Learned's life before she was saved was, like for many in this mass movement, chaotic and painful.
and, more generally,
The stories that believers such as Learned told me of their lives before they found Christ were heartbreaking.
Then their religious conversions give them hope in place of chaos, pain and heartbreak. Here's Hedges' description of this change
they willingly walked out on this world for the mythical world offered by radical preachers: a world of magic, a world where God had a divine plan for them and intervened on a daily basis to protect them and perform miracles in their lives.
From Hedges' own description, these people have experienced significant, if not miraculous, change in their lives. Despite this, Hedges contends
The danger of this theology of despair is that it says that nothing in the world is worth saving.
Yet his own account is of people who come to believe that they themselves are saved, and begin to live responsibly. And, not unreasonably, they want to save others from the life of despair they've left behind.