Info-Culte, a prominent and well respected Canadian association that studies harmful groups and relationships, explains their 35 year trajectory. And how “the field” has changed over the years. The address by founder, Mike Klopfeld will give the reader insight into how people are drawn into harmful groups and why so many concerned people study the phenomenon of charismatic Pied Pipers who lead the unwitting on a merry chase out of their minds and money.
Article based on a presentation given at the Beijing International Academic Symposium on Cultic Groups and Religious Culture, Beijing, China, August 15–16, 2015:
5 thoughts on “Am I, or a loved one, involved with a Harmful Group? Find out”
If well the idea that people are ill because they sinned is bad for the girls in Regnum Christi, because if the people in charge of the girls think the girls suffer only if they sin, then when these girls get psychosomatic illnesses and anorexia, the people in charge of them, instead of thinking, “our treatment of girls is inadequate and so modifying their behaviour in training centers, think that the girls must be sinners or they would not get an illness.not the only ill that such a the same idea is bad in other circumstances. Such an medieval manner of seeing the role of God, brings others in contact with the Legion of Christ into deep trouble. i have heard from those i believe to be legionaires that abused boys would not have been abused had they not been sinners, that such an argument excuses pederasty would be another great ill that has its root in thinking that God does not hurt the good.
. I dont know if the person i know who says they are part of the legion is representative of allof this group because that person is one person but if shthis person is then they dont only think that ill people are ill because they have sinned but also think the unfortunate are so because they sinned.
This means that if you mention boys or girls who have been sexually abused, you get the reply, “they did something to deserve it”.
I have heard another reply from street recruiters, which has been, “they were sexually mature weren’t they”. the same people who had tried to insist that i was sexually mature the minute i had had the period which was not the case much as i kissed boys. I problaby would not have kissed so many boys had I been sexually awake.
Two people, as i remember it,have given me that answer, when i talked of priests who abused the young, that the young were sexually mature. That is a pretty big percentage of those who i have talked of this subject,it is not a subject i touch on often in conversation.
I have children , my once thirteen year old was twelve the year before my child reached the age of thirteen and eleven the year before that, to hear people talk as if they can touch someone who is so recently out of childhood because the children they say are sexually mature, is difficult for the person who hears such an argument.
Finding oneself obliged to talk of how it is different for a virtual child to touch themselves or to have some sort of contact with children of their own age, from them being touched by what for them, if i remember myself at that age, are venerable and somewhat frightening adults, be they only thirty, or twenty or sixteen is hard and more so when you find that they don’t think your feeling that the child is very close to childhood is an argument of weight and you find yourself frustrated to say the least by their desire to be thick and insensitive.
Sex is a activity in which people are vunerable even when these people are adults. Those who love their children should hope that in a relationship that includes sex, there will be some sort of equality, they will both be able to speak of their wishes and desires and neither will be humiliated by the other.
I have talked of two arguents of the church to lessen the seriousness of pedophilia, the arguement that the children could never have been hurt if they had not been sinful and the argument that they were sexually mature, in the case of young teens.
My question to the church would be, “you believe that God does not let bad things happen to people who are good? Is this very religious thought, at least very religous some five six hundred years ago,yours or just the Legions. If it is yours, does not this turn you into very primitive religion. Is not this letting the victim take the blame for what the abuser does?
Does not God,in the ways of this world he has created, make sure there are consequences for our bad acts? If we abuse people we have to know that we have made them suffer, how else would we advance in kindness and goodness? How else would we understand that brutality is wrong. If God saved a child from the psychic consequences of sexual abuse, would not the brutal be able to abuse whenever they wanted without feeling guilty. There need to be tragic consequences to our actions for those we hurt not for ourselves or we would not have to grow spiritually. We might be willing to take our own sufferign, dont we have to see that we make others suffer?
I would ask how Rome dares go against the findings of so many thinkers and psychologists who say that you cannot touch children immature teenagers, without putting at risk their psychological integrity and spiritual growth, wIthout them becoming embittered and cross and taking to drink and drugs and even comiting suicide and not because they were sinful but because they were sinned against.
Suicide is considered the worst sin by the religious, who dont follow the findings of psychology, which are that having a bad time in childhood can create depression, s that it is childhood lacks of attention not the sinfulness of the person that causes depression.
