I was roaming through youtube and saw videos for Scientology and the NXIVM cult. It got me thinking.
I was raised Catholic, and have also attended a Ukranian orthodox, and Evangelical church, to this day I take classes with Chabbad and participate when I feel up to it, on a not so bad fibromyalgia day in their events. I have come and gone, found great wisdom in each, though I keep going back to the Roman Catholic church because there is cohesion, same sacraments etc…, no matter where you are on the planet, pretty much. I have believed in God since I was a child, before either of my parents or family taught me about God. At four one night my mom came down, we were living with my grandparents, and found me in front of the window looking up to the sky and very serious and comtemplative. She asked what I was doing, and apparently I told her I was talking to Big Daddy. As I saw it, even then, if we had parents who created us, then there had to be a big daddy that created everything. I have been free to come and go, no one shunned me or anything. Some will say that excommunication and all that means Catholicism is a cult. First of all, rarely is it used and you have to show a blatant outright spit in the face of all the core teaching of the bible, faith to be excommunicated. I have felt comfortable in the Protestant and Chabbad, as I have in the faith of my childhood. I have been a critic of the Pope, and his liberal progressive cohorts, but I am still welcome in the church, and if I am not part of it, my family is, we agree to disagree.
This was not the case when a number of years ago as I was working on organizing my ministry, I joined a group that worked with first responders etc…and in emergency situations. We were all of us invited to a lecture at Church of Scientology. First of all, a number of people there, literally their eyes were popping out and their smile, was like stepford wives kind of smile. There was an eerie feeling there. We were invited back a second time, and I thought maybe it’s my imagination, so I went back. I was asked to go upstairs to speak to what they called a Sea Org director or something to that effect. To begin with, the lady had on military type uniform, and that smile that was just too plastic, odd, uncomfortable and then I read something on the wall about if you leave then you can’t communicate with family etc.. in the Church because you are viewed as a subversive and there was this contract, lasted thousands or more years. I was also able to witness an auditing session. I am sorry but it is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. There were red flags everywhere and I was lucky enough to recognize them, others were fully immersed in this idea of levels etc.., which is really a free mason thing, up to the 33rd level and you are grand wizard, something like that.
As we emerge from isolation, we can be more vulnerable to these things. Remember, any group that has any rules or bylaws etc.. of shunning, of isolating in a detrimental way, having levels of enlightenment each level costing a nice heap of money, encouraging debt even to reach those levels any such thing, run for the hills, fast. There is a difference between a faith group, true faith group and a cult, even a non religious one. Necessary to know the difference.