All wonderful posts here--I'm overwhelmed--thanks everyone.
I've lost or ended contact with most of the premies who I treasured as friends during my stint in the cult. That elephant in the room that Joe mentioned is an apt description of what happens when a person leaves the cult and continues to be in contact with practicing premies.
PatW, you did nothing wrong that I can see. Maybe you didn't need to mention the name of your friend (which I don't even remember now), but you didn't betray anyone. Rawat is the betrayer and intimidator. Rawat is the censor, then premies censor us--they have no choice if they are to continue being premies.
Now I wonder if my friendships with premies were real friendships or were those friendships based upon the common belief in Rawatism? Did I have anything else in common with them? Sometimes yes, mostly no.
The only remaining friend I have who is still a premie (although not practicing) is my sister (Hi there if you're reading) She told me she won't read this forum because it's too intense and we've agreed to leave that elephant in the corner even though he sits and farts a lot when we're together or even talking on the phone. It's her request to not talk about these things. But, she's been my sister since she was born and one of the best friends in my life, so I won't be leaving her behind.
Yet what about all those wonderful people I was attracted to during my time as a premie--those times when I lived in a loving community? When I look at the cult as a endeavor on Rat's part to be a success, he failed miserably when he dissolved the communities and gagged the premies. Divide, conquer, isolate, censor. It isn't very much fun or anything enjoyable anymore; I don't know how premies can stand it.
The most striking differences when I went back in the mid 90s to try it again after many years were the censorship, the guidelines or edicts of Rawat via EV or Visions, the darkened room with a TV and a video playing, the deafening silence of everyone when the dimmer rolled on the light that cued us that we were to leave and not speak to each other--the end that caused so much awkwardness that defied making or maintaining friendships.
The friends I have now don't censor me. We can disagree on just about anything but the basis of the friendships is love, acceptance, tolerance, support, and most importantly, the fun.
But it still hurts to lose friends, whoever they are.