There’s nothing like spending Independence Day in our nation’s capital and watching the fireworks from the national mall. I have never felt more free in my life. Here’s to your emancipation, Dear Readers! My you practice your civil right to free speech often.
While in D.C., I attended the International Cultic Studies Association’s conference. Ironically, after all the “help” “school” provided for my work/money/job woes — the “help” that led me down the illustrious path of baby sitting and cleaning houses for $10-$15 an hour — leaving the group solidified my purpose to help ex-cult members, and anyone healing from an abusive relationship, find resources, speak out and heal through the creative arts.
The conference provided so much to share, I barely know where to begin. But my primary takeaway was this:
These destructive mind-control groups are essentially all the same. Like Apple’s marketing tag line, “There’s an app for that”, the cult marketplace offers a veritable potpourri of manipulative groups. Whatever your insecurity, “there’s a cult for that” — whether a pseudo-science-religion, like Scientology, a purely religious-based Christian cult, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a yoga cult, or an intellectual and philosophical cult built around the teachings of GI Gurjieff — while (oops) conveniently omitting his name from all class discussions — all of these groups use deception and manipulation to recruit and retain members for the purpose of increasing profits.
They present themselves as one thing — for example, a casual group that gets together twice a week to “discuss ideas” — and omit the cultic details that would send recruits scampering away at warp speed. For example my recruiter conveniently did not mention the unspoken expectation of lifelong membership at $350 a month. The details presented on the surface may differ, lift the hood and the inner workings are exactly the same.
They all speak to some basic emotional need within us — the need to belong, the need for more meaning in life, the need to feel as though we are contributing to the betterment of society, the need for spiritual connection, the need for guidance, the need for direction, etc — and use it as a hook for concealed purposes. The best in you — the most vulnerable parts of you — manipulated to serve some “higher covert aim” of feeding the leadership’s egos and financial coffers.
Here’s the good news: several hundred people from around the world attended this conference; all of them intending to heal and speak out against the odd and disturbing sociological phenomenon — cultic groups who institutionalize and justify a range of abuse. I intend to add my voice to this chorus often and as much as possible. I hope that these resources give you hope and encouragement. Perhaps you will be singing out with us as well.
As I regroup, I will share what I learned from I.C.S.A. here on this blog. Please stay tuned. In the meantime, revel in your “school”-free “only life”! Congratulations for reclaiming your time, your energy, your thoughts, your emotions, your relationships and more! If you’re reading this because you found yourself in “school”, are wondering what the group is, and are breaking “the rules”, congrats for that and please know that the institute is not what it presents itself to be. There are many of us out here that will share our experiences, so feel free to reach out. Break “the rules.” Set yourself free!