Out of the Madhouse
By Xiaocao, China
It was January 2012. A neighbor shared’s gospel of the last days with me, I had exhausted myself running a business, leaving me with a serious lumbar muscle strain and a frozen shoulder. It hurt so much I could hardly brush my hair or dress myself, and medication wasn’t helping. I miraculously got better after believing in God, so my husband and son were thrilled, and were really supportive of my faith. But a couple months later, my husband saw some lies the Communist Party had spread online about and started to oppose my faith. He said, “The government is against this God of yours. If you end up arrested for it, it could impact our son’s career. You should give this up.” One time, when I’d just come back from sharing the gospel, he said with a dark look on his face, “The National Security Brigade called me in and asked if you’re a believer, and if so, you need to hand in your books about God. They also asked me to identify people from a bunch of photos. You’re bound to get taken in if you keep on with this.” I responded, “I’m taking the right path in life, and I haven’t done anything illegal. They’d have no right!” He said, “You’re so naive! The CCP especially has it out for you believers. If you keep believing, they could arrest you and rough you up, then you’ll see how ruthless they are.” I thought to myself that with my husband opposed, it would definitely become harder to take this path. I prayed to God in my heart and asked Him to guide me on the path ahead. I also resolved that no matter how my husband stood in my way, I would never give up my faith.
That was December 2012, almost a year after I became a believer. I was arrested and detained for five days because someone reported me for preaching the gospel. The day they let me out, an officer warned me, “When you get out, you’d better give this up or else you’ll definitely end up in prison!” After half an hour or so, my husband came to pick me up looking really upset, with an awful look on his face. He got out of the car and went into the police office. I had no idea what they were talking about in there, and then he took me home. When we got there, I saw my brother, sister, and brother-in-law all waiting outside for me. I figured the only reason they were all there was to stop me from practicing my faith. On top of that, my brother was a county-level leader, and he’d told me before I should give this up because he’d seen all sorts of Communist Party lies online condemning and blaspheming the Church. He had also said my faith could impact my son’s career, and it could affect him too, that he could lose his position as an official. I knew he was probably there to try to push me into giving up my faith again. I said a quick prayer, asking God to guide me and protect me from these disturbances. As soon as I got out of the car, my brother came up to me and said, all smiles, “You should give up this God stuff. Just stay at home and take care of things here. Don’t be so stubborn. Your son has a good job, and that will be in danger if you keep on with this. He’ll hate you forever.” Then my brother-in-law yelled at me, clenching his teeth and gesticulating, “Faith in God? Where is God? I don’t believe in Him and I have a perfectly good life!” Then my husband said angrily, “It wasn’t easy for our son to get a good job, to get noticed. What if he loses his job because of your faith?” My sister came over and told me, “Hey, you should let go of this. Your husband is so good to you and your son has a good job. That should be enough. Just take good care of your family.” Hearing all this, I thought about my husband and I working so hard to earn enough money for our son’s education, and now he’d found a good living, which was no easy task. If he really did lose his job because of my faith, he just might hate me for the rest of his life! But then I thought that giving up my faith would be betraying God, and I thought about the truths I’d learned as a believer. I knew worshiping God was the right thing for a created being, the right path to take, and God had healed my injuries, too. I couldn’t be so devoid of conscience. I silently prayed to God in my heart, “God, my family is trying to force me to give up my faith, and I feel awful. Please give me faith and strength.” Then I remembered these words from God: “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men and the interference of men. Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in). I saw that behind my family ganging up on me was actually Satan testing and attacking me. My family had been taken in by the Party’s lies and was using my son’s work to intimidate me so I’d betray God. I couldn’t fall for Satan’s trick, but I had to stand witness for God. Then it also occurred to me that whatever job my son had was entirely up to God’s rule and arrangements. No one could change that. So I said, “Having faith is the right path in life, and I haven’t broken any laws. The Communist Party arresting me and dragging you into it is the Party’s own evil. You shouldn’t oppress me along with it, or stand in the way of my faith. All of you know before I believed in God, my injuries were so bad I couldn’t even take care of myself. I completely recovered after gaining faith, and this was all thanks to God’s grace and blessings. Almighty God is the true God, the coming of the Savior. Disasters keep getting bigger and bigger, and Almighty God has expressed so many truths. He’s done so to save mankind from sins, from the disasters, so that we can have His protection and survive the disasters, and enter His kingdom. If I let the Communist Party’s persecution scare me away from my faith, I’ll lose my chance at salvation. No matter how opposed you are, I am committed to my path of faith.” My husband, in a total huff, stood facing me and pointed at me, saying, “You’re a lost cause!” Then he and my brother exchanged a look and went toward the house together and started talking about who-knows-what. I was confused. What were they talking about so sneakily? They came back before long, my brother shot my sister a look, then said with a secretive smile on his face, “Let’s go get something to eat!” My sister and my nephew-in-law came right over to me and pulled me toward the car by the