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2 minutes ago, Rocky said:

I encourage your thoughts and actions along those lines. 

Selected resources

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Discipline is Destiny by Ryan Holiday

The Road Less Traveled by M Scott Peck

People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil by M Scott Peck

And because Two are better than One

The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace by M Scott Peck

And there are MANY more.

My son, if you accept my words
    and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
    and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God

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20 hours ago, Rocky said:

Is this  the link you got that info from? https://www.laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/section-271.html?

If so, this is Canada's criminal code.

In the US, sexual assaults (i.e. rapes, when they are prosecuted), are generally prosecuted by the various states. In Arizona, the criminal code is A.R.S. Title 13. Chapter 14 of Title 13 is Sexual Offenses. There are 29 sections in Chapter 14, covering a wide range of offenses. Section 1406 specifies what constitutes (provides the definition of) sexual assault.

C. For the purposes of this section, "sexual offense" means any of the following:

1. Sexual abuse in violation of section 13-1404.

2. Sexual conduct with a minor in violation of section 13-1405.

3. Sexual assault in violation of section 13-1406. [A. A person commits sexual assault by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person without consent of such person.]

4. Sexual assault of a spouse if the offense was committed before the effective date of this amendment to this section.

5.  Molestation of a child in violation of section 13-1410.

6. Continuous sexual abuse of a child in violation of section 13-1417.

7. Sexual misconduct by a behavioral health professional in violation of section 13-1418.

8. Commercial sexual exploitation of a minor in violation of section 13-3552.

9. Sexual exploitation of a minor in violation of section 13-3553.

I am confident the Arizona Legislature omitted the word rape in favor of more specifics about conduct which includes rape rather than to treat the offense euphemismistically. Obviously, "inappropriate behavior (or conduct) IS a euphemism. But this is a matter of journalistic style, not legal terminology. I mention this not to minimize the significance but to be specific about the origin of the annoyance.

 

I mentioned in my post that I didn't know what the criminal code was in the US.  I also took for granted that posters knew I was from Canada.  Thanks for clarifying this at the beginning of your post.  The terms are specific like you say: abuse, conduct, assault, misconduct and exploitation. 

The fact that IHOPKC's spokesperson used the words "inappropriate behavior" and "sexual immorality" shows they want to stay away from legal definitions to safeguard themselves.  The Advocate Group who represents the victims and includes a lawyer used "clergy sexual abuse" in both of their public statements. 

 

 

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Happy New Year, Greasespotters!

Just letting you know I've republished some posts on the "cult" topic over on Blogspot. 

Charlene Lamy Edge Speaks about The Way International (charleneedge.blogspot.com)

Cheers,

Charlene

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6 hours ago, penworks said:

Happy New Year, Greasespotters!

Just letting you know I've republished some posts on the "cult" topic over on Blogspot. 

Charlene Lamy Edge Speaks about The Way International (charleneedge.blogspot.com)

Cheers,

Charlene

I'm thankful for the POV you share on your blog, that being, for the most part, you share YOUR experience and YOUR observations on TWI. :love3:

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On 12/30/2023 at 8:24 AM, chockfull said:

Another cult called “The Twelve Tribes”. They run Yellow Deli restaurants.  Here is an expose:

 

I enjoy researching various different cults as opposed to focusing on the personal dirt related to the cult from my story.

I also share my observations surrounding TWI here on this website under a pseudonym as opposed to having a profession as a published author or having my personal identity as always associated with this particular cult.

I started this thread because there was a church doing a study on various cults including TWI which I was in.  I personally participated in that series of study and along the way shared many fruitful points of similarity in how cults function to TWI.

This thread is my personal experience in cult recovery.  As well as a topic for how different cults function similarly.

 

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https://www.reddit.com/r/exjw/s/pzhpfhyFun
 

Here is a thread that contains accounts of people dying due to the JWs policy of no blood transfusions.  They include many accounts of people lying to the JW elders and taking them anyway.

Cults get into a strange dynamic of making up restrictions and placing them on others to their detriment.  This is putting people in bondage.  It causes poverty, slavery and even death.

More reasons to avoid cults.
 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

So this year the JW Governing Body has made the policy change for all its cult followers that they no longer have to report up through the organization the number of “pioneering hours” they spend per week.  They just check a box instead.  This is causing some internal challenges.

https://www.reddit.com/r/exjw/s/DdBwS5j1Ps

I wonder if The Way International has modified any of their volunteer witnessing policies over the years.

