Image by Chicago Man via FlickrAs you read the material below which I found at some website that probably has a Christian bias and defines a “cult” as something other than Christianity. As an Ex-Christian you might find something enlightening in the fact that Christianity is obviously a “cult” itself and there is a bit of humor in those in a “cult” seeking to deprogram someone who is entrapped in a “cult”. The de-conversion process is nothing other than being deprogrammed from the Christian “cult” in the same way that Christians want their “wayward members” who have fallen into the clutches of an evil “cult” to be deprogrammed. It might be interesting as you go through the process of de-conversion out of Christianity or as you reflect on your own de-conversion out of Christianity think about what that that adventure has in common with the instruction given at ehow.com to those who want to learn how to deprogram a religious “cult” member. I will put a few comments of my own in CAPS and you might think what comments you might have made to this article.
How to Deprogram a Religious Cult Member
Deprogramming of religious cult members is a controversial topic, primarily because it is often done without the consent of the cult member. Families of cult members often resort to kidnapping them to get them away from the group. If you feel you have no choice but to deprogram a loved one who has joined a cult, be sure to use the help of a professional exit counselor.
Isolate the cult member from the group and bring them to a safe and secure place.
DID YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF THE CHURCH TO HELP YOU HAVE A CLEAR PERSPECTIVE THAT WOULD BE DIFFICULT IF YOU WERE THERE EVERY WEEK?
Use a professional counselor to conduct exit The counselor will spend the entire first day trying to get the cult member to think through the reasons he joined the religious cult.
DID YOU NEED TO HAVE SOMEONE WITH A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE THAT CHANLLENGED THE STANDARD CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW ENTER YOUR LIFE?
View video tapes with the cult member about other religious or political mind controlling groups. Discuss these groups and the reasons the members followed them.
DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE THAT CHRISTIANITY HAD MUCH IN COMMON WITH OTHER GROUPS UNDER THE SPELL OF DOGMA AND SUPERSITION?
Show the cult member evidence, such as newspaper articles, of her organization being a cult. Allow the member to challenge the evidence. Discuss the subject until it is somewhat resolved.
DID READING MATERIAL THAT CHALLENGED THE CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW HAVE A PART IN YOUR COURGE TO SAY GOOD-BYE?
Discuss what the member feels is right and wrong about his organization. Read passages from the Bible that contradict what the cult leaders have said. Talk about how the leaders lied to and misled the members.
I FIND FUNNY HERE THAT THE BIBLE IS TO BE CONSULTED TO PROVE THAT THE CULT IS NOT SO GOOD FOR SOMONE. WHAT ABOUT THE ATHIEST PRINCES VOLTAIRE AND INGERSOLL?
Ask the cult member if he is ready to make a decision regarding future involvement with the religious cult on the third or fourth day of deprogramming. Often by now he is ready to choose not to return to the cult.
WAS THERE A DAY OF DECISION FOR YOU WHEN YOU LEFT THE ADULT SANTA JESUS IN THE SAME WAY YOU LEFT THE CHILDHOOD SANTA? DID A DAY OF RECONING COME FOR YOU IN WHICH YOU MADE A CHOICE TO LET GO?
Provide a safe place for the ex-cult member to stay. Follow up contact with the exit counselor is an important step in the deprogramming to help her to stay strong in her conviction not to return to the organization.
HAVE YOU FOUND A SAFE PLACE TO BE A NON-BELIEVER?
How to Identify Cults
Watch for changes in the individual's personality and a growing estrangement from or even hostility towards family and friends. Cult members are discouraged from remaining in contact with former associates who might cause them to doubt the teachings and practices of the cult. Members are indoctrinated to distrust anyone who criticizes the cult or leader(s).
DO YOU MEAN HOW THOSE BORN AGAIN ARE IN CHURCH EVERY TIME THE DOORS ARE OPEN AND NO LONGER HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THEIR OLD SECULAR FRIENDS?
Be aware. Cult members are often convinced to contribute all of their money and goods to the cult as a sign of their commitment. There is a strong emphasis on collecting money, which is often made by selling goods to the public and then donating it to the cult as part of their ministry. They spend much time recruiting other members, which they do by preying on their emotions.
DO YOU MEAN LIKE THE EARLY CHRISTIANS TOOK ALL THEIR POSESSIONS AND LAID THEM AT THE FEET OF THE APOSTLES OR HOW MODERN CHRISTIANS TITHE? OR ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THE CHURCH BAKE SALES AND RUMMAGE SALES. COULD YOU POSSIBLY MEAN HOW CHRISTIANS TRY TO EVANGELIZE EVERYTHING THAT BREATHES? BUT OF COURSE NOT THAT WOULD BE “CULT”.
Recognize the lack of control over the member's private life. Cult leaders monopolize the member's time and relationships, cultivating complete dependence on themselves and the cult. Members are taught to distrust anyone outside the cult and are discouraged from reading any material except what is provided or approved by the cult. Marriges and living arrangements (usually communal living) are dictated by cult leaders.
DO YOU MEAN HOW CHRISTIANS ARE ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT HOW COOL THEIR PASTOR IS OR HOW THEY SPEND ALL THEIR SPARE TIME AT THE CHURCH, WORKING TO EVANGELIZE FOR THE CHURCH OR HOW EVEN THEIR MARRIAGES HAVE TO BE CONFIRMED AT THE CHURCH?
Note that cult members are discouraged from thinking for themselves. They are given little or no time alone and are constantly engaged in physical or group activities. They are engaged in mind altering behaviors, such as chanting, denunciation of selves and others and encouraged to report suspicious behaviors of other cult members, including their own families. Shame and fear of alienation cements their dependence on the cult.
DISCOURAGED FROM THINKING FOR THEMSEVES? WELL “CULTS” SURE BUT THE CHURCH REALLY IS ALL ABOUT FREE THINKING, RIGHT? (GRIN). SHEESH!
Notice the unquestioning dedication which cult followers exhibit towards their leader. They learn to rationalize his behaviors even if these contradict previously held beliefs or common sense. They believe happiness and redemption comes solely from their leader(s) and they will sacrifice nearly everything for the benefit of the cult.
DO YOU MEAN HOW CHRISTIANS IDOLIZE JESUS? OR HOW THEY IDOLIZE THEIR PASTORS? I AM UNSURE JUST WHAT CONNECTION I SHOULD MAKE HERE?
Keep in mind that forcing or coercing a member to leave a cult can cause psychological and emotional damage. They have been programmed to believe God will punish them if they leave, and threats are used to force them to maintain silence about cult activities. It is necessary to get help from a professional deprogrammer and assure that they are kept away from other active cult members.
OH, YOU MEAN HOW CHRISTIANS ARE MADE TO FEAR HELL IF THEY LEAVE THE CHURCH OR HOW THEIR OWN FAMILIES GIVE THEM HELL IF THEY QUESTION CHRISTIANITY? NO? WELL OF COURSE NOT THAT WOJLD MAKE CHRISTIANITY ITSELF JUST ONE MORE CULT!
Gosh, we better get serious about getting folks out of those horrible “cults” and back in the church pews where they belong. Is that why they call it Christian CULTure? I think there needs to be someone who is out there to deprogram the deprogrammer. How about you?