A Christian Mystic, Part 1

A Christian Mystic…I can feel the hair stand up on the back of the necks of most “religious” people who label themselves as “Christians”….but before everyone gets all hot and bothered..let me explain how I define the term…after all…most things are subjective…

I will start at the beginning…I grew up in what I consider a “cult”…and then here again..there can be a discussion on what is considered a cult…the term itself is ambiguous… but here is the best explanation (from a personal point of view) that I found..by Louis West and Michael Langone…they defined it as a “Totalist” Cult…but this is a very accurate and  definitive explanation of how I grew up….

A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g., isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.) designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community.[…]

Totalist cults are likely to exhibit three elements to varying degrees:

(1) excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment to the identity and leadership of the group by the members,

(2) exploitative manipulation of members, and

(3) harm or the danger of harm.

– Source: Cultism: A Conference for Scholars-Policy Makers, Cultic Studies Journal, 1986, Volume 3, Number 1, pages 85-96 3

Personal experience of the above definition…there was an undying excessive devotion to the woman who founded the church..she was (she died this past summer) venerated…worshiped…so much so that my parents hung a large portrait of this woman  in a place of honor in their home..her teachings were the only material that was and is still read…my parents moved from my place of birth in Wisconsin..uprooting and leaving family to become a part of this congregation…

*Now there were circumstances that made my Father more susceptible to the teachings of this woman…but that would lead to a totally different discussion as to what makes some more vulnerable to becoming involved in a “cult”…

The majority of the congregation sacrificed their own needs and necessities of life to support this woman..who lived in beautiful and majestic homes..traveled extensively..and created a network of 1500  affiliated organizations…

Every move…every decision that we made in our daily lives was made within the perimeters of this woman’s teaching…there were no outside influences allowed…growing up..we had no TV..the only radio that we were allowed to listen to was Christian music..we were not allowed to socialize outside of the church..meaning that I could not attend any school functions or have any friendships outside of the church…but then, most of our free time was within the church walls…

Any major decision..such as who to marry, when to buy a house…was brought before a small group of hand picked people that would then listen to your quandary and then put it to “The Witness”..which was a unified “OM NAMAH SIVAYA”…which has been said to be based on the name of the Lord Shiva..but I digress…

What is your opinion..would you consider this a cult..have you experienced religious manipulation and how did you free yourself….I know that it can be difficult to discuss..but it can be a door to freedom..the is a Loving God…and you are loved..always and forever…

Author: Renée E.

Storytelling Photographer and Fine Art Conceptional Artist...Creating magic from the ordinary

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