Updated: Dec 24, 2019
If you feel trapped in a cult and in fear, then you must consider the fact that this bondage is not of God. The Bible tells us that “where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” If you or someone you love has expressed feelings of fear and wanting to escape, we want to offer you help, a chance to heal, and encourage you with hope that you can serve the Lord. There is life and liberty outside of the cult. I encourage you to recall the things that brought us together, which was the word of God, and the love that Jesus Christ had for us. If you or your loved one have made the decision to leave House of Prayer or any other abusive cult, you are not alone. As we all have worked together, our desire is for you to know the truth, and that the truth will make you free.
How to help friends and family
There is so much involved and many things to consider when you are trying to help someone you love to escape a destructive cult. As upsetting as these circumstances are, your ability to remain calm is imperative. It may be hard to grasp how anyone can get so wrapped up in an organization this abusive, and how anyone could consciously decide to stay with a group that has destroyed so many lives. It is important to understand that there is an unimaginable amount of brainwashing and manipulation that has taken place.
While you may recognize the familiar voice of your loved one, the amount of demonic control and fear instilled in them has made them a completely different person entirely. Please understand, that while it may be clear to us that your loved one is in a dangerous cult, as we are on the outside looking in, at House of Prayer, their perception/reality has been solely influenced by Denis, whom they truly believe to be God’s last prophet and the only pure man who is their only hope to get to Heaven. From that standpoint, the amount of confusion, torment, and fear may not always be apparent.
All cults are not the same and we want to use our own experiences with cults, specifically House of Prayer and the depth of
Denis’ control over the member’s lives. So, the information that you are about to read will shed some light on the severe condition of your loved one’s mind, the desperate situation that they are in, and offer guidance on how you can help.
It is difficult to completely explain the severity of your loved one’s circumstances, but as you have read in all the startling and painful testimonies, this is nothing to take lightly. This article is not intended to scare you, but only to help many of you that have contacted us seeking answers and voicing concern.
First Pray, Relax, and Don’t Panic!
It’s important that you don’t overreact. The natural impulse is to confront your friend or loved one immediately, but the cult is ready for that. Denis has already planted several mental “booby traps” into the minds of their members. These booby traps are designed to be triggered by a few common reactions to discovery of involvement in their group. The most common trigger are the words “It’s a Cult!” The cult knows it will be identified as a cult, and so they preempt that event by telling their members that Satan will prompt those closest to them to say that they are a cult. So, when you say what they have primed their member to expect, they will automatically think, “Wow, Denis was right!” Then, it is unlikely that your friend or loved one will consider anything else you say. In fact, your words might trigger panic and make them want to get away from you. So please relax, and don’t call them a cult at first. The most valuable tool and weapon we have is prayer. Pray often for your loved one, and pray for strength, discernment, and healing. Prayer has the power to change everything.
Focus on the Golden Rule
The Golden Rule is simple: Do whatever you can to keep the communication channels open with your loved one or friend. The cult will be looking for any reason to shut you off from their member. Don’t give them an excuse. The Golden Rule is simple, keep the communication channels open. You can’t do anything later if you can’t communicate with the one, you’re trying to help.
Educate Yourself About Cults
Learn as much as you can about cults and how they work. Research the cult your friend or loved one is involved with. This website is specifically exposing Rony Denis and House of Prayer so that you understand how desperate and urgent an escape is. Take notes. The internet is an excellent resource for research. If the cult they have joined has been around for a while, then there should be information about them. Also, a key factor to consider is how involved your loved one is. They may be a new member and therefore, strategically kept distant from the inner workings and deception of the cult. If they have been there for several years, then they may be high ranking ministers or close to Denis’ inner circle, and we have to be prepared for their safety and their lives to be at risk. Unfortunately, the more the member knows and the closer they are to Denis, the more dangerous their escape may be. It will have to be their decision, but once they are ready, offer support.
Share With Trusted Friends and Family
This can be extremely risky, so I urge you to pray and use discernment regarding this matter. Share this information with other friends and family of the person involved in the cult, BUT DO NOT SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS WHO ARE INSIDE THE CULT. Bring those carefully selected family members up to speed. But instruct them to say nothing to anyone yet. Make sure they know to keep their communication channels open too. There may be some frustration and hurt because of things the member may have said to you in order to push you away. This is something that all members have been conditioned to do and another form of control from Denis. The more trusted people the cult member can interact with, the better the chance of them leaving the cult. Try to stress to that member not to discuss plans with any other members. Each member has been conditioned and told to report these things to Denis, even to the point of spouses telling on each other, and children telling on their parents.
If you can, talk with recovered ex-members of the cult. If you are inside House of Prayer and reading this, please know that we love you and we are here for you. Contrary to the lies that Denis may have told you, we are not against God, and we are available if you want help. Often, we can provide helpful advice, resources, and contacts, and we can help with the execution of a successful escape. Don’t let them know who your loved one is until after you are sure they are trustworthy.
Find Other Friends and Parents
Locate other friends and parents of cult members. They can provide helpful advice and contacts too. But more than that, they can offer support. It may be necessary to involve law enforcement and family protective services. If you are a family member, or involved in the cult, I strongly urge you to report abusive and criminal matters to the authorities as you have 1st hand knowledge. When it comes to these issues, we are trying the best we can, but there is no better witness than someone closely related.
