This is the last in the series about churches and cults. By no means have I even scratched the surface of what is and isn’t a cult, and what is going on within the far right. It is, though, an example of the disaster facing the Christian world today. How on earth do we know what is real and what isn’t?
The cult list concludes with:
- United Church of God
- The Vineyard Church
- Vision Forum
- Voice of the Martyrs
“...Now, provided you didn’t lose your lunch, and provided you’ve finished taking the mental and physical shower this most likely made you crave (I’d caution against attempting to scrub the eyeballs, no matter how strong the desire), is there anyone out there who’d like to argue with me that Vision Forum isn’t a full-blown cult, with all of the assorted creepiness and weirdness of a full-blown cult?…Then, there’s perverted, bizarre, and a host of others. Tea parties? Really? Even with the older girls? And the picnic lunches on the blankets look weird and contrived. To be honest, everything about the whole deal looks weird and contrived. But it reaches a whole other level of creepiness when the daughters start shaving their dads. I have to wonder what wonderful, bonding nuggets would await us in a Mother/Son retreat. Sons shaving their mother’s legs? It’s no less creepy than this….”
- The Way International
- Watchmen Nee
- Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
- Way International
- Westboro Baptist Church
“…International House of Prayer is known all throughout the nation as one of the most popular and most dangerous Christian cults. I know from my own experience attending the Forerunner School of Ministry, and also by MANY others’ experiences. Google this on the web, there is a plethora of young people who have shared their dangerous experiences there…..
I was always a healthy and happy person, within reason, both before and after I had gone to that place. That cult messed me up so bad and brainwashed me to the point that I still, five years later, struggle with being able to tell reality from brainwashing and I still struggle with living a normal productive life. If you want to destroy your child for the rest of his or her life, send them to that awful place. Listen to all of the articles and reviews, as well as a New York Times article written about the place causing concern. They did not even scratch the surface in that article!!! DO YOUR RESEARCH first before ever stepping foot in that cult!
I would like everyone who comes across this and has been brainwashed, almost to the point of death, as I have to write your horror stories so people can be warned. I would also like for us to gang together and file a huge lawsuit against this cult. It destroyed me and ruined my life, as well as hundreds of others who have been able to somehow come out of this brainwashing. This place literally almost killed me and I am so thankful to my dad for rescuing me when he did because I was at the point of near death. The government NEEDS to intercede!!! They will not because of politics and such but they NEED to…”
- Word of Faith Movement / Kenneth E. Hagin
- Worldwide Church of God
“...There is one more issue we want to address and that is the allegations of sexual abuse that were brought against Tom White by the parents of a 10-year-old girl. When we first posted the story about White’s suicide last year, someone commented to us that it was unlikely that Tom White molested a child and that perhaps this was a conspiracy of murder against White by Muslims angry at VOM for their work in Middle-eastern countries. As we have examined the facts that we have been able to obtain (including the testimony by Michael Wurmbrand to us by phone where he told us he knew the family, as well as a pastor who spoke with the father of the girl and posted the account online and who stated: “there is no doubt the abuse occurred”), we have no reason to doubt that the allegations are legitimate. Thus, it is more than reasonable for Voice of the Martyrs to be willing to allow an independent investigation into these allegations and also any other possible sexual abuses against children that may have occurred within their organization. It is a proven fact that most child predators do not molest just one child during the course of their lifetimes….”
- The White Buffalo Foundation
- Zen Master Rama
A little historical background on the history of what is and isn’t a cult. There have been cults since there have been a handful of people.
