Cult? Or not cult?

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twotimothytwo
Posts: 1481
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:16 pm

Cult? Or not cult?

Post by twotimothytwo » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:38 am

Characteristics Associated With Cults

Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a “cult scale,” or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult; this is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.

The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader, and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, or debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (e.g., members must get permission to date, change jobs, or marry—or leaders prescribe what to wear, where to live, whether to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and its members (e.g., the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
The group has a polarized, us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders, or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (e.g., lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and control members. Often this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
The group is preoccupied with making money.
Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave—or even consider leaving—the group.
http://cultresearch.org/help/characteri ... ith-cults/

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but out of 15 bullet points, I can only see one that does not directly apply to the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church and that is 'preoccupied with bringing in new members'.

fisherman
Posts: 2780
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 3:22 pm

Re: Cult? Or not cult?

Post by fisherman » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:33 pm

Not exactly preoccupied with ' bringing in new members' ..but they have a variation of it by banning birth control and breeding their own large familes ( women of breeding age could expect a visit from a 'priest' if they failed to become pregnant regularly ,and that interference in personal lives is a feature of a cult ) -probably more 'efficient' that going out into the highways and byways ....you might say they have redefined 'target marketing'

It was along time before I could bring myself to outrate state the brethren were a cult ( it as too personal) but I began by saying they had 'cult like features' then eventually had to admit they were a cult after studying other cults that I had no personal connection to and now being objective was hardly being able to distinguish between the brethren and the cult I was reading about ....'when Men become Gods' and 'Secret lives of the Saints' were eye openers and the similarities could not be denied..the brethren WERE a cult

abishag
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Re: Cult? Or not cult?

Post by abishag » Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:12 am

The trouble with having one bloke in charge of a church.

I should hasten to point out at this juncture that I am not referring to the head of all Christianity. The bloke upstairs as they say. The Almighty.

I am referring to the men downstairs who think that - because they are the boss- they are the Man upstairs. Or close to the Man upstairs. Or the personification of the Man upstairs. Because, they are not. By treating these boss men as Gods, any church or cult or sect is running the risk of being blasphemous and deluded. Or brainwashed. And probably scared.

In the PBCC or Exclusive Brethren, a cult with the inherent belief that they are the only true church and all others are in relative darkness, they have a supreme boss called the Man Of God. (MOG) Now the trouble with that, is how this man achieved the credentials to entitle him to the position in the first place. I mean by that, the Catholics and Anglicans have boss men too called the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury who have done some fairly hard yards in the theological studies and who have worked their way up from humble deacon and priest to head honcho. Even then they are not a shoe-in, as their positions are voted on. By Cardinals and the like. This guarantees some sort of weights and balances and reduces the chances of a grave mistake being made. In the PBCC they ban all religious education for children in schools, which means they don't pick up much on the road to adulthood. They have no theological colleges, so your man of God is a self-taught, rank layman from the off.

In the PBCC however, it is slightly scarier in that blood will be shed and teeth will gnash. The selection of the top man is a little less defined - being a mixture of position and birthright. Hence we have had two Taylors and two Hales. With the second generation of MOG's winning simply because their old man was a former MOG.

Now if a 'prominent' man is also in the running and misses out on the top post or CEO as it is known these days, he is generally for the high-jump. Many prominent men have been shown the front door when a few days beforehand they were not only in the running, but an odds on favourite. When this happens, not only do these dead set certainties get cast into 'the outer darkness' for seeking to promote themselves and for not allowing the Lord to work his mysterious ways , but their supporters are generally kicked out as well. They then go on to start other churches - realising the dodgy-ness of the whole debacle. Being vanquished by the victor as it were. They do this to remove all future threats to their supreme position. These days you can pretty well do whatever you like as head honcho of the PBCC without fear of losing the gig, which guarantees among other things, a surprisingly lucrative income for life.