When I was a leader in TWI they had policies for every single leader position in the organization.  The instructions to every single leader included “Carry out the heart of the Board of Directors to all members on the field”.  This was called the “Rise and Expansion” policies and was part of the “Way tree” structure throughout our country.  It included that every local group would “strive to run a class” according to calendar goals.  So to fulfill this, leaders designed similar outreach tactics to the JWs with door to door, public stands and planning and recording outreach activities conversations and results.

When I look back on this now it is all control and zero Bible at the basis of this.

Jesus Christ when he returns is not going to ask everyone at the bema how diligently they “carried out the heart of the BOD to the members on the field”.  No the BOD will get their very own dunce cap dedicated to those who promoted their own interests in the name of Jesus Christ.  

Christianity is not a hierarchy of power like you see in the world with organizations.  It is a grassroots movement at the individual not the organization level.

And nobody anywhere cares one iota about what the “heart” of a group of controlling dolts on a small farm in Ohio is.
 

 

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21 hours ago, chockfull said:

So this year the JW Governing Body has made the policy change for all its cult followers that they no longer have to report up through the organization the number of “pioneering hours” they spend per week.  They just check a box instead.  This is causing some internal challenges.

https://www.reddit.com/r/exjw/s/DdBwS5j1Ps

I wonder if The Way International has modified any of their volunteer witnessing policies over the years.

When I was a leader in TWI they had policies for every single leader position in the organization.  The instructions to every single leader included “Carry out the heart of the Board of Directors to all members on the field”.  This was called the “Rise and Expansion” policies and was part of the “Way tree” structure throughout our country.  It included that every local group would “strive to run a class” according to calendar goals.  So to fulfill this, leaders designed similar outreach tactics to the JWs with door to door, public stands and planning and recording outreach activities conversations and results.

When I look back on this now it is all control and zero Bible at the basis of this.

Jesus Christ when he returns is not going to ask everyone at the bema how diligently they “carried out the heart of the BOD to the members on the field”.  No the BOD will get their very own dunce cap dedicated to those who promoted their own interests in the name of Jesus Christ.  

Christianity is not a hierarchy of power like you see in the world with organizations.  It is a grassroots movement at the individual not the organization level.

And nobody anywhere cares one iota about what the “heart” of a group of controlling dolts on a small farm in Ohio is.
 

 

AMEN!!!!!!!!! :beer:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello Cults S3 news followers.

One of the questions that I had for many years was “do cults change?”  And the following “what causes change?”

In the JW world we are seeing some changes.

https://www.reddit.com/r/exjw/s/7M8iDVVflL

They are changing some minor policies that people complained the most about.  Then you hear rumors about the big questionable policies.  For JWs the main ones are shunning and the blood transfusion issue.  There are rumors of a new policy of “everyone follow their own conscience” on the blood issue and dissolving the groups that form to pressure hospitals and families on the matter.  Shunning changes are only rumored as that remains the main form of compliance control for all cults - regardless of the message they peddle, Scientology, JWs, Mormons, and The Way all share very common practices surrounding shunning.

It is rumored that a drastic drop in membership is what causes the JW governing body to consider changes.  Nothing about the morality of what they do enters in.  Corporations also follow this pattern which is largely a self seeking selfish lust for power initiative.

In reality like corporations only pain drives change in cults.  Which is very strange considering the underlying unstated objective of all major religions is to increase virtue in individuals while minimizing vice.  Morals don’t come into play in a Machiavellian world.

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On 12/31/2023 at 4:02 PM, chockfull said:

I enjoy researching various different cults as opposed to focusing on the personal dirt related to the cult from my story.

I also share my observations surrounding TWI here on this website under a pseudonym as opposed to having a profession as a published author or having my personal identity as always associated with this particular cult.

I started this thread because there was a church doing a study on various cults including TWI which I was in.  I personally participated in that series of study and along the way shared many fruitful points of similarity in how cults function to TWI.

This thread is my personal experience in cult recovery.  As well as a topic for how different cults function similarly.