Are the church crazy. I would like to tear those who think it is fine for many to touch children to shreds:That is an expression of my frustration, really i believe you have to allow everyone time to redeem themselves even pederasts. Mayb e i would change my mind if it was my child who was touched.
Is what the legionaires say , that the children would not have been abused had they not been sinful orthodox catholic doctrine. If it is, will the church please say as much and have the strength to take the loss of faithful that will must occur if they are absolutely up front about their more terrible bits of faith.
the church tends to htink the faithful get cross with them because the faithful dont like beign criticised: it is time to ask the church what it thinks it up to instead of allowing the church to be the one who tells others off when the churhc shows so many signs of being irresponsible. Of beign a lot of grumpy old men who find an excuse for anythign that they consider their juresdiction.
I have one more comment on what i have commented on before, on how a belief that God would not allow bad things to happen to good people makes the legionaires cruel , which i suppose is a sort of charism because it is a belief in God miraculously affecting our lives, much as it is obvious that if we are not kind to people that person suffers and so we have to see that our actions have effectsso we have to be personally responsible for what we do. We cannot hope God will sort things out and make sure we dont hurt good people.
The third thing i have heard the legionaire I know best say, the one i know but who will not say she is such to others, that excuses a lack of care about some major ill such as illness and abuse, is that the Jews must have done something to deserve the holocaust. She also says that though the holocaust was not good it was not bad, in other words she seems to excuses the holocaust, and one reason she does so is that legionaires seem to believe that, God would not let bad things happen except to bad people.
. If what she says is something that is common to other legionaires, then it is proof that she is what she says she is to me. All of you can prove what i cannot prove because you know past members of the legion who can say that what this person says is something that echoes with them or not, if not, I have been duped.
Legionnaires and street recruiters of other sects try to make it impossible to complain about them because they don’t say they are such in so many wordsh It is their conversation that makes it impossible to believe they are anything else, so i am always forced to find a way to complain about them though I dont have rock hard evidence that they are such. Plenty of circumstantial evidence though. A ll i can say about writing here is that the number of people with like experiences is what could give verity to my complaints.
I also know that a long drawn out expose of their techniques makes these easier to understand for others so i am determined to give such. I know that if one person gives long drawn out exposes of such matters it becomes easier for others to do so themselves.
It is not just that i am determined to give long drawn out exposes, it is that if i dont I start to suffer stress. I am sure it is necessary to work out this problem of the churches fundamentalism which seems to me new but which I realise has been in the offing for decades, to work out what seems to me to be return to an orthodoxy that has its roots in the Inquisition and try to re/introdue a kinder more christ like catholisism. . I dont believe in just saying that I am no longer catholic, which is the truth, so the argument is not my business, so many other people are catholic and so for me not to argue with the church from a religious point of veiw about the rougher part of the church when I think I can help to do so, is to leave others in the lurch.
In Spain, the atheists just say, “what do i mind about Catholics plight” I am not catholic. They don’t try to expose to the catholic part of the country the worst points in the church, They don’t do their best to better the church. Spain is one of the places that had a long experience of the strictest and most suffocating side of the church. For me this attitude of the atheists here is irresponsible, you should not leave the part of the population that is Catholic to suffer from a Catholicism that has not reformed itself and is unduly strict and also, doing so has a price, the immoderate sects, the immoderate Catholics, may convert atheists children, who are left in an immoderate church that their parents could have made less extreme.
In my childhood and adolescence the church in England was apologetic for old ways, that they said no longer existed, for example telling orphan girls that they will turn out like their mothers, which maybe one type of nun saw as a way to make their charges good but that can be seen as negative suggestion and also as cruel to the little orphan girls. Magdalen Sister type treatment. Strct catholicsim was not seen as good in the sixties was an embarrassment to the church..
If I leave writing about this for two weeks or so, as I have this last two weeks, I start to suffer from a type of stress that makes me feel vague and very uncomfortable discomfort in my whole body. The legion is very frightening and not doing something about such a menace has its consequences for me.
