It’s common when a year comes to an end that people look back and reflect on where they’ve been, what they’ve been through, and where they hope to go in the future. In doing that herself, soap alum Melissa Archer (Natalie, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; ex-Serena, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) opened up in a raw and vulnerable blog post revealing how she’d spent the year 2022 dismantling the areas of her life that don’t bring her joy, letting go of indoctrinated beliefs, and doing what makes her happy. And part of that, she revealed, was finally starting the conversation that she’d been in a cult a few years ago.
In the post, titled “Everything Changed,” Archer explained that about 10 years ago, as she felt a pull back into faith, she had an awakening and realized “that my life wasn’t authentic or real. As I searched for answers, I slowly moved away from people and things that did not bring me closer to genuineness.”
That included getting a divorce, she wrote. As she continued to search for answers, Archer confessed, she accidentally joined a cult. “Of course, I didn’t know it was one. I asked a million questions, never took what was taught as accurate until I did research, [and] thought my research started proving the teachings to be correct.
“Things got hairy,” she continued, “when the main leader, a man in Tanzania, started inappropriate conversations with me. I was certain he couldn’t have meant the things he said as sexual because I truly believed that he was my spiritual father and a mouthpiece of God… I was in a cognitive dissonance as my intuition screamed at me that something was very wrong, while my mind continued to connect good to the leaders.”
However, during a trip with four other women to the home church in Tanzania for leadership training, Archer could no longer ignore her gut instinct. “The home we were staying in was broken into that I fervently believe was meant to take one of us women,” she revealed. “Then, a month and a half later, my friend confessed she’d been molested by this man, and we immediately left the cult.”
Archer divulged that she spent a year “in shame, guilt, and fear” but slowly began to recover as she spent quality time with her family and joined a new church where she “finally felt safe,” and started therapy to work through the PTSD. Then 2022 came. “After my cult experience, I realized I’d always just taken everyone’s word for what was and wasn’t true regarding what to believe in and how,” she admitted. “I finally felt ready to shed everything I knew and start learning as much as I can about as much as I can. What a journey it’s been.”
While the actress said she still has a long way to go in her recovery, she’s in a much better place. “I let go and am still letting go of beliefs that either aren’t good for me, about me, or aren’t good and about life,” she concluded. “I’m forming my own opinions, and I’m feeling free to be me as me.”
You can read Archer’s full blog post here about how she’s been changing her life. We wish her all the best as she continues on her journey!