hands, one on each side. I felt like something was off. I tried to throw their hands off and said I didn’t want to go, but they just pushed me into the car. The car stopped after about half an hour of driving, and to my surprise, I saw we were at a mental hospital. My husband, brother and brother-in-law all got out of the car. I was shocked. Were they really sending me to a madhouse? I was thinking that I had to get out of the car and make a run for it, but I was locked in with a safety lock. I saw all of them walking toward the hospital office, and suddenly it all became clear. They had this planned the whole time. They’d tricked me into going there, saying we were going out to eat. I was angry and disgusted. I couldn’t believe they’d taken me there, how heartless they were. So-called loved ones! I thought back on how, when my husband met me at the police station, he’d spoken to the police inside for a bit, and how my family had been exchanging meaningful looks when they said we were going to eat. I realized that this was very likely a plan hatched by the Communist Party. They were trying everything to get me to betray God. I was upset in a way that I can’t describe and tears were welling up in my eyes. I said to them, indignant, “You’re taking me here to have me tormented, just because I believe in God. You’re the crazy ones! What you’re doing is totally wrong, against all reason. You’ll get your comeuppance.” Just then, a couple of orderlies came out of the hospital, carrying restraints to put on me. My husband, brother, and brother-in-law just stood there looking at me, without saying a word. I was heartbroken and full of despair. I’d never in my wildest dreams imagined my family, just to protect their own interests, to avoid being implicated, would listen to the Communist Party’s lies and have me put in a mental hospital where I’d be tormented, with no thought for whether I lived or died, when I was perfectly well. They weren’t any kind of loved ones—they were demons. At that thought, I couldn’t hold my tears back anymore. I couldn’t even look at them. I said to the orderlies indignantly, “There’s nothing wrong with me! They tricked me into coming here. They’re forcing me into treatment here just because I believe in God. You haven’t even looked into this. Why are you restraining me?” But they completely ignored me.
They admitted me as a severely troubled patient and locked me up in Ward 1 where all the corridors, doors and windows had metal bars welded over them. My room was about 40 or 50 square feet and it was completely bare. There was just a single bed with a dirty quilt on it that still had traces of old urine marks all over it. There was a pungent odor of urine. There was no toilet in the room, just a unisex bathroom in the hall that was kept locked. I had to find an orderly every time I wanted to use the bathroom, and if they were busy, they wouldn’t open the door. I just had to hold it. The hospital was constantly filled with the sound of the mental patients wailing. Sometimes they’d sing or cry, or start shouting, “Let me out! Let me out!” They’d also smack the metal bars nonstop. The whole place sounded like it was filled with wailing ghosts and wolves. It made my blood run cold. I felt like it was no place for humans. Just because of my faith, I was arrested and locked up by the Communist Party, and as soon as I was free, my own family took me to be tormented in a madhouse. That was out of the frying pan and into the fire, into the lion’s den. How was I supposed to live like that? I felt worse the more I thought about it, and started to cry. As I cried, I thought about we brothers and sisters in gatherings, singing hymns and praising God. I so wanted to readand do my duty alongside them, but I couldn’t get out, and had no idea how long I’d be kept in there. When would my suffering come to an end? I prayed, “Oh God, I’m locked up with mental patients. I’m so miserable. God, I don’t know how to get through this. Please guide me.” I remembered a passage of God’s words after praying: “Perhaps you all remember these words: ‘For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ You have all heard these words before, yet none of you understood their true meaning. Today, you are profoundly aware of their true significance. These words shall be fulfilled by God during the last days, and they shall be fulfilled in those who have been brutally persecuted by the great red dragon in the land where it lies coiled. The great red dragon persecutes God and is the enemy of God, and so, in this land, those who believe in God are thus subjected to humiliation and oppression, and these words are fulfilled in you, this group of people, as a result. Because it is embarked upon in a land that opposes God, all of God’s work faces tremendous obstacles, and accomplishing many of His words takes time; thus, people are refined as a result of God’s words, which is also part of suffering. It is tremendously difficult for God to carry out His work in the land of the great red dragon—but it is through this difficulty that God does one stage of His work, making manifest His wisdom and His wondrous deeds, and using this opportunity to make this group of people complete” (“Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I understood that the Party is God’s mortal enemy, and it will not allow people to have faith and follow God. Almighty God is expressing truths to save mankind, so it’s madly arresting and persecuting believers, and spreading all sorts of rumors and lies, condemning The Church of Almighty God to deceive those who don’t know the truth. It implicates believers’ family members for generations, destroying their careers and getting them to turn on the believer in their life. It’s using them to force believers into betraying God. The Party is incredibly evil. My family was misled by the Party and went along with it, persecuting me for my faith, even putting me in a mental hospital. It was a terrible place to be, but I could see the Communist Party’s evil essence, and God was perfecting my faith this way, so I had to lean on God and stand witness. At this thought, I said a prayer, asking God to stay with me and protect me from Satan the devil. The more Satan oppressed me, the more I would believe in God.
