Just Like Me

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Years after escaping a crazy religious cult, Glynn is invited back to a reunion. Reluctantly, he attends the party and learns just how big of an impression the church left on its followers...

GLYNN WASHINGTON, HOST:

OK, so a lot of you know that I grew up in a rather odd religion. As a child I knew that I was living in the end times. The pastor told us not to expect to make it to adulthood without witnessing the return of Jesus Christ. As kids we knew we were chosen because the apostle shared actual back and forth conversations that he had with the Lord. It was so much stunning nonsense. But I was a true believer till my late teens when I fled. And for years I really didn't give that organization a whole lot of thought. Kind of like a hazily remembered nightmare. Do we really have to wash each other's dirty feet? Did we really preach that black people were cursed? Did we really prevent each other from seeing doctors? What was all that about? Well like I said I tried to put it out of my mind. And then one day I received an e-mail. My church youth group, the Michigan chapter was going to have a reunion.

And at first I was like, no way, no way. Leave the past to the past. But I kept thinking about it and thinking about it and I figured if it's on my mind this much maybe I should get a plane ticket. So, I did. And when I arrived at the hall I couldn't get the grin off my face. People I'd known since diapers, we grew up in each other's houses. some I hadn't seen in a couple decades. There were lots of hugs, lots of tears and really lots of love. To me it felt like we had made it. Despite all the craziness, the fear, the mind games, the family breakup - we'd made it. And here we were. In that rented conference hall I could feel the apostle. Now, long since dead, I can feel his shadow growing fainter. Still, his was the name we dare not speak. When I finally sat down to dinner, the woman next to me, she looked around and marveled. She said, can you believe that we all grew up in that wacky cult? I lifted my glass to toast our freedom and across from her, a woman who used to be my neighbor looked confused.

She said sincerely what cult? And just like that it felt like this table of people who had known each other since before we could speak, we found ourselves on different sides of an expanse, so wide that no ocean could ever fill it. We knew things about each other that our wives, our husbands, our therapists would never understand. But even then we lived different stories. Today on snap judgments from PRX and NPR we proudly presents, Reunion. Real stories, from real people coming face-to-face with their own past. My name is Glynn Washington get ready, buckle up because you're listening to SNAP JUDGMENT.

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