Monday, July 3, 2017

Why Do They Still Join?

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

One really good point in that video involves what happens when cult members agree to compromise.

In an ACOG, everyone knows that one of the Big Ten is "thou shalt not bear false witness." Lying is abhorrent to God, and liars won't be in the Kingdom of God. That's drummed into members again and again, and if they don't disclose all their personal and private secrets to a prying minister they will be branded "liars."

So, what happens when you're in an ACOG and you discover that your Presiding Evangelist has a habit of violating confidences and telling lies? If you were following Christ without compromise, you would see that if the leader is "practicing sin" and it's not just an occasional lapse, he isn't even a Christian and thus cannot be a Christian leader. You would leave.

But what happens when you find out that your leader is a practiced liar, but your kids want to go to Teen Camp, and your spouse has a network of treasured friendships in the group? If you ask about the leader's lies, you might be thrown out of the group, so you're likely to keep quiet and rationalize away the behavior.

With "insiders" the compromises are even more severe. Once you are a minister, your livelihood depends on people not perceiving that your leader is practicing sin. So, you rationalize his behavior to others, and you may even cover up behaviors you witness.

Do you see what just happened? YOU became a liar, just like the leader whose sins you are covering up! Now, once you have rationalized away that "it's OK to lie" in some circumstances, it will be that much easer to rationalize away other compromises. Soon you will be so thoroughly compromised that your moral compass will be directionless and the idea of leaving the group won't even enter your mind anymore.

To make this more personal and direct, I know personally of a man at LCG HQ who, while he was still "in the field," would speak honestly when asked about RCM's repeated tendency to tell lies. That tendency troubled him, and he prayed that God would intervene and change the man or the situation. Sadly, when I talked to this man at a recent "Winter Weekend" in Charlotte, this man had become a staunch apologist for RCM's conduct, and was offended when I brought up our previous conversations. His time at HQ had truly warped his mind. By "seeing the Big Picture" this once-honorable man had either become a willful liar himself, or at the very least had trained himself to manage cognitive dissonance so that he no longer saw plainly what he acknowledged previously, that RCM had a real problem with lying.

The lesson? That first compromise, the first time you ignore your conscience and "go along" with something you know isn't right, won't be your last compromise. Each time you squelch your conscience, it will bounce back a little bit less the next time, until you are completely en-cult-urated to your group.

Connie Schmidt said...

Any group that has a one man , unaccountable leader for life is going to be a mess. ALWAYS! NO EXCEPTIONS!

Anonymous said...

That was so beautiful. If only I knew what I knew now before I joined lcg years ago I would have been better able to make an informed decision. NOW I HAVE TO LEARN FROM MY PAST EXPERIENCE And go forward. Thanks for the information by the way.

John F**king Cafourek said...

If you want me to baptize you, I must council you for 5 months, must be over 30 years of age, must NOT live with your parents and most importantly you need to have a good paying job!

Byker Bob said...

The quick and dirty answer is that people join cults for the same reason that they start taking drugs. Something has gone wrong in their lives, and they self-medicate at a time of vulnerability. There is a time period of euphoria, and then at some point it turns on them, but by that time they are hooked. Some break free, and go into rehab, while others continue to subject themselves to horrible soul killing damage right up to the days of their deaths.

The war on drugs will never be over, and despite our best efforts, neither will the war on cults. So long as there are needy people, there will always be persuasive people offering false solutions, enriching themselves in the process

BB

Anonymous said...

I personally believe that all religions are cults. I believe that the general belief, even in mainstream religion, as in the words of the hymn, "amazing grace that saves a wretch like me". To tell people that they are wretches is abuse. Yet this is a common belief of almost or all mainstream Christian churches. The idea that we are inherently born evil and are in desperate need to be saved is a false concept. I don't know of any church that doesn't teach that false concept.

Anonymous said...

Why do people join cults? The answer according to social scientists who study this phenomenon is that people don't. Rather they join groups that turn out to be cults.

Anonymous said...

I got sucked into the cult because I was a miserable misfit, socially backward and woefully unhappy kid of 18 when a bombastic con artist came along with a message that suddenly could make me someone special. I got out of a dead end situation and into a life that promised, for a time, an answer. I belonged, finally. I became convinced I was specially called to a great future in "the world tomorrow." Took a long time to wise up, but I did, thankfully.

Allen C. Dexter

Anonymous said...

