Church of Wells/YMBBA Ministries

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9/02/2013 6:39 pm  #11

Re: What's a Cult? - Definitions, exit strategies, resources

Okay, kids. The answers to blowing off your family posted in The Grove Controversy thread.


9/02/2013 6:53 pm  #12

Re: What's a Cult? - Definitions, exit strategies, resources

Where is the Grove Controversy thread? Cannot seem to find it or do you mean on the COW site?


9/02/2013 8:05 pm  #13

Re: What's a Cult? - Definitions, exit strategies, resources

Yes it's on the CoW site.


9/02/2013 8:23 pm  #14

Re: What's a Cult? - Definitions, exit strategies, resources


9/12/2013 12:27 pm  #15

Re: What's a Cult? - Definitions, exit strategies, resources


9/12/2013 12:48 pm  #16

Re: What's a Cult? - Definitions, exit strategies, resources

The series is being followed here:


9/12/2013 12:53 pm  #17

Re: What's a Cult? - Definitions, exit strategies, resources

Thanks anon...I get lost since this board has exploded!


10/11/2013 1:43 pm  #18

Re: What's a Cult? - Definitions, exit strategies, resources

I found this site to be informative.  
Does this sound familiar to anyone?
"Spiritually abusive groups work to isolate individuals from friends and family, whether directly, by requiring the individuals to forsake friends and family for the sake of the “Kingdom” (group membership), or indirectly, by preaching the necessity to demonstrate one’s love for God by “hating” one’s father, mother, family, friends."


10/11/2013 3:42 pm  #19

Re: What's a Cult? - Definitions, exit strategies, resources

Albert Biderman -

In 1957, sociologist Albert D. Biderman published "Communist Coercive Methods For Eliciting Individual Compliance" in the Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine. Biderman's Chart of Coercion lists isolation, monopolization of perception, induced debility and exhaustion, occasional indulgences, and devaluing of the individual as methods of brainwashing:

 Isolation:  Deprives victim of all social support [necessary for the] ability to resist. Develops an intense concern with self. Makes victim dependent upon interrogator.
 Monopolization of Perception:  Fixes attention upon immediate predicament; fosters introspection. Eliminates stimuli competing with those controlled by the captor. Frustrates all actions not consistent with compliance.
 Induced Debility & Exhaustion:  Weakens mental and physical ability to resist.
 Threats:  Cultivates anxiety and despair.
 Occasional Indulgences:  Provides positive motivation for compliance.
 Demonstrating "Omnipotence":  Suggests futility of resistance.
 Enforcing Trivial Demands:  Develops habit of compliance.
 Degradation:  Makes cost of resistance appear more damaging to self-esteem than capitulation. Reduces prisoner [abuse victim] to "animal level" concerns.

Check out the first page of this thread. There's great information and links to more.

Also check out Food for Thought. That's the thread for articles and professional writings on this subject.

How can you identify these groups?

Observe the groups responses to you and how you feel. if you can answer “yes” to any three of these statements, you should seriously reconsider your involvement.

• The group seems to be perfect. Everyone agrees and follows all orders cheerfully.
• The group claims to have “all the answers” to your problems.
• You are asked to recruit new members soon after joining.
• You begin to feel guilty and shamed, unworthy as a person.
• The group encourages you to put their meetings and activities before all other commitments, including studying.
• The group speaks in a derogatory way about your past religious affiliations.
• Your parents and friends are defined as unable to understand and help you with religious matters.
• Doubts and questions are seen as signs of weak faith. You are shunned if you persist in these doubts.
• Group leadership is mostly male, and males in general are believed to have different rights and abilities than females.
• You are invited on a retreat, but they won’t give you an overview of the purpose, theme, or activities before you go.

Last edited by Hythlodaeus (10/11/2013 3:56 pm)


10/28/2013 12:25 am  #20

Re: What's a Cult? - Definitions, exit strategies, resources

Excerpted. Read the full version here:

Eight Distinctives Of An Aberrational Christian or Bible-based Group

When discussing Christian or Bible-based groups that are "aberrant", the intent is not to simply to hang a label on a minority sect based on their departure from a certain doctrinal standard or theology. There are many groups that do have peculiar doctrinal emphases which are in no way "dangerous" or "cultic", however, it is more accurately the gravitation towards high-control, authoritarian leadership structures that actually make a group "aberrant". In describing this tendency towards spiritual totalitarianism, one could accurately depict the methodology in terms of it's visible manifestation...
In our explanation we address the process in the specific way that it expresses itself in a Bible-based group, inasmuch as the beliefs of the group are utilized to create and maintain that strict authoritarian schema. It is the perversion of otherwise benign belief and doctrine which becomes the vehicle for the leader(s) to gain control over the members.

