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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: Justamom ()
Date: April 30, 2010 09:31AM

I was born into a cult church started by William Brahnam. My grandparents found this church when their children were young. My mom was raised in it ,and then I was born into it. Most of my maternal family is still in the church and I don't have contact with them. The founder believed he was touched by God, performed healings, and had exclusive divine message and a very strange interpretation of the Bible. I grew up going to a home church in Mesa, AZ. When we visited my grandparents we had church in their house or the houses of other members nearby. We listened to tapes of Brother Brahnam as the main sermon. Women wore long hair, no make up, long skirts, married young and had lots of babies. Men were discouraged from education and instead encouraged to do work with their hands. On weekends they often repaired the houses and farmed the fields of the local pastor. (yes he had several rental houses and drove a nice car) No TV, no radio, no newspapers. Rock and roll was evil. I did a search recently on the church and was amused to find they now have a very elaborate website!! So much for technology being of the devil!

Oh, and I got out when I was nine. My dad had left the church by then (he converted to marry my mom). He was an athiest after he left the church. I got quite the culture shock when I first went to live with him!

My husband got involved in a cult when we were young marrieds. To protect his privacy I am not going to talk about it in detail. I posted about our situation on another thread.

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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: OutofTransition ()
Date: May 26, 2010 09:26PM

In the mid-1970's I was involved in a house church in Kalamazoo, Michigan that was known simply as "Ralph's Fellowship". It was primarily run by two men, Ralph and Pat. I don't think strictly speaking it was a cult, but it may have been part of Berg's Family of God. The theology was a blend of Messianic Judaism and evangelical Protestantism. I would say as groups go it was rather benign, and I do miss the feeling of belonging I had while I was with them (never really have been able to recapture that) but--that belonging came with a price. I learned a lot about myself and about how people can be seduced into something that they might not have been otherwise.

How I got involved was that they came to my Catholic high school and gave a talk. I can't remember why they were invited, but at the time I was one of those kids that just don't fit in and I was having a rough time of it with my peers. Plus at the time drugs and the sexual revolution were just getting started and this group seemed to offer a safe escape from having to deal with these issues. My parents approved of my getting involved with them for the same reason. After all, it was Christian, what harm could it do? Remember, at that time there was not the cult awareness that there is now.

However, they started changing their minds when I began withdrawing from "the world" and spending all my time involved in "religious" activities. I lost my curiosity about the world around me and became preoccupied with issues of salvation/damnation and the impending "end of the world". I was losing my ability to think clearly and objectively and to sort out crap from truth. In addition my grades started slipping. So my parents pulled me out for awhile. This lasted about six weeks. Then they said I could start attending again. So I did. But in the meantime both I and Ralph's group had changed.

When I first started going, it was a requirement that women wear headscarves in accordance with what Paul said in Corinthians about women praying with their heads covered. Other than that, there didn't seem to be much in the way of gender roles. However, little by little the noose started tightening for the female members ("sisters") as verses were found in Scripture justifying this or that restriction. And because it was in Scripture nobody protested. After all, it was the Word of God.

Upon my return to the group, I was taken aside by one of the "brothers" (I believe it might have been Pat) and told that there had been a change. Previously, "sisters" had been allowed to share songs, Scripture or testimony at the mixed meeting. Now this was no longer so. The "sisters" could only speak at their own meeting. I asked him what the "sisters" thought of that, did anyone ask them? Well no, it was not necessary, after all, the Bible says, blah, blah, blah. I looked at him and said, "Well, I will tell you what I think. Scripture also says in Christ there is no male or female, but you are telling me that because some have vaginas and not penises, they are not allowed to share what they feel the Lord has given them? Something is not right here!" And I turned around and walked out. That was the last I ever heard from them.

In retrospect I think the fact that I was a minor at the time might have saved me. Because Ralph said that I needed to obey my mother and father; if there was a conflict between the fellowship and my parents, my parents came first. So I think I might have been given a little latitude in that respect.

After Ralph's Fellowship, I spent some time with Good Shepherd Fellowship, a charismatic branch of the Ann Arbor "Word of God" or "People of God" fellowship, which since it was ostensibly under the direction of the Catholic church, seemed to have a bit more accountability. After a while, though, I found I just could not swallow the tales of the miraculous I was hearing, and I left. Plus it wasn't as cozy as Ralph's group. Again, I was involved because I was running away from things I did not want to face and did not want to have to cope with. Unfortunately real life does not work like that for me. I somewhat envy those who can make it work for them and are able to lead sheltered Christian lives. But then I look at the price that they pay for that sheltering. That is what I have learned from the experience. After reading others' experiences, I count myself very lucky indeed that I was able to walk away with no lasting harm.

