Category Archives: grupos coercitivos

Internacional Cultic Studies Annual Conference in Bordeaux, France, June 29…

Join former Legionaries of Christ, Xavier Leger,  Paul Lennon and other former members of Catholic  and Christian high demand   groups and learn how European and other countries deal with questionable groups and communities, enjoy comeraderie and support of people who know where you are or have been…

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http://www.icsahome.com/events/conferenceannuayl

SAMPLE PAPERw:

Addict, Idol and Cult Member: Reflections on the Loss of Self: A Phenomenological Examination of Destructive Cult groups

Tate Wood, Allen

My paper and talk are a phenomenological morphology of religious and political extremism. In the presentation, I give a detailed exposition of seven key elements that are present in the mind of the successfully indoctrinated group member. These seven elements include: absolute leader, absolute teaching, hierarchical social structure, the psychology of the adversary, the ends justify the means as a modus operandi, crisis psychology and the inner circle. The second part of my presentation includes an examination of the variables at play during the process of recruitment and indoctrination: milieu control, communication web/the manipulation of intimacy, peak experiences and planned spontaneity, the splitting phenomenon: the experience of evil, metaphor and ritual: the binding chains, the repudiation of the conscience, the rejection of the critical faculties and the colonization of the imagination understood as an experience of god. My remarks will be punctuated by anecdotal material from my life in the Unification Church including my direct contact with Sun Myung Moon. In addition, I shall be drawing on my 27 years as an addiction counselor working with alcoholics and addicts in county jails and state prisons.

 

 

 

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Recruitment: the Way to Unhappiness – an excerpt from Opening Minds, part 2

Some Catholics have remarked on the rigid and almost robotic appearance of the  Legionaries  of Christ, as if they were mass-produced by some kind of priest-making system. This could derive from the particular way they are trained and molded the moment they enter the group and deprived of their individual personalities and traits…

 

ReGAIN  is indebted to Opening Minds blog and book for the main content. What we like about this explanation is that it is very clear and simple; it cuts across the lines of particular ideologies or doctrines -and area in which Catholics seems to blank out.

We feel the need to explain to CATHOLIC READERS how we can approach ‘sects/cults’ from a theological or psychological/sociological perspective. We Catholics usually think in terms of theology; if a group is theologically ORTHODOX (modus credendi) it cannot be a sect. However, from a psychological, spiritual and truly religious perspective that same group can be suspect if is uses methods to recruit, retain members, fund raise and generally operate (modus operandi) in such a way that manipulates its members -does not let them discern, question, choose freely- and places them under undue pressure to conform, using coercive persuasion, control, manipulation…

The breakthrough, aha moment, for Catholic and Christian readers occurs when they realize that, no matter what, or how apparently holy, the doctrines/beliefs/ideals/goals involved, certain group leaders use the same manipulative techniques to recruit, retain and control their members; and that even though the doctrines/idealogies are miles apart, the methods used by these groups, associations, fraternities, communities, orders are all uncannily similar.

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Editor’s Note: The following is adapted from Jon Atack‘s new book, Opening Minds, chapter 2. This is the second part of a two-part blog.

Manipulative groups and individuals use similar approaches to trick us into handing over our cash and our  loyalty. In part one, we saw how manipulation most often follows a series of steps; today we continue with:

Step Three: Finding the Ruin

Once rapport has been established, the recruiter may seek out the most significant difficulty in the recruit’s life. In Scientology, this is called the ‘ruin’: ‘What is ruining your life?’ If the first steps have been followed carefully, most people offer up even their most secret troubles. Unless they’ve been hurt before after revealing their secrets, most people welcome a chance to say what they feel and receive sympathy for their problems. It is surprising how willing people are to share their deepest longings with complete strangers, as if there is a need to confess; this deepens rapport.

Step Four: Fear of Worsening

Scientology recruiters then push the target into ‘fear of worsening. The recruit is exploited to feel discouraged about the ‘ruin’: ‘I’m sure you’ve tried everything, but nothing has worked.’ Confession of troubles usually shifts the recruiter into a position of authority. The recruit will follow directions almost like Pavlov’s dogs, which salivated in anticipation of food when a bell was rung.