Definition: Aberration - undue emphasis on a fringe doctrine, or a group of persons holding that doctrine that has not separated itself from the Church, frequently resulting in a potentially dangerous leadership structure. This is often an anti-conformist group, sometimes led by a charismatic leader, but as often by some principle of greater strictness, more single minded dedication, or more intense renunciation of the world and its attractions. Often has as its main principle some aspect of orthodox faith that is being neglected. The question concerning the seriousness of the fringe doctrine will be answered by the fact that the group has chosen to stay in the Church (i.e. within the boundaries of the "faith once for all delivered unto the saints").

Introduction: There are eight general distinctives that are frequently found in aberrational Christian groups. Not all aberrational groups will necessarily exhibit everyone of these distinctives, but most do, and some will evidence one or more with greater intensity and scope. It is important to remember in identifying an aberrational Christian group that we are not dealing with a thorough going heresy, but often a mainstream group that is in transition from the fringes of Christianity to a heretical group completely outside Christian orthodoxy. For our purposes the difference between the two is this. A heretical group takes something major in Christianity (who Jesus is, salvation, the Trinity, etc.) and either negates it, or makes it minor. An aberrational group, on the other hand, typically takes something minor in Christianity and makes it major (submission to a pastor, baptism, worldliness, holiness, etc.) usually for the purpose of being able to manipulate or control the members. 

Scripture Twisting
This is the most important distinctive from which all other distinctives flow. Usually there is a deficient concept of Church history or theological categories. Consequently Scripture is taken out of context, carelessly applied, and used to justify wrong conclusions (prooftexting).

Doctrine developed from historical books of the Bible. Here, the historical books of the Old and New Testaments (Exodus, Kings, Samuel, parts of Gospels, Acts, etc.) are used to derive authoritative doctrine for the Church today.
     • Contextual chaos - verses are pasted together to prove a doctrine. 
     • Mystical mush - taking verses intended to be literal or are idiomatic and giving them a "spiritual" interpretation. 

► Controlling Leader/Leadership
Frequently, near to total submission is implicitly or explicitly demanded by the leader/leadership. This is because they have "the mind of Christ," special revelation, are "God's anointed," etc.
The leader/leadership has a special pipeline to God with no actual accountability. This gives to them a special authority and weightiness in their pronouncements, even in non-essentials. Scriptures like Hebrews 13:17; Psalm 105:15, etc. are used to manipulate the member and justify the leader's position. These verses are taken out of context and were never intended for leaders who are not accountable. 
     • The leader/leadership often determines the areas of your life that are important for you to submit in. Refusing their counsel is to be rebellious.
     • The problem is that members of these aberrational groups tend to abdicate their decision making power to the group or leader. 

Separation and Isolation Of The Membership
Members are separated from the "world" in a variety of ways in order to protect them from "harmful" influences. 
This is couched in spiritual language and is usually sincerely believed by the leader/leadership as an appropriate and necessary step for them to take: "We want to help you to become the best in Christ that you can possibly be. It has been our experience that you can be harmed by living with..., getting involved in..., reading..., associating with..., etc. This certainly wouldn't please Jesus, and you might even fall away from the truth. It has happened in the past."
This separation is often from family, friends, and even other Christian groups.

The Chosen Few
Spiritual elitism is often rampant in these aberrational groups. All other Christians outside your group are either lukewarm or not true believers at all. Consequently, salvation is not found outside the walls of the group and other Christians are "fair game" for proselytizing (ie. conversion to a group, tradition or belief system).
     • Aberrational Christian groups rarely, if ever, cooperate with other Christian groups not associated with them.

Uniformity Of Lifestyle
This uniformity of lifestyle may be manifested in beliefs, dress, language and living conditions. The desire is to create a true disciple of Jesus Christ. However, the issue is what makes a disciple and how is one identified. 
     • This uniformity can intrude in all the private areas of an individuals life where the Scriptures are silent.

No Dissent
Because the leadership is authoritarian it follows that there can be no questioning of God's anointed or prophet. 

In non-coercive groups and churches differences on lesser points of doctrine and practice are tolerated. It is the unity of the Spirit that is essential. The individuality of the member is always affirmed. However, minor differences of doctrine and practice are not tolerated in aberrational groups.
     • To speak out or to question is to have a rebellious spirit and to possibly fall under God's wrath. 

Traumatic Departure
Leaving an aberrational Christian Group is always extremely traumatic. If a member plans on leaving and the leadership finds out there may be a painful confrontation with the leadership who seek to talk the "rebellious" member out of leaving. Frequently, the person may be told, "If you leave bad things will happen to you. Maybe you will get cancer..., get hit by a car..., lose everything..., go insane..., and even die." 
Leaving is also very traumatic because even though the member no longer believes in the group, they have been indoctrinated to believe that salvation does not exist outside their walls. Thus, where can the departing member go?

In Transition
Doctrines and practices tend to mutate further and further from healthy belief and expressions. Aberrational groups are never static but tend to devolve theologically. Many begin fairly orthodox, but over time become heretical in major doctrines. The practices and rituals of aberrational groups also tend to take on divine authority. Practices that were optional or conditional in the beginning become absolute standards whereby commitment and spirituality are measured. 



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