what cult were you in?
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: August 15, 2002 04:55AM

What cult were you in and how did it affect your life? How did you cope after leaving and what advice or insights do you have for others?

what cult were you in?
Posted by: kajern ()
Date: July 11, 2004 10:20PM

i dont know how i happened on this site. i am not good with the computer. our family was in the shiloh fellowship in east lansing. we loved it there and still miss it. that was in the 70's. never have found a church to meet our needs since then. my husband and iwere separated because of his alcoholism by his choice. after he and iboth prayed about it, the children and i visited shiloh. we were led there by bob mumford. i had contacted him by phone and asked for a group in michigan. we moved there. my husband quit his job and mmoved there also. he had tolive in a single men's household till he could learn more to function as husband and father and stay sober. he did well. in the meantime, i was on adc. he got a good job and wanted to return home. i felt that thescripture says that i must let him. the elders said no. so i was put out because i took him back. there is a lolt more to it. we were shunned and i had no one to talk to. then my husband did just what they said he wouild do. he went back to drinking. i ended up leaving and returning to the area where my family
lived. we ended up divorcing as they said we wouild. he has since died.
there are so many questiopns and so much heart ache. my chioldren all grown now with their own families are having a hard time finding a church wehere they feel comfortable. and me, too. i listen to praise music, read the word, watch christian tv, and sometimes visit a church. but the familhy feeling we had in shiloh is missing. it is hard to explain.i would like to find others who were there to share with.

what cult were you in?
Posted by: sonflower ()
Date: July 12, 2004 04:05AM

I just left the church-turned-cult that I was in. It was a church that was part of Maranatha Ministries for several years until Maranatha Ministries disbanned. Then the church changed its name. The pastor (who is still there even now) kept most of the Maranatha doctrines and he was also very authoritarian, condemning, even verbally abusive. Maranatha, and subsequently my pastor, overemphasized obedience to leaders and displayed a double-standard of right and wrong. The church members (including my husband and myself) were berated and lectured, both privately and at times publiclly from the pulpit, for any little thing, even sometimes things that we didn't understand, while the pastor got away with many overt, "huge" things, like embezzlement, drug addiction and obtaining drugs illegally, an immoral relationship with one of the church members, and an "intercessory" ministry that turned out to be based on an elaborate hoax. I won't go into the details here because it is too long, but you can read my story under a separate thread here on a separate thread: [board.culteducation.com]

Any time any of us questioned the sermon content (which became very, very condemning, legalistic, and centered on "kingdom theology" and also on the pastor's own private agenda) or any of the pastor's sins, we were yelled at and labelled as rebellious, disloyal, or told we had "bad hearts". We were told to trust him and his discernment no matter what he said or did. He also taught a covenant doctrine, where he told the members that we were in eternal covenant with that church and with him and leaving for ANY reason would be a grave sin with severe consequences before the throne of judgment. I was told that after I left 3 months ago, it became even worse. He is now planning a ceremony that he likened to a marriage ceremony, where each remaining member will take communion with him at the front of the church and pledge new covenant with him as state why they are loyal to the church. ICK! That smacks of not just cult tendencies, but OCcult tendencies now. :(

How it has effected me is that I am so new into leaving it, that I vascillate between feeling ashamed at how duped and loyal I was to something so wrong, to feeling very angry and betrayed, to feeling very sad at some friendships I have lost due to leaving. I am truly an outcast from them now, and others have been told not to associate with me or others who have left. I also am realizing more and more how heretical much of the teaching was for years and am having to start from scratch on even basic doctrine now to really learn who Christ is and what relationship I have with Him based on what the Bible says and not on what my former pastor and Maranatha teach.

what cult were you in?
Posted by: Leopardgirl ()
Date: July 15, 2004 01:22AM

I was in a relatively small (about 70-80 people) "under-the-radar" cult; very selective recuitment, non-publicity-seeking, based somewhat on TM but really centered more around the guru, who claimed to be fully enlightened through numerous experiences with alien beings. She said that she studied with Maharisha and a high-ranking Rimpoche in Tibet. She was well-educated and had an impressive "resume" if you believed what she said about herself. Most of the people who followed her were highly educated well-to-do professionals in their early 40's to 6o's (I was one of the younger people in the group, being in my early thirties.) A lot of them had been former followers of Ramtha. You would think after having been burned once by the likes of JZ Knight they would avoid such similar situations, but I guess not.

