Tis the season for recruitment …

Hi Readers –

Recently someone asked me if “school” was still schooling. As it turns out, yes! You, too, can have “new friends”! I know that the invisible world is sending out invisible troops, because a recent recruit visited and commented on the blog.

It amazes, amuses and saddens me that this cult is still trotting out the same sad tactics. Maybe some of you stumbled into this blog because of a strange recent encounter with some “new friends”. You may be wondering, “Is a cult  recruiting me?” If it had these traits, it was cult — i.e. “school”/”the study” — recruitment:

  1. Friendly man/woman ( in this case, “Mike C”) strikes up conversation at a bar in Somerville, typically this chat begins with an unusual question regarding esoteric ideas, or something inspirational.
  2. Discusses life and philosophy.
  3. Another “friend” (in this case, Alan) shows up.
  4. Some coffee meetings follow the initial encounter.
  5. Another “friend” joins (in this case, Lisa).
  6. Last coffee meeting includes another “friend”, Robert, who extends an invitation into a group; btw what used to be simply “school”, then morphed into “the study” no longer has a name. The invitation may, or may not, include a “free experiment” and the warning: ” …it’s very important that you not tell anyone about this. It’s private, just for you!

If your “new friends” are like Mike, Alan, Lisa, and Robert, they are reluctant to share personal details. BIG RED FLAG! They are also lying about the nature of their relationships. What felt like a chance encounter is deliberate recruitment.

The word is that this “youngest class” meets Mondays and Thursdays at the Courtyard Marriott, both in Cambridge and Brookline. Apparently the latest marketing ploy is to nod to a lineage of great men of history, while trotting out Gurdjieff ideas –like the mechanical nature of man, the four “centers”,  self-observation, identification, and the wrong work of centers — but neglecting to mention Gurdjieff, and Sharon Gans and Alex Horn, etc, etc. And, yes, the 5-week aims, are now called the 5-week commitments and the free 5-week “experiment” is still a thing.

 

Contradicting Cult Indoctrination: Four Concepts from Living the Deeper YES …

In July of 2012, I went to my first International Cultic Studies Association conference in Washington, DC. After spending the weekend talking to ex-cult members from all over the world, I remember saying, “All of these groups are the same.”

Okay, so cults aren’t all exactly the same, but they ALL use the same underlying tactics to recruit and indoctrinate. I’m endlessly fascinated by Cult Common hallmarks because, for one, they say something about human nature but when you become cognizant of manipulation, those hallmarks point you to recovery – contradict the indoctrination. Break cult rules.

Living the Deeper YES reframes ideas that were abused by “school”. Tull offers them as inner guide posts – these tools turn the very vulnerabilities that can be exploited into empowerment. I found these four especially helpful:

  • All cults claim to be the exclusive source of exclusive aspirational, or deep, knowledge or The Truth! that will change your life ….

Living the Deeper YES says that such truth, or aspirational knowing, or deeper knowledge is available to EVERYONE, all the time!

  • Cults keep their minions busy and frazzled. It’s common practice to claim a frantic pace, in service to the group, is “doing what’s necessary” to achieve (maybe) some elusive higher state (if you do it right, or are successful).

Living the Deeper YES says that we access the essence level when we stop, listen in stillness & quiet the mind, so we can hear our truths. Truth comes through when we allow it time, attention and space. It speaks to us from the inside and is not dictated by external sources.

  • Cults claim access to higher states of existence, or exclusive knowledge, or some allusive “truth” to foster dependence in members. Such groups encourage a feeding frenzy culture that attacks independent thought — members start to question personal perceptions, their beliefs, their emotions and opinions.

Living the Deeper YES encourages dialogue with the self.  It is the New Millennium version of Glenda the Good Witch, telling readers, “Trust yourself! You had the answers all along.” The deeper yes, comes from the internal yes – you feel the rightness in your bones.

  • Cults leverage hierarchy and judgment, taking advantage of our social needs for community and acceptance. Group members stew in indoctrination, an ideology of black and white thinking.

In stark contrast,Tull offers her vulnerabilities and darker years up for examination, essentially offering tools that she had to dredge up for herself in times of uncertainty and pain.  She’s a human offering readers tools for humanity that come –not from some contrived superiority – but embracing vulnerability, allowing herself to be a fallible human and seeing moments of faltering as opportunities to grow, learn and heal.

This year, I’m gonna be at ICSA’s conference in Philly, which happens to fall on the week of July 4th. My first conference in DC also fell on July 4thand there was something very sweet about embracing my esoteric freedom on the DC Mall.  SO this year, I’ll embrace it in Philly! If you’re there, come say hello.

New word: an·ti·no·mi·an

This is an interesting word that I just learned. Here’s the definition:
adjective — 1.relating to the view that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law.
noun — 1. a person holding antinomian beliefs.

Isn’t that inspiring!?

Calling yourself “Christian” “releases you by grace” from acting like a Christian! Then you can do whatever you want, no matter how selfish, greedy, or reprehensible. No matter who you hurt. Perfect for cults and evangelical Trump supporters

This explains how Mike Pence can stand by the liar-in-chief, no matter what he does. (at least Trump doesn’t pretend to have morals and ethics). And how cult leaders think of themselves —   “hey, I’m trotting out this “teaching”, “philosophy”, “religion” etc. etc. etc. blah, blah, blah. I get to do whatever I want.”

Now I know why pointing out hypocrisy to cult leaders, or evangelical Trump supporters, has no impact. I’ll stop beating my head against the wall and hope that there are more sane people, and authentic Christians, in the world than Antinomian.