Dark Christianity
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dogemperor [userpic]
Surviving and Moving On After a High Demand Group Experience

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

This might be of interest to some of you:

Surviving and Moving On After a High Demand Group Experience:
A Workshop for Second-Generation Former Members

The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) has run workshops for former members of high-demand, “cultic” groups for many years.

In recent years increasing numbers of people born or raised in such groups (i.e., “second generation adults” - SGAs) have attended these workshops. These ex-members have special needs, which can be most effectively addressed through a workshop that focuses on them. SGAs do not have a “pre-cult identity” to which they can return. SGAs raised in fringe subcultures have to learn the implicit rules and expectations of mainstream culture.

SGAs frequently have educational and other skill deficits that interfere with adjustment to mainstream culture. Having grown up in high-control groups that are often based on irrational belief systems, SGAs tend to struggle with issues of dependency, self-esteem, and social conflict. Because many SGAs were physically or sexually abused, they often have to deal with anger, resentment, and other emotions related to trauma. SGAs have difficulty getting help because they tend to lack finances and be wary of other people, including helpers.

More info about the workshop, location, and fees at the link above. (Via [info]religionnewsblo.)

dogemperor [userpic]
Another case of dominionist "baby-beating"?

From the following article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
A new case of religiously motivated child abuse--warning, potentially triggering to walkaways )

dogemperor [userpic]
Book Review - My Fundamentalist Education


A Book Review: My Fundamentalist Education by Christine Rosen.

This slender memoir (231 pages including the acknowedgements) is the surprisingly sweet story of roughly 10 years in a girl's life in Florida from the mid 70s to the mid 80s. It's a good read, but one for a very limited audience. The title, and the drive behind writing the book, was an attempt to explain what fundamentalist beliefs are and how they shape the children raised in them. This is not, however, an angry expose by a breakaway; Rosen is quite matter-of-fact, humorous and even a little nostalgic as she describes what she thought and felt as she was taught to list the Dispensations, "Walk Thru The Bible," and pledge allegiance to the Christian flag and the Bible, while admitting that she has long since fallen away from that life.

Religious tension runs as an undercurrent throughout the book. Rosen wavers between wanting despearately to be a missionary to rejecting several core teachings, especially when she realized that girls were punished for independence and spirit. Rosen's father and stepmother weren't particularly religious; like many parents, they sent their daughters to the school because it was the best and safest one they could afford, not specifically because it provided religious indoctrination. (Indeed, that indoctrination finally alarms them to the point of withdrawing the girls from Keswick and ending the book.) Rosen tries her underaged best to Save her immediate family, but she is also unprepared to deal with, much less understand, what her birth mother is going through during her brief visitations and custody weekends. The reader will figure out long before the child narrator that "Biomom" is manic-depressive and self-medicating with increasingly hardcore Pentacostal and evangelist churches.

The book is divided into thematic chapters told in chronological order. "Sword of the Spirit" talks about how important the Bible was as the fundamental textbook (while pointing out the desirability of the tabbed Bibles - they gave you an edge in the daily verse-search competitions.) "Here Comes the Son" was about learning about Revelations, and the terror of wondering each time she heard a loud car horn, thinking she was about to be swept away from life before she'd lived it. My favorite chapter was "Heresies" which was about the tension between her interest in evolutionary biology and the creationist teachings she was surrounded with in school, and includes this great paragraph:

I found I didn't like the science I learned at school as much as I had liked it at the science center, where we had learned that part of the appeal of scientific research was the opportunity to do great things in the world with it, like cure diseases and win Nobel Prizes. At school, science was simply another reminder of God's power and of the wonder of His creation. We learned about it so that we could learn more about God, not so that we could use it to do exciting things.

I love that paragraph because I think it sums up the current religio/science situation so nicely.

There are no deep answers here nor major religious insights, but there is a pleasant story and a little bit of understanding of the child's eye view of religion.

x-posted to personal journal

dogemperor [userpic]
Front Door update


I've added links to our new Wiki to our front door, along with links to two communities that might be helpful to people recovering from spiritual abuse and cultic involvement:


If you join these groups, please respect their purpose and posting rules.

I've also tweaked the links list on the sidebar, removing "Jesus on the Family" and adding the Dark Christianity Wiki (where I've added the December Mother Jones issue and its links to the "Periodicals" section). If you find any broken links on the sidebar, let me know.

dogemperor [userpic]
request for info...


Should the moderators feel this is an inappropriate question to ask in this forum please delete it and accept my apologies...

