Also known as Freed Men of New Jerusalem. There are three prohibitions, replacing the Ten Commandments, that are keys to salvation; 1) no killing or violence; 2) celibacy- procreation is unnecessary since Armageddon will occur by 1984; and 3) materialism is wrong- no make-up or jewelry; all belongings are sold and the money given to the Family. They do not work.
The Bible is unnecessary; it is "yesterday's newspaper," "Give up the Bible. Jesus is here and now; just go to him to find out what he wants." Members believe that they are the living Bible. Followers walk on foot coast to coast and sleep outside or in abandoned buildings. They take on biblical names.
Marijuana, tobacco, peyote and other "natural herbs" are accepted as gifts from God. Women are subservient to male members.
Founded by Charles McHugh in 1969. McHugh had a "revelation" that he is the returned "Jesus Christ Lightning Amen." Hell is found on earth when a person breaks McHugh's prohibitions.
Webster's dictionary- A cult represents a religious body that is "unorthodox or spurious." Latin "cultis"- connotes all that is involved in worship- ritual, emotion, and attitude. Dr. Charles Braden- "A cult is any religious group which differs significantly in some one or more respects as to belief or practice from those religious groups which are regarded as the normative expression of religion in our total culture." Cults share in common:
1- A centralized authority;
2- A "we" vs. "they" complex.
3- A commitment
4- Isolation. In the beginning many groups display sincere expressions of a humble desire to better society and follow God's will. At some point the founder's teachings are codified into an organized system of revelational authority. Allegiance to the founder's ideals becomes an absolute requirement.
What may have been one man's honest opinion is then presented as having the weight of divine endorsement. If such a transformation takes place while the leader is still alive, he usually claims supernatural certifications for his beliefs. The person who seeks out a cult or is ensnared by cult propaganda also fits a composite psychological profile. Conventional solutions and institutions may have struck him as being sterile or unfulfilling. He is looking for a affirming community with which he can identify. Such a group will be all the more appealing if it offers a single, idealistic principle around which his entire life can revolve. In a society that is biblically illiterate, the deception of a cult is particularly enticing if it claims to have "restored" certain truths that have been lost or undiscovered. Loneliness, indecision, despair and disappointment are the emotional characteristics cult recruiters notice. Feeling, not doctrine, is the lure. The belief structure is seldom mentioned in the beginning. Approval, acceptance, belonging, authority- all those things that were missing are supplied by the cult.
Results- Neurosis, Psychosis, Paranoia, Hallucinations, Loss of free will, intellectual sterility and a diminished capacity of judgement.
Psychological forms of "cult coercion":
1) ABSOLUTE LOYALTY- Allegiance to the sect is demanded and enforced by actual or veiled threats to one's body or eternal spiritual condition. (At this point, I am going to be force to make some comments. My time with the Christ Family showed me all the traits mentioned her. I had the nerve to ask questions of the Family in the time I was with them. There were several instances in which I was called a "heretic and non-believer. Groups like this absolutely hate questions.)
2) ALTERED DIET- deriving one of essential nutrients and enforcing a low protein diet can lead to disorientation and emotional susceptibility. (The Christ Family promoted a Vegetarian diet. When I left, I soon found myself with the Salvation Army Rehab Center there. One of the things which I do remember of this time is being sent to the hospital for a physical and the doctor saying I was suffering from malnutrition. In a period of a year, I had gone from 150 lbs. to 95. Even though I do not remember his name, I would like to thank the Captain there for allowing me this time of peace. This was not my first time with the Salvation Army, but it was the first one that really showed that they care.)
3) CHANTING AND MEDITATION- Objective intellectual input is avoided by countering anticult questions with repetitious songs and chants. (Make note of the above songs and chants in this issue. There are times of depression when these 'songs' are the only thing I can think of. It can easily erase all outside influence at the time.)
4) CONFORMITY- Dress, language, names and interest take on a sameness that erodes individuality. (We totally denounced the world.)