My second day in the institution, an orderly brought a pill for me to take. Incensed, I told him, “I told you there’s nothing wrong with me. I’m perfectly normal, and I won’t take this.” He said, “No one ends up here unless there’s something wrong with them. If you cooperate with the treatment, you’ll get better and get out sooner.” But no matter what he said, I was afraid to take it. On the third day, a severely troubled person was admitted and I was transferred to Ward 3 because my ward didn’t have any spare beds. That ward wasn’t so tightly controlled—I could leave my room for activities. In there I saw that some of the patients’ pants were so worn that their bottoms were showing, their faces and necks were filthy, and their hair was like a bird’s nest. Some people had clothing that was so dirty it looked oily—it was absolutely nauseating. I had two cellmates in that ward. One was dull-eyed and expressionless, and would sometimes randomly mutter to herself. I don’t know how long the other one had been locked up in there. Every morning she’d get up and pace nonstop in the corridor, smoking. They really frightened me. I was scared that during one of their episodes, they might hit me or pull my hair when I wasn’t paying attention, or they might choke me to death in my sleep, so I never got any deep sleep at night. Every time before I fell asleep, I’d silently pray to God over and over, asking Him to protect me. That was the only way I could relax enough to get a bit of restful sleep. An orderly would come by every day and give us our medication, one by one. I’d only take it when he was looking straight at me, otherwise I didn’t swallow the pill, but I’d get rid of it when I used the bathroom. One time another patient saw me throwing it out and she said to me, “You can’t do that.” I was caught by an orderly throwing out meds once. He smacked me a couple of times, then got a plastic tube that he stuck into my nose, and forced the medicine through that. It was really painful. I never knew if that woman told the orderlies about me throwing out my pill, but the hospital staff kept a much closer eye on patients taking their medication after that. The orderlies would stand at a square table every day to supervise us, using a flashlight and making sure we opened our mouths and swallowed it. I had no choice but to take the pills.
A few days later, the hospital director came by to inspect the rooms and asked me out of the blue, “Is the great disaster on the 21st?” I thought it was really odd, and said, “Only God can say when the disaster will come.” His response was, “I can see you’re really unwell. We need to up your dosage.” After that, I had to take two pills instead of one. I was furious. The director had no idea if there was actually something wrong with me, but just casually doubled my dosage. He had no regard for human life. A hospital should be a place for saving lives and helping the wounded, but it had become a place where the Communist Party could persecute Christians. They were maliciously harming me only because of my faith. I hated the Party through-and-through.
Ten days after I took the medication, I started feeling really weak, and even walking was difficult. I wondered if it was a result of that medication they were giving me. I was feeling awful after so little time. It would make me unwell if I kept taking it, even though I hadn’t started out that way. And facing all those mental patients every day, being miserable and depressed, I felt like I was about to develop mental problems from the torment. I was praying to God a lot, and I only made it through thanks to the guidance of God’s words. I remember one time after a prayer, I thought of theletting Lazarus out of his tomb. He’d been dead for four days, and his body was already stinking, but God brought him back from the dead with a few words. God is almighty. He rules over mankind’s fate. So I knew my life was in God’s hands, too. I thought of something God said: “Of everything that occurs in the universe, there is nothing in which I do not have the final say. Is there anything that is not in My hands?” (“Chapter 1” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Whether that medication would make me crazy and when I’d get out was all in God’s hands. I had to get through this with my faith and by leaning on God. This thought bolstered my faith and I didn’t feel as afraid anymore.
