Date: June 28, 2008 12:32AM
I was watching a cable TV show the other day at my friend’s house on cults. The show depicted Charles Manson, a devil-worshipping cult inducting a new member, Heaven’s Gate and Guyana among other cults. And as readers of this site know, I have had my own problems being victimized by Chabad and Ben Yishai. There were some commonalities in all of this.
All of these cults had a charismatic leader, who reeled people in who were looking for more in life. In other words, they were seekers and looking for truths that they did not find in their original training in religion. At least the adults in the cults had that orientation but their family brought some of the children to these organizations.
All of these cults had the leader seemingly very interested in the problems and welfare of the congregation at least at first. That is what made it easy to dupe the congregants. And I don’t think that the victims were necessarily much different than anyone else on the street. They simply were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Now, I am disabled and I don’t have a car. I get around on foot when I go about town especially, when I go to the library to send out my emails and postings on this site. Some of the people I know from Faith Fellowship have cars and sometimes they spot a meal for me or take me to movies. I also get food from other church’s food pantries and I get material help many times in the form of money as I have people who bail me out for a few dollars if I need it. It’s all very chancy. The bill is huge long-term.
When I got involved in Ben Yishai, it was all peace and love at first. Then, after I left it and got involved with a temple in LI one person in the cult tracked me down and I also kept running into one of the cult’s people when I went to the shopping malls on LI. The initial love and warmth turned to hatred. And these people were menacing me.
I have written extensively on Ben Yishai and Chabad, as those are the 2 groups I have the most first hand experience with. It all starts out sweetly. Singing and dancing, communal meals and soon everyone is suckered in.
One of the things that bothers me the most about the “cost of discipleship”: is the idea that it may take martyrdom. That almost happened to me a few times and it can be painful.
Both Dr. Jack Dunlap and Pastor Lou Devizia put me up to this. Pastor Lou told me that I should be willing to die and suffer for my beliefs in Jesus like I did for my belief in Judaism as a child. Please let it be publicly known that I am fed up of all of this and I don’t want to incur any more damage to my psyche or person than I already have. All this aggravation is becoming trite at this point in time.
With people doing suicide bombings and all the ills the world has seen at the inspiration of the current complexion of religion world wide, I am hoping for a new teacher to arise who can bring the world to a new level. I am tired of all these religions destroying what is left of God’s green Earth.
Some of these wars started being triggered off in antiquity. And we are having a modern day replay of the Crusades right now, in my opinion. I don’t like the fact that 13 years after I left Israel for the last time, I still have to think of it a lot because it’s in the news every day. As some of my fellow congregants at the 8th St. Shul, used to say, sometimes being Jewish is more of a liability than anything else.
Christianity is losing a lot of membership, the Reform and Conservative movements in Judaism are experiencing a 50 % attrition rate in the States and it seems that even Orthodox Jews are leaving the fold. Quite frankly, no one in his right mind want to wind up being killed for all of this.
When I decided to get reinvolved in Christianity, I simply left Judaism for higher ground. I went where I could find help and acceptance that I need and I don’t find in my background’s orientation. But if they try to kill me over all of this again, I am gone.
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach used to always say, “Dying for God is easy, it’s living for God that’s difficult.” The Torah says, "Choos life that you may live." And that’s what I try to do. I am trying to stick around for as long as I can. And I am also trying to be as influential as I can which is one of the reasons I am on this board.