Suffering in Silence: Surviving and Healing Religious Trauma
A Memoir of Growing Up in a Christian Cult
by Andrew Pledger
Suffering in Silence: Surviving and Healing Religious Trauma is my story of surviving religious trauma in the Independent Fundamental Baptist cult and finding freedom from religion. Fundamentalist Christianity encompassed every aspect of my life and caused severe trauma. Toxic doctrines on human nature, sexuality, emotions, end times, and hell ingrained in my mind caused me to develop depression, anxiety, C-PTSD, internalized homophobia, and disassociation. My religious upbringing caused severe psychological damage and stunted my emotional, and intellectual growth.
When I was older I realized fundamentalist Christianity was based on fear, not love. This form of Christianity made me suicidal, but I survived and left the faith. While I struggled with my mental health, Christians told me it was my fault for not trusting in God, but I knew it was because of their damaging belief system. If I had kept trusting in their religion I would not be here. This book combines autobiography and psychology to help and encourage survivors. My journey entails growing up in the IFB cult, being homeschooled, struggling with my sexuality, attending Bob Jones University, facing my religious trauma, and finally escaping religion. Soon after leaving, my greatest fears came to fruition when Christian nationalism began to take control of the United States. I share my insights on witnessing these historical moments that happened in 2022. I continued to sound the horn of the dangers of Christian supremacy and the harms of toxic religion. I was not backing down without a fight.
This is my journey from suffering in silence to speaking up and unashamedly telling my story. This book is about me discovering that there’s more to life than living in constant fear, shame, and guilt. It's a story of learning to become your own hero and forging your own path. A story about breaking the cycle of generational trauma and inspiring others to do the same. Healing from religious trauma is possible, but you must leave the place making you sick and process the trauma.
For those seeking healing, I commend you because it takes courage and strength. Know that you are not alone.
The first draft of the memoir has been written and I am now working on the second draft. The book is over 56,000 words, and I plan to revise eight more drafts before sending the book to an editor. - Updated September 27, 2022