Hello... I'm looking for a little advice or guidance. My little sister has "gone over" if you know what I mean. It's what started me looking into all this stuff in the first place. I need to know how to reach her. She had a rather troubled couple of years and I think some "good Christians" took advantage of that and have pulled her in. The details are not really important (and they would not be very interesting to anyone else I am sure), but the signs are all there: She has tried to convince me that what I do is "evil" (I am a research scientist that often interacts with evolutionary biologists and astro physicists, plus I am rather apathetic about the whole God question), she has left religious tracts at my house, sent me articles from such wonderful websites as Concerned Woman for American, and Familylife etc, and has tried to convince me to read the LeHay series. She just got married to someone she has recently met who insisted she recite a personalized version of Ephesians 5:22-24 as her vows. Anyway... too much information right? Sorry. My main question is, and maybe this has already been posted before in which case I ask for forgiveness for being a new-be, what is the best way to approach this? I have looked around for info on this but nothing I have found so far addresses how you get the process started. I can't just write her off. How do you reach someone who has bought into this garbage? Or maybe this is a lost cause?

Any help, no matter how trivial, would be appreciated.

Thank you.

dogemperor [userpic]
New community

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

Posting with moderator permission.


It's for people, Christian and non-Christian alike, who have been emotionally and/or spiritually wounded by Dominionist groups, extreme Right radicals, and Pentecostals.

From the userinfo:
Whether you're a Christian or not, chances are high you've been insulted, angered, or wounded by a neo-Conservative follower of Religious Right. There are excellent communities devoted to combating the darkness of the Dominionism, and support for various alternate groups, but nothing which I've seen that is devoted solely to the recovery and healing from the damage these people cause. All posts are automatically friendlocked for your protection, and membership to the community is moderated to prevent trolling.

People who've been fortunate enough to avoid this kind of harm but wish to help others are also welcome.

I also request that new members comment to the one public post to leave a screened comment explaining why they would like to join, how they found the comm, etc., to give me an idea who I'm letting into the comm and why. We already know how aggressive these people can be; this is to help reduce the possibility of people coming under further attack.

For more information about the community, just check out the userinfo.

Current Mood: awake
Current Music: Time for My Friends - Don Francisco
dogemperor [userpic]
Dominionism as cult/coercive religious group; an analysis (part 1 of 2)

I had originally intended this as a reply to this post but due to the length of the post I am actually going to set up a dedicated post for this (also so, hopefully, it doesn't get lost in the clutter).

Dominionism, both in and of itself and in the religious and other groups associated with dominionism, share enough characteristics with groups traditionally considered coercive groups (or "cults", in the case of coercive religious groups) that the groups associated with dominionism, and likely the entire dominionist movement itself, are better seen as a coercive religious group *in and of itself* rather than as a strictly political movement. It is my belief (as a walkaway and as an informal researcher) that it is likely impossible to fully understand dominionism (as a political movement) unless one sees the political aspects of dominionism in a larger context of a general coercive mindset existing in the "parent" groups of the dominionist movement.

In this post, I will directly compare lists of coercive tactics used by four groups active in research of coercive groups (FACTnet's summary of research by Dr Margaret Thaler Singer, info from Rick Ross Institute, info from Steven Hassan's "Freedom of Mind", and lists from the International Cultic Studies Association (a group, ironically, that had to change its original name, the American Family Foundation, due to confusion with the dominionist group American Family Association)) in comparison with coercive tactics used in the dominionist community at large and with specific aspects of the dominionist community in particular.

Comparison 1: Coercive tactics of dominionist groups as evaluated per Dr Margaret Thaler Singer's checklists )

Comparison 2: Coerciveness of dominionist groups per Robert Lifton's models of thought reform )

Comparison 3: Rick Ross's list of coerciveness as compared to dominionist groups )

Well, as the next two lists are fairly long, there'll be a part 2 to this. Part 2 will actually focus entirely on the BITE model (due to the fact the BITE model is a *very* extensive checklist).

(EDIT: Cleaned up the formatting. And hoooo boy, did the formatting need a cleaning!)

dogemperor [userpic]
An *EXCELLENT* resource for walkaways from dominionist groups

Ex-Pentecostals is a specific group catering to walkaways from the "Avengelical"/"deliverance ministry"/"spiritual warfare" flavour of dominionist group:


They do have an EZBoard web-board and one of the sub-boards, "Azusa Street Survivors", is particularly relevant as the people there post info on dominionist groups that are often inaccessible save *from* walkaways from those groups (and is a good spot for even non-walkaways to get intel on those groups).

For those of us who are walkaways from dominionist groups, there are five private forums (that one must write a moderator for access to) for general recovery, ex-dominionist Christians, family members and friends of walkaways, "freethought" walkaways (pagan/Buddhist/atheist/eclectic/etc.) and kids who are walkaways.

dogemperor [userpic]
...and it shall be their own children who shall damn them


Very interesting story regarding Randall Terry's son, who is gay and estranged from his father (for obvious reasons).

