First, let's be clear about one thing. There are "cults," and there are CULTS. It is not fair to paint all "churches" with the same brush. Realize that before the word "cult" evolved from it's original meaning, much like the new use for the word "gay," the Catholic Church referred to itself as a "cult." Actually all organized religions are, by the original definition, "cults."
Churches whose parishioners attend to gain whatever spiritual support they need in a healthy, non-demeaning way, are "cults." Churches whose parisioners attend (usually by invitation and a filtering process) and gain whatever spiritual support they need, fearing their own inner "weaknesses," with constant pounding about their "failings," "evil tendencies," "satanic influences," "failure to pay tithes," "falling short of God's expectations," etc., are CULTS. In a CULT it is not uncommon to be compared to "menstrual rags" during a weekend of spiritual pounding. The parishioner is confronted with cognitive dissonance, as he or she feels these poundings are "uplifting."
Churches that meet secretly, destroy past relationships, and remove themselves from an "evil society," are CULTS . They constantly point out that they are avoiding the pitfalls of "Babylon," "Satan," etc., and they constantly hammer the parishioner with his/her potential to "go back to the world."
The Pickett family became involved in a CULT that exemplified many of the worst characteristics of the isolationist CULT . The reason was a need, psychological if you will, to be successful in spiritual life. A need to show the world that one was actually worth something, and special in the eyes of a Creator, whereas those "out there," who were holding the parishioner in contempt (a psychological self worth matter), were actually going to lose out, and pay for their "sins." "The World" would "learn God's Way" in a new government, with the formerly "disdained" parishoners administering the new way of life.
A person whose parents or childhood experiences deliberately or inadvertently destroy his or her self perception is a prime candidate for CULTS like the one in which we were involved. Education (i.e. percieved "intelligence") has nothing to do with it ("how could someone with YOUR education get taken in by those people?"). CULTS have as members engineers, scientists, teachers, farmers, laborers, blue collar workers, folk from every walk of life. People whose self worth was demolished in one way or another during their childhood are prime candidates for CULTS, where a charismatic leader can lead them to GOD while the rest of the world, their worst critics, languish in their ignorance until the "truth" is forced upon them by "God."
Enough for now. Suffice it to say that in such CULTS , the parishoner is subject to constant verbal hammering that constitutes SPIRITUAL ABUSE.It is ironic (or, perhaps miraculous) that the CULT we attended actually recommended a book, during a Ministerial "Refresher" Program (Mike was made a lay minister in the CULT ), entitled the "SUBTLE POWER OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE," by David Johnson, Jeff Vanvonderen. Their book was a message that opened the door for the Picketts to see that they were involved in a terribly powerful, destructive CULT .
We found that the whole family had suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (BATTLE FATIGUE), by way of the writings, sermons, etc., of the CULT . That same Post Traumatic Stress Disorder suffered by men/women who have been in Combat, if you will.
The problem is very complex. The children of the CULT members generally knew nothing ELSE, so they have to deal with their Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and learn the TRUTH about life in society. They didn't have Christmas, Birthdays, etc., to celebrate, and were taught that those events were creations of and EVIL SPIRIT, to be avoided. Yet secretly, many of them violated their religion, and their parent's faith, by enjoying the society. Suddenly they were caught up in guilt feelings, cognitive dissonance, and other conflicts in their lives. Many saw their CULT as hypocritical, but could say nothing. Many just waited for "majority," and split off from their families and the cult.
It is interesting to note that MANY of these who split off from their families and the CULT are suffering from nightmares and other stress in their thirties. They carried the spectre of dichotomy and cognitive dissonance in them, unresolved. Many are looking for ways to deal with their problems. That is another need for this essay. There are very simple and conclusive ways to deal with this problem. Friends of ours have asked us how, then relayed the answers to their now-grown kids, resulting in successful changes of lives for the kids. Others have shared with us their success with various of these "tools."
Is not cognitive dissonance a form of COMBAT?
The parents have a number of issues to face and deal with. First, they need to face, and heal, the personality issues that made them candidates for the CULT in the first place. Secondly, they need to face, and deal with, the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder they suffered under the leadership of the CULT. Thirdly, they need to re-enter Society, and, in many cases, try to reconnect with those people from which they cut themselves off. That includes family, co-workers, and, even civil governments.
It should be mentioned at this juncture that the true undefiled faith was found by many of us in our friends and families, upon departing the CULT. They were waiting patiently for us to recover from our delusion. They, regardless of their faith, demonstrated the true unconditional love we sought but were never able to find, we being too busy judging "The World," and finding it scripturally "wanting."
The children have even a worse problem. They have to join a society they were admonished to hate. They have to take part, or observe, activities they don't understand. They are being told the society is fine, and they were being mis-led. Did their CULT lie? Did their parents lie? Most sadly, they don't find anyone waiting for them to "return."
So, how did we deal with this? First, one must have tools. The Pickett family used at least three. One of those tools was "ranting" about the CULT. That led to