3.17 PM
Rod was more than just a liar. He was very morally challenged. A interesting question is why so many followed the man. That's both ministers and ordinary ministers.
My suspicion is that they warmed up to him because of his 'evilness,'

Ed said...

Allen, that is my story almost exactly. I think a lot of people identify with that. The WCG offered a family type environment also they falsely offered a neatly packaged set of answers to basically everything. This drew people who where both confused and lonely and gave meaning to their lives. Without knowing it they where instead sucked into an abusive religious system.

It wasn't hard for me to leave after I seen what a scam I was a part of. Maybe because I am not much of a socially oriented person and didn't have many deeply rooted relationships. I think a lot of people that remain stay because of their freindships with people still in the Armstrongism culs.

Jim Baldwin said...

There is one outstanding missing point in this little video. As long as humans believe in a God or gods there will always be religious cults numbering in the thousands. You need only realize that the invisible God and the non-existent one look very much alike. That fact is how I was able to walk away from the WCG 25 years ago.

Jim Baldwin

Anonymous said...

There is never one complete answer, as we are all individual people. Take RCG, in the beginning everything seemed fine, Pack was towing the ACOG- HWA line for years. Then, suddenly, became "enlightened"! Then he was "Joshua, (which, at the time, did not seem like a far stretch.) Then he was "Elijah", (130 reasons why.) Then he was "that Prophet". Now there are two millenniums, and humans ruling in the Kingdom for 1000 years, being able to fly around at will, as semi-god creatures. Yet, people are obviously still following him. I always thought it strange that people could follow a man, even after it is obvious that he is false. Think, David Coresh or Jim Jones.

It is almost like a drug that some cannot let go. Even after you find out that the person is false, you cannot let go. It's like this even in politics, if your man is found out to be a liar, some will continue to support them, no matter what. It's too hard to admit that you might be wrong to yourself. Maybe that could be part of the reason why people stay. There are many others. It is difficult to realize that you may have given a huge part of your life, and time, and money, to a false leader. You may have suffered much abuse, and now you realize that it may have been for nothing. Yes, such things are hard to admit.

I know that it was hard for me personally to leave. But, when you finally realize that the leader is deluded, you must make a choice! Life is easier once you leave, and your head can clear out. You will be able to at least, think for yourself, and make the decisions that are right for you and your family. Not, what some leader, and his personally chosen ministers, decide for you. God actually expects you to think for yourself. Are you really going to rule the world, yet cannot even decide if your leader is true, or false, based on his fruits?

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
Why do people join cults? The answer according to social scientists who study this phenomenon is that people don't. Rather they join groups that turn out to be cults.

Best answer! No one joins a cult. If we thought it was a cult we'd not join. We join a church. It seems better and more accurate, faithful to the Bible, (first problem right there) serious, sincere and with a leadership that speaks it's mind and attracts. I'm not sure leadership of such churches ever think "I'm a cult" Flurry, Pack, Thiel, Now Weston and even UCG types, would not think they were cults. They are convinced, in their own minds at least, that they see the Bible properly, know they are some sort of voice in the wilderness because the Bible is full of those types anyway and correctly understand what their God requires in lifestyles, compliance and obedience.

It is difficult for me to admit not only did I get suckered into what proved to be cultish and the cult of the Armstrong's view of everything, but I became a ministerial cult minor leader player. It never crossed my mind I was in a cult. If it ever did, I would have thought or said, "Well the Catholic Church is just a big cult etc and dismissed my doubt or concern. I did a lot of that over the years and thus it is why I repeat often, "when your head tells you one thing and your stomach tells you another, your stomach is telling you the truth. Your head is lying to you."

My stomach was screaming at me for two decades and my head was pretty good at telling it to have faith, all will be well and my concerns from the start of my ministry and observations were not to be taken too seriously.

I could make a list of stomach issues now and it would both be long and fit well into the concept of "well...I told me so..."

DennisCDiehl said...

Another factor that blinded me is my realization that having grown up with the Sunday/Pauline/Presbyterian/Gentile version of things, I was captivated and attracted to the Jewish/Christian concept of church. From the start it was obvious to me from my having to memorize vast parts of the Westminster Confession of Faith as a kid etc that the NT also contained a Jewish version of church with sabbaths, holydays and lifestyle stuff that seemed true too. Any idiot can figure out that Xmas and Easter are the paganized versions of Holydays and originated with the solstice of winter and the equinox of spring with all the proper analogies to Jesus easily woven into them.

