Why John Bedson Resigned As Editor

Guest article by John Bedson

In the 1980's I ran the Christadelphian ‘Lightstand’ operation supplying Christadelphian full colour pamphlets, booklets, posters and 16mm films and videos to every continent in the World except Antarctica. We sold millions of items and had stockists in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, the East and also the West Coast of the US and the UK. I closed that operation because I realised that the religion could not be validated. If they can’t validate their religion they are thrashing around in the dark trying to pin the tail on the donkey and they will never succeed.



If they were offering to sell to the public a second hand car they would have to produce the vehicle. People would want to kick the tires and take it out for a test run to determine whether the Christadelphian claims about the motor were valid or not. But they can’t produce the car. All they can do is to tell us that we must have faith that the object will be produced at some undefined time in the future and that we must have faith that they are not lying to us or that they have not been deluded into thinking that they have something to offer that they don’t possess.

Moreover they threaten their members that if they ever cease believing in the invisible car that they will be raised from the dead and punished at some time in the future. The whole thing is completely ridiculous.

The best piece of evidence that they can come up with is that a very small section of Ezekiel’s prophecies has a somewhat vague coincidence with modern day events in Israel. But much of what he wrote in those few chapters is contradictory to events in modern Israel. The Jews don’t “dwell safely”, it is not “a land of unwalled villages” it is a nation of walled settlements. “David my servant” is not the king over them. I could go on but my point is made. Ezekiel was not accurately predicting modern Israel; he was just being a blundering, incompetent waffling old fool making up fantasy stories and predictions, none of which came true.

I resigned as editor because I realised that until the Christadelphians provide some credible evidence to support their claims of supernatural and/or metaphysical content to the Bible there is no point in continuing the debate with them. Nothing more needs to be said and we should leave the ball in their court until they can figure out some way to return it into play.

I see no point in us wasting our time with such people. Move on with your lives and forget our embarrassing Christadelphian past.

24 comments:

  1. Thanks John. I see where you are coming from and I agree that many aspects of the religion are ridiculous (at least from an outsider's perspective).

    However, I personally do see value in talking with Christadelphians who want to discuss the nature of reality (which I mean in the very broadest sense). It is for that reason that I think keeping this site running is worthwhile.

    As I see it, the real value is not really about the Christadelphians who come here to comment. In my experience Christadelphians rarely come here for conversation. A few have in the past, but most are only interested in drive-by preaching, and have no intention of listening.

    That's fine (so long as we recognise it) because other Christadelphians are likely to hold the same views, and may have never seen counter arguments or other viewpoints. Seeing their own views refuted is uncomfortable, and forces them to resolve the cognitive dissonance. I remember watching debates online and seeing popular Christian arguments for the resurrection debunked. It was eye-opening. I raised the issues with other well-respected Christadelphians and that's when I realised their answers were no better. Most Christadelphians are simply not aware of the arguments against their beliefs.

    So basically I think there is value in posting information where curious people can find it, but also, and just as importantly, just being here as contacts that people can reach out to if they have left the religion and want to talk to someone who understands what they've been through. Even just to help ex-Christadelphians and doubters realise they are not alone, is a worthwhile cause.

    And for that, we just need to "keep the lights on" so to speak.

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  2. I think the primary and secondary reasons outlined in the "About Us" at the top of the website are sufficiently worthwhile reasons to keep the website going. It is important that Christadelphians, and especially any others dropping by, know that there are many Ex-Christadelphians, and the reasons why they have become so, particularly when it comes to the question of validating the religion, as John has stated.

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  3. As stated above, it is pointless to try and reason with lifelong CDs who are entrenched in their views and will not listen to any other viewpoint or facts.
    However, this website is invaluable for young people who have been brought up by CD parents, but have doubts about the religion. Had this site been available in the 90's when I was a teenager, discussion groups and youth circle talks would have been a much more lively affair. I knew that I was being told a load of guff, but had nowhere to source alternative views and scientific facts.
    Hopefully, a new generation of young CD children will question their elders and maybe even give them food for thought.

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    1. Haven't you all ever considered that once baptized into Christ's name you are responsible to obey him until the day you die or he returns?