 

Picking up this thread after a looong search for the best thread pick up, hope I judged correctly enough! I am comparing the structure and teachings/inferences in the Assembly of God church I am now a partner in, w/ those of twi/vpw et al.  The irony of vp lauding the early church model of church in the home, i.e a grassroots movement, and condemning later "organized" denominations that met in church buildings, really strikes me. (Especially in light of the current movement of many church-building-churches to emphasize small groups that meet in homes, as well as the large gatherings in the church building on Sunday.) He CLAIMED a decentralized free-flowing Spirit-led movemen t, whi ch it was in some key ways; but ALWAYS, he was to be honored as the Apostle Paul was, (claims to the contrary), and kept an iron grip on the power, money, psyches, and Biblical doctrines of twi. 

In CONTRAST, the Assembly of God folks (not that I have allegiance towards any particular denom), emphasize small groups, have a lead pastor VERY accountable to a local board, and have a central office somewhere in Indianapolis I assume, and I THINK a US headquarters?  The Way Tree myth that elevated Jerusalem got implanted in my cultized brain, I am more fully realizing.

The AOG church as a whole is structured much more like the 1st Century church in keyways, than twi ever was!!!  Twi HEADQUARTERS WAS THE CHURCH BUILDING/physical location that ppl identified with and flocked to whenever possible, magnified 1000 times! Names like the Biblical Research Center, or WOW Auditorium didn't really change a THING IMO. Yes, human beings tend to ID with and attach to physical locations, especially where their hearts are drawn to God. But the concept that twi was the 1st Century church in the 20th, was PURE FICTION AND DECEPTION.

(Sometimes I still long for the free flow of how twi grew, and I do love how the early church was apparently structured and flowed. Apparently the Gospel is moving beautifully in India with Sangat Bain's ministry which is based only on home churches, and has Zero Headquarters.)

But right now, I am learning, growing, and worshipping in this local church which BTW, is connecting more and more w/ other churches in our town, YAY!) And am coming out of Cult Fog, and viewing the Evolution of The "Biblically-centered" Church from it's earliest days until now as something to learn from, honor, and feel a part of. 

Thank you GSC-ers for still being here!!

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Hey annio!

Thanks for sharing.  I appreciate hearing about your growth and movement post TWI.

It sounds like you have found a comfortable presence of the body of Christ in your area and that’s great!

To me some of the difference in views are exactly that - now I can be part of a larger body of Christ as described in scripture where all parts are valued and part of a greater Christian extended family where common grassroots virtues and goals are shared and there is tolerance for differences in the body without an extreme cult-like view.  Where all members in Christ are equal and important and not to be treated like rock stars with entourages.

Denominations have good and bad aspects including accountability and governance of course flaws creep in to human constructs.  There are some cool community churches around too and some concept based churches with no denominational governance.

It’s kind of like a huge family worldwide with different languages cultures and ideas can be dysfunctional at times like most families.

I like it personally a lot more than the bondage of being a slave to “bring the heart of the BOD to all believers on the field and strive to run classes according to the overseers directed annual schedule”.  

I like it personally a lot more than the recently trademarked “WOW” phrase that will serve as trademarked justification for the same ongoing for future generations.

Want to go in a different philosophical or spiritual direction?  I think my faith in God says He is fair enough to see your heart and reward you for your efforts.  If people made it more about Him and less about them then maybe there wouldn’t be a ton heading for the hills.

Congrats on your continued faith and local family!

Edited by chockfull
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On 2/22/2024 at 2:23 PM, chockfull said:

Hey annio!

Thanks for sharing.  I appreciate hearing about your growth and movement post TWI.

It sounds like you have found a comfortable presence of the body of Christ in your area and that’s great!

To me some of the difference in views are exactly that - now I can be part of a larger body of Christ as described in scripture where all parts are valued and part of a greater Christian extended family where common grassroots virtues and goals are shared and there is tolerance for differences in the body without an extreme cult-like view.  Where all members in Christ are equal and important and not to be treated like rock stars with entourages.

Denominations have good and bad aspects including accountability and governance of course flaws creep in to human constructs.  There are some cool community churches around too and some concept based churches with no denominational governance.

It’s kind of like a huge family worldwide with different languages cultures and ideas can be dysfunctional at times like most families.

I like it personally a lot more than the bondage of being a slave to “bring the heart of the BOD to all believers on the field and strive to run classes according to the overseers directed annual schedule”.  

I like it personally a lot more than the recently trademarked “WOW” phrase that will serve as trademarked justification for the same ongoing for future generations.

