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Image by Jean-Yves Matroule

Board Statement

In early 2023, a small group of hand-picked and vetted individuals were chosen to become members of the founding Board of Directors of a to-be-created nonprofit organization. Born of a collaboration just over two years prior, this new Board was charged with building a nonprofit from the ground up. This entailed a great amount of foundational work, often done by people who had not done this before but were eager to learn and get to work so that a strong foundation was in place when we were ready to announce our tax-exempt status, begin fundraising, and most importantly, move forward with the mission of supporting cult survivors.

 

By late 2023, the foundation had been laid. Stopgap measures had been taken to ensure that the content sent to us by survivors was published. We established our governance. We held our first event, which was by every measure a success. We raised our first funds. Like any organization, there were hiccups, minor disagreements about direction, and differences that seemed to be worked out in one-on-one conversations or monthly Board meetings. Despite these hurdles, we felt confident we were heading into 2024 on solid ground. 

 

In the fourth quarter of 2023, however, things changed. A Board member, someone central to the creation of the movement, resigned and ceased communication, except to let Board members know that they could no longer undertake some of the functions crucial to running the organization and certain access was revoked. Because of issues that had been identified along the way, this was not wholly surprising, but it created a new problem: we needed to step away from what we had worked so hard to build and decide what steps to take next. The timing was particularly difficult as our nonprofit had just been granted tax-exempt status from the IRS.

 

We’ve spent this time deciding on those steps and listening to others who have shared examples of similar setbacks. We’ve learned that many of us in the cult recovery community, particularly those creating nonprofits and other foundational structures in support of survivors, have experienced people who undermine the larger cause. 

 

That realization has just strengthened our resolve. We don’t know exactly what our future entails, but we do know we are continuing as a nonprofit, which we have rebranded to Living Cult Free. We are using what we learned from this experience to strengthen our Board, our nonprofit, and ourselves. We are continuing to serve the cult recovery space. We have and will always believe survivor stories are vital to helping us all feel less alone, to de-stigmatizing cultic involvement, and to educating others about what it takes to not just leave cultic relationships, but thrive in their wake. 

 

Building something new takes time. We apologize to anyone who may have been confused about where we’ve been, why there may have been a lack of response, and how something that has served and supported this space for the past three years seemed to have just disappeared.

 

We are still here. We are still listening. We still support you and the survivor community. We always will. 

 

We’ve repaired the cracks in our foundation, which has held strong throughout this journey. We’re approaching our next steps with even more communication amongst ourselves and others, reminding ourselves that red flags should never be ignored, and no one should ever feel afraid.

 

That’s why we left our cults in the first place.

We can’t wait to connect with you. Please visit our homepage and subscribe to hear from us, connect with us via Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/living_cult_free/, or send an email to livingcultfree@gmail.com

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