Raised in Xenos
Story One: "xenos was all i ever knew so that really scared me"
My parents met in xenos, got married and had me and my brother. I grew up going to church all the time, multiple times a week. I loved having friends and something to do and then i got into high school. I joined a group and i really enjoyed everyone but now looking back the older kids (including the leaders) joked around very harshly to the point where i would avoid certain people at times. End of freshman year i started dating a boy who i really liked at the time. my first ever boyfriend. Later in our relationship we got more physical i was very hesitant because i was not ready for something like that. I also wanted to obey the rules in the church. This boy manipulated me into thinking if i i didn’t go along with it i would be in the wrong. On multiple occasions he forced himself on to me. one time in particular i started crying because he wouldn’t let me go. I was manipulated to the point that if i didn’t do this or that he wouldn’t talk to me. After this abuse i ended up trying to get away and with this being my first relationship i had no clue how. i ended up self harming and once my learners found out they almost blamed it on me. being under control of this boy changed me and made me distant and anxious. my leaders realized this and called me out on it by telling me my relationship with god isn’t where it should be. I was hiding this secret about my boyfriend and i was afraid if i told someone i would be kicked out. xenos was all i ever knew so that really scared me. my relationship with my parents suffered and one time a leader witness me lie to my mom and ever since she never believed a word a said. even tho i had never lied to her or anyone in my group. i didn’t fit their mold so they kept sitting me down and telling me my relationship with god wasn’t good. i had no clue how to help myself and when i asked they told me i already knew what to do. the boys in my group were really nice and i enjoyed their company so obviously i spent time with them. this encouraged rumors and once the leaders heard they decided to discipline me out. i didn’t go mostly because i felt so trapped in the whole situation and by this point my anxiety was at an all time high. i skipped school and had panic attacks in my car. leaders would text me saying they needed to talk to me but wouldn’t say why... they just insinuated i did something very wrong. once i got kicked out nobody talked to me. i haven’t heard a word from some people who were my “close friends”. i came out about the sexual assault 2 years after and nothing happened. i’m pretty sure he works with the middle school groups and that makes me really uncomfortable. I have a lot of ptsd from the assault and i to this day do not feel comfortable sleeping with anyone. my body clenches up and i will sit there wanting to cry. I know my business was spread around to many different people and that just proves i was never respected by anyone. i’ve tried to make amends with the people in my group and they still can’t get passed all the rumors made up 3 years ago. i wasn’t perfect but i forgave myself and them but why really gets me is that the point of christianity is to love your neighbor. treat others how you want to be treated. xenos holds them self on a pedestal and if you aren’t involved you’re below them. how the fuck is that loving??? i’m still working out issues they caused but for anyone reading this i encourage you to be strong and to honestly just stand up for yourself because i didn’t and they got the best of me. oh and it’s 100% a cult.
Story Two: "its just an organized christian breeding ground that makes you feel like shit if you leave.."
so i just wanna say i agree with all of this. my mom and dad are both [ . . . . . . ] at xenos and im emotionally detached from them i really feel mentaly fucked because of it and my mom always wants me to come back but she knows not to push me about religion too hard i think because shes afraid of knowing that im an atheist so we just dont talk about it..plust i had super anger issues for awhile.. and my brother feels the same. its just an organized christian breeding ground that makes you feel like shit if you leave..
Story Three: "I wondered if there was just something wrong with me and that’s why I couldn’t make it work"
[ . . . [ I left over 6 years ago and still have nightmares about it
[ . . . ] I’ve actually thought for a long time that someone needs to do this, and it’s great that you took that step.
I was raised in the church my whole life. I even attended their private schools all the way up through middle school.
Yeah definitely it’s just so much that it’s hard to know where to start. I’m an open book if you have any questions.
I don’t wanna say the same thing as everyone else but it really is a consistent experience. They convince you that they’re everything and they give you so much love, but then when things get real or you start to doubt their teachings, they isolate you and eventually cut you off. My high school discipler called this “pruning” and referred to the passage about the vine and the Branches, and she basically made it sound like it’s the church’s responsibility to remove people who are no longer functioning for them the way they want.
For me, this happened during my freshman year- which was a hard time for me. I had just transitioned into public schools from the xenos schools, my parents were getting a divorce, and I was struggling with various mental health issues (self harm, anorexia, suicidal ideation, etc). When I reached out for help, I was told I was being divisive and seeking attention. Then I was slowly alienated and eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and left my homechurch.