5) DOCTRINAL CONFUSION- incomprehensible "truths" are more readily accepted when presented in a complex fashion that encourages rejection of logical thought.
6) EXCLUSIVITY- Those outside the cults are viewed as spiritually inferior, creating an exclusive and self-righteous "we" vs. "they" attitude.
7) FINANCIAL INVOLVEMENT- All or part of one's personal assets may be donated to the cult, increasing a vested interest in sticking with it and lessening the chance of returning to a former vocation.
8) ISOLATION FROM OUTSIDE- Diminished perception of reality results when one is physically separated from friends, society and the rational frame of reference in which one has previously functioned.
9) LACK OF PRIVACY- Reflective, critical thinking is impossible in a setting where cult members are seldom left unattended, and the ego's normal emotional defensive mechanisms can easily be stripped away by having the new member share personal secrets that can later by used for intimidation.
11)- LOVE BOMBING- Physical affection and constant contrived attention can give a false sense of camaraderie.
12)- MEGACOMMUNICAITON- Long, confusing lectures can be an effective tool if the inductee is bombarded with glib rhetoric and catch phrases.
13)- NEW RELATIONSHIPS- Marriage to another cult member and the destruction of the past family relationships integrates one fully into the cult family.
14)- NONSENSICAL ACTIVITY- games and other activities with no apparent purpose leave one dependent upon a group or leader to give direction and order.
15)- PAVLOVIAN CONTROL- Behavior modification by alternating reward and punishment leads to confusion and dependency.
16)- PEER PRESSURE- By exploiting one's desire for acceptance, doubts about cult practices can be overcome by offering a sense of belonging to an affirming community.
17)- SENSORY DEPRIVATION- Fatigue coupled with prolonged activity can make one vulnerable to otherwise offensive beliefs and suggestions.
18)- UNQUESTIONING SUBMISSION- Acceptance of cult practices is achieved by discouraging any questions or natural curiosity that may challenge what the leaders propagate.
19)- VALUE REJECTION- As the recruit becomes more integrated into the cult, he is encouraged to denounce the value and beliefs of his former life.
Rather, we have renounced sinful and shameful ways: we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God, on the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
2 Peter 3:16
He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters, his letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other scriptures, to their own destruction.
2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction.
For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
1 Timothy 4:1
The spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father who is in heaven. Many will say to me that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons, and perform many miracles?" Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you, away with me evildoers.
Five basic areas of doctrines where truth may be distinguished from error:
1) The attributes of God,
2) The person of Christ,
3) the nature of man,
4) The requirements of atonement,
5) The source of revelation.
God- can speak and create, posses a mind, is eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, perfect and holy, triune in nature, co-equal, co-existent, and co-eternal.
Christ- Apostle's Creed: "Conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, dead and was buried; he descended into Hell; the third day he arose from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the father almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead;" Second person of the trinity, eternally begotten son of God who became flesh and is now our "great high priest," who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Man- God created man is his own image, perfect and without sin so that he could know God, A little lower than the angels, fell by disobedience, must be spiritually reborn.
Atonement- Sacrifices foreshadowed the Lamb of God, "Slain from the foundation of the world", whose shed blood would be the final sacrifice and cleansing for sin, man, whose sinful rebellion has separated him from God, can now have "Peace through the blood of his cross" and be "Reconciled" to God because of his vicarious, substitutionary death.
Revelations- The word of God is inspired, inerrent, complete, and the "only infallible" rule of faith. It reveals the origin and destiny of all things; records God's dealings with mankind in the past, present, and future; and focuses on the person and works of Jesus.
Note- Sections by Bob Larson and Bob Larson Ministries used by permission of author and ministry.
Larson's New Book of Cults, Wheaton: Tyndale 1989.
We give our thanks to the people who share the hard work freely in the name of Christ, with those of us who are only now just starting.