Now that I was once duped into and eventually left a cult, I can truly appreciate the brilliance of The Wizard of Oz. It’s message stays current and probably always will. I have to say every ex-member I’ve spoken with — and at this point I’ve spoken with many — grappled with this question: is “school”, aka “the study”, i.e. Robert and Sharon, simply diabolical — brilliantly sociopathic, self-serving and unapologetic social engineers, without any regard for the damage left in their “wake” (cough) or are they “very bad Wizards” — well intended, yet mis-led and mis-informed. We can only speculate.
Maybe the blog monitors can clue us in — yes, I hear there are two (perhaps more). Hi Josh, care to share?
I’ve come to see this question as one of the stages many ex-cult members move through after leaving groups like “school”. It’s simply part of trying to understand a bizarre experience, in which people you admired and trusted, betrayed you in the most convoluted way. It’s part of the looking back, sorting out and reclaiming of your psyche, emotions, thoughts and — ultimately — life.
Like Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and The Scarecrow, if you let yourself work through your cult days — talk to ex-members, repair “unschooled” relationships by revealing the “source” (cough) of odd, dismissive and often cold behavior, visit the sites on the resources page to learn what “school”, aka “the study” really is (hint, it’s not a secret esoteric school with ancient roots) you can find that what you sought from the group lived in you all along and still does; then you can claim it and the vulnerability that led you into “school”, aka “theStudy”, (I’m sure the name will go through another metamorphesis soon) falls away.
If you stay in “school”, aka “the study”, long enough, you start hearing “teachers” say that, unless you do “the work”, “school”-style, you’ll never “build a soul”. Of course, that claim, in and of itself, is fucked up enough to rate its own post. But for now, suffice to say, that, like everything in “school”, aka “the study”, and every other cult, the opposite is true. You go in with a soul — I believe every human is born with one — and “school” beats it out of you with its version of “the work”.
But if you leave the group, step back, and see it for what it truly is, a cult and a con job, forgive those vulnerable parts of yourself, and place the blame squarely on the shoulders of “school”/”the study” leadership, I believe you can unburden yourself and become very, very well acquainted with the very soul the group claims you don’t have. Once that happens, it will guide you and, as long as you’re guided by your soul — not by outside sources, especially nefarious outside sources, you’ll never be vulnerable to soul vampires again.
This halloween, I hope you recognize “school”, aka “the study” as a group of very bad Wizards, at best, and sociopathic con-artists, at worst, (it almost doesn’t matter where the group falls on that scale) and purge yourself of those soul vampires.