In middle school I had tried to get counseling through xenos for my eating disorder, and let me just say, it was very damaging and not productive and the counselors are not equipped to handle the issues they try to confront. My counselor basically asked me a list of questions, she probably just printed it off of google, to see if I had an eating disorder. The first assignment she gave me was to keep a journal of what I was eating and how I felt about it to see if I was actually anorexic.
Anyways. Leaving xenos was a lot like leaving an abusive relationship, and I know because I’ve done that too. They reel you in with love, isolate you from the outside world, and become your identity. They convince you that you need them and that everything outside of the church is dangerous and evil. There’s a lot of gaslighting involved. They take up all your time and that separates you from reality further and further, making you easier to control and manipulate.
I think I experienced this on a deeper level having been raised in xenos and attending the schools.
Before I left, I fought hard to make it work. I tried to resolve my issues with my disciples, even with a mediator. I eventually tried to switch homechurches because I was being isolated so much that attending didn’t make sense anymore (this was very painful at school because my close and main friends were all xenos and they stopped talking to me). When I tried to transfer, my homechurch leader sent out a mass email to all the other leaders in the entire sphere to not let me join another group
And to redirect me to [ . . . ] (that’s the name of my homechurch). So eventually I started attending only CT but eventually just drifted from everyone because I was a black sheep. I had at this point realized I was bisexual and that was a whole issue as well. I was outed to my family and the whole experience was so traumatic that I broke up with my girlfriend exclusively because I was too anxious to be around her.
I had tried to visit another homechurch with one of my good friends at the time and was confronted and cornered by one of the leaders, someone who had been a close family friend for years. She essentially told me I wasn’t welcome to come back until I resolved my issues at [ . . . . . . . . ] which had proved impossible. I had a massive panic attack.
I’m sorry this is so scattered, I’m just sharing as I’m remembering details
The thing about xenos is that when things are good they seem really good but then when you look closer and start asking questions it all comes crashing down
And even when you do realize it, it’s so hard to leave because of how deeply ingrained their teachings become
I wondered if there was just something wrong with me and that’s why I couldn’t make it work
That’s how good they had me
Did you know that there are multiple people who have committed suicide because of xenos? And I’ve also heard something about a team of psychologists dedicated to helping people who have left xenos because of how intense the damage can be
That might be a good resource to look into when you build your website. Maybe have a section for people who have left or are thinking of leaving who need some help
Story Four: "Everyone is super manipulative and there’s a total hierarchy, there’s such a stigma about people that “walk away”"
I prefer to remain anon but my here’s my experience: I grew up in the church, going to the Xenos schools. We had Bible class where we were “preparing to go into the world” (high school). I transferred into the high school group eventually, and even when I thought I was most involved it wasn’t enough for them, they never thought I was ready for a disciples like everyone else. Finally junior year I go to a party with my friend from group, and we drink. She confesses to a leader, and she outs me so I’m bombarded with questions from leaders. Finally I’m sat down and a leader opens a passage in her Bible about “the drunk man” and threatens to kick me out if I do it more. (However now I know the college group is riddled with drunkenness and they drink straight moonshine, obviously not for the taste). So I come out less and less, almost everyday getting texts from everyone in the group about coming to group or hanging out. They catch on to me leaving and move me up to a college group early I went a few times, but ultimately was able to leave. A leader had a talk with me saying I have to choose between “complete dedication” and leaving, so you know what I chose. People still hit me up trying to hang out and stuff. I forgot to add too, when I was in the high school group they literally told me not to hang out with my non-xenos friends, and to hang out more with them. It sucked because I loved people I’d met but they want nothing to do with you once you leave. Everyone is super manipulative and there’s a total hierarchy, there’s such a stigma about people that “walk away” (leave) to stop people from leaving, and they’re looked down upon and dehumanized so much. Thanks!
Story Five: "I believe the true cult leaders are all the home church leaders"
Please make this anonymous, I was in xenos from age 13-17, my first time there I knew it was sketch. I only went because my best friend went, she believed everything. She was so brainwashed by them, she lost all her friends that weren’t in xenos and even almost lost me. I went off and on but everytime I skipped a meeting all the leaders would bombard me with messages asking where I was. Towards my end with xenos I brought my crush to a hc meeting
They judged me almost immediately because I liked someone who didn’t believe in the things they did. They practically attacked him with questions and had almost rehearsed rebuttals when he said something that actually made since. They treat god as a ruler and king. He’s supposed to be our father and friend
People say cult have 1 true leader so xenos can’t be one. I believe the true cult leaders are all the home church leaders
Including the main people at ct
It’s so terrible young kids and teens are getting stuck in something terrible. They never see it coming.