How to spot a cult: It says through the literature that if the organization says they aren’t a cult, they probably are a cult. If they teach that all other religions or organizations are wrong if they don’t believe what their organization believes it is probably a cult. If they say their belief is the only right belief, they may be a cult. If they say you have to be in their organization only, they are probably a cult. Cults recruit with hyped up meetings. They use unrelenting pressure and call all the time. If they ask you for money, they might be a cult. If they control what you can do and who you can be around, it might be a cult.
I have a longstanding fascination with all things cult related. I love to read about them, I love to watch documentaries about them, I have even ventured to write about a fiction version of one. I am not sure where the fascination comes from, but I am drawn in. I am interested to see how these people, involved in cults were manipulated. I am fascinated by how easy it was to manipulate the members.
When I watch documentaries about it, I have to wonder, how did these people believe something like this was actually real? I ask myself how did this leader come to be this way? Sinister motives, mental illness, good intentions? I always have to sit and ponder what and why and how.
I recently read this blog about The Dying and while it made me think of my own views on death and dying, it also made me realize that most religions could be considered a cult. Had I been part of a cult? Is the indoctrination of the church just another form of mind control?
I know that when people leave a cult, they have a difficult time leaving the beliefs of the cult behind. It still plagues them. I am dealing with something similar. I feel as though I want to change my way of thinking and I know that what I thought before was not correct. However, every time I think something different, I feel this nagging guilt and a sense of urgency to back peddle to my old beliefs.
Now, I am pondering different things. Not an outsider looking in. I am looking inside myself.
How to spot a Christian Church: The Christian Church is not a cult. They say so when teaching of suspected cults. All other teachings of Christianity that differ from the Christian Church is wrong and not as enlightened. The Christian Church is the only true word of God and the only right way to believe. If you don’t believe in their teachings you will not be saved and you will not get to Heaven. If you are not baptized in the Christian faith you will not be saved and you will go to Hell, you must belong to their church only. With bands and music and fun revival meetings, Christian churches can get new members easily. They ask for your name, phone number, and address when you visit their church. You will then receive literature and phone prayers, especially if you do not come back. 10% tithe to the church, it’s in the name of God, he is asking this of you. You should only read the Bible and listen to music that glorifies God, watch tv that only glorifies God, watch movies that only glorifies God.
So, comparing how to spot a cult and how to spot a Christian Church, I am beginning to think that I was part of a cult. That statement is not to offend my christian friends and family. It’s simply what I feel like right now. I feel like, now that I have made the decision to move away from Christianity, away from the church. I feel guilt and I feel this inner battle with myself between what I have always known, for the last 30 years and what I know now that I am a mother of an impressionable tiny human.
Components of a Cult Compared to My Experiences with Christian Church: (As explained by Cultwatch)
Deception: “We love everyone as God loves us. Jesus died for all our sins. We give generously to all those in need. No one can judge but God.” Unless, you aren’t of the same mind as the leaders of the church. Unless you don’t own a Bible and read it daily. Unless you are a homosexual trying to get married. Unless you are not baptized. Unless you are a waitress that doesn’t give me a tax deduction on my generosity. Unless you are pro-choice and you want to murder babies. Unless you try to teach my kid yoga in PE class.
Exclusivity: You will only be saved if you are a follower of our church, of our beliefs. You can only go to Heaven if you take Jesus into your heart. You will go to Hell if you don’t follow the Bible, no other teachings will do. You will be condemned to Hell if you allow your gay daughter into your home (personal experience with my father).
Guilt: If you give to God you will be rewarded. If you don’t give to God you will not receive blessings. Maybe if you tithed more often, you might start to reap what you sow financially. If you would baptize your child, he might not be so unruly. If you just give your faith to God, he will make your life happy and healthy. You should have given it to God, he would have handled it for you.
Love Bombing and Relationship Control: Joining the church will afford you many new friends. You will be surrounded by love and compassion. We advise you to steer clear of non-believers because they will only tempt you away from the proper path with God. If you leave the church or the faith, we will not be able to employ you at the church any longer or call you. We will pray for you though, from a far.
Information Control: You only need the Bible and faith. All secular forms of entertainment or information is not necessary. Speak with God in prayers and he will give you the answers in your heart that you need.
Reporting Structure: Watch out for your brothers and sisters who are struggling with their faith. If they are in need of prayers, make sure to let us know. We will pray for all who need it, we just need to know about their transgressions and make sure they are properly taught.
The comparisons are staggering. Comparisons between the church and cult definitions are some that I had not noticed before. What this research did for me was to affirm that I do not want to put my daughter through the same questions and guilt that I am going through now.
What this research told me is that I respect others who wish to be involved in the lifestyle of Christianity. If you find comfort in it and it helps your life, then I will not sit here and say you are in the wrong. I will simply say that given my history with the Christian church and the teachings, I know it’s no longer right for me. Or for my child, until she’s old enough to make her own choices about what she feels and believes.
What it does for me is say, I was right in my decision not to subject my daughter to the world of contradictions, guilt and oppression that I lived most of my life. I will, instead, teach her to think for herself. To learn lessons on her own. To make her own decisions as I am doing now, though I will allow her to do this much sooner in her life than I did.