      There is no way out!

      Have you forgotten the terrible coming terrifying ordeal that lies ahead for those who cast aside Christ and neglect their calling?

      Take a sampled look gentlemen.
      "God is not mocked whatsoever seeds a man sows so shall he reap"

      "26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries.

      28 A man that hath set at nought Moses law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses:
      29 of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

      30 For we know him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
      Heb 10:26-31 (ASV)

      Sadly such faithlessness as is being shown in here was duly predicted.

      “21 For it were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire.”
      2 Peter 2:20-22 (ASV)

      Please give deep thought of your predicament and take advantage of the Lord's compassion being shown and repent and come back to Christ before it is too late.

      "For we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of God. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow, And every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
      Romans 14:10-12 (ASV)

      It's inescapable as Mr. J. Benson will soon find out, just as Christopher Hitchens one of the world's most infamous God blasphemers will also find, since Almighty God has cut short his life and had him taken him away at the young age of only 62.




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    2. I am appalled that Appalled sounds just like Jeff!

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    3. It appears that I have escaped this fate worse than death, as I resisted the pressure to get baptized in my teens and escaped!
      However it's all irrelevant, as Jesus died 2000 years ago (that's if he ever existed and wasn't a made up Jewish superhero) and won't be coming back anytime soon.
      Stop wasting your life away, chasing after a fantasy world that only exists in an ancient book of fables and myths.

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    4. Mark,
      You sure did, the rest of us who made "the plunge" are going to die (like going to sleep but not waking up), then get woken up, and stood up in front of some bearded dude that might not speak English,be given a dressing down, and then poof! dead again. Like waking in the night, going for a pee, and dropping off again. Pretty sure they would really like....to threaten us with hell fire, but hey, they can't can they?

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    5. “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth”

      Appalled, Jeff, Watcher, Moron, whatever…. It’s funny you know, I think that most if not all people who have worked out that religion is rubbish would consider that to be the truth.

      When a child has an imaginary friend, it’s considered somewhat normal. A bit weird, but somewhat normal. They have active imaginations. But if that child grows up and still has an imaginary friend, well…let’s just say it’s not considered normal. They would be assessed for a psychiatric condition.

      We have billions, with a B, that still have imaginary friends, but… as long as his name is Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, God (whichever one) take your pick, that’s considered ok, society gives you a pass. In reality, the white coats should be having a field day.

      “Please give deep thought of your predicament and take advantage of the Lord's compassion being shown and repent and come back to Christ before it is too late.”

      If you’re trying to sell your angle on god, no-one’s buying.

      "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence"

      Christopher Hitchens
      R.I.P 13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011

      (By the way, Christopher Hitchens was a heavy smoker and drinker from his early teens, he killed himself)

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    6. It seems Jeff has once again resorted to making threats of violence against individuals here. To be clear, I don't consider Jeff or his imagined iron-age deity to be an actual threat so there's no real harm (other than perhaps slight bruising from the repeated face-palms we endure). In a sense his comments are amusing and quite immature, but after a while it just gets monotonous and tiresome.

      I think several of us have seen enough of Jeff's vindictive diatribes and would rather move on to more interesting things. I've yet to see any evidence that he is open to any discussion or conversation and I think it's time for some fresh air (via judicious use of the delete button if need be).

      This website is primarily a place for discussion, and not a platform for preaching Christadelphian dogma. If anyone does want to preach and threaten us with violence from their favourite "good book", they should not expect to be tolerated for long.

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    7. Appalled, you can reasonably assume that many here have considered those verses. Certainly in my case it is knowledge of scripture, not ignorance of scripture, that brought me to where I am today.

      However, I did address this concept on my blog a few months ago: https://www.jonmorgan.info/religion/2018/05/12/the-unbreakable-vow.html (warning: may be triggering). A couple of points there bear repeating:
      * Fear is often a factor in taking these commitments, but now we are somehow meant to fear more because we walked away from it? Good to know this God of love...

      * Baptism is a conditional commitment. Since God and Jesus have not lived up to their side of the agreement (probably because they don't exist) we are no longer bound by it. To me, searching out reality is a much more worthwhile commitment.

