I dont know how widespread this is now but there are smarter wiser cults that call themselves religions. As many groups are not totally black and white they wrap themselves in the flag and their amendment privileges while crying witchhunt when anyone calls them to task for the Cult way in which they operate. My thinking is all NRMs should provide legitimate financial statements and accountablity. The sophisticated cult/nrm does not need to violate the law to get and keep members. When or if they crawl out a decade later there is little help for them.Ironically a society that champions freedom lets others prey on the vulnerable. What if there was a charter for NRMs to follow to have their tax status and its taken away if its violated. Deep pockets of large groups hit with punitive damages when they use the law to bully with unsubstantiated charges year after year.A court system that makes sure McDonalds gets nailed for the hot coffee in your lap can surely wake up and err on the side of protecting its citizens. This is my opinion. Based on 8 years in a law abiding cult-NRM called Eckankar. I'm not a lawyer or even an American but a Canadian. It seems that there is loopholes large enough to drive trucks through, and lots of suffering at home. My former groups 800 number is LOVE GOD. Love your spouse, love your pets want to learn how to experience the light and sound of God and be a coworker with God. Hey the fanaticism will come later.
You know, when I take a look at this war-torn planet, with all its poverty, disease and strife, it really makes it very hard to love God. I think it's impossible to bribe God simply by saying you love him.
Coming from a country where religion is not taken very seriously anymore I find it interesting to see how many Americans seems to need to have a religion to lean on to. People who have stepped away from the traditional churches (what ever that is) moves towards the study of different kind of eastern relgions, tarot card, astology, UFO etc.
The attraction to cults and all that follows seem connected to a very basic life game beyond psychology: enticing. Fish go for a bait as it promises something. Human's constant attraction to different and unusual i.e. in courtship: who would a partner-seeker give a second look? Sophisticated cults know all that.
The bait is meant to be difficult to read.
If somebody starts asking: What's in it for him (the leader)? A very down to earth wealth is accumulated (visibly) from seemingly naive sales: i.e. guru's book for $150 or a life subscription to his ramblings in a one page journal for $300. etc. Upset, bored, dissapointed do not doubt the guru to whom we submitted ourselves "voluntarily" and need worshipping as "clean". Their humble image is so carefully maintained. Cultic allegiance is similar to football fans: few real reasons to love and goes for a very very long time.
I lost a very good friend of many years, I nearly worshipped, to an almost invisible cult: Shri Ram Chandra Mission (imagine-000's of global followers) Witty and great fun to be with, highly educated and trained doctor, simply "walked through the mirror" and dissapeared (mentally) from all the values we shared. I felt like screaming in the outer space - nobody hears. It is now late to mend anything for me. I feel so guilty for not intervening early with some saccrifice which she was may be hoping to get. She says she is happy. Paired with her preceptor she says she loves (explaining love as caring) her mind is shut with a bliss of twice daily meditation making her ready for any of the spiritual garbage her guru talks of. My advise is talk deeply and early with your love one.
As people became disenchanted with the faiths they were born into, they looked elsewhere. The Beatles basically marketed Hinduism to America making it seem hip and cool. Enough of Judeo/Christianity's sexual mores. People wanted free love, a high touch society. The problem is, that when people reject their native faith often what they adopt is much worse. And again, I said elsewhere what constitues a rational and intelligent belief is the subject of debate.
Quote richardmgreen You know, when I take a look at this war-torn planet, with all its poverty, disease and strife, it really makes it very hard to love God. I think it's impossible to bribe God simply by saying you love him.
So are all these things: poverty, disease and strife.. God's fault?