Checklists and Helpful Information

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Gillie
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Checklists and Helpful Information

Post by Gillie » Mon Jun 05, 2017 2:59 pm

One of the main reasons why we have joined this forum and why we continue to write posts is that we care about people.

We care for those who are recovering after being hurt and abused within church groups

AND, we also have a heart for those who are still caught up in such damaging, controlling groups.

Please read this list and simply think about the behaviour of the group to which you have given your commitment.

Checklist of Cult Characteristics
by Michael Langone, Ph.D.

• The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.

• The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

• The group is preoccupied with making money.

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

• Mind-numbing techniques [such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines] are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader[s].

• The leadership dictates -sometimes in great detail- how members should think, act and feel [for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, get married; leaders may prescribe what type of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth].

• The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leaders and members [for example: the leader is considered the Messiah, or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity].

• The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society.

• The group’s leader is not accountable to any authorities [as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations]. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group [for example: collecting money for bogus charities].

• The leadership induces feeling of guilt in members in order to control them.

• Members’ subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family, friends, and personal group goals and activities that were of interest before joining the group.

• Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.

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

[This list was composed a couple of decades ago and has become a classic, widely quoted, as in Captive Hearts, Captive Minds, Freedom and Recovery from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Landau-Tobias & Lalich, Hunter Press, 1994, Appendix, pp 276-7]

Gillie
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Re: Checklists and Helpful Information

Post by Gillie » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:21 pm

HOW TO IDENTIFY A CULT: SIX TIPS FROM AN EXPERT
The groups are secretive, exploitive and closed to outsiders – and they’re still with us
Apr 29, 2017
CBS News

Up to 10,000 cults still exist today in the United States, according to psychologist Steve Eichel, a recognized international cult expert and president of the International Cultic Studies Association. He outlined several ways to identify cults.

"Most cults are extremely small and very deliberately try to stay under the radar," Eichel told "48 Hours" correspondent Peter Van Sant. "Unless they commit a crime, unless they do something that draws attention to them--negative attention and criticism to them--we generally don't know about them."

Van Sant interviewed Eichel for his "48 Hours" report on the Australian cult The Family. The cult was led by self-appointed mystic Anne Hamilton-Byrne who, with the help of LSD, convinced followers she was female reincarnation of Jesus Christ.

Hamilton-Byrne had up to 500 followers and collected 28 children during the cult's height. Some children were the offspring of cult members, some were newborns whose unwed mothers believed they were going to a good home. A few were out and out stolen, according to former detective Lex de Man, who has studied The Family for years.

Many of the children had their hair bleached blonde because Hamilton-Byrne wanted them to resemble brothers and sisters. It was not until the children were rescued by police that they learned Anne and her husband Bill Hamilton-Byrne were not their biological parents.

Although The Family was headquartered near Melbourne, Australia, it had a presence in Kent, England, and the Catskills region of New York State. In fact, the Hamilton-Byrnes were arrested at their Catskill house and extradited to Australia to stand trial.

A discussion of The Family naturally raises the question of whether cults still exist in the United States. Many Americans, especially baby boomers, tend to think cults are a remnant of the 1960s and '70s but that's not true, as Van Sant learned.

"As an American, when I think of cults in the United States I think of the Branch Davidians. The Waco situation. I think of Charles Manson," Van Sant said. "I think of just a handful of groups, 'cause those are the ones I've really heard of. You're telling me there's much more than that?"

"Certainly. And of course you haven't heard of them, and neither have I, for that matter. I don't keep track of all the cults," Eichel replied. "Cultic groups tend to try very hard to remain secretive. They don't want a lot of notoriety or negative attention."

So what constitutes a cult? Eichel listed several factors:

1. "Beware of any kind of pressure. That's probably the single most important advice I can give anyone. Any kind of pressure to make a quick decision about becoming involved in any intensive kind of activity or organization."

2. "Be wary of any leader who proclaims him or herself as having special powers or special insight. And, of course, divinity."

3. "The group is closed, so in other words, although there may be outside followers, there's usually an inner circle that follows the leader without question, and that maintains a tremendous amount of secrecy."