Interestingly, this isn't the only case of the walkaway children of dominionists speaking out: some of the best info we have on the workings of the Westboro Baptist familial cult are from the three members of the household who have walked away (one of which, sadly, still has issues in society--likely because of having to resocialise one's self; I myself have dealt with this and might well have been in the same situation were it not for a supportive network of friends).

dogemperor [userpic]
Some info for our Walkaways


I found a bunch of interesting websites when I googled "Religious Walkaways", but was unable for some reason to post links to them. One in particular was worth a second try, since it concentrated on Dominionist oriented cults.

Blessed Quietness has a lot of interesting links to articles about cults. And ReGain has a great article about post-cult recovery. [EDIT: Yes, the Blessed Quietness site is run a couple of looney tunes, but they do have some interesting links.]

Here's a quote from ReGain, which is very true: "...the most helpful tool for recovering ex-cult members is learning what mind control is and how it was used by their specific cult. Understanding that there are residual effects from a mind control environment and that these effects are often transitory in nature helps diffuse the anxiety."

David Sutphen's classic The Battle For Your Mind is a very interesting dissection of techniques used in certain churches and cults to 'entrain' people into pretty much doing what the leaders want them to do. These techniques are very powerful, and in the wrong hands, quite devastating. It's worth a read. The 'voice roll', for instance is a tool that many preachers use, to get people into a particlarly receptive state of mind.

And this article entitled "How To Detect Mind Control" is also interesting and useful.

Pursuasive techniques are used on people all the time- from churches to ads to the way things are arranged on your grocery store shelves. The key is to recognize these things, and to conquer them through knowledge and self-understanding. That is the path to genuine healing.

dogemperor [userpic]
"I'm Ready To Die"


This essay from Rense talks about the mindset inculcated in Dominionist churches.

'I'm Ready To Die'

By Dr. Teresa Whitehurst

Six weeks ago, a young man sat down next to an older woman waiting for him and stated grimly, "I don't care. That's it. He can say what he wants. As for me, I'm ready to die".

Referring several times to nearby CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network), he laid a Bible on the table at the Norfolk coffee shop where I was writing a book proposal. I felt badly for him; he seemed to have an incurable disease. The woman mumbled something.

He quickly retorted, "I don't care what he said. I won't work with him." His voice was clipped as he emphasized his refusal to negotiate with a particular coworker.

The older woman sat holding her coffee, rarely even sipping it, with a hopeless-looking expression on her face. She showed no sympathy, looking at him as if she knew what he was about to say. Now I doubted that he was dying of a terminal illness.

The slender dark-haired 20-something, looked straight ahead without touching his coffee. The older lady asked quietly, "Don't you think that maybe-"

He cut her off: "Look, the end is coming. I know that and you know that. You've seen the signs. I just don't care about this guy, I don't care what he says. The end is coming very soon. None of this is going to matter." For the first time showing emotion, he added angrily, "I'm ready to die-I'm ready to go today, right now!"

I immediately recognized this as rapture talk. This young man does have an incurable disease, but it's spiritual, not physical: It's called fundamentalism (aka "millennialism"), the kind of Christianity to which Bush and his "conservative" advisers ascribe. Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Rushing for Jesus


Reggie White comes clean about athletic evangelization in this Salon article. (Day Pass or registration required.)

In an interview aired on the NFL Network four days before his death -- part of an hour-long program on religion in pro football -- White talked about his new direction. The man who once claimed that God told him to leave Philadelphia and sign with Green Bay, stated, "Sometimes when I look back on my life, there are a lot of things I said God said. I realize he didn't say nothing. It was what Reggie wanted to do. I do feel the Father ... gave me some signals ... but you won't hear me anymore saying God spoke to me about something -- unless I read something in scripture and I know."

In the interview, White also rejected a practice at the very heart of the athletic Christian movement, one he did much to popularize: the perceived imperative for the star athlete to use his stature to spread the Christian message. That was one of the founding goals of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes when it formed a half century ago, and it remains a major thrust of athletic Christianity today, acted out every time a player points to the heavens after a touchdown or home run, credits Jesus in an interview, or puts his fame to work in front of church congregations and youth gatherings. "I was an entertainer," White said. "People seemed to want to be entertained rather than taught."Read more... )

dogemperor [userpic]
Dark Christianity- from two Christians points of view


Sometimes, the best and most compelling testemony about the excesses of Dominionist Christianity comes from those who have been on the 'inside.

[info]blueboy2000 had an interesting experience with one of the major players in the Dominionist Christian movement. His story is a harrowing one.

And [info]bradhicks 5-part "Christians in the Hand of An Angry God" essay should not be missed, either. (thanks to [info]jmthane for the pointer.)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Knowledge and understanding are the keys here. Not all Christian sects are as horrible as Blueboy's experience, but the ones who are use every underhanded technique to recruit, and especially retain, their members.


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