Paul Lennon, you have been a priest, what are the theological answers to those whose take their faith in,Gods taking care of us, to unreasonable levels. as in we would not have cancer if we were good. I I once trusted in faith not common sense when i tried to help tramps in Madrid and God did not look after me in this well intentioned effort, which made my chidren look rather stupid. A mother who talks to tramps does not increase a childs cache. I should have sured up my own position first, With the husband i had there was no way of suring up my position. I should have been religious and real. I like religion, with a lot of misgivings about it now, I bet their are parts of Buddhism that are every bit as bad as the legion is, but for methere is not necessity for religion to be of one group or of another.
I am not a great theologian but I learnt something from the Assumption Convent nuns . Th eones who taught such things as literature, art and religion taught exceptionally well,. I later went to a more famous school but the teachers there were not always as good as these nuns. I only learnt religion till the age of fourteen it was not an o’level subject i had chosen. However with what i do know I am sure that how far you just trust in God to look after people, has to be a point that theologians have argued about in the past. I am sure that arguing to what point God wanted the poor to be poor, that is why they were born that way’, must have been a part in the battle to introduce the changes of the welfare state, but i have not studied the arguments of different saints and theologians.
Please move my pieces or just file them as you want.
I looked up sexual abuse of children a few months ago and read these statistics.
Women who have been sexually abused as children are four times as likely to comite suicide in adult life as members of the general public and men eleven!
I think it is important for people to realise how damaging sexual abuse to children is.
I wonder if girls are less effected because girls are more likely to have been taught to accept servile relationships and humiliating circumstances than men are, one part of which is that they are often taught to let their husbands dominate in a relationship or so it seems to me.
They maybe often do not expect life to treat them as royally as boys are taught to do. Also, boys are often taught that part of their sexual identity is in them taking the reins of the situation among adults . Being abused must feel like a very big loss of any pretence of handling a human situation. I think girls are often taught to bare rather than handle group interactions, to be patient with everyone. Bare the old etc and other adults in order to look after them.
I have read that what each person learns to imagine is what is expected of them as a member of their sex forms an important part of there goals in life and self image.
When psychiatrists say that sexual abuse effects the children’s self image, I suppose that part of the problem sexual abuse causes to self image is that, much as children always lack autonomy, to be at someone beck and call as a sex object is a much bigger lack of autonomy than others classes of lack of power to organise ones own day . It must mean they suffer from an enormous feeling of helplessness and powerlessness.They maybe saw themselves as quite something and suddenly they are nothing. They are the children in the mine in Spielberg’s film about the wicked Indian who had enslaved a whole lot of children. I am not very familiar with the plot, I am not sure who enslaved the children and other people.
To talk about childrens problems with their identity because of their powerless position is to talk without mentioning the psychic problems that must arise from being forced to do an act you hate with someone who repulses you and maybe becoming aroused sexually, sexual arousal being a activity that involves pleasant sensations just because of tactile acts, not because you are with friends and in a happy situation. So, a mental confusion of no small nature.
When i read that child sex abuse effected the persons later spiritual development, it was as the comment of a psychiatrist, so i thought in terms of the development of their inter-relation with other humans which I see as being what psychiatrists think of when they talk of people spiritual development. It is strange to be in a religious atmosphere in which spiritual development has to do with attachment to a religion.
I had, some years before hearing that sexual abuse of children undermined the victims later spiritual development, listened to the men whose complaints were published in The Boston Globe a newspaper famous for exposing child abuse by priests in the region, I had heard one of these men say that people found them, the men who had been abused as children hard to live with and that they were difficult husbands.
I wonder if being abused makes people feel that the rest of the world should have been able to help so it leads them to despise others, people who were not directly involved in the abuse, as pusillanimous or false and whether this does not make them scornful of others and mean to them.
In a book I have just read, “Orphan of Islam” the writer, it is a autobiography, who is abducted as a teenagers to be sent to a Madrassa in Pakistan, by his own family, bound and gagged to be taken to live in one, ends up being very cross with his family and finding it impossible to imagine ever forgiving them. He remained a holy person, a person who liked going to prayers and such, though he was not able to forgive his family for riding over him rough shod.
