Dark Christianity
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dogemperor [userpic]
Oh, now *this* is interesting...

In a search for info to a reply I made re a Dark Christianity thread (in regards to spiritual abuse within the Assemblies of God in Australia and the Australian Assemblies trying to start a dominionist movement in Oz), I discovered something that was, shall we say, quite interesting to me...and also firms up a lot of what I've noticed as an Assemblies walkaway myself.

I've written rather extensively on abusive practices within the Assemblies, including the promotion of political dominionism as part of their general patterns of subterfuge and abuse.

What I did not expect to find (outside of various survivor forums for folks who've escaped abusive Assemblies churches, anyways) was to find a website run by an ex-Assemblies pastor who was apparently run out of the denomination for expressing his concerns re spiritual abuse in the congregation.

Now, those of us who've escaped the Assemblies know that they can often be as bad as Scientology with specific practices in the church (especially when lawsuits come to mind--ask poor Laura Schubert how the Assemblies headquarters filed an amicus brief to try to prevent her from collecting court awards after an involuntary exorcism). Those familiar with Paul Yonggi Cho in particular know the abusive practices now common have sanction from the highest officials in the Assemblies. What is surprising (to me, anyways) is to have it confirmed directly by the ousted pastor, who has also apparently consulted an exit counselor re his concerns:
Pastor ousted, talks to experts in coercive groups due to his concerns re systematic spiritual abuse )

The website also notes that there have been a pattern of recent ousters by Assemblies leaders of pastors critical of the main leadership and its direction. (Interestingly, one of these letters all but confirms that World Harvest Church in Ohio is yet another "daughter church" of the Assemblies.)

Another interesting article shows, possibly in the most damning light I've ever seen, how the Assemblies has many, many unofficial policies and how dominionism is explicitly promoted unofficially:
The 'written law' versus the 'oral law' of the Assemblies, from an ex-pastor )

There is also interesting confirmation of a major danger-sign of abusive practices--in a statement by the ousted pastor, there's info regarding an official Assemblies church bylaw that states that persons ousted from the church must be shunned even by family members:
From Robert J. Lifton's writings on thought reform: 1. ENVIRONMENT CONTROL. Now demonstrated for you by Assemblies leadership )

Even other dominionist news organs have been targeted by the Assemblies when info critical of them was printed. When Agape Press reported on the NY scandal and quoted an ACLJ lawyer as noting this was an "epidemic problem" in certain Assemblies regional districts (Agape Press is the news wing of the American Family Association, and ACLJ is the American Center for Law and Justice, a dominionist legal group--and the lawyer in question was, at least at the time of writing, an Assemblies member himself (so you know it's bad when fellow dominionists are pointing this out), the head of the Assemblies literally accused their fellow dominionist newscasters of being agents of the Enemy:
Assemblies leader flames AFA reporter. Dominionist Catfight! )
All in all, this should be *quite* interesting to those of us researching corruption in the very denomination that invented neopente dominionism in the first place.

dogemperor [userpic]
A Peculiar People

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]hummingwolf)

Slacktivist has a post today about the tendency of some evangelical Christians to demonize their neighbors.

Unlike so many following those topics this community discusses, Slacktivist actually knows the subculture--and is generally good at explaining the peculiarities to those less familiar with it. (If you'd like to follow the syndicated feed on LJ, you can add [info]slacktivist to your friends list.)

dogemperor [userpic]
Long, but worth your time


In this Daily Kos article, a fellow infiltrates some of the more radical Christian sects, and gets a close-up look at how they operate.

It's long, but worth your time. Here's a bit to whet your appetite:

Quietly choosing to study my cousin`s church... and its neighbors... and its national machinations, although there is a lot to worry about, I believe the keys to turning back the tide are there to take. My cousin was a real ultra-serious wingnut the first time I came out to visit the family in Nevada. The first time he got into financial trouble and couldn't just dole out time and money to his evangelical church, they turned on him. They shunned his kids and humiliated his wife (about her being overweight when they had 'no' money for their obligations) in front of all of their friends. Just to be clear, they didn't talk to me knowing that I was going to do this. They are taking their social beating and going back for more. But the pain has loosened their tongues. A lot.

Infiltrating the TNPG (Tuesday Night Prayer Group):

Prayer groups and bible study groups are important all across the evangelical spectrum, the flock will tell you, because prayer and knowing your bible is the most important thing in a believer`s life. If you are in an evangelical institution you are going to get asked why weren't you in church, why you didn't come to last Tuesday's prayer group, why weren't you in bible study this week by the people that you come to know. But here is the thing: as you get closely involved in the prayer meetings... you soon discover that actual prayer and bible study is less than a quarter of what is actually going on week to week. The rest is politics, planning for political action, and pushing/selling products that have to be purchased to `understand` Christ's will.

This was how Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was 'cocoanut telegraphed' into its success. Preachers didn't call from the pulpit to see the Passion nearly as much as we thought they did, that is a misunderstanding of how the evangelicals operate based on remembering TV evangelists ranting on a screen. Its much more sophisticated and tailored than that, but rather they showed videotaped movie previews of the film in the more intimate setting of their prayer groups. It's a spiritual Tupperware party. Even in these churches have grown so large, and unwieldy in some cases, that standing up in front of two thousand people and saying `go see this' is the show, but the scale of these crowds can lessen its punch. They do use the pulpit, sure. But by having cells of believers subdivided into manageable groups for individual selling sessions, you get the control of a salesman making a presentation to a small group of consumers to really drive it home. Like a Tupperware lady gathering up 12 of her friends to push Tupperware sets as opposed one man or woman alone on a stage. It works in large and small churches. It is done in large and small churches. And almost all of the "stuff "at their disposal is carefully prepared by conservative Republican groups, think tanks, and evangelical `franchise' organizations that are run like McDonalds. (You pay a fee, or pay as you go, and your particular church is folded into the network as a 'partner' church or an affiliated church and you are now an outlet -part of that nationwide 'fast religion' information franchise- for their materials and you get packages of carefully consumer tested materials to aid you in your goals. )

The whole article, although a bit unpolished, is worth the look and very insightful.


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