Everyone who comes in contact with this woman thinks she is wonderful, full of love and good vibes, etc. It's very upsetting to me. She also claims to have close ties with the Daliah Lama, and this is backed up by some other people in the group. I have been considering figuring out some way to let him know about what she is doing to her students, but I'm afraid that even if I could get a hold of him, he wouldn't believe me. I'm sure he's a busy man and probably has other things to think about besides a small esoteric group somewhere, but if he does endorse her, he should know that she is abusive and also that she seems to be degenerating further and further mentally, no doubt fueled by copious alchohol usage.

what cult were you in?
Posted by: Wordgirl ()
Date: July 20, 2004 04:33AM

Leopardgirl, your (former) cult sounds like my (former) cult. I know it's a different one, but lately I've been wondering if all newbie gurus study from the same How To Be A Guru book.

The cult I was in was relatively small too. Maybe about 200 members in all of North America. A couple hundred in Europe.
A scattered group in India. I was one of the early members (in the early 80s - early 90s) and left about 10 years ago. The cult hasn't grown a whole lot since, possibly it has shrunk.

The leader of this cult was also a woman. She claims to be born with her self realization. She also claims to be God or the Comforter or the Holy Ghost or the Adi Shakti--whichever works best for you. (also Krishna, Ganesha, Radha, Allah, Kalki, Durga, others)

Like me (back then), most of her followers were young adults--many college students or recent college graduates. Most were either professionals, artists or musicians. Most had a healthy interest in areas concerning the paranormal, spiritual, or a variety of alternative philosophies/religions.

The guru of this cult would condemn other gurus, especially Osho. She kept hidden the fact that she once followed Osho.

She claims to have been a child advisor to Mahatma Gandhi. She claims to be descended from royalty.
She claims to grant enlightenment to anyone who asks for it.
She claims to charge nothing for the "experience."

I don't know whether the first 3 claims (above) are true, though I no longer believe in such a thing as enlightenment. I do know that as a member of this cult you wind up paying for all kinds of incidentals such as "projects in India," "puja dakshina," "Mother's travel expenses," "rent," "flowers," and an array of other costs associated with bringing the "Holy Mother" to the masses.

Thanks to the advent of the Internet, those of us who've left the cult have gained access to information about the guru that we'd probably have never had the chance to see.

The biggest impact being in this cult (Sahaja Yoga) has had on me is that it has left me with the infuriating feeling that I have wasted so much of my life (10 years) on something designed to deceive, recruit and enrich the coffers of its founder (Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi). I'm upset that I was duped. I'm upset that, at one time, I actually tried to recruit others into the cult. I am ashamed that I distanced myself from friends and family because I was brainwashed into believing they were negative and that my "chakras" would "get caught up" being around non-cult members.

And to read about other cults and how they work only strengthens my suspicion that many gurus (maybe all) carefully study precise methods of deception in order to gain either financially or in some other unsavory way.

My advice/insight for others might sound simple, but I wish I'd been smart enough to do this in the first place:

Listen to your doubts. You have them for a reason. It's foolish to ignore your inner voice. If something seems fundamentally wrong to you, it probably is. Do your homework. Research the guru. Find out what others (not just disciples) have to say about the guru. Ask questions about the finances of the "organization." Don't back down if cult members try to make you feel demonic for being inquisitive. Ask for proof of spectacular claims.

Best of all, just walk away the minute you suspect it's a cult you're dealing with. Even if you've already invested a large part of yourself and it has taken you a long time to understand what you've been a part of, walk away. It's unnerving, upsetting, unpleasant...all that...but so much better for you in the long run. And there are people/support groups to help you walk away. Once you're out, warn others. It helps with the healing.

what cult were you in?
Posted by: SarahL ()
Date: July 21, 2004 05:24AM

"What cult were you in and how did it affect your life? How did you cope after leaving and what advice or insights do you have for others?"