Want to go in a different philosophical or spiritual direction?  I think my faith in God says He is fair enough to see your heart and reward you for your efforts.  If people made it more about Him and less about them then maybe there wouldn’t be a ton heading for the hills.

Congrats on your continued faith and local family!

Appreciate your reply LOTS, Chockfull! Yes, observing and being a part of the various Christian assemblies functioning now often brings valuable freedom of choices, connections to the Body as a whole, ETCs as you pointed out! I left the Chris Geer group around 2009 after leaving twi in the late '80s, so didn't experience some of the specifics you mentioned. But What twi Became was so rooted in What It Already and Always Was that I am still pretty horrified that I was so influenced by vpw et all! Healthy horror I guess! Best to you!!:beer:

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On 10/11/2022 at 11:28 PM, chockfull said:

Okay this is actually a longer piece but this guy has very logical mainstream Christianity perspectives on handling the Way.

He is spot on in pinpointing Vic’s textual errors and shoddy scriptural workmanship.

He presents maybe the best logical case on mainstream trinity views I’ve heard.

He is doing this as a series so the introduction pieces are good on cults.  He handles each one in depth.

Im listening to the other ones in the series now.

Okayyy...so we're back to the "if you don't believe the 'trinity' you're a cult" ?...really ??

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On 2/23/2024 at 1:26 AM, annio said:

Picking up this thread after a looong search for the best thread pick up, hope I judged correctly enough! I am comparing the structure and teachings/inferences in the Assembly of God church I am now a partner in, w/ those of twi/vpw et al.  The irony of vp lauding the early church model of church in the home, i.e a grassroots movement, and condemning later "organized" denominations that met in church buildings, really strikes me. (Especially in light of the current movement of many church-building-churches to emphasize small groups that meet in homes, as well as the large gatherings in the church building on Sunday.) He CLAIMED a decentralized free-flowing Spirit-led movemen t, whi ch it was in some key ways; but ALWAYS, he was to be honored as the Apostle Paul was, (claims to the contrary), and kept an iron grip on the power, money, psyches, and Biblical doctrines of twi. 

In CONTRAST, the Assembly of God folks (not that I have allegiance towards any particular denom), emphasize small groups, have a lead pastor VERY accountable to a local board, and have a central office somewhere in Indianapolis I assume, and I THINK a US headquarters?  The Way Tree myth that elevated Jerusalem got implanted in my cultized brain, I am more fully realizing.

The AOG church as a whole is structured much more like the 1st Century church in keyways, than twi ever was!!!  Twi HEADQUARTERS WAS THE CHURCH BUILDING/physical location that ppl identified with and flocked to whenever possible, magnified 1000 times! Names like the Biblical Research Center, or WOW Auditorium didn't really change a THING IMO. Yes, human beings tend to ID with and attach to physical locations, especially where their hearts are drawn to God. But the concept that twi was the 1st Century church in the 20th, was PURE FICTION AND DECEPTION.

(Sometimes I still long for the free flow of how twi grew, and I do love how the early church was apparently structured and flowed. Apparently the Gospel is moving beautifully in India with Sangat Bain's ministry which is based only on home churches, and has Zero Headquarters.)

But right now, I am learning, growing, and worshipping in this local church which BTW, is connecting more and more w/ other churches in our town, YAY!) And am coming out of Cult Fog, and viewing the Evolution of The "Biblically-centered" Church from it's earliest days until now as something to learn from, honor, and feel a part of. 

Thank you GSC-ers for still being here!!

And yet Australias largest AOG church had young boys sexually abused by the founder until he was found out, stood down and then covered up by his son who then took over running the church...go figure.

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7 hours ago, Allan said:

Okayyy...so we're back to the "if you don't believe the 'trinity' you're a cult" ?...really ??

Allan, you’re losing me a little with this comment.  I just started watching this guys YouTube channel where he has a series of teachings to his own local community church about cults.

He is as part of a denomination probably adhering to some of the creeds which have a trinitarian statement in them.

I really don’t know everything that guy believes.  I did read in his background that he tried a TWI fellowship, was not inspired, then joined that church and has been with them for a while going to seminary and taking an associate pastor role in his church.  Hence the advanced studies cult videos.

I was more interested in the content he presented as opposed to his theological orientation.

I found many many practical similarities and almost identical practices spanning a wide variety of cults that he covered.  It seemed to me the cults were all way similar compared to more community oriented Christian churches in their methods of control over the lay follower.

