Not actually having been brought up in any religion, except perhaps a bit of C of E nicety, I expected simply to be validated by TGD.
As it turns out, the book changed my life and really did convert me. You see my mother is a compulsive liar – she lies about all sorts of random things, all designed to paint her as a great, benevolent person “saving” those less fortunate than herself.
For instance, when I started smoking weed and moved out of her house when I was 17, she told people I was a heroin addict, but that she was still standing by me.
I knew mum was a liar, and I think I'd always known it, but the family and everyone around her accepted it, took her word for things, no matter how outlandish and damaging to the subject of her lie, and simply got into the habit of living within her reality – she was the dominant person in our family.
On the odd occasions she was challenged about something that had come back to me, she would simply deny having said anything, and I would accept it and try to forget about it,
It was not until I read the memetic theories, cargo cult stories and psychological explanations for religion that I began to see what she had done and break free.
The major survival trait of the Christianity meme is “believe this or you go to hell”. I realised that Mum had never been stopped, contradicted or even properly challenged, because her memes had the survival trait “believe this or I'll make your life hell”.
She did, and still does, keep to the absolute line that everything she says is true and she never lies (despite having recently been presented with countless cast-iron cases showing the opposite), and uses emotional blackmail (“how can you believe so-and-so and not your own mother”) to raise feelings of guilt and fear.
It took me 23 years and TGD for me to realise that I had, after all, been pretty much brought up in a religious cult, even if this particular god was my mother.
I know this might seem trivial in comparison to what other people have been through in actual religious indoctrination, but thanks Richard, you really have changed my life.