I was a member of The Church of Immortal Conciousness, at that time of Mesa and Tonto Village Arizona.
I count myself extremely fortunate and blessed that I managed to walk away. It is a very abusive, destructive group.
I walked away, thinking that perhaps I wasn't good enough. Fortunately I came upon the Rick Ross site and began reading through, also read books on themes of cults and thought control.
I suggest reading, reading, reading. Several good books available on what a cult is and on how to begin recovering. Time helped also, took awhile for me to shake off being immersed in a cultic world, to stop using and thinking in that special loaded language they have.
Vital to pay attention to basics. Plenty of sleep and rest, good food, stability, humor, fun. Keep a journal if possible. Give yourself plenty of time. Believe yourself, listen to your intuition.
Participating in this helped immensely, I gave a day and a half or so deposition of my experiences. Videotaped and transcribed, with attorneys, and also with one of the leaders Stephen Kamp present.
I cried during much of the testimony and know Stephen and his attorneys did what they could to intimidate me. Yet I persisted and am very happy that I did so.
Living in a cult impacted my life dramatically. It reinforced my experiences as an abused child. It deepened my symptoms of PTSD. Yet I survived and also thrived.
I assumed that after all that I would never be vulnerable to a destructive group again. But I've found that I still need to be alert and aware. I was influenced for several years by a group of people online. Healing is an ongoing process and there will always be someone out there who wants to take advantage of us. I don't always make good choices, I am human, but I do indeed learn from each experience.
Read, take good care of yourself, find a therapist if possible, give yourself time. Treat yourself well.

what cult were you in?
Posted by: Lakefield ()
Date: September 03, 2004 04:46PM

I haven't been in any.. what brought me here is something that happened to a friend... I'm happy to say i'm my own master.

I feel taht what gets a person started is their wanting to socialize and feel accepted.

what cult were you in?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 03, 2004 11:45PM

Getting entangled in a cult can be far more than a matter of wanting to socialize and be accepted.

Very often deceit and manipulation of emotion is employed.

A lot of people are courted and recruited into cultic organizations and this is done quite skillfully.

You're targeted when you're vulnerable

A cult may represent itself as something innocuous like a self improvement workshop

You may not be told who the ctual leader of the cult, is or the leader mayn
claim qualifications or an illustrious background that is bogus


In her book [i:e68a46c58d]Bounded Choices [/i:e68a46c58d]Janja Lalitch describes how she was skillfully courted and recruited into a political cult.

In [i:e68a46c58d]Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life With Carlos Castaneda[/i:e68a46c58d], Amy Wallace gives a chilling picture of how Castaneda targeted her when she was depressed and shattered after a painful divorce and mourning her father's death.

In this group, manymembers were recruited by trusted psychotherapists who were adoring regressed in relation to a guru who functioned as their clinical supervisor but was not even trained as a therapist.

www.culteducation.com/reference/general/general82.html - 64k

what cult were you in?
Posted by: Savernake ()
Date: September 08, 2004 02:08AM

I've never actually been in a cult, but when I was younger I thought I could understand the appeal. I think what put me off was more the "cringe factor" than fear of mind control.

What brought me to this site was a search for information on the Landmark seminars. A friend has recently become a convert and I wanted to find out more about it and what their aims are. I was expecting just to be irritated (as I've mentioned in most of my posts already, my family tried to ram these views down my throat when I was a child, and I always resented it) -- but from what I've read I'm actually somewhat worried. Not so much for the friend (he's actually more hub's friend than mine, although he always refers to me as one of his best friends) but for the fact that he might make it his "mission" to try to convert my husband as well. He's always been exceedingly pushy in his views, and in the past my husband has looked up to and respected him, even when he talks complete rubbish. Thankfully hub has said that he has no interest in going to one of these seminars (phew!)

what cult were you in?
Posted by: supermonkey ()
Date: September 14, 2004 01:10PM

I was born a Jehovahs Witness and excomunicated when I no longer followed the cult my parents friends all my family they disowned me so I turned away from their lies and found TRUTH> I have fought cults now since the 70's and believe that they are ALL evil and should be shut down. We need to stand together and reach others with the truth of the evil that cults do

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