Cults Within Mainstream Denominations
Date: December 10, 2009 11:12AM
Has anyone here encountered cults that succeed in running under the radar of larger churches or alongside them as "para-church ministries"?
These are often political or financial cults. Sometimes one denomination's activists are infiltrating another denomination in a kind of warfare, using deception to try to win converts.
They are able to get "good press" because it is not obvious to many that they do not in fact represent the accepted mainstream denomination under whose umbrella they reside.
There was some coverage years ago about how the NATLFED, an extremist stalinist atheist group, actually took over a significant Methodist charity ministry and apparently never was made accountable for that. Does anyone else remember?
That article was one of the final pieces of absolute proof that helped me get out of NatLFed. While I was in it, I noticed a large number of the leadership (at the level to which I was exposed) were ex-catholics. One of the breaking points was when I refused to embrace atheism. My mentor within NatLFed was extremely frustrated because I "understood" and accepted all the "correct" political principles, but I simply did not see how the existence or non-existence of God was relevant to political questions. (My reasoning: If the atheists are right, then why should it matter that I say a prayer in this earthly life? And if I am right, then why should it matter that an atheist tried to find human reasons in place of prayer? My God is a forgiving God... :) )
I left NatLFed thinking it was really kind of funny that the atheists should be so upset by an individual's belief in God.
But then I had a friend who was also Catholic who ran across several cults. He was researching. When I knew him he was actively supporting a Catholic family lawsuit against a public school (DiBari V Bedford) by providing research material to expert witnesses, which included a Jesuit. I provided some of the material that people had begun digging up and handing to me during my exit process from NatLFed. Some of it included itinerarries of teachers' workshops showing them how to embed religious material in K-3 curricula to challenge the dominant Judeo-Christian culture of the children's families.
I had another friend who was involved in research and investigations, trying to get the pedophile priests prosecuted in Boston. This friend was not Catholic, and was very upset with me for "returning to that cult" when I told him that I was reconciling with the Church. He pointed out that everyone we were dealing with in the cases up there (all the bad guys) were Catholic, but then I said "well, it is a Catholic community, the victims are also Catholic... is it maybe a civil war inside the Church?"
Since I am a Catholic who has also worshipped in other denominations in years of being "lapsed", I got to see some of the same group profiles showing up in these other denominations.
There is a lot of material to digest here, but I wonder if there is some way to start looking at and examining cults that cross denominational lines while they work against our freedom to worship and maintain our families as we wish?