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You know you're in a cult if....

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NaddiaAoC

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You know you're in a cult if....

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1. You think the girl in the ankle length dress, neck high sweater, and long sleeve shirt is showing too much skin.2. You think it is smart to leave school early too spend your days not working for a living, but driving around handing out magazines.3. You think most Disney movies are questionable for your kids to watch.4. You think Smurfs are demons.5. You call kids "youths" all the time.6. You spent your families vacation at a district convention (church).7. You spent you first date and last date before marriage with a chaperon. And you were both in your 30's and virgins.8. Listening to Barry Manillow is considered rocking it.9. You once washed your child's mouth out with soap for saying "dang" or "darn".10. Your idea of family fun is playing Bible Trivia and reading the song book.11. Someone in your church once counseled you for wearing perfume.12. You consider a death in the family to be a preaching opportunity.13. You think 7 billion people are wrong and 6 million are right.14. You base a good job on whether or not it works with your church schedule.15. You are reading this post and saying, "These are all lies!"Cheryl Edited by: NaddiaAoC at: 11/30/02 8:58:18 pm
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Chris OConnor

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Re: You know you're in a cult if....

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Cheryl:Each of these sounds humorous - but I know better. I admire the strength it takes for anyone to break away from a cult like this. What I find strange is that most cult members aren't able to how weird their cults belief system is until after they somehow escape from its clutches. You would think that simply reading a list like this would slap them upside the head and wake them up. But it really doesn't help...usually.Chris "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." -- Albert Einstein"If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being." - Jerry Falwell"I don't see any god up here." - Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (the first man in space), speaking from orbit, 1961.
stevepainter

Re: You know you're in a cult if....

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We had a family visit to hand out some literature today. You don't know how tempting it is to say something along the lines of "Are you sure you want to talk to me? Do you know what happened to the last Witness who tried to explain the Bible to me?"I politely took the literature. I suppose they could sense the heathens in their midst. They didn't offer anything more. There was a nice little article about some kind of anteater in it along with the usual skewed view of the world, interpersonal relations, medical research, etc.Whenever I think about saying something like that I remember the words of wisdom - "You're not really as smart as you think you are." That's especially true when you're feeling smug about something. Not to mention the fact that everybody hates a know it all. Whether they're right or wrong.Steve
NaddiaAoC

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Re: You know you're in a cult if....

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Chris said, What I find strange is that most cult members aren't able to how weird their cults belief system is until after they somehow escape from its clutches. You would think that simply reading a list like this would slap them upside the head and wake them up. But it really doesn't help...usually.But Chris, for those who are raised in an environment like this it's all they know. It's like trying to convince someone who has grown up in a culture very different from yours that yours is somehow superior without them seeing it or experiencing it themselves. Even if your culture does offer a lot of advantages and opportunities, if they are happy and content in their own world they have no need to consider change. People can become content in weird circumstances. If a person is accustomed to living in an abusive or oppressive environment they may choose to stay even if they have the opportunity to leave. Millions of Muslim women live in total oppression, dominated and abused by the men in their society, and it's simply accepted by many because it's the way things have always been. I recently heard a lecture by a former Muslim woman from Bangladesh who told about her experiences growing up in a very male dominated society. To all of us westerners her experiences were mind-blowing. But few there question them.For those who are not raised in a cult but join one later in life I think it's a bit different. I read a very interesting book a while back called The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. Much of what he said on the subject makes sense to me. He suggests that people join political and religious mass movements because of frustration in their lives and the need for change. People who are confident in their own thinking and judgment and content in life seldom feel the pull to join a mass movement, whether it's Communism, Christianity or any other mass movement. This is very much true of Jehovah's Witnesses. They target people who are depressed, mentally ill or frustrated with circumstances in life. The majority of experiences I have heard of Witnesses who have converted to the religion later in life do so at a time of desperation or loss. This is why Witnesses prey on people who have just lost a family member in death, even incorporating "cemetery witnessing" into their ministry. Many times we were told at our meetings to continue going back to the homes of people who did not receive our message receptively because if an individual's circumstances in life change they may become receptive to our preaching. And indeed some do. I've heard many Witnesses say things like, "I was so depressed. I was contemplating suicide when the Witnesses came to my door." Of course they attribute their conversion to divine intervention.But for those who join later in life vs. those raised in a cult, I think it's easier for them to see their way out. They have at least had other experiences outside of their religion before joining. My parents, for example, were both raised in extremely abusive homes and were both very frustrated and disillusioned when they converted to the Witnesses. They were seeking a solution to improve their own lives and their children's lives. They believed that this religion offered that. And to an extent it did. My father stopped smoking, using drugs and partying in clubs every weekend. My mom, who was ready to divorce my father, became recommitted to him. Their entire focus in life became their religion and family. To them, this religion has saved them. It's just a shame that they needed this cult to make those changes in their lives.I've been taught my entire life that the world is such a horrible place. People outside of the religion are very bad. They cannot be trusted. This is why getting to know you and Steve has been such an eye opener for me. You're kind, sincere, honest people. But you're not Witnesses. How did that happen? The experiences of people who have left the religion and lived to regret it are innumerable. As I was exiting the cult I was told by one elder, "My daughter left about a year ago and she had problems from the moment she left. She was raped shortly after leaving and has also ended up in a lot of debt. She's now coming back to the meetings and will be reinstated soon. You'll be back, Cheryl. I just hope you don't have to experience all of these bad things first." I was very scared of leaving my religion. To ignore the advice of my parents and everyone that I've cared about and trusted all my life and to enter this world of horrible evil people, people that I have been kept isolated from my entire life, was frightening. And only in the past 4-5 months have I really started realizing how backwards this view is. There are bad people in this world, people who do terrible things to other people. Everyone cannot be trusted. But that doesn't mean that all people are bad or untrustworthy. Often bad things do happen to young Witnesses who leave the religion, not because the entire world is such a bad place, but because they have never learned the skills needed to survive in it. So many go back to the religion after experiencing a series of unpleasant situations. And often they go back with the view of, "I was warned that bad things would happen if I left. I ignored the advice of those who knew better and look where it led me." They've never learned to think for themselves or to trust their own judgment so when they get out on their own they often have a difficult time doing so. Often they use poor judgment and make bad decision and often they revert back to what was comfortable for them.From my parents' point of view, all the good in their lives is a result of this cult. They attribute it all to their god and their religion. My mom has even said many times that it is as if her life began when she became a Witness. Everything before that she would like to forget. The irony of the situation is that, while I do have many fond memories of my childhood and life in that religion, it's not the bad "worldly people" that have hurt me. It's them. It's my parents and family and friends, those who I have known and trusted all my life. I'm slow to make new friends and I'm careful about the people I choose to associate with now. But so far I'm meeting some wonderful people, people who seem committed to friendship regardless of what I believe, people who would not abandon their family and friends for choosing a different course in life. If the world is full of bad people and you must be a member of the cult to be a good person, I think I'll choose to be a bad person. I didn't intend to type this much. Sorry for rambling. Steve said, Are you sure you want to talk to me? Do you know what happened to the last Witness who tried to explain the Bible to me?"OMG Steve, that's funny! I would love to be there to hear you say something like that. Fortunately for you, you'll have another opportunity. LOL. If you took their literature they will be back. Your name and address are now safely recorded in their little book and they will be following up to see how you enjoyed the magazines you received. Enjoy!Cheryl Edited by: NaddiaAoC at: 12/1/02 3:12:02 am
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Re: You know you're in a cult if....

