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Monday, September 1, 2008

Survivors of Destructive Cults

Survivors of destructive cults often need help with their quest to return to the real world.
There appear to be many people willing to provide that help. However, it would be wise to check if they have relevant qualifications. Recommendations from previous patients would also be very valuable.

With regard to the above, you may wish to check the long list of contacts in this post on the Weinland Watch blog: Time Well Spent

Otherwise, this post and the reply, from a restricted forum may be of some help :-


"I have a question, perhaps a little strange but here we go. Do we have a psychologist on board? I would be very interested to hear his or her thoughts on the prophet. I have a medical background but wouldn't dare try and figure this whole mess out. I wonder what a psychologist would have to say about the prophet? I know, sensitive subject, but inquiring minds want to know, or do they?"

Reply :-
Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a psychologist on board.
However, there are resources on the Internet that appear to be helpful.
There is a page of links to "Online Texts about Cults and New Religions" on the skepsis website. http://www.skepsis.nl/nrm.html
Interesting articles that seem to apply to CoG-PKG [1] are :-
Langone, Michael D. -- Clinical Update on Cults (1996) - Psychiatric Times.
Santucci, James -- Old Wine in New Bottles: What is New in New Religions (extracts below).

Old Wine in New Bottles: What is New in New Religions (2000)
James Santucci, Dept. of Comparative Religion, California State University
"This discussion serves as a good introduction to the approach so many people have today of cults. Here is a listing of what I think most individuals and the media would associate with cults:
1. a false or bogus religion because it is detrimental to the welfare of its members. Religions are supposed to elevate human aspirations, spirituality and morals, not degrade them.
2. They are small in size, the implication perhaps because cults can never attract the larger portions of the community.
3. Cults are controlled by an individual of unlimited power, the notion that unlimited power projects unlimited danger to the unsuspecting individual adherent.
4. Cults are culturally divergent, i.e. non-mainstream, thus strange in appearance, behavior, dress, belief.
5. Very often mind control techniques are employed, suggesting not only the dangerousness of the leader, but his (or her) cunning and deceitful methods."
"...and the beginnings of an emphasis on mind control and doomsday cults, defined as cults that engage in extreme spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional control of its members in order to control their beliefs, thoughts, emotions and behavior. If the lives of members are in jeopardy and in fact are taken, then the mind control cult is a doomsday cult. Cults that apply stress, restrict sleep, require endless repetition of prayers, generate fear and paranoia, introduce auto-hypnotic exercises, control behavior by shaming and humiliation, require confessions, institute isolation especially from families, practice shunning, threatening that God will abandon or punish them if they leave, and promise protection from imminent Armageddon are all techniques of mind control and doomsday cults."
"What happens, however, if the human element is too overwhelming, too overbearing? What if the founder or leader does not represent the Ideal, does not represent the Highest Good? What then? Here is a prescription for disaster. We are fortunate that the successful leaders—Jesus, Paul, the Prophets, Buddha, Zoroaster, Muhammad—reflect the best that humanity can offer. But religious leaders are not good because they are religious leaders. There are bad apples that have come along that have inflicted great harm on their followers. Not only Edward Wilson, David Koresh, Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite, but also all those individuals who inflicted sexual crimes on their charges in the organized, traditional churches, the preachers who bilk their congregation and listeners out of their hard-earned savings, the charlatans who see religion as a moneymaking venture."

More information about “thought reform” and “mind control” can be found on the Ironwolf forum.
The second post highlights areas that are thought to apply to CoG-PKG [1].

If you are looking for a Christian therapist near where you live, this link should help :- http://christiantherapist.com/
Otherwise, a lot of information can be found here :- http://www.rickross.com/
There are many resource links on this page :-http://www.rickross.com/mind_control.html
(PS. Since I am not qualified, I cannot make any recommendations.)

This is an alternative viewpoint (included to be fair): Religious movements - essays
Most of us apparently have a label - we are known as ‘anticultists’!
I believe the author makes too many generalizations.
It should be obvious that there are degrees of harm. The CoG-PKG [1] isn’t as bad (yet) as some doomsday cults where the member’s lives were in danger, but you can’t get any more extreme predictions than World War 3 and “billions dead”.

Also, there must be a stage where the leader(s) will be guilty of fraud. It is true that: “People who behave unethically can be found in any part of life“, but that isn’t a reason to protect religious leaders from prosecution.

I suspect that the First Amendment wouldn’t apply in cases of criminal fraud.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

I guess a wish list of members for this forum would include lawyers as well as psychologists!

Note [1]
CoG-PKG is an abbreviation of "Church of God - Preparing for the Kingdom of God".
It is a unitarian church based in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
The pastor, Ronald Weinland, declared in 1997 that he was a prophet, and one of the two witnesses mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament of the Christian Bible.
Go here for a history of the pastor and his church :-
More information about cult victims here :-

or here: Exit & Support Network for further help.

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