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Featured Cult and abusive church signs

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Riders, Jul 20, 2021.

  1. Riders

    Riders Well-Known Member

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    I think some signs you might b in an abusive religion would be that they discourage you from asking questions You should be able to ask questions. Trying to get a lot of personal information from you also. I don't give out a bunch of information on me in the beginning ever. I know some places have you fill out paperwork.


    Control over my appearance, people dressing alike no I don't go by dress codes. Dressing up conservative is good enough. What are some more signs?
     
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  2. Viker

    Viker Filia Diaboli, in a shroud of metaphor and mystery

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    Discouraging others from asking questions is a giant red flag. It's how radical religions and cults shut down critical thinking.

    A religious group asking for personal information isn't so wrong. I guess it would depend on the type of info they are screening. If it's feeling creepy it might be creepy.

    I don't approve of compulsory dress codes either.

    Other signs could be isolating individuals from their family/friends, asking for an individual's assets/property, strange loyalty to a leader.
     
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  3. SigurdReginson

    SigurdReginson Grēne Mann
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    Discouraging critical thinking is a big one for me. o_O

    Love bombing is also a big sign. When I signed up with this one church years back, they kept bringing fresh baked apple pies to my door. Every time I came to church, the whole congregation would descend on me like a swarm of locusts and were waaay too friendly with me. I got outa dodge for sure... I hated even going to church as it was, but to get all up in my business and try to heap that much love and attention onto me was just overwhelming to say the least. :confused:

    Had I been someone craving that love and attention, it would have worked, though!
     
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  4. AlexanderG

    AlexanderG Active Member

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    Are you guys familiar with the BITE Model for cults or any group using authoritarian control?

    The acronym stands for Behavior control, Information control, Thought control, and Emotional control, where the group dictates what you can do, think, and know, and tells you how to feel in certain situations. And what you're not allowed to feel.

    It's true that forbidding questioning is one of the big red flags that an outside observer can readily see. Mormonism warns believers away from "anti-Mormon literature" for example, which is literally anything that questions or does not confirm the religious viewpoint. I've tried suggesting Mormons read the CES Letter, which thoroughly debunks the entire faith, and they told me they would not read it because it's "designed to get people to change their mind." As if that were a reasonable justification. As if the act of changing one's mind was totally off limits.
     
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  5. RayofLight

    RayofLight He/they

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    Dress codes aren't a problem for me. It's the lack of critical thinking that scares me.
     
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  6. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I find the hard wired versions of 'I'm right and you're wrong' or the 'them versus us' to be unsettling.
     
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  7. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    There are not always signs, but having to listen to long speeches might be one of them. Long speeches are psychologically controlling, particularly if you feel that you have to listen, ought to listen etc.

    Lets say that you're listening for 1/2 hour, but your attention span is worth 17 minutes. Then for 13 minutes things are being said that you aren't consciously attending to aren't they? They could be comments you don't notice about how scary it is to find another group, slights against other ministries such as worries about their character or competence. It could be all sorts of things. In a speech you can't hit a pause button and can only phase out.

    More than time, what matters is the way things are said. Are speeches compelling? Are they cathartic? Are they simply transactional? Check the content. Is something being stretched out so far that little is actually being communicated? This is when you might become suggestible to indirect comments and criticisms. Has the same point been made many times over the last 20 minutes? How is the information packed? Is it packed in such a way as to sneak comments past your attention? Would the comments made be acceptable on their own?
     
    #7 Brickjectivity, Jul 20, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
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  8. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    Basically, any of the laundry list of cultic practices such as forming in-out group mentality, attempts to isolate members from outside contact, excessive zealotry or idolatry, thought stopping techniques to help suppress doubt (including discouraging questions), etc.. Does your church advise you to stay separate from unbelievers, or to not let your kids attend university? Does it punish or shun people who step out of line or try to leave? Does it ask you to give it most or all of your possessions? Does it put you to work bringing in new members? If so, does it teach you to be deceptive and conceal certain facts from prospective members? Does it tell you that it alone possesses wisdom and all others are fools? Does it teach that the in-group has special knowledge and status, and is superior to all out-groups? Does the leader claim to have a special connection to God, who told him to tell you how to think and live?

    I'd say that any of these should serve as a warning to steer clear.
     
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  9. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    To me, the basic idea is sound. But the list has a few items which go way way to far such as putting down meditation and prayer. And some organized religions (not cults) give new names to adherents.
     
  10. GardenLady

    GardenLady Member

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    I think that the issue of dress codes can be important depending on the degree of restrictions and gender-targeting. Years ago a college friend joined a Oneness Pentecostal church in which women were subject to strict codes — no slacks, skirts below the knee, nothing sleeveless, no cutting their hair, no makeup, no jewelry but a wedding ring and watch. The men were expected to have fairly short hair but I never heard anything else about restrictions for men.
     
  11. Psalm23

    Psalm23 Active Member

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    If there is assertions of being the one and only church. If there is teaching that is telling people to do evil. One book I listened to Hating God Loving God by A.K. Davies, he was raised in a cult and got out of it eventually. They had taught fathers to beat their children for their sins and “ sins they didn’t know about”. The author underwent a lot of physical abuse growing up and emotional wounds.
     
  12. Psalm23

    Psalm23 Active Member

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    These speeches can be used as a form of brainwashing.
     
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  13. Snow White

    Snow White Veteran Member

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    To me, if you go to a church once, and they blow up your phone for the next 3 months saying what a pleasure it is to have you and how you should come back, it might be a bit of a red flag.
     
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  14. Psalm23

    Psalm23 Active Member

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    Definitely a red flag to me
     
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  15. Psalm23

    Psalm23 Active Member

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    A lot of these signs were in a book I had listened to about someone who had escaped a cult.
     
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  16. Riders

    Riders Well-Known Member

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    Dressing conservatively and being modest is ok but restricting women from wearing pants jewelry makeup and cutting their hair is cult-like behavior. Women can wear pants makeup and jewelry and be very conservative about it. There's no reason to restrict that I have seen some women in my old Pentecostal churches who wore long dresses that were tight-fitting. Many ladies who wear slacks wear modest loose-fitting slacks. So truth be it known being modest and conservative is what counts.
     
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  17. syo

    syo Well-Known Member

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    Censorship is one.
     
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  18. Wildswanderer

    Wildswanderer Well-Known Member

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    So other than the obvious signs, which I tend to agree with overall what I'm getting here is that being friendly and thanking you for coming are bad things? Being friendly would be one of the good signs for me.
     
  19. Wildswanderer

    Wildswanderer Well-Known Member

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    I've been in some of the really restrictive dress code ones... Now I go to a church where everybody wears what they want to. The pastor usually has on Blue jeans.
     
  20. RayofLight

    RayofLight He/they

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    Dressing in a dress code I like cuz it sets the person a part makes them look part of that group. It feeds a sense of belonging. On its on it is not an issue other traits I find have to present for me to be wary
     
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