One evening a couple weeks later, it occurred to me that I could call my family and see if I could get out sooner. The next morning, my husband drove to the hospital and I told him to take me out of there. I told him it wasn’t a place fit for humans, and that staying too long would make a sane person crazy. He called my brother to discuss it, and I could hear my brother say through the phone, “First have her sign a guarantee to give up her faith, and then she can come out. She can die in there if she keeps her faith.” I’d never imagined that my brother, my flesh and blood brother, would say something like that. It was really chilling. He wasn’t family, he was a devil with a human face! Seeing he had no intentions of getting me out, I thought to myself that if he just discarded me there, I’d never find a way out, then how would I practice my faith? So I pretended to agree. Then he took me home. My husband was constantly following me around. He wouldn’t let me go to gatherings or read God’s words. Sometimes during my afternoon nap he’d even come in to see if I was reading God’s words, but I could still secretly read God’s words with my MP5 player. Then one morning he caught me when I was charging it. He took it away and yelled at me, furious, “How can you still believe? If you’re caught and you go to prison and our son loses his job because of you, how will you be able to face him? You’re not allowed to follow God anymore!” As he said this, he gave me a hard shove and my head hit against the side of the bed with a thud. I didn’t understand how he could be so vicious. I just believed in God. I hadn’t done anything wrong, but he was treating me so badly. He not only had me institutionalized, but now he was raising a hand against me, and wouldn’t let me read God’s words. Feeling worse and worse, I prayed to God, “Oh God! My husband is treating me terribly, and I’m feeling weak. I don’t know how to stay on this path. Please guide me!” Then I thought of something from God’s words: “Today, most people do not have that knowledge. They believe that suffering is without value, they are renounced by the world, their home life is troubled, they are not beloved of God, and their prospects are bleak. The suffering of some people reaches an extreme, and their thoughts turn to death. This is not true love for God; such people are cowards, they have no perseverance, they are weak and powerless! God is eager for man to love Him, but the more man loves Him, the greater man’s suffering, and the more man loves Him, the greater man’s trials. … Thus, during these last days you must bear testimony to God. No matter how great your suffering, you should walk until the very end, and even at your last breath, still you must be faithful to God and at the mercy of God; only this is truly loving God, and only this is the strong and resounding testimony” (“Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). By pondering God’s words, it became clear to me that even though I was suffering from that hardship, God was using that situation to perfect my faith, to give me a chance to bear witness for God before Satan. It was God’s love. But without understanding God’s will, I felt weak and negative because of my suffering. I saw what a coward I was. Then I thought about my husband trying to make me give up God. Not caring if I lived or died, he personally took me to a mental institution and now he had even hit me. At that point I truly saw that he was a God-hating, anti-God demon. I remembered what God said: “Believers and unbelievers are not compatible; rather, they are opposed to one another” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). My husband and I were two different kinds of people on two different paths. I would keep following God no matter how he oppressed me. I wouldn’t be held back. So I said to him, “Let’s get a divorce. You’re on a worldly path, pursuing money, and I’m on a path of faith. We’re on different paths and we have nothing in common. You’re afraid for our son, so we should get a divorce. Then my faith won’t impact you two. I don’t need any of our assets. I just need a room, a place to live, so I can follow God.” He said, “I know you’re a good woman. I don’t want a divorce.” I told him, “If you don’t want a divorce, then give me my freedom. I’m a believer, and you can’t stand in my way.” He said, “You can have your freedom, but first you need to sign an agreement with me that you’ll give up Almighty God!” Hearing this, I said, “I have to keep my faith—I cannot sign that agreement.” He was left speechless. After that, seeing he couldn’t keep me from believing, he didn’t stand in the way of me practicing my faith as much. I was able to live a life of the church and do a duty normally.
