I’ve done two series now, the first on the Gospel Transition from Jews to Gentiles (and why that is significant in interpreting New Testament Scripture and Recognizing Talk/Patterns of Cults. In doing so, I’ve had to ask myself the question – why are you doing this? (Others ask me that too…) Well, I want to give the answer, and it will be short I PROMISE!
Most of my blog posts are in depth and long, meant to be meat and potatoes, educational posts, built with a purpose – but I have learned something in doing these – short and sweet topics of interest get much better attention. So this will be sweet, and short.
So why have I focused strongly on abusive churches & cults…
I took this picture of myself sitting alone at a restaurant, roughly four months after I left a cult. To any one in my past Church, this picture proves my demon motivated ways – and that’s why I write about it. Cults harm people, they harm our ability to think clearly & rationally, they create perspectives of self-righteous holiness that condemns all others and makes us forcefully reject others who don’t live exactly like us.
You see, my cult disallowed any type of facial hair on men, making it tantamount to sinning (you know, like adultery, fornication, murder, etc). They also made wearing a short sleeve shirt a punishable offense, one that would have you removed from their fellowship. They made getting a tan a shame, or any amount of makeup on a woman the sign of a harlot and prostitute.
They disallow so many things you are left wondering, what is ok? Did I screw up today? Is holy fire about to shoot down from heaven? Should I have said that? Do I look right? Should I go change? And the sad result is self-condemnation, like a mental disease, all the time – you can’t shake it! That is unless you are so brain washed that you follow along like a good puppy seeking a treat, oblivious to the damage being done.
Let me make this clear – cults would cause a husband or wife to leave one another simply because one chooses not to go to that church. Friends leave friends over the church or cult. They always teach organization over family. If someone doesn’t want what the organization teaches, follow the organization. Just chew on that for a moment.
When I left the cult, a friend told me, ‘please don’t leave, I’m tired of losing friends.’ Another friend had wanted to schedule a family lunch the coming Sunday, but when he found out I decided to stop going to church there, he said ‘That’s too bad…’ and canceled lunch.
Cults set parents against children and children against parents. If the parent disagrees with the great leader, the parents must be turned aside. Sure, still write on Christmas, but they are no longer a source of wisdom, counseling, strength or help. They are tainted by satan.
There is so much more out there to focus on! There are hungry children, children abused as sex slaves, children ashamed to go to school because they can’t afford decent clothes. There are lives wracked with drug addiction, self-destroying behavior, and there are harvest fields so plentiful for God’s kingdom, that cults become the servant with one talent that hides it in the backfield of a commune.
They are missing the mark of God’s calling by such a long swing we SHOULD be writing about it! If we can keep 10 people from a cult and plug them into God’s real calling, what would that be worth?
Sadly, this behavior doesn’t have to exist only in small cults. Even a proper church can fall victim to a similar mentality. I remember how I taught as a Southern Baptist to view Catholics and members of other denominations as people who didn’t have the truth – our truth – and therefore wouldn’t enjoy as much as heaven as we would. Later, I made a Catholic friend who turned to be every bit as Christian as I was (if not more). It made me question everything my church had ever taught me.
Groups know that people desire community, belonging – and they can sometimes uses that against us. Sometimes in small cults, sometimes in larger churches. The same mechanics exist in both spheres.
LikeLiked by 1 person
You are absolutely right and thank you for the feedback! I was part of an independent off shoot of the United Pentecostal Church which is a pretty large organizarion. Happens in the big and the small.