Step Five: Bring to Understanding

Next, the recruiter will use the information from this confession to demonstrate that the recruit desperately needs the group in order to make life better; Scientology recruiters call this step to ‘bring to understanding’. Sales manuals suggest that a story be made up to show sympathy: ‘I know a guy who had exactly the same problem. He took a few of our courses and everything started to work out for him.’

The ‘understanding’ is that the cult can solve any problem that is presented – whether it is romantic, financial, work-related or spiritual – anything and everything can be resolved by the offered course, counselling or study programme, so the recruiter has no difficulty in inventing a supporting story: the ends justify the deceptive means.

During the first course, seminar, or workshop, the recruiters will continue the love-bombing, while using a hypnotic technique to bring about a peak experience. After long enough, any type of repetition, mimicry or fixation leads to a euphoric altered state.

Chanting, drumming, group singing, visual fixation – as in meditation – repetition of a word or phrase (‘mantra meditation’), repeated movements, such as rocking, shaking, or walking meditations, all lead to an altered state. Some narcissists use sexual pleasure to trap their victims.Most people in western society are unfamiliar with the effects of eastern meditation, so they are delighted and surprised by the euphoria that floods them. Almost every former member I’ve talked with had an initial peak experience, and spent the remainder of their time in the cult trying – and failing – to repeat it.

It is likely that the peak experience is simply a release of dopamine or serotonin. These neurochemicals are the ‘reward’ system of the brain, and are released during sex and by alcohol and drug use. In a group setting, surrounded by approving people, cult techniques can lead to a powerful high in the new recruit. This is the experience of awe.

Awe changes our perception of the world. We are awed by celebrities, by vastness, by skill, by ‘miracles’ and by beauty. Awe can be induced as part of a peak experience. New recruits are infatuated by flattery and the prospect of miraculous change in their lives. When awed, our critical faculties diminish.

Once we believe that a leader has miraculous powers, we become willing to believe anything that leader says. Awe turns to fervour and the recruit adopts the beliefs of the manipulator and will defend them as if defending their own child: just as we are unwilling to hear criticism of our children, nothing bad will be accepted about the manipulator, whose ideas have become gospel truth.

Step Six: Reinforcement

Testimonials are demanded for reinforcement. In Scientology these are called ‘success stories’. This reinforces consistency: the more publicly and loudly you commit to a technique or experience, the more difficult it will be to change back later.  People trying to give up smoking are advised to tell all of their friends that they have given up, because, under the consistency principle, it will make it harder to admit defeat and light another cigarette.

We all suffer from confirmation bias, where we justify our actions and dismiss anything that disagrees with our beliefs. There is a quality of inertia to all human activity; we keep going in the direction we’re travelling in. Delivering a testimonial – or simply telling all our friends – reinforces the sense of belonging and further confirms our bias.

Often, members will be encouraged to confess their former sinful lives in front of the group. By humbling themselves in this way, people give ever more power to the group. Members come to believe that everything good can be attributed to the group’s practices, and everything bad is their own fault.

A particular group or individual may not use all of these approaches. Some will focus on the potential recruit’s desperation, others will head straight for an experience of awe. Once lured into the trap, by whatever means, the recruit will go through a process of reinforcement that will draw them into the group or relationship and isolate them from their previous relationships and values.

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What do you think about this article? Do you agree? Have you read Jon’s new book? Do you have a story about recruitment into a high-control situation that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! 

Visit us at our Facebook page to leave comments on this article.

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Am I, or a loved one, involved with a Harmful Group? Find out

depression

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.

by Mike Kropveld

Article based on a presentation given at the Beijing International Academic Symposium on Cultic Groups and Religious Culture, Beijing, China, August 15–16, 2015:

Scandal at the Vatican (New Video on the Legion of Christ)

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Thanks to the initiative of the former Legionary, Xavier Leger, the Irish, RTE, English language dubbing of the original French documentary, is now available.

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Vatican Intervention of a Catholic Sect, a True Story

VATICAN INTERVENTION

Andy Sullivan,

The Church’s worst nightmare. Love never fails.

 

https://vimeo.com/165480216

The Book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vatican-Intervention-Andrew-Lee-Sullivan/dp/1530876443

 

Amazon description:

The author exposes the hidden and outrageous world of a budding Catholic institute. A discarded insider and captive in an apartment near Rome, the once broken priest with suicidal tendencies survives. He shares his ordeal and bares his soul with raw sincerity.