      I agree with Thom: The comments by Jeff (and aliases) have not contributed to discussion, and choosing different aliases makes it worse. Quoting scripture is not a useful response to an argument that scripture is not binding today. This is not an attempt to censor open discussion, but a recognition that this is not happening (the same goes for my blog).

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  4. Hi, Just wanted to say thank you to all the contributors over the years to this site. I have found so much that resonates with my own experience. As an enthusiastic CD in my early years, I then became increasingly aware of the communities shortcomings, but remained optimistic that reform was possible. Then after many years finally coming to the conclusion that change was impossible, and that for my own self respect and sanity I would have to leave.

    My main issue has been with the communities approach to science and the Theory of Evolution, an approach that has been rightly criticised on this site and others over recent years. The science is now beyond dispute to any reasonable observer, yet the CD’s have become ever more disconnected from reality and ignorant of the evidence.

    Another issue has been the woeful attitude toward women, the notion that the social norms of the ancient world cannot be changed, but waived away by supposed symbolism and differences in role.

    I found myself becoming angriest at the ability of otherwise decent and pleasant people to argue that genocide was an acceptable event. One exhortation I attended years ago left me cold and stunned that the speaker could talk for 30 minutes in simple terms of obedience equals good, disobedience equals bad, without ever apparently realising that he was talking about genocide, the most heinous crime known. His daily reading was 1 Sam 15, Saul and the Amalakites. To add to the horror the major news story at the time were the mass killings in Rwanda. That ‘normal’ people could have such distorted and blinkered ethics was profoundly depressing.

    I could go on, but most of the points have already been made on this site and others. I have found the critical comments to be accurate (and amusing), if sometimes expressed in more robust language than I would use. The experience of other ex-CD’s has been helpful, it is always good to know that you are not the only one that can see the Emperor has no clothes!

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    1. Wow. This reminds me of an exhortation that i heard recently where the speaker tried to rationalise stoning your disobedient children to death in the old testament context as god's way of being merciful, and it was a good thing, rather than letting them continue to do wrong and be eternally punished by rejection at the judgement seat. Seriously messed up and made my blood boil ��. To be fair on him, I know him well and he is a good man, I think he was seriously grappling with the morality of a monsterous diety in the context of acceptabale human morality, but the fact that he could make it seem like a right and a good thing blew my mind.

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  5. Hi - I totally get what John says about moving on with his life.

    I just want to give my take on this. I come to this website and often wonder why I am here (again). I guess the answer is I am stuck. By stuck, I do not mean that one day I will go back to the CDs - no, that time has long gone.

    I mean that I don't know how, to move on and forget mt CD past. Yes, I find it deeply embarrassing but also, I am full of toxic shame. And believe me, I would like to move on from this but I can't!

    So on this point, if anyone knows of a good counsellor (I live in UK) who specialises in helping people like me who have been massively abused by the cult of CDs, let me know. Maybe they could get me unstuck.

    I find I am ok for a while then I find I have this horrible anger towards the CDs which only harms me - not them!

    I would do anything to have not been born into this insane cult!

    Mad Max

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    1. Max, sorry I can't recommend anyone personally, but maybe you could try searching here: www.cbtregisteruk.com

      Also, have you read 'Leaving the Fold' by Marlene Winell? I haven't read it myself but it sounds like it could be useful to former CDs. The author has experience of counselling many people who have left their religions, both mainstream and non-mainstream.
      www.amazon.co.uk/Leaving-Fold-Former-Fundamentalists-Religion/dp/1933993235

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    2. Max, one never forgets, and that is good, to contrast with reality, but I have found it gradually assumes less importance and influence, and less of a prominent backdrop to ones life as time passes.
      Getting down to work and recreation helps, cultivating non-CD friends, and belonging to organisations which help others (for both physical and other help), of which there are many from which to choose.



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    3. Thanks both of you for your comments - I have downloaded a sample of the book from Amazon - it looks good. Once I find the right counsellor, I will get in some counselling as well.

