From:  | Block Address | Add to Address Book
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001 00:06:49 EDT
Subject: [x-cobu] Lessons I have learned about cults 

    As most of you know, I have been very active in learning about cults,
abusive churches, etc.  For almost five years I have hosted an on-line
chat/support group for those affected, directly or indirectly, by a cult,
abusive church, relationship etc.
 One of the most startling discoverers I made was seeing that no matter
what the foundational beliefs are (e.g. some come who were in New Age groups,
others from satanic worship groups, others from bible based, etc.) that the
mechanisms of manipulation and control are uncanningly similar.  I was upset
by this for a while, but after five years have, I think, been able to
reconcile this in my mind.
     What I have found is that the difficulty with bible-based groups is
that one cannot just throw it all away (like a New Age or satanic based
group).  Things are more in knots and tangles precisely because landmines can
be found in the midst of precious pearls of knowledge about the wonderful
things of God.
     Because the chat I host is in a secular arena, focus is mainly on the
tactics used by various groups.  However, I discovered something quite
wonderful happening.  When people were able to realize that the abuse they
experienced were at the hands of people who acted much like leaders from a
totally different kind of group, they have seemed more able to put the blame
where it belongs...on the cunning abuse of power and that God is not like the
abuse they experience.  It seems when that important distinction can be made,
people are more able to examine what they believe and not be encumbered by
the weight of something destructive.
     I do not pretend to know the mind of God when it comes to what the
long-term purpose my, or anyone's, being in COBU is supposed to serve.  
However, at this point in my journey I have found the most peace in
acknowledging that what I experienced there was not "okay" with God and for
all the tears I wept, he probably has "wept" even more for me.  
     In the long run analysis of things perhaps there will never be an
agreement among us if COBU started as a cult or didn't, if it is a cult
today, or not.  However, what I have seen on here between us is kind of like
war veterans camaraderie.  We saw and experienced things that many other
people will not get even close to experiencing, and our words, even at points
of high emotion and disagreement clearly show that.  
     I became a Christian pre-COBU, and the one way that helped me in the
10 years I was there (and the 15 years since) is that I always knew that God
was bigger and embraced more than what we'd give him credit for in COBU.