacks and ASD. Someone who actively is looking for ways for me to be comfortable. I was excited to tell my "friends" and they appeared to be happy for me, but the falseness in their tones was deafening. Never the less, I pushed it to the back of my mind. A year goes by and my boyfriend and I plan to move in together. And this is when my "friends" repeatedly pulled me outside the ministry house to tell me that I am a sinner for doing this and "there can't be a bad seed in the church, because it dismantles everyone." (Or something like that). They immediately assumed that because we were moving in together before marriage that we were having sex. I never told them anything about our private life but they came to assumptions. GASP! Moving in together? Before marriage? Because we want to see what living with each other is like before we even think about getting married? And I was dating someone who wasn't part of the church? THE SIN!
The dating part is 100% accurate. They don't date outside of the church, they don't marry outside of the church, and they aren't friends with anyone outside the church. I remember when my "friend's" sister was getting married. I went to her bridal party and they played a game where she had to answer a question about her soon-to-be husband before she could open a present. Questions like his favorite color, hobby, movie, place to visit, etc. The only thing she could say was, in a slightly irritated tone, "I don't know!" I left and went to hang out with my family after that. It was so cringe-worthy. You're going to marry someone that you don't know anything about, but it's ok because he's "part of the church"? I can name my boyfriend's favorite EVERYTHING, because those small details are what make a relationship so beautiful. They were shaming me for my relationship, but their own was failing right before their eyes.
I remember learning that my "friend" was talking about me behind my back, saying that I was a sinner and that "I wasn't my own person without a guy with me". It hurt me deep, because I had told her so many things that I never told anyone. My abusive relationship, the lying and the mistreatment of other guys before I met my boyfriend. I trusted her. She didn't understand and refused to try.
It wasn't even just me she was talking about. Two other girls who I can proudly say have left the church with me, who were there longer than me, who have become my best friends, were also victims of this horrible two-faced snake. One of them is from Ghana, and my "friend" accused her of sleeping around when she was in her home country because she saw a picture of this girl with her boyfriend. The other has a lot of mental health issues like me, and they basically kicked her out of the house because they didn't want to deal with them. I confronted someone about it after learning what they did. I said, "What you guys did to *blank* and *blank* was absolutely disgusting and shameful." His response? An embarrassed chuckle, followed by, "Yeah, we can talk about it later..." And he never did.
And when I confronted them about why they weren't being the friends I thought they were? One of them said, "If you think this is the place to make friends you're wrong." They straight up told me I wasn't in a place to make friends. The hangouts, the road trips, the shopping together; I was just part of their plan to keep growing their Church. I was just a number, nothing more. And when I asked about why they we're kicking one of their own, original members out and abandoning her? My "friend" said, "Because it's what God wants us to do, and honestly I don't even feel bad about it."
Xenos is nothing but poison. They will shame you for having raw human emotions and yet behind your back they have the same feelings about something going on in their lives. They act like they are saints and can do no wrong, and try to deny their actions even after admitting them to you. They take pride in their wrong-doings and shame people who are not like them. Pure, pure snakes. They are about equal to those you see screaming "FEAR GOD!" on the corners of the streets.
Those two girls that had the same problems as me? We couldn't be closer. My boyfriend? We moved into our first house together last October. Leaving that group was the smartest decision I have ever made. If I could give anyone any advice as to whether or not they want to join a home church, I would say this: There's a great church called Cypress. They are pro-LGBTQ, pro-love, and start every session by telling people to turn to those around you and introduce yourselves to someone new. They sing amazing songs, and the atmosphere is truly warm and welcoming. The battle real life issues and are an amazing community of people.
STAY AWAY FROM XENOS.
Story Four: “It just felt icky and I felt embarrassed about how excited I was to have these new friends, who turned out to have an ulterior motive”
I was out with classmates in 2017 at a bar when a couple people started chatting with me and were very friendly. I remember being really excited because of how open and cool they were. They asked to be friends on Facebook and then a week later invited me to a "birthday party" at one of the ministry houses. It was really weird. There was alcohol and snacks but in the middle there was a bible study that they hadn't told me about. It was all of the sudden like being at a multi-level marketing meeting that you thought was going to be a fun party. It just felt icky and I felt embarrassed about how excited I was to have these new friends, who turned out to have an ulterior motive.
Story Five: “I didn’t stick around long enough to get in deep, but I can certainly say that everything people say about this “church” is true.”
I lived at home in the spring of 2017 after dropping out of my freshman year of college, before I moved to off campus housing at OSU to start school up again. My high school was absolutely laden with xenos kids and I’ve known since I was very young that xenos was a cult, I had a family member who was active within the church throughout my childhood. Living at home during my off semester I was somewhat lonely and wanted to have more friends, so I was the perfect candidate for xenos members to attempt to recruit. I knew from the first day I hung out with 2 xenos girls that I had previously known, that they were deeply into the church and wanted to recruit me, but being in my position I decided to go along with it for a while to firsthand experience xenos and see if all the tactics and cultish ways were really true.
I didn’t stick around long enough to get in deep, but I can certainly say that everything people say about this “church” is true. From the absolutely overkill cigarette smoking to the love bombing to the very weird and generally uncomfortable bible studies followed by people you hardly know asking you afterwards what you thought of the “teachings”, I was uncomfortable very quickly. Within maybe a month I was invited to meetings very frequently and shown around a ministry house and told about how cool it was, only to be totally ghosted by these girls once I finally very nicely told one of them to stop inviting me to bible study as I am an atheist and would never ever attend. All around weird stuff, just wish that I hadn’t gone to a xenos Christmas shindig in 2016 while super trashed, that’s definitely written down on a xenos record somewhere
Story Six: “There was a video posted of the large group torturing gold fish in 2-liter bottles of soda and then actually eating the goldfish for shock value.“
I attended one home church event in high school with my friend who were all members. Immediately it felt uncomfortable and I was cornered being asked if I believe in god. I didn’t answer the question and a member told me that it’s sad that I will be going to hell. I never attended an event again.
I did stay friends with the girls at my school who remained in Xenos. They began to change, and performing extreme acts to get people’s attention. This meant wearing crazy outfits to school like morph suits, sumo suits, painting their bodies so people would always have a conversation with the individuals about something. One summer, the girls went to a summer camp with Xenos. There was a video posted of the large group torturing gold fish in 2-liter bottles of soda and then actually eating the goldfish for shock value. I believe the group utilized disgust, talking about harming animals and doing extreme acts to draw emotion out of people- making people feel like they were missing out on something by not being apart of the group.
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