i just left a cult..... - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 39 Old 04-22-2007, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for all of the loving responses. : This week is better than last, and the one before the that. I really appreciate hearing that others have been through this, no matter what it looked like as in the case of some not being a church but an abusive relationship. Some of me is struggling with not feeling like it is somehow my fault. Also being upset with myself for not realizing what was going on sooner. I really had no idea it was a cult while there. : I have only really realized this in the last 2 weeks. Scary how deceived you can be.

Its true that the pastor was a lot like an abusive partner. I remember the times even now where he was accusing you of doing things that are bad, but he is actually the one doing it. Right now he is accusing my husband of everything that he is doing.

I want to get a t-shirt that says: MY HUSBAND IS NOT CRAZY, BUT YOUR PASTOR IS!

The people that it was for, would know who and what I was talking about. It makes me laugh to think about doing it. Mind you, we live in a VERY small town.

Mama to 9 year-old girl , and a 7 year-old boy :, and my big little 6 year-old boy, and a 4 year-old boy
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#32 of 39 Old 04-22-2007, 08:25 PM
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How about making up that list you found into a t-shirt, with the 19 relevant boxes checked? And the front can read "I prefer to worship a ing God"
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#33 of 39 Old 04-22-2007, 08:29 PM
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I couldn't read this and not respond. I have been where you are and I know how disorienting it feels. (at least that is how it felt for me) I've been thinking about you all day long. I hope you are well.
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#34 of 39 Old 04-22-2007, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups - Revised

Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.

Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.

Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a “cult scale” or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.

X‪ The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

‪ X Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

‪ X Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

X‪ The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).

X‪ The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

‪ X The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

‪ X The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

X‪ The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).

‪ X The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

‪ X Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

X ‪ The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

‪ The group is preoccupied with making money.

‪ X Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.

X‪ Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

‪ X The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.

This checklist will be published in the new book, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias (Berkeley: Bay Tree Publishing, 2006). It was adapted from a checklist originally developed by Michael Langone.



Langone, Michael, Ph.D.: "Definitional Ambiguity"
Langone, Michael, Ph.D.: "On Using the Term "Cult"

I guess its not 19, but the list still freaks the heck out of me. All but the money one apply to the "church" that I have been a part of for almost a decade, that's 14 out of 15. My husband was there for 11 years. I guess I didn't know the definition of a cult. That's scary too, because I consider myself an educated person.

I should add in terms of the last checkpoint we did consider leaving 3 years ago, was just having doubts and I voiced them. The person that I had been talking to and her husband showed up at our house 45 minutes later, threatening to go tell the pastor.

X Oh and if you leave noone will talk with you, but if they do see you in public they will treat you like a leper. That's my addition to the list. If you are not part of the group, you are not allowed to associate with anyone who is still in the group, so as to "protect" them.

Mama to 9 year-old girl , and a 7 year-old boy :, and my big little 6 year-old boy, and a 4 year-old boy
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#35 of 39 Old 04-22-2007, 10:35 PM
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definately praying for you and your family.

Congrats on your new little one.

as far as doctrine goes...i dont know what this church believes in, but i am Christian, and i find www.Monergism.com to be a good resource. hope this helps.
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#36 of 39 Old 04-22-2007, 11:19 PM
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Wow!! It sounds like yourself is peeking out...ready to get her life back. You will find friends again.

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#37 of 39 Old 04-22-2007, 11:36 PM
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I'm so glad you are out of there. It will take time to get over it, and to develop new interests and meet new people. It is a good thing that you are a little distrustful right now. You are hurt and you need to not jump into a new situtation with both feet. Give yourself time to heal.

As you get further away from this situation, you'll make real friends who like you for who you are. Anyone who would dump you because you are traveling a different spiritual path is no friend to begin with. Don't worry about your child. She's at an age where kids make friends so easily. She'll be much better off with your new situation.
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#38 of 39 Old 04-22-2007, 11:54 PM
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Wow, I'm so glad you broke free, and I'm so sorry that you endured such a traumatic time in your life. I feel for you - we attended a church that was certainly not a cult, but was run in a very dysfunctional way and ended up really hurting us deeply on an emotional and spiritual level. The best thing we did, after we really processed our grief and began to heal from it was figure out what red flags we missed in the beginning in order to keep us from making the same mistakes again. It was very helpful to deconstruct the timeline and the things that we now were able to see were signs of dysfunction. We have learned a great deal of discernment, and have learned to trust ourselves and each other when one of us has that gut feeling or Holy Spirit kind of nudge in our hearts.

It's so easy to get involved, and so hard to get uninvolved, and I just encourage you to find some other believers (NOT of that cult, obviously) that can just help encourage you with Scripture and pray for you while you heal and get over the grief. Please make sure you do some sort of routine that allows you to stay in touch with God, because He will heal you so much faster than running away from Him.

Those are my quick thoughts, you've been on my mind all day, though, and I had to finally answer. Hugs, and I'm praying that you find peace. And hey - it's okay to be reallly, realllllllly pissed about what you went through - we were so mad, and really allowed those feelings to be expressed to each other and trusted friends, and it made the grieving process so much easier.

Mama to H (6) B (3) : A (1)
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#39 of 39 Old 04-23-2007, 01:27 AM
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Mama, I just couldn't read and not reply.

You've made it this far, with your family in tact. Hang in there, every day will be another day of freedom and strength. You will find what you need.

rural mama to DD1 DD2
unschooling, non-vaxing, writing, gardening, co-sleeping, critter-loving family :
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