One of the biggest challenges today in the Church of God is the various splinter group leaders who are ripping families apart because of their beliefs and insecurities.
Many people are shocked at how “easily” the natural bonds of family love can dissolve under the high-pressure undue influence of an abusive group or partner. They often ask: “How can a child shun their parents?” or, more poignantly: “Why would loving parents agree to cover up the abuse of their own child?”
One of the hallmarks of a high-control group is the way they tear families apart: married survivors of cultic groups talk about the group being “the third person in the marriage bed,” and those born and raised in such groups know that they came second to the leadership in their parents’ lives, abandoned emotionally, if not physically.
Worse, children in high-control groups who experience physical or sexual abuse at the hands of the leaders cannot expect the same love and support they would receive in a “worldly” family – their trauma is compounded as their parents cover up, deny, or, in extreme cases, encourage and even perpetrate the abuse, all in the name of the group, its reputation, and its goals. Open Minds Advisory Board member Alex Stein gives an excellent account of the disorganized attachment found in such relationships in her book Terror, Love and Brainwashing.Anyone who has been watching Leah Remi's exposes on Scientology see shocking similarities with the actions of that so-called church does to break up families with the Church of God.
And yet, the members of high-control groups aren’t monsters; the “average” cult member is intelligent, well-adjusted, and capable of rational thought – about anything other than their group and its beliefs. Those who manage to escape are usually able to re-grow healthy family relationships with those outside the group.
So how can a daughter be swayed to ignore her mother? How can a father be convinced to keep silent about someone in his church sexually abusing his son? Here are six of the most prominent ways an abusive group erodes the natural bonds of family love and loyalty:The article goes on to list 6 different points as to what happens. Pay particular notice to #3:
3. They use fear and spiritual blackmail.
Those who consider speaking out against the group or partner face many indoctrinated phobias: they will lose their relationship with Divinity or their chance for Eternal Life, they will betray the world-saving goals of the group, and turn their backs on the Truth, with a capital “T.” They will be betraying the Revolution, or the People, or their partner. Although these are “false” consequences, there are often real consequences to rebelling: those who speak out are often expelled, losing their families, their friends, and most, if not all, of their social support network. They are faced with the unhappy truth that those they have left behind now see them as apostate, evil, backsliders, or traitors.Children and regular members are afraid to leave these dangerous splinter personality cults of Armstrongism because it has been ingrained in them for decades that to dare to question the church and its leaders is tantamount to grieving the Holy Spirit and direct sin against God that will result in denial of salvation. Thus these men reign supreme and untouched by anyone who criticizes them. It is always the person criticizing that is at fault, or the parents searching for a lost child, or grandparents looking for contact with a grandchild. Just look at the comments that were made about the mother looking for her son trapped in Dave Pack's cult. It is the family's fault, the mother's fault, etc. Not one of these people who sent in some of the disgusting comments ever held Dave and the Restored Church of God accountable.
For a church that claims to be God's only true church we sure have made a business out of wrecking peoples lives.