This is why all cults have a strong bottom line of money being made, being raised and being given to the head honcho. They call this supporting the 'ministry'. Suffice it to say, the latest MOG has fine-tuned this income stream and other profit centres so well, that his offspring and their offspring are laughing for the generational future, as long as they don't do anything silly. Like buying Mar a Lago's all over the place. Of course, we have many examples of this sort of munificence.

Take people like Jimmy Baker who started the PTL Ministry also known as the 'PTL Club'. While the name alone should have rung alarm bells with the willing and somewhat gullible sect following, or the flock - it didn't. In fact they joked as they duly sent most of their disposable income to these charlatans, 'this is for the Pass The Loot' Club'. Hilarious. It's good to have a sense of humour. This money, like the money handed over monthly in the PBCC, was for the 'ministry'. God forbid the ministry should fail due to a lack of funds. Then one day, some bright spark had the idea of looking into the 'ministry' of the PTL mob and discovered that, out of annual donations exceeding $164,000,000, a decent chunk was being directed to the lifestyle of the leaders, Jim and Tammy. When they further discovered, as they made their way past the private jets and posh cars and houses - the same as the leader of the PBCC has, that the PTL MOG's dog (PTLK9) even had an air-conditioned kennel, a certain disquiet descended over the congregation. There was a rape case and a couple of other things that sealed the deal of course, but Jim was on the way out. But he is back doing it all again today like nothing happened.

Meanwhile the PBCC have a MOG who is top dog and there is not one among them with the backbone or teeth to take him on, lest they end up in the gutter. Because the PBCC does not just want your earthly income. It also wants your house and your family and your business and anything else of value it can get its hands on. The devil can have your soul but they want your valuables.

Now in your mainstream churches, they have something called safeguards in place to stop any MOG getting ahead of himself. Or for padding his own nest as it were. I mean by that, that if the Pontiff or the Archbishop was suddenly spending more time jetting around the South of France to their villas instead of belting the pulpits in Rome and London, an urgent meeting would be called and they would undoubtedly be shown the nave door. So far from being the supreme heads of these two establishments, they are merely figureheads, there by the grace of God and the committees that control the grace of God and their respective congregations.

Whereas, people like Hales have no committee or handbrake. They can do exactly what they please. This therefore- is the true meaning of a cult. The man that makes the rules should not be getting all the money.

fisherman
Posts: 2780
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 3:22 pm

Re: Cult? Or not cult?

Post by fisherman » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:10 pm

If you follow the scriptural model as set out in Paul's ministry,( not just claim you do) leadership is ALWAYS plural,qualified and works with equally qualified elders...local autonomy is the essential 'firewall'to contain damage to that one locality if the leadership does run amok...EB have no protocols for choosing leaders, no checks and balances and no accountability, and nobody to appeal to -,the leader has a carte blanc slate to do what ever he wants .A cult ALWAYS follows a man -a faith based Christian church follows Christ,A cult always have their 'special ' books ( ie. the 'authoritative ministry') a faith based church may use reference material but depends on the bible

The 'one man ministry' combined with the 'universal fellowship' was a cult waiting to happen ,not 'if' but when....and as scripture warned us-the 'enemy' came from 'among your ownselves....but as in the parable of the 'wheat and the tares' sown in the crop ,it was 'while men slept' that the enemy came by night ....the brethren were sleeping,and even when the alarm was raised,we didn't wake up until the 'system' was irretrievably entrenched ....

fisherman
Posts: 2780
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 3:22 pm

Re: Cult? Or not cult?

Post by fisherman » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:38 am

I was watching another episode on cults that A&E has been putting on( sure wish they would do one on the EB) Tonights episode the 'Children of God ' ..one thing that comes through loud and clear on all of these episodes on cults is while some closely parallel our own experience,others are not .

A couple of things caught my attention on this episode-one,they preach that 'anyone leaving the church is turning their back on God'....pretty powerful stuff, and I suggest many EB while unhappy with the way brethren are carrying on, still have this nagging fear that 'if they leave the 'assembly' they are going to hell'....the other thing was the way these so called 'churches ' change their name...presumably trying to shed a bad public testimony

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