I'd have to say that IF IF IF, I would gravitate towards a church, it would be the Jewish Christian version. I have always seen the major conflict between Pauline/Gentile/I got this in vision and hallucination from Jesus religion and the Peter, James and John version of things. I know everyone thinks they were one in the same but that is simply not so. The NT is the record of the rise of the one, Pauline/Gentile and the fall of the other, Jameson/Jewish. Never the two shall meet.

anyway...it was easy to get hooked.

RSK said...

As Bob Larson put it... "Conservatively inclined people may be attracted by Armstrong's denunciation of moral decay."

I myself cannot confirm or deny, as I wasnt a convert.

DennisCDiehl said...

Well said 4:42

Byker Bob said...

Most of us who were ever part of the movement became conditioned to the worst aspects, and the idea of living an ascetic lifestyle, one with the normal shots being called by others. We turned it into a form of elitism as an antidote to those going about various more normal lifestyles. As zombies, we perceived all non-members as being the "real" zombies, and there was enthusiastic comradery in it.

These were not initial reasons for joining up. They were the changes which took place as part of normal human adaptive processes, and as a protective outer shell, they became what allowed us to remain codependent to a toxic church despite almost anything that could and did happen. As with a drug, it quickly moved beyond the logic of cost-benefit, no longer being subject to any laws of logic. Once that happens, it becomes difficult to get off the ride.

BB

Angela Storey said...

People from dysfunctional families run by narcissistic parents join cults because it is normal for them to be treated badly and to be dominated by evil lying self seeking people who make out they are perfect while you are very very flawed. I woke up and left. Much of what they - wwcg taught was right. It was a knowledge based church with no love. I endured it for a while. I learnt that I will not stand for bring treated like this any more.

Anonymous said...

"Any group that has a one man , unaccountable leader for life is going to be a mess. ALWAYS! NO EXCEPTIONS!"

Well, some monarchs and emperors were actually considered good leaders and some were quite popular with their people.

Connie Schmidt said...

Anonymous at 6:59

There are still people that think that Stalin was great and wish he was back. There are people who think Flurry , Pack, Thiel et al are the greatest. Popularity has nothing to do with "not being a mess".

Pull the curtain back and take a look deeply, and any person who does not provide freedom and liberty for his people "away from them" is always a butt wipe and rules by creating and allowing dependency!

Anonymous said...

Angela Storey -- you hit the nail on the head. So many of us came from dysfunctional backgrounds, making us more tolerant of the abuse and finding creative ways to survive within an oppressive system.

Anonymous said...

Christ's "splinter group" was considered a cult in it's day.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:23 says

I believe that the general belief, even in mainstream religion, as in the words of the hymn, "amazing grace that saves a wretch like me".

Many people are wretches. The rest of us are just occasional wretches.

Anonymous said...

Ed, I appreciated your comment. It took me a while to completely leave, associating for quite a while with Ernest Martin and his group. I had other former Worldwide friends, some with some far out ideas. Most of them are either gone now or scattered so widely that I've totally lost any contact. I don't abandon a friend because of a difference of opinion, but I did drop one like a hot potato when he accused me of being dishonest. I'll cheerfully admit to the possibility of being mistaken or wrong, but don't call me dishonest because I don't agree on something.

We're all different. We all have different needs, and I guess having a religion to cling to is very important to many people. For some reason, it was not hard for me to shake that need off. I've always said I'm a nuts and bolts kind of guy not afraid to stare reality in the face and embrace it. If it's clearly a baseless fantasy, don't bother me with it.

Allen C. Dexter

Anonymous said...

I was a second generationer, dragged in by my mother at age 11 after my dad died. By the time I was 18, in '72, Christ did NOT return and I gave the WCG the heave ho. Married outside the fold with no intention of ever returning UNTIL I had my kids. Then all I wanted was to keep them out of the tribulation. All the indoctrination and brain washing kicked in at the same time as my parental hormones. All I had happily rejected came back in vivid living color. It was like getting hypnotized at a party and the hypnotist gives you a suggestion word while you're under. Then later, when he says it to you, you start mooing like a cow to the delight of all your friends. I eventually came to my senses, and for a long time kicked myself many times over. I have not rejected God by any means, I find my life liberating away from that hot mess. Just wish it happened sooner.