Current Page: 674 of 678
Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: kBOY ()
Date: September 14, 2018 11:47PM

RRMODERATOR:


Thank you for the references.

All experiences are subjective, as are any evaluations of the same. Your characterization of 'blaming' is a misstep.

Being familiar by direct experience of TLW, having put in 35 years, I was simply pointing out the particular color and flavor of the Kool-Aid we were drinking at the time. Generalizations regarding cults can always be made, but our experiences were not general, but very specific.

All cults end up utilizing the bait & switch technique, and TLW was no different. Believing we were about to 'rule the world' was a large motivating factor in signing our life away for an extended period of time.

There is a degree of responsibility in realizing we thought we were going to get something in exchange for what we were giving up. That cannot be denied. One former member who I still consider a friend is now on his third cult; TLW, Scientology, and now, 12 Tribes.

Rather than blaming ourselves, it is more healthy to apply the adage, 'Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice (or thrice), shame on me.'

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: September 15, 2018 01:13AM

KBoy:

The simple truth is all destructive cults share three core characteristics in common and are therefore largely the same, despite their veneer, which is part of the "bait."

See [www.culteducation.com]

This paper published at Harvard nails it concisely.

Certain psychological themes which recur in these various historical contexts also arise in the study of cults. Cults can be identified by three characteristics:

1. a charismatic leader who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose their power;

2. a process I call coercive persuasion or thought reform;

3.economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.

The group may use religion, drug rehab, therapy, yoga or meditation as part of the bait. But if you look through that subtrafuse what you will find is the same core elements.

Failing to work through this is why people end up cult hopping from one cult to another. They have never effectively sorted it out.

And beating up on yourself is the worst thing to do when you have been victimized in an abusive controlling relationship, whether it's a controlling spouse, partner, or a cult leader.

It's also important to recognize that controlling people often use "gaslighting" to shift the blame to the victim.

See [www.thehotline.org]

Watching the movie "Gaslight" with Charles Boyer playing the controlling husband and Ingrid Bergman his victim is very helpful in illustrating how manipulation can work and how we can blame ourselves in situations that we have no responsibility and instead are being played.

Also see [www.psychologytoday.com]

And see [www.youtube.com]

A quick cut from the movie.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: kBOY ()
Date: September 15, 2018 02:58AM

RRMODERATOR:


For the sake of clarity, no one mentioned 'beating up on yourself'. What was mentioned was recognizing an error in judgment, and in the light of a new day, hopefully not repeat it.

Any choice for an entangled relationship, be it romance or religion (and oftentimes both), demonstrates the same foundational characteristics. In both there is the 'chosen one', packaged in such a way as to lure in buyers for what is being marketed (beauty, wealth, sex, status, etc.), but oftentimes beyond the surface lurks bargains with the devil. The 'quid pro quo' is not always clearly spelled out, usually hiding in the small print that no one wants to read.

As with both romance or religion, the buyer is responsible for the ultimate decision to purchase the product, unless of course the choice was made while facing a shotgun. As far as I know, no one joined TLW under those circumstances.

I agree with the premises you stated except that they do not go far enough. The choice to join in either a romance or a religion, hold the 'chooser' responsible for the initial decision, demonstrating a willingness to buy what is being sold.

The breakup of a marriage is no different than the split from a religion. There was the choice to join, and the choice to separate. This is not a sin, but an initial error in judgment that is a hard lesson to learn, but a lesson nonetheless. (The curriculum of life seems to require many lessons to be learned, not just this one.)

My encouragement to all is to recognize the error, fling it off like a serpent into the fire (just not CLOUDWATCHERS' rosy boa), and to move on by making decisions that best benefit our own happiness and not the happiness of others.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Onion ()
Date: September 15, 2018 03:01AM

kBOY & RRModerator - Thank you for this exchange. I appreciate having the references. kBOY - you and I probably know each other because I also had over 30 years in the walk cult.

My name is onion because I am aware of how many layers we have to peel to get the conditioning and training of the walk cult removed from our day-to-day habits no matter how those habits are translating into life out of the cult.

I'm fascinated by the idea that much of the draw for the walk's victims was the belief that we would rule the world. I don't remember caring about that. I was completely entranced by the word and its power to change human beings from the inside out. Changing human nature was such a deep draw for me and the first time I heard JRS preach I could feel his words changing me. I was caught and reeled in right at that moment.

Years later while I was in the car with my best friend since we were 4-years-old, she said something that instantly changed me. I remember thinking - Holy shit! It's not the speaker that has the power it is the spoken truth that has the power. It took me another 20 years to recognize that the walk was completely and in every way a cult but the chipping away of deception happened in that moment with the truth spoken by a friend.

It is interesting how different we all may be, but how similar our experiences were in looking back at the unjust methods of abuse and narcissism of the walk leaders.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: kBOY ()
Date: September 15, 2018 03:24AM

ONION:


I find it equally interesting that the hook you bit on was a 'nature change', which definitely was a subset of the ideology.

The advertisements that got my attention were the 'coming of the Kingdom', 'breaking into resurrection life', and 'ruling and reigning with Heaven over the earth'--small stuff like that.

