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Raised in a Christian Cult
Christianity Today ^ | 2/11/14 | Michelle Van Loon

Posted on 03/13/2014 12:52:33 PM PDT by marshmallow

If you've ever been stuck in traffic caused by drivers slowing down to get a glimpse of the accident scene, you know we humans are a nosy bunch.

So it's no surprise that readers have devoured a steady stream of recent memoirs penned by people who grew up in abusive, controlling fundamentalist sects. We curiously peek into the barbed-wire edges of different faith traditions—Jewish, Mormon, and Christian—from the perspectives of their former members.

While the theology may differ, the plotlines in this popular genre vary little: the author's childhood was a horror, leaving the group required great courage, and integrating into mainstream society afterwards remains a disorienting, difficult process. Popular blogger Elizabeth Esther's Girl at the End of the World: My Escape From Fundamentalism in Search of a Faith with a Future, set to release next Tuesday, March 18, is a recent addition to the genre.

Are these stories (and similarly-themed blogs, films, and TV shows) the pulp nonfiction equivalent of gapers' block, giving us a chance to gaze at the wreckage? Or are they cautionary tales about the high cost of blind allegiance? The answer may be yes to both.

Most importantly, though, these memoirs amplify the once-voiceless among us, and no matter how painful, unbelievable, or bitter the accounts, they require us to listen. As followers of Jesus, we are committed to both growing in wisdom and protecting "the least of these." Their candid, painful reflections remind us that sometimes the most vulnerable among us may be abused children now living inside adult bodies.

Esther's Girl at the End of the World follows her upbringing in a network of about 50 or so fundamentalist fringe congregations once known as The Assembly, led by her grandfather, George Geftakys. She introduces her eight-year-old self to readers by telling..........

(Excerpt) Read more at christianitytoday.com ...


TOPICS: Charismatic Christian; Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 03/13/2014 12:52:33 PM PDT by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow; humblegunner
Popular blogger Elizabeth Esther's Girl at the End of the World: My Escape From Fundamentalism in Search of a Faith with a Future, set to release next Tuesday, March 18, is a recent addition to the genre.

Are these stories (and similarly-themed blogs, films, and TV shows) the pulp nonfiction equivalent of gapers' block, giving us a chance to gaze at the wreckage? Or are they cautionary tales about the high cost of blind allegiance? The answer may be yes to both.

 

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I'll wait for the Humblegunner review. And his take on your excepting yet another blog.

2 posted on 03/13/2014 12:56:15 PM PDT by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: marshmallow

Cults are not fundamentalist by definition because they altered the word to suit their own ends


3 posted on 03/13/2014 12:57:05 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: Responsibility2nd

And where are the books about escaping the cult of Islam ???

You know, islam, the cult of death, founded by the thief, murderer, rapist, pedophile, pederast, and all around piece of shit.

When will that join this genre?


4 posted on 03/13/2014 1:05:14 PM PDT by Ouderkirk (To the left, everything must evidence that this or that strand of leftist theory is true)
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To: marshmallow

“Christian Cult” is an oxymoron. If it’s Christian, it isn’t a cult. If it’s a cult, it isn’t Christian.


5 posted on 03/13/2014 1:10:59 PM PDT by LouAvul (In a state of disbelief as to how liberals destroyed America in a mere 40 years.)
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To: Ouderkirk

They are out there. There are also websites and videos.


6 posted on 03/13/2014 1:10:59 PM PDT by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.)
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To: GeronL

It depends on how you define cult, theologically they may not be a cult, but can be considered a cult sociologically as a high demand group following the BITE model.


7 posted on 03/13/2014 1:11:44 PM PDT by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.)
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To: reaganaut

Cults follow people Christians follow Christ


8 posted on 03/13/2014 1:31:39 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: LouAvul
“Christian Cult” is an oxymoron. If it’s Christian, it isn’t a cult. If it’s a cult, it isn’t Christian.

Michelle Van Loon writes for Christianity TODAY. Get with the program and go along with the changes they've made, man! (Or, woman!)
9 posted on 03/13/2014 1:36:43 PM PDT by Resettozero
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To: All
Esther's Girl at the End of the World follows her upbringing in a network of about 50 or so fundamentalist fringe congregations once known as The Assembly, led by her grandfather, George Geftakys.

What makes The Assembly "fundamentalist"?

George Geftakys attaches a special significance to this word. According to him, by "taking the place of sonship" we gain eternal glory and privileged participation in the "life of deity"....In summary, we must "live the very life of Christ" (page 131), preparing and training ourselves each day for "enlargement of capacity" (page 139). We must do the equivalent of what Christ did. Only then will God enthrone and exalt us. Only by a perfect life of obedience, obeying all the commandments of God, will we possess this glorious inheritance.
"This is not automatic... Sonship is for all believers, but all believers do not avail themselves of this privilege," (Jesus is the Son of God, chapter 8, "The Faith of the Son", page 137).
But isn't this supposed to be why Christ came in the first place -- to live a sinless life and to give up that perfect life as a spotless sacrifice so that we might be declared righteous before God? Why is it necessary for us to repeat what Christ has already done? Instead, according to George, we are to live a sinless life and even die on the cross in order to receive a glorious inheritance as Christ did. Why is Christ's life of obedience and death on the cross necessary at all? Christ, then, did not actually save sinners. Christ is only an example of how it ought to be done. Christ only made salvation possible for us; we must achieve our own salvation through self-effort, following Christ's example. .
-- from the article Sonship, at Reflections on Cultic Christianity

10 posted on 03/13/2014 1:37:52 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: marshmallow

What ever brings in the cash, some people make money by leading a cult, others make money by exposing what they perceive as cults.


11 posted on 03/13/2014 2:52:23 PM PDT by ravenwolf
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To: marshmallow

Obligatory: You mean they were raised in a mainstream Mormon family?

In before the Mormon haters...


12 posted on 03/13/2014 3:03:23 PM PDT by GraceG
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To: GeronL

However you can have a theologically accurate church that behaviorally is a cult. The definition of cult is not limited to theology. If you would like me to expand I will be happy to as well as give examples. FWIW, I own and run a ministry to ex-cultists helping them transition out of the cult and into the Church.


13 posted on 03/13/2014 4:50:52 PM PDT by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.)
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To: reaganaut

a lot of people misrepresent Jesus, just because they claim to be, does not make them Christian.


14 posted on 03/13/2014 4:54:14 PM PDT by fabian (" And a new day will dawn for those who stand long, and the forests will echo in laughter")
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To: reaganaut
However you can have a theologically accurate church that behaviorally is a cult.

if it focuses on the leader instead of Jesus it's status would be obvious. How many cults are theologically accurate? Probably not many, seems like it would be nearly impossible to me.

anyways you sound like the expert, keep doing Gods work!

15 posted on 03/13/2014 5:00:20 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: fabian

I never said it did, but until I know the theology of the group, I will not say they are a THEOLOGICAL cult, they could still be a Sociological cult.


16 posted on 03/13/2014 5:14:55 PM PDT by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.)
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To: GeronL

There are very few but there are some, mostly ‘independent’ churches. I know of an Independent Baptist Church that is very cult like in its behavior, also I recently read a book about a church in Washington several years ago that started off soundly theological and stayed that way but became a cult - a high demand group focused on one leader. The youth pastor ended up abusing several women in the church and murdered his wife, but it was showing cult behavior years before that after the pastor who started the church was pushed out. Both churches became cults of personality over time, and became more and more controlling thus evolving into cults even though their core theology did not change.

Recently we are seeing a similar situation - a cult of personality with the ‘leader’ exerting control - although with a change in theology to heterodox views in a few areas, within the excultist community - a man named Shawn McCraney who had a TV show outreach to the LDS.

Sociologically, the standard for cult or ‘high demand group’ is one that exerts extreme or undue control over 4 areas of its members - behavior, information, time, and emotion. These are abusive churches and can cause much damage. Examples would be dietary control, not being able to read things contrary or outside the church, long or several meetings several times of week, emphasis on emotional response over study. I can post some more info on the this model if you wish.


17 posted on 03/13/2014 5:23:18 PM PDT by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.)
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To: GraceG

We don’t hate Mormons, we care enough to tell them the truth. BTW, I posted on this thread before you did. :)


18 posted on 03/13/2014 5:24:09 PM PDT by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.)
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To: reaganaut

Sounds like a communist country


19 posted on 03/13/2014 5:29:48 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: GeronL

Communism is a cult in many ways, even to the point of inserting the state in place of God and could be classified as both a religious as well as political cult.


20 posted on 03/13/2014 5:38:59 PM PDT by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.)
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To: reaganaut

North Korea is big on those long communism lectures and self-criticism sessions, it has all the earmarks of a cult


21 posted on 03/13/2014 5:43:07 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans!)
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To: marshmallow
Hmm. I see that teaching the literal historicity of Genesis 1-11 is now legally defined as child abuse.

What? He said these people were fundamentalists, right?

I'm sure plenty of "non-fundamentalist" believers who are having a high old time laughing think that their beloved irrational and un-scientific beliefs will ever be so treated.

22 posted on 03/13/2014 5:46:03 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (The Left: speaking power to truth since Shevirat HaKelim.)
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To: GeronL
Cults are not fundamentalist by definition because they altered the word to suit their own ends

Some FReepers think total Biblical inerrancy is a cult. It's how they define themselves as "intellectuals."

23 posted on 03/13/2014 5:47:16 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (The Left: speaking power to truth since Shevirat HaKelim.)
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To: GeronL

Agreed, long meetings, monotone voices, and repetitive statements are all methods of brainwashing that cults use. Be leery of any group that requires/expects/demands/asks you to attend long lectures. I read a really interesting article recently on brainwashing, neural pathways and how a persons brain ‘shuts down’ during 3+ hour lectures - allowing subconscious overrides to reason and logic.


24 posted on 03/13/2014 5:49:30 PM PDT by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.)
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To: Alex Murphy

Sounds like Armstrong and also that Shepherd’s Chapel cult.


25 posted on 03/13/2014 5:54:36 PM PDT by redleghunter
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