I am very sorry for the children that were raised in destructive cults. You are right they have no choice and this is a terrible thing.
But there is such a thing as coercive persuasion and influence used to gain undue influence over people. The leadership, which knowingly used such techniques to break down the critical thinking of members did that.
Blaming the victims of such coercive persuasion schemes, or inferring that they are somehow enablers rather than victims is factually incorrect and misses the pivotal point of destructive cults. That is, the deliberate deception and manipulation of people without their informed consent.
No one that becomes involved with a destructive cult is informed from the beginning what they are really getting involved in. They are not told what demands and/or ethical compromises will be required of them in the long run. Instead, it's a "bait a switch" con. The bait is typically very attractive, idealistic and appealing. But once people are hooked through coercive persuasion they find out that the bait to get them in is not what they end up with ultimately.
You need to read about coercive persuasion and influence techniques before judging the adult members that brought children into the group and/or raised children in the group.See the following links:
Coercive Persuasion [www.culteducation.com
Thought Reform [www.culteducation.com
Influence techniques [www.culteducation.com
The nucleus for the definition of a destructive cult [www.culteducation.com
Understanding these basics and common characteristics of destructive authoritarian groups is the bedrock basis for most if not all successful recoveries from cults. Ignoring this can easily allow someone to tricked again and fall into another similar trap.
It's important to research and understand the common structure and dynamics of destructive authoritarian groups called "cults." The names change, but the basics of how such groups are built and how they behave does not.
Following the money is very important. Financial transparency is one step in insuring that whatever churches that remain are kept honest. Also, there may have been financial crimes committed, which might require law enforcement.Some warning Signs
to watch for are a lack of democratic governance, meaningful accountability and financial transparency.
]And from a biblical perspective
Jesus warned that many would come in his name and he would not know them. He warned that they would be deliberately deceptive, i.e. appear as "sheep," but inwardly be "wolves." Also Paul wrote at length about abusive leadership in Galatians. Arguably the whole of Galatians can be seen as Paul warning Christians about abusive, controlling authoritarian leaders.
So both from a biblical and an academic perspective we can see what a potentially unsafe leader and/or group would be like.
A safe church typically has a democratically elected board with each board members serving a fixed term. The congregation votes by secret ballot to elect its board members that usually have staggered terms. The elected board can hire or fire a pastor and it controls the budget. The budget is transparently shared with everyone through published independently audited financial reports distributed annually to all contributors. Such financial reports disclose in detail all salaries, compensation and expenses taken from church funds.
Most churches have constitutions and bylaws that provide for these safeguards and insure that they are consistently followed and enforced.
An independent church that is essentially ruled over indefinitely by an entrenched leadership that has no meaningfully accountability is potentially unsafe. As is said, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Understanding all of this is an important step in recovery that provides stability and structure for moving forward and choosing a new church that is safe. That is, when and if former members are ready. No one need stop being a believer, but rather exercise caution and understand the warning signs of destructive churches, bad leaders and coercive methods they use.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/11/2018 03:51AM by rrmoderator.