      The thing about having serious trauma (PTSD) is that while the symptoms have generally died down, recently, they have come back with a vengeance - living with one of my childhood abusers as a favour to my mother. This abuser is in the CDs and while they do not preach at me or try and guilt me into re-joining, his controlling behaviour has seriously triggered me in general. Resulting in me wanting to control him and physical violence towards him. That's, how triggering it is for me!!

      One thing I have learnt from this is that I will never, spend time with that person again - it's simply too dangerous.

      When I was last having trauma therapy, my therapist was very concerned that I kept my anonymity on this website - I particularly see why at the moment.

      The irony in gaining the insight into all of the madness of cult & family abuse is that when triggered I feel insane and they feel ok!

      Once again thanks for suggestions - any other suggestions/books etc very welcome.

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    4. I've read "Leaving the Fold" by Marlene Winell. I found it pretty good, and quite helpful.

      Do note that the book tries to cater to those who still believe as well as those who don't. It is aimed at recovery from fundamentalist and highly controlling religions, rather than religion in general. Personally I thought this aspect made some parts of the book feel like it was trying to cater to too broad an audience, but this is only a minor criticism. There are several practical therapy techniques mentioned in the book, and it's a matter of taking what works for you.

      Overall I'd say it's a must-read for anyone who has experienced the symptoms of RTS: http://journeyfree.org/rts/

      The goal is to build up a toolkit of many useful tools for different situations. For help with mental illness such as depression and anxiety, I'd also recommend "The happiness trap", by Dr Russ Harris, which teaches ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy). ACT and CBT are the two techniques I've found most helpful in dealing with depression and anxiety. I guess I could add mindfulness to that as well. There is no magic pill. Use what works for you and discard the rest.

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  6. Max,
    I'm sure you therapist will have told you that PTSD can only ever be managed, not cured. They are correct, anonymity is important.
    I've lived with non CD related PTSD for a number of years now, and several years after ceasing drug therapy, I still lose around 40% of my life to it. Seemingly innocuous events can be triggers that last for hours. If a trigger occurs at work, there is nowhere to hide, and the day is lost just hiding the condition until I can escape. I lose about 3 nights sleep a week to it, and battle through the days when I do. I'm lucky to have a job that allows me to set my own schedule around things that have to be achieved, and I've "got away" with it for years, but it is tiring on the soul.
    If you find yourself self-medicating or substance abusing to excess, seek immediate help, but don't be ashamed if you do it from time to time, most sufferers do, it is finding a balance that lets you keep functioning that is hard, but it can be done, albeit at the cost of reduced quality of life.
    Like me, you probably are insane for SOME of the time, but at least you know it, and know that sooner or later "normal service" will be resumed. People in religious cults are insane all of the time!

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    1. Absolutely Time Traveller - religious cults are insane and in my case, so is my family and they don't know it either!

      I want to give some positives here - yes, there are positives! As part of my recovery in a less formal way, I am getting involved in storytelling and the storytelling material I have from my family and the CDs is huge and some of it brilliant!

      The things that have helped me considerably are: Escitalopram (anti-anxiety medication - stopped taking this recently), trauma therapy, 12 step meetings (several different programmes), yoga, eating a wholefood diet, taking 7 weeks holiday per year instead of 2 weeks, not drinking coffee and being kind to my self.

      My symptoms have changed from being 24/7 (2 years ago)to mostly, (95% of the time) symptom free. That's why it has been such a shock when this horrible stuff happened recently.

      There needs to be a Cult's Anonymous for people such as my self!

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    2. Max, cultivate supportive understanding people, and keep away from the others.
      Try to remember that there are people here, on this blog, to whom you can talk, think of us as friends. Anyone who comments in an adverse way to you, ignore.
      Hang on in there.

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    3. "There needs to be a Cult's Anonymous for people such as my self!

      There is. I don't know what this is like, but the author of the book, "Leaving the Fold", holds regular group therapy sessions via video-conference: http://journeyfree.org/group-forum/

      You can also do individual sessions well.

      There are even weekend retreats, although obviously you'd need to travel to San Francisco to participate: http://journeyfree.org/retreats/


      Another one to take a look at is: https://www.recoveringfromreligion.org/

      I'm sure there are other programs out there for cult survivors. Perhaps we should look at formalising all of this into a dedicated page or two on the blog.

