Wuhan Journal of Cultic Studies
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Volume 1, Issue 1: 2021
Identity, Roles and Narratives of Ex-Members:
Some Examples from the Swedish Religious Community Knutby Filadelfia
In this paper, identity, roles and narratives of ex-members will be discussed, based on examples from the Swedish religious community Knutby Filadelfia, which ceased to exist in May 2018 and all members became ex-members. Narrative analysis is used. Based mainly on the preliminary enquirer report, where three of the former leaders in the group were accused by six ex-members of physical and sexual abuse, it is argued that the ex-members tend to identify with the Victim role and the Apostate role in relation to their former group. The role of therapists in the new identity construction is discussed, as several of the ex-members seem to have had assistance from therapists to create their new identities and roles in the process of leaving the group, therapists who seem to have encouraged these two role constructions. The question is raised whether other kinds of roles, for example the Hero role coined by Streib et al, in which the ex-member is seen more as an active agent with an increased awareness of his/her own motives, wishes and goals in life, and that he/she could learn something also from negative experiences, would have been more constructive for the individual.
Ex-member, identity, role, narrative, therapy, Knutby Filadelfia