Thursday, November 26, 2015

Cults and Maslow

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Imagine yourself feeling isolated, unimportant, and unneeded. Unexpectedly you find yourself surrounded by sincere, happy people who hug you, say they love you, accept you, need your help, and make you feel part of their - rather, part of God's - family. When that happened to me, I was overwhelmed. Surely I had found where I "belonged." 

It's like falling into a well once such a decision is made, as in come the biases, protecting self-image, reinforcing the rightness of that decision. (See Commitment and Consistency)

Love and belonging: done.

Above that come the needs for esteem and purpose. We humans need to feel that we are making a difference - that our work has meaning. How much more valuable is a life of meaning?

In the cult, we were continually reminded in publication after publication that ours was the most important work in the world. Because that was nonsense, this artificial sense of importance was necessarily repeated ad nauseam. (Repetition feeds belief.) We were working directly for God himself - the only work with eternal rewards. We were always kept busy; we were so important, and there was so little time, so much to do, so few "called out ones" to do it, that we needed to "burn the candle at both ends," and "burn out fast and bright for Jesus."

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers,"* or so cult members, with their elevated sense of self-importance, blissfully believe.

*Henry V, Shakespeare.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Future Flippancy

"Living by faith" has severe drawbacks. Most obviously, future planning becomes a "lack of faith." ("Take no thought for the morrow," you know.)

Therefore, one wonders about how TFI members will live their later years? How will they survive when they are not able to actively fundraise? With no provision whatsoever made for retirement, cult members have come up with some fanciful ideas. 

Plan A: Their children. Most older TFI members have had many children, the large majority of whom have left the group, fought against the difficult circumstances of being raised in the delusional bubble of cult life, and with little education, no diplomas, no credit history nor networks of support have now managed to establish themselves in their home countries or elsewhere. Kudos to them!

What a brilliant idea to live off of them! These falsely entitled parents will simply ask their children to be sure to have an extra room for them in their houses. Then, the parents can travel around (on whose money, one wonders - oh, of course - their kids') and stay for two months with each of their adult children, fit-as-a-fiddle until the suddenly drop dead. It's a good thing they aren't planning on succumbing to any debilitating diseases.

"Oh, really? But isn't that plan just a bit presumptuous?" Yet this is what I have heard from many first generation TFI members.

Wouldn't they be foolish, though, to not to have a plan B? This one hearkens back to the days of COG training for how to survive during the antichrist's reign: "live off the grid." Buy some land (again, with what money?), dig a well (simple), install solar panels, plant some vegetables, and enjoy the easy life of retirement. I think we can all see possible difficulties with this scenario.

To quote the "prophet," Berg:

So let me dream on if I'm dreaming!
I'd rather be glad though insane!