      Another resource you might be interested in is the journey of Lloyd Evans, a former Jehovah's Witness. I've watched some of his interviews and there are many similarities between Christadelphians and JWs in terms of what it's like to grow up in the religion.

      His YouTube channel is under a pseudonym, John Cedars, although he has since gone public under his real name (see the about page): https://www.youtube.com/user/johncedars1929

      Btw, well done on your progress so far! Celebrate every win. It's good to look back and realise how far we've come every once in a while.

      I'll also reiterate what Mancott said - keep away from people who bring you down. You don't need them in your life and there's absolutely no requirement to appease them or engage with them. You choose your own road, and you get to determine who is important in your life and who isn't. Make time for those who are worth it, and let the rest go. Find the things that light you up inside and follow that path instead. It sounds like you're already well on your way - so again well done and keep doing the things that you've found helpful :)

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  7. Margaret ChicesterJuly 21, 2018 at 3:04 PM

    I thank the creators of this site for creating it. It helps give me clarity, in sorting through the residual suffering caused by my sojourn in Christadelphianism. The horror of much of it involved the appearance of normality in most things. The same pretense is maintained in all cult groups, and I would recommend watching the YouTube histories of the Peoples Temple cult, headed by Jim Jones. The documentaries depict a congressman's visit to the cult's compound in Guyana, where he is cheerfully reassuring Jim Jones of the group's great accomplishments and benefits when a group member inexplicably attempts to shove a knife into the congressman's rib cage. As several parties comment in most of the documentaries: "The congressman had no understanding of what he was dealing with." It often takes many years after a departure to clearly see what we were a part of; in many ways, the recovery from our "membership" takes the rest of our lives. The initial years following my defection involved great risk I might return to the fold, but now I regard it with a steady revulsion. It takes time for our minds to clear. A standing ovation for your website.

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  8. Yes, agree with all comments in support of this page, I have been quietly following since 2012. I found this page at a time in my life when I felt like I was the only one that existed that had ever critically examined the "truth", and found it firstly dubious, and then absurd. I first tried to square my scientific understanding away with theistic evolution, but quickly found it a ridiculous bandaid solution to trying to make reality fit my preferred ideology.
    I have found advice and perspectives here that have aligned with my own and helped me to develop reasoned arguments and perspectives that are true to my goal of seeking truth even if it takes me to a place that I didn't want to be. This site, and its links to other sites, both scientific and personal has helped me through all of the (to date) stages of my journey out of religion, and I am not sure where I would be now without it (I shudder to think actually). High horse gallops were entertaining, and meaningful for me at a time when I was angry. I have found insights and advice most helpful in moving forward from the hollow emptiness of losing my identity as bound up in being a Jesus clone, toward being a citizen of earth, no longer a pilgrim waiting for Christadelphian car 2.0 to arrive. The structured arguments, suggested reading and links have been a fantastic resource. Reading "Leaving the fold" and Rob Hyndman's "Unbelievable" was a turning point in my life, though I still have a gaping hole in my life where my purpose once was - work in progress :).
    Reading Mad Max's comments in this thread has made me stop and think about my own journey and where it has brought me to - I feel your pain. I still have family in the cult both extended and close. My wife is happy to support me on my "wayward" trajectory, if that's what it takes to make me happy again. We still (rarely) attend a conservative meeting, and they are happy to turn a blind eye to my atheism for now, as long as I don't "preach" it to others. Listening to the diatribe from the speakers still makes me angry, so I avoid attendance as best I can. My extended family don't want to understand what brought me to my current position. Logic is irrelevant. If it is at odds with the bible then its wrong, end of story - they cant see how deluded they are, and see me as the broken one. Yes I need help, not because I left the Christadelphians, but because I was a Christadelphian - they cant see this, and I believe never will.
    I encourage the administrators of this site to continue the good work that you are doing. I'm sure I'm not the only one watching from afar (for fear of retribution from the "loving" brethren) that has found the articles and discussion here a source of strength and direction through a very difficult time in their life.
    Keep up the good work guys - it's vital.



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