Of course there are those who deny the religiosity of anyone who falls short in their religion, as in who are not able to forgive, which is a way to twist the arms of people who fall short, they can be made afraid that their failure means they are not Christian or whatever religion they belong to. Religious people try to overcome their failings for their religions sake, they don’t have to have managed to have overcome all faults to be called Christian.
To pretend falling short of all christian demands is not to be a Christian, is one of the legion’s ways of hard arming people. and their excuse for hard arming people is that to do so helps them bring these people into line, and so assures they shove them willy nilly through heavens gates, which is their job and which is good. They forget that too much a hard arming may have the opposite effect.
This is one example of how they manipulate people, in this case by changing the norms about what is considered Christian. Who ever thought all Christians had been born saints.The effort to overcome short coming is a sign of religiosity, not a sign of lack of it.
This argument also serves them when they want to ridiculise people who take interest in some other religion, they say these people cannot call themselves Buddhists or whatever because they fall short of the rules of that religion. It is a trick they have played on me.
. If you read book Alexander Khan’s book “Orphan of Islam”, you would feel that he himself will try to bring himself into line with his religions requirements, which is what more religious people generally strive to do but that at the moment he still can’t forgive his family and anyway he is scared of what they might do to him, he knows what they are capable of.
People cant always forget cruel actions they are not psychologically capable of it at least not at that moment. The mind does not always do what its owner would have it do.
Do the abused boys feel cross with everyone after having been abused? The sort of cross that makes those who feel it meaner eople and more vengeful ones. Suppose not all do.
I was of the sort of religiosity that accepted what others did to me, till i bumped into advisers who were I now believe, legioniares. Psychiatrists say that forgiving and forgetting and imagining destructive others will do better next time and so trusting again, is better for people because they move on to the next thing, forget and love again, instead of trying to bring people into line for old deeds and and in so doing becoming negatively absorbed with past friends and past deeds, However leaving every offence behind me, meant that I was very incapable of defending the weak, I had left the art of fighting so far to one side and that is painful when you have to watch another being smashed in,at least psychologically because you don’t have what it takes to be much help to such a person..
It does make one happier to be less exigent about what you expect from others, I was happier when i let things go, but i was not talking of what I believed in. Doing so is stressful it means you have to stick your neck out but also satisfying, nor was I able able to fight, so letting it be has its drawbacks.
Do the abused children learn to despise people so that they are hard to live with because their scorn for others makes them harsh on others?
I heard an interview with The film director Fellinni in which he said his nanny had made him watch her havign sex with aubergine. He seemed to have felt his parents should have been there to stop him from having to suffer from this outrage and he did not like them, is that one of the effects of child abuse.
. Women are a bit odd in some of his films. Is this the reason they have sometimes the strange character they seem to have, are over dressed and thoughtless?
Of course if your abusers are religious, this can make people stop being religious.
I suppose were religion comes in to helping with the whole question of abuse, God is love, not for legionnaires it seems, he is going to send everyone to burn for the smallest thing, so those who love him are obliged to try to love all others. Christ himself was badly treated, so, in Christian-ism, as an abused person, you are not alone, he was abused too. Also, his identity remained what it is for us, much as others abused him and did him to death.
Or, that in religion we are asked to forgive the trespasses of those who trespassed against us or that we try as religious people to understand and so forgive others, except,from what i have gathered none of that is what the the legion teaches, from what I have gathered they teach what the inquisition teaches. Try to make sure that the bad do badly, so that others will think it is better not to be bad, which for them is love but it does not seem a love the wicked will be able to understand.
As they find everyone bad, they will absolutely do for the economy if they are capable of making everyone they see as bad do badly.
The book I mention in the last letter, “Orphan of Islam”, by Alexander Khan, is also interesting because of the parallels that exist between his experience with strict Islam and the experiences I have been told about of strict catholic Spain, of people who lived in Spain before and just after the civil war. How the church behaved then in Spain gives one an idea of where the ideas legionnaires talk of have come from or of an extremely strict church that we in the North had little idea about. It also shreds light on the experience one gets if one knows someone from the legion. The legion have maybe their roots in a part of the catholic empire that was very intolerant.
The Bishop of Boston, If i remember right it was of Boston, asks older Catholics to talk of the Catholicism of the sixties, for me the late sixties and seventies, of the church when it was a gentle and loving religion.