4. "The group uses deceptive means, typically, to recruit new members, and then once recruited will subject its members to an organized program of thought reform, or what most people refer to as brainwashing."

5. "Typically cults also exploit their members….mostly financially. Within the group, they'll exploit members financially, psychologically, emotionally and, all too often, sexually."

6. "A very important aspect of cult is the idea that if you leave the cult, horrible things will happen to you. This is important, and it's important to realize. That people outside of a cult are potential members, so they're not looked upon as negatively as people inside the cult who then leave the cult."


Written by "48 Hours" producer Paul LaRosa. Watch "48 Hours:" The Family : A Cult Revealed"
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-to-iden ... pert-tips/

Gillie
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Re: Checklists and Helpful Information

Post by Gillie » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:58 pm

These are very helpful lists to read through and evaluate carefully your group / leader:
Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

9. The group/leader is always right.

10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.



Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.

1. Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.

2. Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.

3. Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".

4. Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behaviour.

5. Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyse situations without group/leader involvement.

6. Hyperactivity centred on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supersede any personal goals or individual interests.

7. A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humour.

8. Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.

9. Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.

10. Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They cannot be trusted and personal contact is avoided.



Ten signs of a safe group/leader.

1.A safe group/leader will answer your questions without becoming judgmental and punitive.

2. A safe group/leader will disclose information such as finances and often offer an independently audited financial statement regarding budget and expenses. Safe groups and leaders will tell you more than you want to know.

3. A safe group/leader is often democratic, sharing decision-making and encouraging accountability and oversight.

4. A safe group/leader may have disgruntled former followers, but will not excommunicate and forbid others from associating with them.

5. A safe group/leader will not have a paper trail of overwhelmingly negative records, books, articles and statements about them.

6. A safe group/leader will encourage family communication, community interaction and existing friendships and not feel threatened.

7. A safe group/leader will recognize reasonable boundaries and limitations when dealing with others.

8. A safe group/leader will encourage critical thinking, individual autonomy and feelings of self-esteem.

9. A safe group/leader will admit failings and mistakes and accept constructive criticism and advice.

10. A safe group/leader will not be the only source of knowledge and learning excluding everyone else, but value dialogue and the free exchange of ideas.


Don't be naïve, develop a good BS Detector.

You can protect yourself from unsafe groups and leaders by developing a good BS detector. Check things out, know the facts and examine the evidence. A safe group will be patient with your decision making process. If a group or leader grows angry and anxious just because you want to make an informed and careful decision before joining; beware.


By Rick Ross, Expert Consultant and Intervention Specialist
https://www.familiesagainstcultteaching ... ing-Signs/

Gillie
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Re: Checklists and Helpful Information

Post by Gillie » Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:44 pm

Checklist, Am I in a cultic group?

• 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.

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

• 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).

• 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).

• 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).

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

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

• 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).

• 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.

• 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.

• The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

• The group is preoccupied with making money.

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

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

• 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.


Are You A Candidate For A Cult? Take This Test

Here is a checklist for you to discover your vulnerability:
... I am considered bright in most things
... I am a curious person about the world around me
... I have been a leader among my peers
... I have been a member of a group and consider myself a follower
... I have moments when I doubt myself and my ability to succeed
... I am afraid of the future from time to time
... I am considered idealistic by my family and friends
... I enjoy being liked by those around me and enjoy receiving compliments from them
... I sometimes like taking risks

HOW DID YOU GET ON?

Did you check 3 or more?

If so, you are a prime candidate for a cult recruiter.
If you think you can’t be taken in, then you certainly can be!

Gillie
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Re: Checklists and Helpful Information

Post by Gillie » Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:33 pm

One thing that did help me was the checklist in the book Recovering from Churches that Abuse (Enroth, R., 1994, Zondervan)

All my answers were consistent with the characteristics of cults.

1. Does a member’s personality generally become stronger, happier, more confident as a result of contact with the group?

No, people feel beaten into submission, depressed, anxious, living in fear.


2. Do members of the group seek to strengthen their family commitments?

Some in fact, have nothing to do with family outside the cult.


3. Does the group encourage independent thinking and the development of discernment skills?

Absolutely not. You don’t have your own thoughts. You don’t think. You just do as you’re told.