In 1979, an idealistic and naïve Sullivan leaves California and joins a wannabe religious order named Miles Jesu. Two tragic but unclear realities threaten his future. The young man has a condition that retards the proper development of his emotional life. The eighteen-year-old unwittingly joins a cult. These two menaces trigger gradual human destruction. Life deteriorates into a victim’s futile attempts to endure a virtual sociopath.

Then a miracle of overwhelming love bursts in the soul of Father Sullivan. Secrets of the power of love, Jesus’ love transform him. All hell breaks loose. Breakneck emotional development surges. His only path to human salvation is to escape into the Vatican and face his worst fears. He must risk his future and unmask the cult to seize his freedom. Sullivan must face the consequences of feeling divine and human love for the first time.

Vatican Intervention advances fresh outlooks on universal themes: love, prayer, risk taking. This incredible love story of Church tragedy and hope underlines the existential nature of receiving love. It reveals the surprising impact therapeutic meditation can have on human emotions and their growth.

Superbly written, the story reflects Capote’s feel of real and Grisham’s page-turning narrative. While documenting a true testimony, it reads like compelling fiction.

This testimony is an ideal follow up story to Spotlight: The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Yet, Vatican Intervention shows blinding light at the end of the tunnel.

This book is especially suited for Christians and Catholics. It offers insight about church scandals and shares an epiphany of hope for anyone harmed by them. Bishops, priests, ministers, religious, seminarians, students, and church worshipers can discover enlightenment, healing, and the transforming power of love within its pages. Above all else, this is a book for anyone who has hit rock bottom in life.

Vatican Intervention is being adapted into a major motion picture by producer, Mario Domina of ThunderBall Films, Ltd. The original screenplay adaptation will be written by Brian L. Porter, author, screenwriter, and co-producer. Andrew Lee Sullivan will contribute as the co-writer and associate producer for the project.

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5.0 out of 5 stars

Miles Jesu, Opus Dei, Legion of Christ, Regnum Christi…

Miles Jesu and Legion of Christ

 

Review by J. Paul Lennon on June 15, 2016

Andy Sullivan’s story is gripping, illustrative, harrowing and hopeful. He was an American founding member of Miles Jesu, another one of the “New Religious Movements” that blossomed in the Catholic Church in the 1960’s around the time of the II Vatican Council. Some of these were decidedly maverick.
Very well written, entertaining, a real love story, a tale of abuse, survival and vindication. It contains one bad guy and many good guys, innocent recruits that the charismatic “Fr. Duran” hauled in his wake as he created a (another) movement to save the Catholic Church from itself.
Sullivan’s survival tale is remarkable because it describes being drawn into an abusive group, coping with that, falling into despair, struggling with celibacy, reporting the group to the dioceses of Rome, getting free and finally being able to marry the love of his life. When Sullivan, who had been one of the order’s chief fundraisers, became disenchanted and began questioning he was punished in several ways, including being placed under “house arrest” in Ostia, Italy.
Very insightful is Sullivan’s discovery of his Affective Deprivation Disorder. What is really surprising is how Sullivan finds a spiritual path to recovery in the midst of mental and emotional chaos. The book is worth the price for this element alone. Find out for yourself.
As a former Legionary of Christ who lived during the Maciel era, there were hundreds of “ah-ha” moments for the reviewer. Incredible how all these “gurus” have the same modus operandi in winning over followers and getting them to do their bidding, imposing iron-fisted discipline on their followers while they “the primrose path to dalliance tread.”
Another unique feature is Sullivan’s detailed description of his complicated dealings with authorities in the diocese of Rome (Vicariate) and at the Vatican (Congregation for Religious and Lay Institutes, Congregation for the Clergy) as he reports the chaotic environment he has been living in and then tries to get free from Miles Jesu and, after psychotherapy and much soul searching, seeks a dispensation from priestly celibacy. He describes the steps Roman authorities took to rein in the maverick institution. Steps and interventions similar to the Vatican intervention of the Legion of Christ 2010-2014; the Vicariate appears to have been more effective but ultimately the measures peter out in the same way as with the Legion when high Vatican powers decide to “save” the institution instead of going deeper with the surgical knife or abolishing it outright.
Fortunately, at the end of the story the lovers are reunited, get married in the Ukraine, have children, return to the USA and live happily -if modestly- ever after.

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