Take a Holiday
A cult needs to keep new members in its buzzing, thumping, environment to really get them hooked. So, it’s of major benefit to get them away from that environment for as long as you can. Often, a holiday is all that is needed for the new (or long term) cult member to gain perspective. So, if you can, get them away from the cult. Make sure you go to a city or place where the cult has no presence. But do it in such a way that there is little time for the cult member to seek approval from their cult leaders. In House of Prayer, they have to get approval to go anywhere. The more amazing the planned trip, the more likely the cult member will disobey their leader and go. In reality, any step taken away from the cult can offer a relieving sense of freedom. Taking a holiday is something you can do early on, as long as you remember the Golden Rule – don’t risk losing contact with them. Considering their level of involvement, a holiday may not be possible, but any break from the oppression they are under will be uplifting.
House of Prayer has been forbidden from all media sources including television, internet, social media, books, local newspapers, and communication with family. Don’t be surprised if they are disoriented and unaware of current events. Also, if the place you go to escape happens to have bad communications, no internet or phone, then that will help break the members contact with the group. Do all that you can to ensure that the cult member will not be tracked down during escape. ESCAPE IS AN URGENT AND OFTEN DESPERATE TIME! It will be a very confusing, frightening, and emotional time as well. If an escape is unsuccessful, this can lead to further abuse, bondage, and even more frightening circumstances. They may have their phone, or any line of communication taken away from them or closely monitored. Please let us help you.
Ask Indirect Questions
When the time comes and you sense it’s OK to ask about the cult, ask indirectly. Don’t say “look at the fire,” instead ask “is that smoke?” In other words, don’t state the conclusion you want, instead get the cult member thinking by pointing them to the smoke and letting them follow it to the fire. Use the research you have done to formulate the questions. Ask one question at a time, not all at once. For example, instead of saying “Your leader is a fake because his end of the world prediction failed,” say “I saw in this copy of your group’s magazine this article, where your leader said the world would end over a year ago. I must be honest, I don’t know what to think about that. Can you help me?”
Plan an Intervention
An intervention is when friends and family of the cult member sit down with them and try to persuade them to leave. Most of the time, this will not be possible to accomplish due to long distance and how closely they are monitored. This is a voluntary action of the cult member by phone, they first must be persuaded to talk about the issue – it is important to never force a cult member to participate. Interventions, whether in person or by phone, are often viewed as rude, intrusive, and judgmental, which usually makes them poorly received. Let them vent and express their feelings of their circumstances. If they have reached the point of opening up to you, they may describe things to you that may be shocking and traumatic, but try to keep calm. For the best chance of success, the intervention should include a team of trusted people, ex-members of the group, and local authorities. (By the way, if you are an exit-counselor or a minister experienced in helping former cult members, please send us your details if you are willing to help. Including which geographical areas you cover.)
Some extra notes…
In most cases, the best way to help friends and family in a cult is to pray, be supportive of them, while not supporting the group or leader they’re involved with. Ultimatums (“it’s me or them!”) are hardly ever useful when people are still in the firm grip of a suspect group or leader. If an escape is counteracted by a leader showing up, this will cause a dismantling amount of confusion and hesitation. The leaders or persons present to stop the escape will use love-bombing again to pull the member back into the fold. This is where the amount of emotional and mental damage may be obvious, as you watch your loved one walk willingly right back into their chains of bondage.
It is uncertain that a legal remedy is going to be available to help friends or family members in a cult, but the more we get the authorities involved and report foul play/abuse, the easier it will be to help on a much larger scale.
If they are an adult and there is no physical abuse occurring, then there is probably little that law enforcement can do, but PLEASE REPORT ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING TO AUTHORITIES.
However, there may be ways to protect both yourself (and other friends/family members) and them in financial terms. For example, a member might set up a separate bank account to save money to start over. If you are able to accomplish this, set it up so that you don’t receive paper statements, or have those statements mailed to someone or some place safe (trusted loved one, or a secret P. O. Box that no one knows about). Often times, keeping hard cash is risky and likely to be found. If you are unable to accomplish this without anyone knowing, don’t be discouraged. Get help with this. Worst case scenario, there are resources to help you start over.
This has issues around damaging the relationship between you and them, and there may also be some significant legal barriers to this. We strongly suggest you talk to a lawyer about potential actions you may be able to take.
Spending time with them
Be as supportive as you can with them. Try to contact them as much as you’re able (without putting pressure on them). Avoid confrontations as they are rarely useful and can serve to drive people further away.
When you spend time with them, don’t mention the group and don’t question them about their own beliefs, or those of the group. If they bring them up, be non-committal.
Talk about other family members and friends. Say things like “I saw Bob the other day and he was hoping you’d come to visit” or “Sally said that she misses you.” Things like that to show them that there is love and support.
Maybe talk to someone about what is going on but be selective. If this person can potentially interfere with help, they may put your loved one at risk. See if they have some thoughts on the situation. Ex- members can offer you a lot of information on what is going on.
If you ever feel the time is right, you can even say this to them. “I will always be your parent/friend and you can come to me about anything, at any time.” It may stick in their mind and be something to hold on to when they want to get out.
If you or someone you love needs help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. If you have spoken with a family member who wants out, there are people here who have been through enough to know how to negotiate a safe and successful plan.