In Alexander Khan book he mentions his life in England in a very strict Islamic community as being suffocating and horrible, iIsuppose there is a point in which strictness just means that human nature is left
so few things to do that it causes considerable anguish.
I must add, I don’t consider strict Islam to be the only sort of Islam that exists. I have learnt a little of less strict groups, such as the Suffis or just less strict bits of normal Islam.
;If you read the Spanish play write, Garcia Lorca’s plays, you get an idea of how very suffocating Spanish society before the civil war used to be society. He wrote a play called, “The House of Bernada Alba”, which is about a woman who keeps her seven girls shut in at home in case they should sin if they were allowed out. It ends with one daughter dying and the mother at the funeral, wild with joy that her daughter has died a virgin! It would be hard for a woman to keep such a tight rein on her daughters had she not lived in a place in which a large proportion of the neighbours sympathised so with trying, willy nilly, to stop people sinning and in which sex is almost the sin of sins while and being extremely manipulative and cruel is not. I have heard tremendous stories of Spain in that time.
My husband’s aunt by marriage, had spent the first years of her married life with her mother in law who instated them in the bedroom next to hers, which meant according to gossip that they did not dare to make use of the rights of marriage..
She told me that her mother in law had not allowed her to play the piano or sing she thought such activities a waste of time, the entertainments in the house were embroidering household linen towels and such, and so making the house look all together smarter.
A wife is there to serve the family. Dancing and singing were frivolous, still are, by the religious and also by others, who can hardly be called moralists,, who caught by the messages of their ancestors, considered dancing a form of sex. I like dancing as a form of exercise. Her parents in Salamanca had had a piano she had learnt to play and she sang before she had married.
Alexandrer Khan says that in England, going to walk on the hills would have seemed too much like having fun for those in the Islamic community. Also he says that, the teaching he received led him to look at the ground when he walked past a woman. My father in law looked at the ground when he past a woman at least when he was younger even when he was older he was still given to looking at the ground a bit. I knew him he was awfully nice. His sister was said to wear four pairs of pants, as a protection against men it was supposed . She never married.She died before i met the family.
A woman I knew in the village where my husbands family had a house, told me that when she was young she had not been able to walk down the high street when she went to church, in case she met boys in the high street, she had had to go down back streets. She had hardly been allowed out . She lived with an aunt, her two parents having died when they were young. Must have been a a dumb lot of young men if they did not find their way onto the back streets.
Alexander khans comments on this sort of religious severity are that it made life so absolutely horrible for him. It is hard maybe, for us in the west to realise how such things could be enormously oppressive. It seems to me that legionnaires attempt to have such an oppressive and reductive effect on the lives of the people they try to form.
They seem to disapprove of the television, I cant tell you how much I have learnt from the television and I watch lots of frivolous stuff, sit coms and children’s programs seem to me to be full of information on psychiatry. Of course you can watch extremely serious documentaries as well as sit coms.
Other activities get labelled by the person who has told me she is a legionnaire, as being not for such as me, Activities like writing or informing myself of anything or informing others of anything, for one reason or another,get levbeled as beign not for me. Or, I am told that others will not like it if i have an opinion or that their things are not for me to comment on if I have an opinion on anything that is the business of many, such as, how to look after the village, or even that i must look after my garden in the same as my neighbours.
Any self respecting totalitarian groups stops people from learning or divulging information. They, the legion and to a certain extent any old Catholics but the legions really put their backs into it, legionaires will as everyone ow threaten to stay with you till you die if you don’t take heed of them, stop you doing things by making you feel lacking in virtue if you do anything except eating other peoples heads out to stop them from going to hell.
Normal Catholics can be inclined to have a great fear of doing things than other members of the public, as they are afraid of being ambitious,vain or materialistic. Materialistic because taking an interest in things, can mean you earn money from them. The legion really eat into one for doing anything not prescribed by a legionnaire, they treat you as if you are vain or wasting you time for learning or for talking, vain or ambitious or interfering.
The Chinese say, “if not me who, and if not now when”? That stops one from being pusillanimous, out of it and ineffectual, to give a good few return shoots, of the moralistic kind, on doing or not doing things.