One evening, I went to see that sister who lived nearby to discuss watering newcomers. My son showed up right after we’d sat down and said to the sister furiously, “You’re the one who converted my mom!” Then he tried to hit her. I rushed to wrap my arms around him, to hold him back. He dragged me back home in a fit of rage and said angrily, “You’ve got to give this up. Look at what they’re saying about your Church online!” Then he repeated a few of the Communist Party’s lies slandering The Church of Almighty God. After that, he yelled, “Dad, call the mental hospital and send her back in there!” I felt like my head was about to explode when I heard him say that. I’d never imagined that my son would join forces with his dad to keep me from my faith, for the sake of his job. It was brutal. I could hear my husband calling the institution, and from the other side I heard them say they were full. My husband said, “Let’s call the police and just have them take her away.” My son responded, “She can’t be locked up there. How about we just keep her in that dark room where we used to breed rabbits?” Then the two of them forcefully carried me into that room, locked the iron gate and left. Seeing how my husband and son had been deceived by the Party into being so brutal toward me was really chilling, and I hated the Communist Party from the bottom of my heart even more. I thought of God’s words: “For thousands of years this has been the land of filth. It is unbearably dirty, misery abounds, ghosts run rampant everywhere, tricking and deceiving, making groundless accusations, being ruthless and vicious, trampling this ghost town and leaving it littered with dead bodies; the stench of decay covers the land and pervades the air, and it is heavily guarded. Who can see the world beyond the skies? The devil tightly trusses all of man’s body, it veils both his eyes, and seals his lips firmly shut. The king of devils has rampaged for several thousand years, right up until today, when it still keeps a close watch on the ghost town, as if it were an impenetrable palace of demons…. Forefathers of the ancient? Beloved leaders? They all oppose God! Their meddling has left all beneath heaven in a state of darkness and chaos! Religious freedom? The legitimate rights and interests of citizens? They are all tricks for covering up sin!” (“Work and Entry (8)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The Party arrests and persecutes Christians, spreads all sorts of rumors and slanders about The Church of Almighty God and implicates their family members. So my family was misled by the Party and went along with it, trying to keep me from believing in God, even personally taking me to a mental hospital where I was tormented, and they were locking me up yet again. A perfectly happy family was reduced to this. The Party was the real ringleader and I hated it, that demon, from the bottom of my heart.
Before long, my son got a stool, came and sat outside the iron gate and said, “Mom, you should stop believing in God. You worked really hard when you were in business and funding my education wasn’t easy. Now I’m working and I have some money. How about I pay for you to take a trip?” When he said this, I realized it was a trick from Satan, so I told him, “Before I was a believer, I just wanted to earn money. It was a difficult, exhausting way to live. Now that I’ve found God and understood some truths, my life is much freer and happier. Can’t you two leave me be? I’ll keep my faith even if you reject me as your mother and your father divorces me. I’m committed to this path.” He didn’t say a word in response, but just walked off. I was really grateful to God for strengthening my faith, and I felt really at peace. I started singing this: “Almighty true God, my heart belongs to You. Incarceration can only control my body. It cannot stop my footsteps in following You. Painful suffering, a bumpy road, with the guidance of Your words, my heart is without fear, with the company of Your love, my heart is sated” (“A Choice Without Regret” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). I could feel God by my side. Even sitting in that dark little room where I couldn’t see anything around me, I didn’t feel miserable. The next morning, my son unexpectedly opened the gate and let me out, and said, “Mom, we’ll leave you alone now. You can do whatever you want.” When he said that, I knew that Satan had been shamed and defeated and I gave thanks to God.
Going through arrest by the Communist Party and my family’s oppression helped me fully see the Party’s demonic anti-God essence. It arrests and persecutes believers and spreads all sorts of lies to deceive people, getting believers’ families to stand in the way of their faith. It is the mastermind destroying Christians’ families. My family went along with the Party, interfering with my faith for their own interests, and even had me institutionalized with no thought to whether I lived or died. I fully saw their essence that is against God, and I’ll never let them hold me back again. This experience has shown me that only God loves us, and only God can save us. When I was at my most miserable and helpless, God used His words to enlighten me, to comfort and encourage me, and guide me through those difficult days. Now I’ve personally experienced that God’s love is very real, and I want to follow God and do my duty. I will never regret it.
1. “Making groundless accusations” refers to the methods by which the devil harms people.
2. “Heavily guarded” indicates that the methods by which the devil afflicts people are especially vicious, and control people so much that they have no room to move.