Malcolm Wesley WREST
Just as a matter of interest, in your experience, how long would you say that someone could spend in a situation of servitude to Mckay, before becoming a "lost cause" themselves.....the "long termers" in the JesusChristians are (IMO) just now so hopelessly "invested" in it all, that they basically would fall into the "battered wife syndrome" (...have learnt to tell themselves that the penniless David-worship that they live in, is somehow "worth it all" (i.e. by learning not to "wonder" they have adopted a pyschological coping strategy of avoidance), and that they thus no longer have the self-esteem to stand up for themselves and be seen to question the "apostle" for themselves in any meaningful sense of the word)...I would put the point of "no-return" at some 7 - 10 years....(it's difficult to think of many former members who were involved for that length of time and "lived" (to escape and then) to tell the tale...
That's big big question, Malcolm, and I'd have to say (having thought it over for a couple of days) that it all just depends so much on a given individual and their time, place, and circumstances that this would be practically impossible to predict or set to some kind of timetable.
Of course, the longer a given individual has been enmeshed in such a group, the more difficult in the long run it would be for him or her to exit the group. Simply put, the longer a person is in, the more difficult and painful a process it will be to get out. Members of such groups have varying degrees of investment in their respective situations.
There are people who have left high-control abusive groups after decades of involvement. I know a man who left his particular group after twenty-five years of involvement, and this man was in leadership, too. So I am inclined to believe that there are no truly lost causes, that there is nobody who is so completely invested in such a group that they'd be beyond reaching, or who would be beyond leaving on their own eventually.
It comes down in my opinion to the inculcation of a state of learned helplessness
in a given individual, and then a gradual retraining process that replaces that learned helplessness
with learned optimism
. It's an individual's being subjected a process of indoctrination which will gradually undermine both trust in oneself and teach learned helplessness
to the recruit, and to convince him or her that his only hope of salvation is to abandon self-direction and to plunge himself into lifelong participation in and allegiance to the group.
In the case of the Jesus Christians, most people who get involved eventually leave, fortunately; it might take days, weeks, months, or years, but most people who get involved with the McKays eventaully see through the manipulation and leave their association anyway.
For the unfortunate few that never have left the group, the learned helpelessness
might be ingrained into their psychological makeup, it might be all-pervasive their psyches and very much personalized into the individuals' identity, and they may come to see this helplessness as a permanent condition, but I don't think anybody except for the most malfunctional and personality-disordered persons are ever truly to be written off as hopless cases. I do believe the McKays to be inveterately malfunctional and disordered persons, especially Dave.
Having said that, I believe the McKays to be beyond the "point of no return" and that they will keep doing what they have been doing until Dave McKay dies. Then the Jesus Christians will, over time, basically dissolve. David McKay keeps the group together, the Jesus Christians are essentially his "mirror", and no other person could keep it together the in the same form.
Does this answer your question, Malcolm?