Apologetics Index

Out of the Cocoon

Out of the Cocoon is a web site created by Brenda Lee, the author of Out of the Cocoon: A Young Woman’s Courageous Flight from the Grip of a Religious Cult .

In the book, Lee recounts her experiences in the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society – Jehovah’s Witnesses.

At this very moment, there are millions of cult members worldwide. Do you think you could never become one of them? Think again.

Brenda Lee’s memoir, Out of the Cocoon, is a remarkable story about how a single visit from two seemingly “nice” strangers nearly cost her everything, including her life.

This story begins at the pinnacle of the author’s desperation, by relaying a chilling fantasy she created when she was twelve years old. After accomplishing her grisly, murderous task within the security of a dream, she poses a disturbing question that sets the stage for the rest of her story: What could make a child so angry that she would fantasize about taking away the lives of the two people who gave her life? To understand Brenda’s fragile emotional state, we have to go back to the beginning, when her childhood innocence reigned and unconditional love was abundant — when she didn’t feel all alone in the world.

In subsequent chapters, the author transports the reader back in time to relive the innocence of her childhood on a 100-year-old farm in rural Pennsylvania, where her carefree days were filled by swinging from vines, raising farm animals as pets, romping through the forests with her cousins, and plunging from the hayloft. Once “The Friends” knock on the door, however, her childhood and innocence dramatically disappear. But Brenda Lee refuses to become a victim and, like a butterfly, she learns to change the world within her when her external world becomes unbearable.

After surviving years of stifling oppression and isolation, Brenda emerges from her cocoon and struggles to take flight. As she tries to fit into society as a young adult, she learns some startling things about her family, this “wicked world,” and herself. In time, she learns to forgive not only those who tormented her, but also the mother who disowned her. – Source: Out of the Cocoon Last accessed Jan. 19, 2006

After keeping her journal hidden in the floor for years, Golden resident Brenda Lee said writing a book about a painful childhood in a religious “cult” was a harrowing but therapeutic process.

Lee, author of “Out of the Cocoon: a Young Woman’s Courageous Flight from the Grip of a Religious Cult,” has lived in Golden for 20 years.

She said when she was 9 years old, her mother joined the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, also known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, in a small town in Pennsylvania and told her she was no longer allowed to associate with other members of her family.

“It really is a very destructive organization,” Lee said. “… As a 9-year-old I spent 40 hours a week in religious instruction. That was all I was allowed to do. When my mother decided to join, I was told I would never see my cousins again.”

Lee acknowledged the Watch Tower Society is not universally recognized as an organized cult but said her experience in the organization fits all the criteria of a “religious cult.”

“You’re taught to hate the world, to see everybody else as being led by Satan — that we are the one and only right religion and to question or defy that is turning your back on God,” she said.

Lee said she was mentally abused by the organization and said the group preyed on her fears to keep her involved.

“They tell you that you will be ex-communicated if you ever decide to leave and that your family will not be able to talk to you — I haven’t spoken with my mother for over 25 years,” she said.

Lee’s book recalls the daunting environment in which she lived as a child and the disappointment she faced when she tried to reach out to a teacher for help to no avail. – Source: Witness to a ‘cult,’ MileHighNews.com, USA, Jan. 12, 2006

Some former Witnesses will be disappointed with Out of the Cocoon‘s lack of attention to theology–to questions of religious truth. This apparent lack is because, for many former members, theological questions were uppermost in their minds and were the main reasons for their departure from the organization. These people have written a number of memoirs that deal with those issues. But Brenda Lee’s account is different, and refreshingly so, in focusing almost entirely on relationship issues. For this reason, it is likely to appeal to many former members of other high-demand groups who would surely echo this cry of the heart: “[S]hould any religion have the right to scoop out an individual’s identity and dismantle their [sic] family unit? Is that what the Divine Being had in mind? Weren’t we instilled with independent thought for a reason?” (p. 214)

Indeed we were, and it is as a thoughtful and insightful woman that Brenda Lee has penned this memoir that celebrates the triumph of her successful flight to freedom and compels us to celebrate with her.
– Source: Out of the Cocoon, review by Mary Kochan, Cultic Studies Review, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2006


Apologetics Index research resource Out of the Cocoon: A Young Woman’s Courageous Flight from the Grip of a Religious Cult


Apologetics Index research resource Cocoon is Brenda’s newsletter that deals with issues of importance to former Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cult survivors. You can subscribe here.

Web Site

Apologetics Index research resource Out of the Cocoon Official web site of Brenda Lee, author of the book, Out of the Cocoon: A Young Woman’s Courageous Flight from the Grip of a Religious Cult

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First published (or major update) on Wednesday, January 18, 2006.
Last updated on July 07, 2024.

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