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Quote of the Day:
'Victims gradually lose their ability to make independent decisions and exercise informed consent.'
- Dr Margaret Singer


The painful trauma of leaving a Cult . . . My Story
(Rhona Johnson)


At fifteen my mother began a so called "Bible Study" with two Jehovah's Witnesses who called once a week with their books and I sat and listened.

We attended one of their meetings, but then my parent's marriage broke up and we forgot about the JW's.

Then years later my eldest sister and her husband also started a "study" and being a lonely housewife with a new baby I asked her to send two JWs to conduct a study at my home and my husband was persuaded to join in. He was not impressed with their teaching of no blood transfusions but at that time they told us we could make up our own minds about taking a blood transfusion.

We were not baptized members at the time when my first baby was born and I needed a transfusion to save my life after severe blood loss.


My husband gave his consent and I survived.


In spite of our concerns about this issue when my sister and her husband after two years of indoctrination decided to be baptized into the Watchtower, my husband and I followed and were also baptized as JWs.

Then we left South Africa and emigrated to West Australia. We joined the local group of JWs and went door to door with the magazines. Then a young JW couple were involved in a car accident and the husband died after refusing a blood transfusion.

This upset my husband who decided to do some research into how this teaching came about and he realised that they had misinterpreted the scripture to think that blood is sacred when in fact the Bible teaches that Life is sacred and therefore when a person gives blood to save a life, there is nothing wrong with that gift. So he wrote to the Headquarters in Sydney and told them he would write an essay and print it out to show the mistakes made by the Cult and expose their false dogma.

We were told that we would be disfellowshipped and that is what they did. My sister in S. Africa was still in the Cult and she cut me out of her life and that was in 1968 and still will not contact me and it is now 2012.


I lost a sister and had to endure much trauma in order to recover from the control and isolation until I found help from Christians.


I decided to study world Religions and obtained a Degree in Religious Studies as a mature age student at Edith Cowan University. We also studied new religious movements worldwide. This gave me a great understanding of belief systems.

I also helped a Christian group that formed to help ex Cult members to find support after leaving any high control group. This I did for over ten years.

I am so pleased to see that at last some action is being taken in Australia to expose the Cults of all kinds that can damage so many lives in so many ways.


Thank you for your work in helping those of us who have been through the painful trauma of leaving a Cult.



Rhona Johnson B.A. Religious Studies.

Disclaimer: This page is about groups, organisations or movements, which may have been called "cults" and/or "cult-like" in some way, shape or form.  But not all groups called either "cults" or "cult-like" are harmful.  Instead, they may be benign and generally defined as simply people intensely devoted to a person, place or thing.  An account from one person must be read as that; ideas could have been taken out of context or have been misunderstood.  Also, practices may change over time, or between one centre and another.  CIFS encourages readers to research widely before forming an opinion.  Information from one single source would need to be judged against other sources and one's own personal experience.  Therefore, the discussion or mention of a group, organisation or person on this page is not necessarily meant pejoratively. 
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ABC Radio:
5 Apr 2018
16 Oct 2010
14 Oct 2010


CIFS Conference:
Brisbane 2012 *
Canberra 2011
Seminar 2011
Brisbane 2010


Visions of Paradise


Cults: After-Effects




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