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Minister or Sinister?
How to know when your church has become a cult.
Atlanta, GA 10/28/2010
Everything is about CONTROL. The main tools used to control members are INTIMIDATION and MANIPULATION. The intimidation and manipulation are very subtle and disguised with a false sense of love and concern. It’s all a strategic COURTSHIP.
THE SEARCH (LOOKING FOR LOVE)
Most people come to church with a NEED. The need can be physical, emotional, financial, social, or spiritual. Having that need puts a person in a very vulnerable state of mind and they are searching for fulfillment of the need. CULT PASTORS are searching for vulnerable people that they can control and manipulate.
THE BAIT (GETTING THAT FIRST DATE)
It's All in the Eyes and Ears
THE FLIRT / MEETING FOR DRINKS When a person visits this CULT (church), everyone is very friendly. They are greeted in the parking lot, at the front door and during the service they are asked to stand and be welcomed (first time visitors please stand).
After service they are invited to a little reception (meeting for drinks) where they can meet some of the leaders and perhaps even the CULT Pastor. They are asked how they found out about the church, complimented on their outfit, asked how they enjoyed service, offered cake and punch, if they haven’t completed a visitors card during service they are asked to complete one during the reception (GOT TO GET THOSE DIGITS) and then they are asked if it’s okay if someone gives them a call later on during the week THIS BEGINS THE COURTSHIP.
RUNNING GAME The Cult will have a team of people (we will call them the GAMERS) who are assigned to COURT you (THE PROSPECT). The courtship begins with COMMUNICATION. Good communication starts with paying attention to what is said. The Gamer will ask strategic questions about the PROSPECT, their family and their life. Once they hear something they can identify with the prospect (YOU) they will begin telling the prospect how wonderful the church is (disclaimer: they will always say “we’re not a perfect church, but we love God and our Pastor loves the people of God, we are a loving church”).
The Gamer will tell a story about how they were so lost, broke down, and hurt BUT because of this ministry they were able to get their lives together and they don’t know where they would be without this ministry (not GOD, but the ministry) this will of course include many examples of how the Cult Pastor is very sincere and loving. This call will conclude with an invitation (FIRST DATE). This first date may be an invitation to come to the midweek service, a fellowship, or next Sunday’s service and the prospect is told to ask for the Gamer as soon as they come through the door so the two of them can sit together. The members are moved by what they HEAR they are compelled to say YES TO THE FIRST DATE.
After many dates the prospect becomes a member of the CULT…and SO BEGINS THE RELATIONSHIP.
THE RULES Once you join the CULT. You have to learn the rules. The rules are taught in the NEW MEMBERS CLASS. It is here that the brainwashing begins. You discover that EVERYTHING IS MANDATORY. You are given scriptures such as "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
(Hebrews 10:25) – This translates into mandatory attendance to every service, gathering, class and activity. You start feeling obligated to be at every meeting because great emphasis is placed on being loyal to the Pastor, group and its teachings. You are told that this is your NEW FAMILY. You life becomes totally absorbed with services and group activities. You will be so physically and emotionally exhausted that you can’t even think for yourself. – TWO WORDS: MIND CONTROL.
THIS IS WHEN THE RELATIONSHIP CHANGES AND IT’S NO LONGER A LOVING COURTSHIP BUT NOW IT’S A DOMINATE RELATIONSHIP OF ABUSE & CONTROL
ISOLATION - (“Do not be unequally yoked’ 2 Cor. 6:14-18)
1. The leader will try to isolate the members by insisting they do not have any friends or associations with anyone other than the church members (cannot visit other churches).
2. Relationships are based on membership. If a person leaves the ministry, you need to isolate yourself from them. If they are not a member you do not befriend or remain friends with them. Even disassociate yourself from family members unless you are recruiting them - trying to get them to come and join your ministry.
3. There will be total control over almost all aspects of the private lives of members. This control can be direct through constant and repetitious teaching on "how to be a true Christian" or "being obedient to leadership". Members will look to their leaders for guidance in everything they do (travel plans, school plans, marriage plans, job plans, etc).
4. You find the members saying “Bishop said or Pastor said” more so than “GOD SAID or the WORD OF GOD SAYS”.
PROPHET OR PROFIT?
In treating the members as children they are taught to NEVER speak against the leader. If fact, any questioning of the ministry teachings, any criticism, any independent thinking is considered a form of rebellion. “Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm” I Chron. 16:22. There will be a strong emphasis on authority, unquestioning obedience and submission. Members become afraid to say anything, even if they know something is wrong because speaking against what they KNOW to be wrong is speaking against the “Pastor” and it’s a SIN.
They are convinced that if the Pastor is wrong – God will get him and when the “wrong’ is continued they assume the Pastor was right. And if anyone is ever so bold to speak against the leader they are ostracized by the entire church. Yes, this “loving” church will turn their back on you.
SIGNS TO LOOK FOR:
1. LOST OF IDIVIDUALITY. You are no longer a creative, independent thinking individual. Everyone must speak the SAME thing…say what the leader says at all times…any other opinion is going against God.
2. LOST OF RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS. Relationship with friends, relatives, and children – ANY NON-MEMBER is severed. – RELATIONSHIP IS BASED ON MEMBERSHIP
3. EXCESSIVE GIVING. Extreme pressure to give all you have. Several offerings, large sums, public announcement of your amount resulting in guilt and intimidation.
4. ISOLATION. Isolation from anything and anyone not directly affiliated with the church.
5. CONTROL OF TIME.
6. LOSS OF FREE WILL. Members cannot make any independent decisions concerning personal life. Cannot question leadership.
By "Just Sayin"
The Church Folk Revolution
Who Pays? YOU!
Unlike traditional dates, in this relationship YOU will always have to pay. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:34 (King James Version). Members will be expected to give substantial financial support to the group. This could be multiple offerings (seed offering, building fund, pastoral, anniversary offerings) compulsory tithing (which is checked and posted- methods of instilling guilt on those who have not contributed) – BEGINNING OF THE INTIMIDATION; signing over their 401k; selling dinners, candy, sodas, any and everything the group is offering as part of their "ministry".
IF YOU TAKE CARE OF GOD’S HOUSE – HE WILL TAKE CARE OF YOURS! – You know in any BAD relationship someone is always going to run lines on you! Now that ‘s not to say that God will not take care of your house…Cult Pastors like to use things out of context to manipulate and control you. These Cult Pastors will tell you that the money is not for them it’s for the church. They will say that they don’t need your money.
In most bad relationships the dominate person likes to take on the role of a parent and in some of these “cults” the members start calling the Cult Pastor “Mommy” or “Daddy”. And these parents will use their “children” to compete against each other for their own personal gain. I KNOW IT’S SICK…BUT IT HAPPENS. They will use the human needs of being accepted, appreciated and rewarded to play one member against another. In a ministry one of the “rewards” for good service is Appointment (leadership title and positions). In a CULT appointments are based on your obedience to LEADERSHIP & the more money you give the more you are praised and given positions/titles.
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