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Cheryl:I really enjoy reading your posts and I wish I had more time these days to respond. The new site is keeping me busy, but it will soon be complete. Then you can expect to not be able to shut me up.Quote:Often bad things do happen to young Witnesses who leave the religion, not because the entire world is such a bad place, but because they have never learned the skills needed to survive in it.How rational. What would happen if you sat down with a JW who had returned to the cult to explain this line of reasoning? Complete denial I would assume. They would parrot back the words of the elders who claimed that the big, bad world would eat them up and spit them out. The only truly safe place would be under the protective wings of the loving church.You've come a long way Cheryl. I admire your courage to step away from the warmth and security of the support network that has been your home your entire life. Lately, I've wondered if I would have the strength to do the same had I ever been in your shoes. My story is different. My progressive distancing from faith was almost inevitable. Nobody was jamming anything down my throat. Sure, I was exposed to plenty of dogma, but in no way was I ever completely sucked into a brainwashing cult like you. I question my own ability to break free from such a stranglehold should it have happened. You should be pleased with yourself Cheryl.Chris "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." -- Albert Einstein"If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being." - Jerry Falwell"I don't see any god up here." - Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (the first man in space), speaking from orbit, 1961.Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 12/1/02 12:53:09 pm
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Re: Cults

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Cheryl,You forgot "You know you're in a cult when you need to turn in a report which states how many hours you spent in proselytising....or else." I don't mean to turn this into an Ex-Jehovah's Witness forum, but some of you know that I am also an ex-JW (also called ex-dub). My experience is very similar to Cheryl's, most notably in that it was primarily an intellectual journey that led us out of the religion. This ties in with the thought about people going back into it.Probably you would agree, Cheryl, that most of those people, usually young ones, that go back to the dubs with their tail between their legs left for reasons that were more emotional than mental. They just wanted to party, have lots of sex and live a little. I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with that as long as it is balanced. But many just leap for whatever physical pleasures they can get like a tightened spring suddely let go. Why do they go back? Why don't they say to themselves "Gee, maybe I should just pay more attention to decisions?" Instead, they feel that anything truly "good" or "moral" is tied up in that belief system. They do not intellectually grasp that they can live that way without a rigid belief system steeped in rules, dogma and archaic thinking. They simply never came to terms with the solid logical reasons why the JWs don't have "the truth", mainly because they didn't care in the first place. (This is a general statement, of course)Personally, I do feel an incredible sense of greater self-esteem and autonomy about my decision to leave. I am a good person, a moral and ethical human being, not because of fear, guilt or a striving after the sensory pleasures of "paradise" (kind of materialistic thinking, BTW), but because I feel it is the correct path to living as a rational human being. My goodness is mine, not a projection of others. My! This cult is something isn't it?Bradley
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Re: You know you're in a cult if....

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>4. You think Smurfs are demons.Heh...my parents wouldn't let me watch the Smurfs as a kid.I kid you not!Of course, the organization they are in fits a few more of those points too....
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Re: You know you're in a cult if....

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My parents wanted me to watch Smurfs, but we ran into the problem that they hadn't been invented yet. Edited by: Jeremy1952 at: 12/7/02 12:07:59 pm
domesticator

Re: You know you're in a cult if....

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I wouldn't let my kids watch Disney movies.The rest however... ROFL!I always thought that "Smurfs" were a euphemistic portrayal of drug users, including the collective woman, Smurfette... Angst, disspirit, restlessness, discontent, love.http://groups.yahoo.com/group/anomie/
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