“...The concept of “cult” as a sociological classification was introduced in 1932 by American sociologist Howard P. Becker as an expansion of German theologian Ernst Troeltsch’s church-sect typology. Troeltsch’s aim was to distinguish between three main types of religious behavior: churchly, sectarian and mystical. Becker created four categories out of Troeltsch’s first two by splitting church into “ecclesia” and “denomination”, and sect into “sect” and “cult”. Like Troeltsch’s “mystical religion”, Becker’s cults were small religious groups lacking in organization and emphasizing the private nature of personal beliefs. Later sociological formulations built on these characteristics while placing an additional emphasis on cults as deviant religious groups “deriving their inspiration from outside of the predominant religious culture”. This is often thought to lead to a high degree of tension between the group and the more mainstream culture surrounding it, a characteristic shared with religious sects. In this sociological terminology, sects are products of religious schism and therefore maintain a continuity with traditional beliefs and practices, and cults arise spontaneously around novel beliefs and practices…”
From Heresy in the Heartland comes a very telling list of the abuses Bill Gothard inflicted on those who were part of his ATI cult.
This is what life in a cult is, pure and simple. Back in 2007 Don Veinot wrote about Gothard and the damage he was doing.
“...The core of his teachings are what he calls in his seminars the “7 Non-Optional Principles of Life”. If these are followed perfectly one will not have any difficulties in life, no sickness, financial set backs, relationship problems, etc. He has developed hundreds of steps, rules and principles to follow which are meant to insure fulfilling the “7 non-optional principles.” In addition he teaches that there is an “Umbrella of Protection” and obey them as though God were speaking to you directly through them, you will be protected. On the other hand, if you get out from under this umbrella (exhibit independent thinking) God will punish you with sickness, financial loss or worse. There is also his view that demons inhabit all sorts of inanimate objects and if brought into someone’s home will cause rebellion and bad behavior. Somehow demons are also passed on genetically from generation to generation and in order to get rid of them we must track them back to the original contact in order to be able to perform the correct rites to rid ourselves or others of them.
The list of rules, regulations, steps, principles and things that will brings God’s wrath down on you are so long that anyone who is really honest with themselves will have to admit, they cannot keep or live up to. If they truly believe the principles are “non-optional” it is completely understandable that the Inability to keep them would lead to giving up and depression as you are awaiting God’s big thumb coming down to crush you….”
There are other Christian cults, but Gothard appears to be the most powerful. Not only has his influence been felt by politician here in the US, but he worked directly with Boris Yeltson in Russia, spreading his Character First indoctrination through-out Moscow and Russia. Here in the US, his indoctrination, his devoted supporters include Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Jim Dailey, Daniel Webster, Stephen Goldsmith (Michael Bloomberg’s deputy mayor of operations), Steven Wise, Jim Bob Duggar, Mary Fallin, Carolyne Coleman, Howard Hendricks, Joan Greenwood, Wes Lane, Sonny Perdue, Sam Johnson, Rick Santorum, and so forth and so on. Then, you add the politicians who have been influenced by Gary North: Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and it becomes quite obvious what is going on here. Reconstructionist politicians include Steven Hotze, Michael Farris, Bill Dannemeyer (R-CA) and Mark Siljander (R-MI), Roy Moore, and, unfortunately, a cast of hundreds.
“...The list of Character First! seminar attendees already reads like a who’s who of top corporations and government institutions: McDonald’s, Burger King, Aflac, Costco, Coca Cola, the Correctional Corporation of America, the Better Business Bureau, Tyson Foods, the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Bureau of Prisons, the Arkansas Prison System and the U.S. District Attorney’s office are all mentioned, in addition to more than a dozen school districts (including Denver, Memphis and Ft. Lauderdale), and eight healthcare companies and hospitals….”
Oh, and Bill Gothard is also indirectly responsible for the Hobby Lobby debacle.
I know a woman who, when she was a teenager in the mid-west, wanted to attend one of Gothard’s big stadium filled rallies. Her parents went with her. About half-way through it she told her mother that what Gothard was teaching was not Biblical. They left. If this woman was capable of understanding what was going on, when she was just a teen, why couldn’t other people?
Is it possible one of the reasons people are sucked into these so-called ‘Christian’ cults is because they have no real Biblical or theological backgrounds?