So what have you got to lose? Are you willing to take the test?
Please answer the following questions honestly
- Do you feel that no matter how hard you try, the “good deeds” you perform for your group are never quite enough? As a result of this do you often feel plagued with feelings of guilt?What are you motivated by? Is it genuine love for God and the group etc., or is it fear of not meeting the desired standards?Is questioning the group, or the group leaders, discouraged or frowned upon?Does the group you belong to believe that it is an elite and exclusive organization which alone has the truth and answers to life's questions?Does the group pour scorn upon, attack, and mock other Christian churches and their interpretation of the Bible?Is reading any literature critical of the group discouraged? Many cults will warn members not to read anything critical of the group, especially if written by an ex-member (who are called names by the cult such as “apostate”, “hardened”, or “of the devil” etc.). This is a well known information control technique to stop the member from discovering the clear and documented errors of the cult. Members abilities to think for themselves is effectively disarmed in this way. Instead, they will think more and more as the rest of the group thinks.Take a look at the way the group looks and acts. Does everyone dress, act, and talk more or less the same? One observer, speaking of his particular involvement with a cult, said that the group encouraged its members "to do everything in exactly the same way - to pray the same, to look the same, to talk the same. This in psychology is a classic example of group conformity. Its purpose is to ensure that no one tries to act differently or become dissident, thus nobody questions the status quo." (Andrew Hart, Jan. 1999).Does the group discourage association with non-members (except, maybe, for the possibility of converting them to the group)?Does the group give you “black and white” answers--what the group agrees with is right and what the group disagrees with is wrong?Does everyone in the group believe exactly the same things (i.e. what the group leaders tell them to believe)? Is there no room for individual belief, or opinion even in minor areas?Does the group wear “two faces”? On the one hand, does it attempt to present itself to potential converts and the public at large as a group of people who are like one large family, full of love and equality? But in actuality, does the group have many members that inwardly feel unfulfilled and emotionally exhausted?Have you attempted to disable your own God given critical thinking abilities by “shelving” various doubts about the group or groups teachings etc.Are those in the group who do not conform to the requirements of the movements teaching treated with suspicion, as if they are second-class members? Does the group tend to withhold certain information from the potential convert? Are the more unusual doctrines of the group not discussed until an individual is more deeply involved in the movement?
- Do you feel fearful of leaving the group? Many cults use subtle fear tactics to stop members from leaving. For example, the group may imply that those who leave will be attacked by the Devil, have a nasty accident, or at least not prosper because they have left “the truth”.
Now that you know this, what will you do?
- You need to realize that whatever group you are part of does not have a monopoly on God. For many people in mind control cults, leaving the movement is usually considered the equivalent of leaving God Himself and forfeiting ones salvation. However, the truth is that there are Christians in alldenominations who have found salvation in Christ alone, and not the church group itself. Many people who are trapped in a spiritually abusive religious system often feel as though they would have nowhere else to go even if theydid manage to make the break from the group.The answer is found in what Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew 11:28:"Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest."You need to leave the group. This may be difficult, but by staying you will only continue to be spiritually and mentally abused. You will also be contributing to a system which, in your heart, you know to be wrong. Don't let pride keep you from leaving the group.
- Don't feel as though you will be alone in your decision to leave. There are many individuals who have been in the same situation as yourself. These people come from many different religious groups, but have all been victims of the same dominating mind control techniques. Today, many are living new lives of liberty, security, and hope. For encouragement, you may wish to read some of the stories posted or linked to from this site.
Author: Spotlight Ministries