Unlike your college textbooks, this 2nd edition costs you nothing more. The first edition outlined some simple paths to see if the religious organization you have affiliated with is a cult, here are two more advanced ways to tell:
1) Forced tithing/giving/pleding – that is the group forces one to disclose how much they earn and then bullies/coerces into one giving 10-25% for “God‘s” work to the organization whether the individual can or not.
Pre-1970’s this type of shenanigan was more common, and was actually coupled with quite a bit of spiritual abuse from the pulpit of the hell fire and brimstone type that tied one’s giving to their ability to get into heaven (indulgences in pre-reformation Catholicism, pew purchasing in Protestantism which led to the “Free Church” movements).
2) Spying – Members befriend you to get information for the leadership to control you through bearing down on one’s self-worth. This monitoring and “friending” has become easier with the rise of blogs; Twitter; Linkedin; Pinterest and Facebook (to name a few) where individuals can be monitored and/or added to groups without one’s approval. This information is then forwarded on to see who is “inline” or not with the leadership.
3) This one is either a sign of a cult, or that your spiritual support is burnt out– everything must be ran by them and no one else.
Two more advanced points, but one needs to remember that with God there is no labels, there is no hierarchy…So please if you are involved with any religious organization that practices these 2nd edition extremes or those listed in yesterday’s article, RUN!
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