Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Warning Signs of Unsafe Groups/Cults

My husband found this list and we thought it very interesting, in light of our journey. We find it is always beneficial to examine our ways, to deeply ponder why we do what we do.

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. (Is the church God? Or is God God? Does the group leader usurp the father's authority over his family?)

3. Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned, it is characterized as "persecution." (Thus taking away the need for self-examination -- everything is someone else's fault).

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

5. Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement. (Does the family "turn over" their children to the leader for discipline/guidance, instead of the parents fulfilling their God-given responsibility?)

6. Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader's agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests. (Sound familiar?)

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

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 (No accountability for the leader).

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

It's disheartening, but we experienced almost all of these in the very recent past. It's amazing how blind we can be, especially when we're right in the middle of a situation. Sometimes it takes stepping out of a situation to reevaluate and see things clearly and objectively.

Remember the old 60's song:

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day.

I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin' for
It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day.

Hear full version by clicking here.

No comments: