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  1. This story came across my Twitter feed today and I sure hope it doesn't end in tragedy. Haven't heard of this group before now but it sounds like a lethal mix of fundie beliefs + sovereign citizen shite + patrio-misogyny with a big dollop of Q-Anon.
  2. I read this on local media and thought it was very interesting, especially the MA course on Coercive Control, and his role as an 'exit counsellor'. https://www.cheshire-live.co.uk/news/chester-cheshire-news/cheshire-man-autism-sucked-into-21954025 I work with children with SEN-my students are unlikely to live independently so this is less relevant for them, but I will be thinking about it in the future.
  3. Baconandapples

    2x2s/Friends and Workers/The Truth

    I was born and raised in a secretive, world-wide evangelical fundamentalist church that is similar to many discussed on here but completely different in other ways. Here is a little bit about it. Sorry this is so long. It was started in the late 1800s by a man named William Irvine, although most members do not know this and believe that the church goes back to "the beginning", the time of Christ. The church claims not to have an official name, for a number of reasons. There is the belief that "taking a name" is somehow sinful. Having a name would also give the organization some accountability with the outside world, which would disrupt the entire operation. The church operates on the premise that it is non-denominational, without a name, without organization, without church building, collecting no money, and directed entirely by God. Ministers "give up everything" to "go in the work", which means agreeing to become celibate, sell all belongings, and go 2x2 from house to house and town to town having "gospel meetings". These "workers" are supposed to be a direct continuation of the apostles of the new testament, and are also called "servants". Regular members are called "friends" and meet in homes bi weekly to discuss the bible. A line I learned as a child is that the doctrine of the group is "meetings in the home, ministry without a home." The reality is that the church is highly organized. It does have a name. Members call it "the Truth" among themselves, and in order to register members as conscientious objectors during WWII, the church registered with the government as "Christian conventions". Most members don't know this. The "workers" or "servants" are not actually servants, but control all aspects of the group. The most hearty members consider their word to be the law. They will withdraw favor from people who do not abide by the unwritten laws of the group. There are many laws, but none are written down. They are memorized by group members, but if someone tries to pin them down on it, the workers will say that there aren't any "rules". Workers don't take collections and money is never mentioned, but "friends", are expected to donate when writing to workers and when workers visit in the home. This is done secretly, in an envelope, even sometimes in a handshake! Some friends leave their life savings to individual workers. In spite of their professed poverty and homelessness, some workers control vast amounts of money. They use this for maintaining themselves and the convention grounds and sending workers overseas, occasionally to countries where their operations are illegal. Some allegedly use it for their own gain, and to wield influence over other workers who may question their power. There is a hierarchy of workers ranging from brand new recruits to high ranking "overseers". Worker territories are clearly defined. Many workers are likely celibate, but some are definitely not. Rumors abound and problem workers are moved from territory to territory (called "fields" within a larger region) or from one "staff" (all workers in a region) to another. Some workers have been discovered to have committed CSA. These cases were not prosecuted until very recently. Many friends believe that any crimes committed by the workers should be forgiven, and that it would be a much greater crime against God to bring the issue to someone outside of the group. Usually the victim would be blamed. Recently a few cases were publicly prosecuted and the offenders spent time in jail. The victims and those who reported were blamed and shunned within the group. Meetings in the home are placed there by workers. Friends are discouraged from meeting to discuss the bible outside of a worker sanctioned home. The group claims to have no church buildings. But yearly "conventions" take place at the properties of high ranking friends, all over the US and the world. Conventions are held in buildings specially made for the purpose, usually highly modified "sheds" or "barns." These are obviously church buildings, but no one talks about this contradiction. 1000 people might attend a convention at one time. Unlike many groups discussed on here, the friends and workers do not fetishize marriage and child-bearing. In fact, marriage is often seen as a failure of the flesh. It would be better for everyone to remain celibate. Birth control is not discussed at all. Possibly workers would reject it, but it's just not on the radar. Many would choose to believe that the married couple with only a few children just aren't having sex anymore. Some younger workers are more savvy about this. The beliefs of the friends and workers are hard to pin down because they claim to have no rules, although this is patently false if you talk with anyone who has been in the group. Here are some of the rules, not in any particular order: Only members of the group are god's chosen people. If you leave the group or don't join the group, you are not saved. End of story. For the most part, pants are not allowed on women, although standards are relaxing about this. Women never wear pants in meeting. Women's hair should not be cut, and it should be up in a bun. Standards are also relaxing on this front, but most will wear hair up in meeting and try to hide that it has been cut. Women can be in the ministry, teaching and preaching and enforcing. But they can never be overseers and can never sit on the platform at convention. Divorce and remarriage results in shunning and removal of speaking privileges in meeting for at least a year. Friends are strongly encouraged not to google the group or learn anything about its origins. Members are hesitant to ask any questions about origins because then the workers will know they have looked at material from ex members who have written stuff on the internet, also known as "anti-truthers". Having close friends outside the group is highly discouraged. Leaving "the work" is a major issue, even worse to some people than having an affair while in the work. An older rule, at least in the eastern united states, is not celebrating Christian holidays. To members of the group, Christians outside of the group rank worse than non believers. No Christmas trees. No piercings. No dying hair unless you can hide it. No jewelry. The group has no literature other than a hymn book that they compiled and printed. Workers lists are printed, but carefully distributed for fear they will "fall into the wrong hands." All decisions for and about the group are done behind closed doors with zero transparency. Nothing is traceable, nothing is acknowledged. Gas-lighting is rampant. Double speak is the work of the holy spirit. You tell someone to do something without really saying it and you can convince them it was the holy spirit moving them. I was part of the group for 27 years, married into a 4th generation family, and have close family members who are workers and ex workers. Feel free to ask any questions.
  4. LacyMay


    I know this originally aired in 2018 but when I searched "Waco" I couldn't find another thread. Is anyone else watching this/has watched it? I watched the first half in a short period of time but I'm afraid of what comes next. I only had a surface level idea of what all happened and this has been eye opening. Dammit for ruining my Taylor Kitsch crush though. I'll need a lot of Friday Night Lights/Tim Riggins to make up for him as David Koresh.
  5. Marmion

    Lakeview Christian Life Church

    https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2016/05/02/kdka-investigates-former-pastors-member-call-bridgeville-church-cult-like/ , https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2016/05/03/controversial-church-in-bridgeville-draws-ire-of-neighbors/
  6. Hane

    If I Ran a Cult...

    After reading about that whackjob named Jane and her crazy list of cult rules (nothing branded with Nike! You must hang toilet paper like *this*!), I started thinking: What would *you* insist on if you ran a cult? I’ll start: Regular visits to public libraries shall be a sacrament. Attendance at community theater and concerts shall be pilgrimages. Children shall not be forced to wear itchy clothing. Let’s hear yours!
  7. I came across a channel documenting various instances of chicanery in the Hannibal Fandom, and one of the biggest "Fannibals" happens to be a someone who I've heard of in another dreadful, awespiring story of fandom gone wrong. I'm creating this topic because I know FJ is chock full of geeks (and I say this lovingly), and we do discuss cults, so this is perfect for FJ. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/8gdwvp/the-tale-of-the-final-fantasy-vii-house-is-a-window-into-the-dark-side-of-cosplay-529 Start here for the Hannibal fandom chicanery (I'm not sure I agree with/believe everything this individual says, but I believe they're worth listening to): http://www.tattlecrime.org/ I spent hours going down this rabbit hole last night, and I'm sure I'll spend even more time later. Enjoy, I guess?
  8. 48 Hours has an interesting new episode about an Australian cult run by a women who said she was Christ reincarnated. They were very child centered and she even stole other people's children. Very interesting commentary by a cult expert about how photographs show how children's personalities are being suppressed. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/inside-the-family-cult-australia-anne-hamilton-byrne/
  9. So I have a co-worker I recently found out is a Scientologist. She is quite strange. Nice on the surface but quick to make cutting personal remarks. Does anyone else here have experience with Scientologists? I would love to hear your stories!
  10. Latest revelations include her telling everyone she told us so as the towers were falling. Continued from here:
  11. VaSportsMom

    Gwen Shamblin 2: Divorce? What Divorce?

    Continued from here ;
  12. There's a website that's purpose is to expose the Church of Wells Cult and contains many of their secret teachings on the website. Website is here: http://exposingthechurchofwells.com/ This document from their website has sickened me. Here are some quotes: Encouraging the Rod Encouraging to not give into crying in order to spare the child's soul The rod will drive foolishness out of the child's heart vs. verbal correction. Do not give into their cries if you care for their soul. The rod gives wisdom and not using it brings a family shame. Children will Learn Through Pain via the Rod. Pain is used here 5x. Parents WIN with the rod and must not give into a child's cry. http://exposingthechurchofwells.com/?wpfb_dl=579 Backstory One of the leaders married a Joy Courville whose family had been connected to IBLP. In fact, her brother, Jon Courville and his wife, took the wedding photos of Joy Duggar & Austin. These people are a cult that believes in following the leadership of the 3 young pastors and requests everyone shun their family members that aren't in their cult. The three founders, Sean Morris, Jake Gardner, and Ryan Ringnald attended Baylor University together and found submissive helpmeets through conservative family camps, many seemingly run by IBLP. Ryan Ringnald, in particular, comes from a family of multi-millionaire's and resented his parents worldly lifestyle. He is the one that married Joy Courville with connections to IBLP. Jake Gardner married Hannah, whose family attended Joy Courville's dad's church , who is Pastor Don Courville. Obviously, Joy is no longer allowed to have any contact with her family members despite her father's conservative fundamentalist Christianity. The cult is based in east Texas and has avoided all media. Nightline went down to interview them and they refused to talk. A news story ran on the cult when a newborn baby died and they spent a long time praying over the baby to come back to life instead and authorities showed up much later: http://www.ktre.com/story/18659226/babys-death-draws-attention-to-wells-religious-group
  13. Japan appears to be ready to execute some of the Aum Shinrikyo members involved in the deadly 1995 sarin has attack on the Tokyo subway: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/20/japan-prepares-to-execute-up-to-13-members-of-aum-shinrikyo-cult Japan is one of the few industrialized countries that still has the deal that penalty, but unlike the US, they’re rather secretive about it. I believe the method used is hanging. The wikipedia page on the group is suprisingly good, as is the page on the terrorist attack: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aum_Shinrikyo https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo_subway_sarin_attack Incredibly, Aum Shinrikyo still exists today under the new name Aleph, much like how the Children of God and the Moonies have also given themselves new names to rebrand and obscure their prior bad acts.
  14. Carlos Castaneda became a counter culture sensation in the 1960s based on his “scholarly” books that allegedly described his apprenticeship with a Yaqui sorcerer: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Castaneda If you’ve ever seen that episode of the Simpsons where Homer goes on a search for his soulmate after hallucinating in magical chili peppers, that was based on Castañeda’s works. Today most reputable scholars agree that his books are fiction, but Castañeda still has a following and said books have never been out of print. During his lifetime, Castañeda built up a cult of personality among a small group of followers. However, when he died in 1998,his closest female followers, known as “the witches,” mysteriously disappeared and have not been seen or heard from since. It is generally believed that the women committed suicide as a group in keeping with Castañeda’s teachings: https://www.salon.com/2007/04/12/castaneda/ (good article about the bizarre world Castañeda built) (BBC documentary about Castañeda and the disappearance of his “witches”) As the article from Salon mentions, the skeletal remains of Nurie Alexander, Castañeda’s adopted daughter/ex-lover/student were found in Death Valley in 2006, the only “witch” whose death has been proven. Because so much time had passed, investigators were unable to ascertain the manner of her death, but my guess is that she either consciously committed suicide or died from exposure while thinking she was going to be assumed into another reality.
  15. Stormy

    Word of Faith Fellowship

    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article134790299.html In short, the Word of Faith Fellowship is a church that's come under investigation for severe abuse, often manifesting as "blasting", where congregants literally beat the shit out of someone to expel demons. Sexual, spiritual, and emotional abuse also abound. Victims are trained from an early age to lie to authorities. Nearly all the members were encouraged to live in the same town so as to keep the community isolated. Most people interviewed for the article had been brought into the cult as children, and have been cut off from their families for leaving. In my area, too. Jeezy creezy.
  16. Because the news wasn't full of enough weird, creepy news: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jimderogatis/parents-told-police-r-kelly-is-keeping-women-in-a-cult?utm_term=.iqA44w0Nz7#.ppLKKZXLNq Since the women involved are adults and can join any sort of organization they want, there's not much that can be done from a legal perspective unless Kelly has done something demonstrably illegal. I guess we'll see how this story unfolds.
  17. I recently found out about the thankfully defunct Tony Alamo Ministries, and found this account of a woman who was raised in this craziness: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/09/inside_the_arkansas_compound_t.html Franckiewicz's story has a happy ending, since she escaped and Alamo was put in prison. I seriously doubt Gothard, for example, will ever have to pay for his crimes, although now I'm wondering if the Bateses and Duggars will be praying to resurrect him when he eventually dies.
  18. I had known that the Heaven's Gate Website was still up in all its late 1990s tackiness, but I had always assumed that it was just another relic of the Geocities age: http://www.heavensgate.com/ However, as it turns out, the website is very much alive, and if you send emails, you can get replies, and you can buy Heaven's Gate books and VHS tapes: http://gizmodo.com/the-online-legacy-of-a-suicide-cult-and-the-webmasters-1617403237 It's interesting that the Kings haven't updated the aesthetics of the website or migrated the files from 3.5 floppy discs. I guess they want to honor the intentions of their "classmates" by keeping everything in the format they originally received it.
  19. I've studied a lot of cults and thought I'd heard it all, but I think Roch Thériault's cult may be the worst I've heard: TRIGGER WARNING!!! http://politicsrusprinciple.tumblr.com/tagged/Roch-Th%C3%A9riault (scroll down for the long post with the main story) I'm not going to do a summary, because I don't even know where to begin or how to explain it. All I can say is that Thériault sounds like a cross between David Koresh, Warren Jeffs, and Jeffrey Dahmer. Given that, I want to warn you that this story is extremely graphic and contains descriptions of abuse that are almost beyond comprehension. But this story shows why we can't turn a blind eye to sects like these that basically function as personal fiefdoms for psychopaths.
  20. SpoonfulOSugar

    Strong City Cult

    My gateway fundie group is not one that has been discussed here before . . . the Lord Our Righteousness Church, a Seventh Day Adventist derivative in northeastern New Mexico. They ate a very sparing vegetarian diet; the women wore long hair, long skirts, and no makeup; by some standards, they were considered a millennial cult. Strong City (another name) achieved fame/notoriety in 2007 when a documentary was produced by Ben Anthony and it aired on National Geographic. (I've linked to part one on Youtube - you should be able to go through the other parts with the menu on the right.) There was a follow-up documentary which I will dig out. The revelations in the documentary lead to a police investigation; eventually, their leader, Wayne Bent (Michael), was sent to prison because of the criminal sexual contact he had with underage members. I have been hesitant to discuss them here because MANY members of the church moved on and are now out in society, living their lives. I want to respect that and not invade their privacy. Of any group I've ever read about, the LOR put more out on the web (many page still available through Wayback) and the followers were as facile in social networking as any organization I've seen. They also have a predilection for changing their names - Travesser is their chosen surname (for the whole group.) Wayne Bent was released from prison in February: http://www.abqjournal.com/724888/news/religious-sect-leader-wayne-bent-is-out-of-prison.html He is apparently back on the LOR property, and back to producing his word salad on the interwebz: https://waynebent.com/ And I see that followers have again begun defending him on news stories. So - what happens to a cult when a leader is removed from the community and then returns? How has this group's belief system affected people long-term? That's what fascinates me. (And don't be surprised if someone shows up here - they are very assertive about people discussing them.)
  21. I mentioned this case in the Ardnt family thread, but I think it deserves a thread of its own. The short version is that this psychotic narcissist pervert, Marcus Wesson, started his own family-cult that taught that the End Times were near, that Jesus was a vampire, and that they should be prepared to commit suicide at any moment. He took on his own nieces and daughters (step and bio) as "sister wives" and numerous children were born of these incestous unions. When two of the nieces tried to leave the cult and take their children with them, Wesson set in place a murder-suicide pact that left nine people dead, including most of the young children who had been born via incest. This article gives a good overview of the cult, and the brainwashing the members underwent: http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/marcus-wesson-mass-murder-surviving-family-speaks-abuse/story?id=11089648 I noticed a number of similarities to some of the tactics our fundies use, including: isolationist homeschooling to keep kids ignorant, not just about the world in general, but ignorant about how dysfunctional their family is the father became "god" in the eyes of the children, while mother is beaten down and ineffectual children identifying with their abuser(s) poor living conditions rationalized as "holy" or just convenient to hide the kids from people who might ask uncomfortable questions an obsession with the end times abuse (sexual, physical, emotional) is seen as a routine part of life endless prayer and Bible study sessions used to indoctrinate sexuality is strictly controlled or monitored Now, I'm not suggesting that any of the families that are usually discussed here are as psychotic as Marcus Wesson, but reading about this case really impressed on me how easy it is to create a cult within a family, especially when the children are isolated from the outside world and have no other points of reference or trusted adults who might be able to intervene. Although the cult ended in the worst way possible for the youngest victims, at least Wesson's remaining young adult children have been able to overcome their traumatic pasts and build normal, healthy lives.
  22. A judge granted temporary custody of four children to their mother, who fled with them this summer from her husband and a restrictive religious enclave -- the House of Yahweh religious sect. Amy Hawkins waited until her husband left for work one morning in July and broke church rules by downloading Facebook to her phone, which she used to contact her mother-in-law, Claudia Owen. Hawkins also said she was leaving her husband and the House of Yahweh enclave near Clyde, Texas, and Owen invited her to come 1,200 miles away to her home in South Carolina. The cult-monitoring website Religioustolerance.org says the House of Yahweh meets 10 out of 10 criteria as a dangerous or high-risk organization. http://www.rawstory.com/2015/09/woman-f ... ious-sect/
  23. This community looks nearly amish like fundie, http://www.cults.co.nz/c.php#cooperites [] they left their community to start life in the rest of society. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic ... d=11415552
  24. Good article about cults briefly mentioning ATI . I saw no reason to break link http://www.fairobserver.com/region/nort ... gic-90134/
  25. Coldwinterskies

    Cult Warning Sign Checklist

    I think one of the reasons these crazy religions are able to get a foothold is because many people don't know the warning signs of a cult. How many of these warning signs can you see in the fundies we follow? To me, A LOT of these apply. http://i.imgur.com/tzFegxg.png
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