Tuesday, August 23, 2016


As if there wasn't enough psychological isolation in the cult already with "keeping yourself unspotted from the world," being the "called-out elite," etc., there was another practice that helped to cement the "them" and "us" separation: jargon.

Plenty of ingroups have their own lingo that add to their own brand of coolness. The Family's unique way of speaking and thinking played into the illusion that they were exceptional Christians. Its "we only understand" language was one more brick in the wall in the manipulation of members' "normal" to be anything but normal.

Mostly taken from publication quotes or titles, a plethora of terminology found its way into a member's vocabulary. "JJT" for cleanup ("Jesus Job Time," I kid you not), "selah" for secret, "Systemites" for outsiders, "the girl who wouldn't" for someone who refuses the sexual advances of another member, "backslider" or more colorfully, "God's vomit" or "the Vandari," for those who leave the group. Even normal greetings were replaced with the vacuous, "God bless you! I love you!" somehow always said in a high, saccharine voice. The list goes on and on.

Euphemisms also abounded, "sharing" for having sex; "witnessing" for selling literature and cringe-worthy Family produced audio-visual tapes, CDs, and DVDs; and "provisioning" for begging.

There were even local varieties that seem to have originated from non-native English speakers, such as using "toilet" as a verb. "I need to go toilet." smh

And let me not neglect the acronyms, a TFI favorite, for everything from leadership titles (DAS, GAS, NAS), to places (WS, HCS, MWM), to practices (FFing, going DTD, BAR - burn after reading, DTR - discipleship training revolution designed to further indoctrinate the second generation), literature classifications (DO for disciples only, GP for general public); they are way too numerous to list.

All that worked to encourage camaraderie, the feeling of brotherhood and select membership in the secret, privileged club where all spoke the same bizarre language.

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