4. Does the group allow for individual differences of belief and behaviour particularly on issues of second importance?

No, you conform to the doctrine, the teachings of the ministry even the personal opinions and preferences of those in the ministry.


5. Does the group encourage high moral standards both among members and between members and non-members?

On the surface, the absolute highest morals are claimed, but the men in leadership are cruel tyrants.


6. Does the group’s leadership invite dialogue, advice, and evaluation from outside its immediate circle?

No. There is a pretence of openness – but if you ask questions you are reprimanded, sometimes even put out of fellowship.


7. Does the group allow for development in theological beliefs?

There is only one way...we have 'the truth' as preached by the messengers of God.


8. Are group members encouraged to ask hard questions of any kind?

No.


9. Do members appreciate truth wherever it is found, even if it is outside their group?

There is no truth outside the church. The world is considered an evil cesspool of sin full of dangerous people who are just waiting to drag you down to Hell with them


10. Is the group honest in dealing with non-members, especially as it tries to win them to the group?

Many people come expecting one thing based on what they’re told initially – but once they’re inside those walls they find a different story. Many don’t come back the following week.


11. Does the group foster relationships and connections with the larger society that are more than self-serving?

The church is an oasis of purity, the world is something that should be kept at arms length. You don’t make close friends with those outside the group. You have the absolute minimum contact you need in order to work to earn money and to preach the Gospel. That’s it.

surprisedbyjoy
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Re: Checklists and Helpful Information

Post by surprisedbyjoy » Sat Jun 10, 2017 6:03 pm

Gillie,

I recall interesting experiences around point 5 and basic morals. A few of the leadership types in the xCF group took it upon themselves to dabble in business ventures using church funds, volunteer labor and freely offered resources. Now if that wasn't a recipe to make a healthy profit then why did they also chose the low moral ground of not paying their creditors in a timely way. I tell you why! Because they are the great messengers of their self defined "church" and they are above the law and of the spirit. Spirit of what? would be the obvious question. It would appear by the fruit not that of Christ if these are the proven,historic, real and factual outcomes of that "administration".

Also the morals in the use of offerings and alms entrusted to these men is also very questionable. I believe in that place more comes in as alms than goes out for those needing it. When these sorts of basic things are not properly stewarded by "Gods messengers" then we really need to start asking some critical questions of them. Ones like "are they really messengers at all?" But as you say in points 3,4,6 & 8 that won't get you very far.

Gillie
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Re: Checklists and Helpful Information

Post by Gillie » Sat Jun 10, 2017 6:40 pm

5. Does the group encourage high moral standards both among members and between members and non-members?

I recall interesting experiences around point 5 and basic morals.
surprisedbyjoy
I am sure many of us could share points where we saw and witnessed behaviour that was clearly immoral.

Immoral Definition: violating moral principles; not conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted or established as consistent with principles of personal and social ethics.

I saw it in the treatment of elders' wives...Gladys Barlow and Linda Bourne to name two victims of the elders' cruelty and shocking abuse.

robocop
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Re: Checklists and Helpful Information

Post by robocop » Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:55 am

Just a "Heads-Up" regarding information posted to Streetcar.

I have started a file which I am keeping copies of everything I post to Streetcar, (a) for my own benefit, and (b) in the case of another 'crash' of Streetcar.

We have lost so much valuable information through the last 2 'crashes', that I feel it may be worthwhile to keep copies of all that I post, and anything I feel is worthwhile saving.

Up to each person's individual preferences, but I think it might help keep the integrity of Streetcar going.

Boundary Rider
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Re: Checklists and Helpful Information

Post by Boundary Rider » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:52 am

Really good thought Robo. :) ;)

I have saved many of my posts, but most of them are posts within a topic, rather than Starting a topic.

If they seem relevant I'm happy to post them again.

BR

Thanomere84
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Re: Checklists and Helpful Information

Post by Thanomere84 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:57 am

Yeah... archiving things is the way to go. I managed to rewrite my starting testimony in a rather similar manner and also salvaged the 'I will NOT be silenced!!!' post. Most of what else I put up on the original Streetcar seems to be beyond salvage, though. Rather unfortunate. :sad:

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