You may find a different conclusion.  In any sense no I am not saying anywhere that a trinitarian view identifies a cult.  If that pastor guy said it I don’t agree.

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8 hours ago, Allan said:

And yet Australias largest AOG church had young boys sexually abused by the founder until he was found out, stood down and then covered up by his son who then took over running the church...go figure.

Oh, no doubt about it, there have been all KINDS of power etc abuses in just about EVERY denomination or Christian movement, especially those getting attention recently. Twi definitely did not have a special corner on that! However, the length of time vp was able to abuse young women sexually, keep it all a secret, influence twi culture in big ways, and NEVER be held accountable in any effectual way is notable IMO.

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11 hours ago, annio said:

Oh, no doubt about it, there have been all KINDS of power etc abuses in just about EVERY denomination or Christian movement, especially those getting attention recently. Twi definitely did not have a special corner on that! However, the length of time vp was able to abuse young women sexually, keep it all a secret, influence twi culture in big ways, and NEVER be held accountable in any effectual way is notable IMO.

Notable indeed... especially to us, because we were familiar with this particular cult.

I wonder if any academics have compiled credible data about the scope, time, and lack of meaningful accountability. I'd sure be interested in delving into such data.

Btw, according to a WaPo story, the Air Force E-4 (who self-immolated on Sunday) had been a part of a: 

"But how a young man who liked The Lord of the Rings and karaoke became the man ablaze in a camouflage military uniform remains a mystery, even among some of his closest friends.

"Bushnell was raised in a religious compound in Orleans, Mass., on Cape Cod, according to Susan Wilkins, 59, who said she was a member of the group from 1970 to 2005. She said that she knew Bushnell and his family on the compound and that he was still a member when she left. Wilkins said she heard through members of Bushnell’s family that he eventually left the group.

"Wilkins’s account is consistent with those of multiple others who said Bushnell had told them about his childhood in the religious group or who had heard about his affiliation from his family members.

"The group, called the Community of Jesus, has faced allegations of inappropriate behavior, which it has publicly disputed. In a lawsuit against an Ontario school, where many officials were alleged to be members of the U.S.-based religious group, former students called the Community of Jesus a “charismatic sect” and alleged that it “created an environment of control, intimidation and humiliation that fostered and inflicted enduring harms on its students.”

Multiple people who said they were former members of the Community of Jesus described their years after leaving the compound as particularly challenging. They said former members, soon after they depart the group, often long for a sense of belonging.

“A lot of us that got out are very much into social justice, trying to defend those who don’t or can’t defend themselves, because that is what we went through,” said Bonnie Zampino, 54, who said she was a member of the group for three years in the 1980s.

"Wilkins also said it is common for members of the Community of Jesus to join the military, describing the transition as moving from “one high-control group to another high-control group.”"

Emphasis mine. Also, the link to their website was mine, and very easy to find. 

I figure we'll learn more about SrAirman Bushnell in the days to come. However, high-control group is a significant indicator of cults, according to Steven Hassan. There's no indication thus far that Bushnell's decision was based on anything other than his own personal conviction about the war. But it seems obvious he was locked into a cultish mindset. Very sad and tragic, especially for his family. Btw, he apparently was only 25. Meaning Ms. Wilkins would have only known him as a small child.

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On 2/26/2024 at 8:56 PM, Rocky said:

I figure we'll learn more about SrAirman Bushnell in the days to come. However, high-control group is a significant indicator of cults, according to Steven Hassan. There's no indication thus far that Bushnell's decision was based on anything other than his own personal conviction about the war.

NYTimes has this (apparently a gift article, because I could read it even though I don't subscribe to NYT)

This report doesn't spell out Community of Jesus as a cult, but it seems to examine well, the young Mr Bushnell's mental approach. He rejected a good bit of his cult upbringing. He went to mental health therapy and encouraged a female friend with whom he apparently grew up to do the same.

He had deep empathetic tendencies (which is a good thing). He WILL not immediately be forgotten, as this kind of sacrifice does get cited in news stories after the fact.

My heart aches for him as I envision the ongoing good he could do by choosing to survive.

Various aspects of growing up in a cult are apparent for those with experience to recognize it. Notably for me, that he was apparently neither taught nor had modeled for him by elders ways to cope with difficult ethical and moral dilemmas.

Edited by Rocky
include the NYTimes link
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