I have not heard anything about either group in almost 40 years, so I don't know if they are still active. If anyone else knows anything about them, I be interested in hearing about them.

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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: rogue80 ()
Date: June 10, 2010 12:15PM

I was in a Gnostic movement in Canada which follows the teaching of Samael Aun Weor. I just get out recently and still have the memory of all I went through. I've talked about it in this thread:
[forum.culteducation.com]

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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: waterlily ()
Date: August 05, 2010 04:45AM

Shambhala Training out of Boulder Co and Karme Choling in Vermont. Got out in 1996, and it took 5 years to even get back to a sense of normal.

Also, my family of origin. Biggest cult for me of all time. Started at birth with two very sick ppl. Father was a sociopath and charismatic as all get out and mother is a malignant narcissist or sociopath too can't fully tell. But they f**** my sibs and me up totally and opened the way for cult types/leaders to get to us/me b/c our bs detectors and all intuition was mentally beaten out of us.

As I get older/wiser hopefully---I have come to really meditate on the meaning of what Christ must have meant when he spoke about his coming to divide families and that he brought a sword. I have been reading alot on this and am seeing that perhaps he was addressing the most fundamental authoritarian issue of all: the family. And how this introduction to our world via family sets the tone for everything else.

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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: August 05, 2010 07:00AM

waterlily:

Please stay on topic.

This thread is about "cult" involvement not problems within families.

Blaming the family for cult involvement really is not that meaningful here.

What about the cult?

That's what this thread is about.

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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: reechard ()
Date: August 05, 2010 07:23AM

Quote
waterlily
...
As I get older/wiser hopefully---I have come to really meditate on the meaning of what Christ must have meant when he spoke about his coming to divide families and that he brought a sword. I have been reading alot on this and am seeing that perhaps he was addressing the most fundamental authoritarian issue of all: the family. And how this introduction to our world via family sets the tone for everything else.

Welcome to the forums, waterlily! Boy, can I relate to what you are saying. While I am pretty skeptical of any and all "messiahs" I think it is absolutely crucial to inspect what's left of their "message." Assume he was a person, a particularly caring and helpful person. Assume his message was perverted many times by evil power-hungry people. Don't discount the possibility that his message contradicts the very institutions that "claim" him, for example the stuff about seeking wealth at people's expense, being humble, the hubris of self-proclaimed divinity, i.e. the Pope and the Vatican.

A small warning about the forums -- they frequently are joined by cult-ish people trying to push an agenda. They frequently end up violating the rules and are banned, but until then they can cause a ruckus and grief for a person such as yourself.

The primary goal here is [IMO] un-censor-able free discussion, archived and searchable, and that comes at the expense of troll-ability. I watch most of the stuff go by without comment, but it's valuable to me as a research tool.

Just the other day someone who is very religious and very conservative asked me about Westboro Baptist, based on a single comment I made. I was pleased to provide a link to search these forums, and can only hope that ultimately we can agree that Westboro Baptist does not share any of what sincere conservative Christians call "their values." I mean really, if we can't agree that Westboro goes too far, there isn't any common ground to be had. Fortunately, my lack of belief and other peoples beliefs may find some common ground through understanding the mechanisms of the "Cult."

Cheers!

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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: reechard ()
Date: August 05, 2010 07:26AM

oops, I replied to her post without thinking about the topic here! I'd be happy to move my reply elsewhere, at your request

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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: waterlily ()
Date: August 05, 2010 07:46AM

Hi sorry about this, just delete it altogether mod. Am new here and got confused relative to where I was posting. Waterlily

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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: waterlily ()
Date: August 05, 2010 03:17PM

Hi Reechard, and many thanks for your kind welcome and input. And the warning about trolls on these forums. Uhm....not sure I can post this or more as it doesn't contribute to the topic of this thread and perhaps would be considered getting it off track. Nonetheless, that you noticed I was here, am here, is very nice, and matters. Waterlily

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Re: what cult were you in?
Posted by: Lady Pleiades ()
Date: September 08, 2010 11:03PM

I was in a psychotherapy group in Florida in the 80s and 90s. EST-like encounter groups and 12 step philosophy. A megalomaniacal leader who claimed all kinds of things about being a pioneer and demanded homage paid to her greatness and on and on. My ex is still there. I am still in the 12 step group I was in when I started there, and believe me, there's a difference. I know many people think there are cult-like characteristics to 12 step groups.

It's amazing to me that abuse can happen whether a meditation group, therapy group, political group, ashram or church or Landmark-like group. Someone's credentials do not matter. Sick people can harm and exploit other people whatever kind of credentials they have, MD, priest, rabbi, teacher, the weight watchers group leader with the applique Christmas sweater.

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