As stated earlier, all experiences are subjective, which is why every point of view is as valid as the next.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: September 15, 2018 05:04AM

kBoy:

"Recognizing an error in judgement"?

No. Recognizing that deception and manipulation through coercive persuasion is used to essentially eliminate the ability to make an informed choice and effectively utilize critical thinking, which enables people to make good judgements.

That's how groups like "The Walk" and leaders like Stevens have tricked and trapped people for years.

Each group, whether its making religious or pseudo-scientific claims, has some bright shining thing dangling, a teaching, a prophecy a supposed cure, to entice victims. It's the classic "bait and switch" con.

"As with both romance or religion, the buyer is responsible for the ultimate decision to purchase the product."

No. Not when there is deception, coercion and manipulation. Cult leaders are like con artists. Except they run the same con on the same people endlessly, rather than simply taking the money and running away.

"Unless of course the choice was made while facing a shotgun."

Yes. Coercive persuasion is insidious and it can paralyze people through unreasonable fears about the future, about supposed eternal consequences, etc. It is like "facing a shotgun."

Cult leaders set people up and then take them down.

The research previously linked can help anyone reading this thread see that there is an identified and repeated pattern, a methodology of manipulation used by destructive cults.

It's not about what the group claims to believe, but rather about how it behaves, its dynamics and structure.

Never blame victims. Doing so is just dead wrong and doesn't reflect the facts established repeatedly through research.

In my experience former cult members frequently say, "If I had known from the beginning what the leader really wanted and expected, what this group was really all about and what demands it would eventually make concerning my life, I would have never become involved."

"Willingness to be sold"?

"Initial error in judgement"?

No. Tricked by deception and therefore recruited without informed consent and then held trapped by continuing manipulation and fear.

No one needs "to recognize the error."

What needs to be recognized is the structure and dynamics of destructive authoritarian groups. By recognizing this such groups can be avoided in the future.

See [www.culteducation.com]

Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

1.Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

7.There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

9. The group/leader is always right.

10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

"If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck."

That is, if "the same foundational characteristics," which define a destructive authoritarian group or "cult" can be identified, then what you have is a destructive cult.



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2018 05:27AM by rrmoderator.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: September 15, 2018 05:38AM

Onion:

What I am trying to do here is address the layers of conditioning and training of the walk and destructive cults generally so that people can recognize what happened and move on into life out of the cult more easily.

It's like when Dorothy recognizes that the Wizard of Oz is really the old man behind the curtain. You then cease to be afraid of the pyrotechnics and bag of tricks and instead realize that it's all just manipulated special effects to create awe, fear and engender obedience and dependence.

Never beat yourself up over someone else's error. It's wrong to deceive people through trickery and false claims and then trap them through continuing emotional and psychological manipulation.

Cult leaders are to blame for the damage not their victims.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2018 05:41AM by rrmoderator.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: kBOY ()
Date: September 15, 2018 05:50AM

RRMODERATOR:


"As with both romance or religion, the buyer is responsible for the ultimate decision to purchase the product."

There can be plenty of deception, coercion and manipulation involved in any relationship that leads up to "I do." It is only after taking that step that the chickens begin coming home to roost. Recognizing the perils generally comes after the fact, not before.

These dynamics always raise their ugly head whenever deception lurks behind false integrity, be it romance, religion, finance, politics, etc. Ideology is ideology no matter how you dress it. The individual always sacrifices something when aligning with any 'group-think'. It is always a matter of degree. TLW's version is no different than buying into Soviet communism, German Nazism, or dare I say, Trumpism. All are ideologies that promise one thing but deliver another.

There is no disagreement here with the methods that are used to coerce. They have been highly refined over the ages and utilized in all the fields mentioned above. What we are also dealing with here is the inherent vulnerability that all seem to have to being sold a bill of goods by whatever method works best. We first sign on the dotted line for the benefit package, only later to realize we might have purchased a lemon.

I'm pretty sure the duck-parade passing by is the recognition by all that an error in judgment has definitely been made.

Quack, quack . . .

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Posted by: Onion ()
Date: September 15, 2018 11:52AM

RRModerator - Thank you. I appreciate what you do by creating a safe place for us to communicate. I also appreciate you sharing information, links to education and your recent posts. I think you are accomplishing your goals and I am glad I am one of the beneficiaries.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: September 15, 2018 02:02PM

I'm a first time poster (and spouse of a long time poster). I've read all of the post from page one to the current posts twice. I feel like there is much to say, but I will keep this first post short. I left a little over 5 years ago after being in the church for almost 42 years. My name "that little red flag" refers to all the many times over the years that I felt a red flag somehow telling me that something was wrong. You do your best to pay attention to the red flags, but a cult is a cult. And unfortunately, you allow yourself to follow the shit (excuse my use of words, but that is pretty much what we are talking about here) that they feed you. It took some major things in our lives to realize that the world is full of beautiful, good, wonderful people, and we want to be a part of it.

I feel such a kinship, and am certain I know many of you. My husband and I have lived in many of the so-called kingdom facilities over the years, and I recognize your stories and your voices. My heart aches for what we have been through, but I am amazed and proud of how clearly each of you have written your experiences and are able to walk one another through life after the walk.

Cheers to the real new day!

Options: ReplyQuote
Current Page: 674 of 678


Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.