Monday, July 2, 2018

Perception and Cult Non-Apologies

True for all humanity, our value system determines our perception. This means that our beliefs, our ideas about the world, what we "know," not only colors everything we see, but actually determines what we perceive.

The world as we see it inside our heads is far from a perfect image of reality, rather it is an image formed by the emotional and informational input to which we are exposed. This image becomes a filter for incoming information, interpreting it according to our belief system. (See the Confirmation Bias.) In the cult, this was terribly damaging, causing our normal to be completely manipulated into an outwardly righteous, yet inwardly vile, abnormal.

I was reminded of this when reading The Family International's response to the recent A&E Cults and Extreme Beliefs documentary on The Children of God. "As mentioned previously, the allegations and narratives that are the focus of the program date to over 30 years ago and were addressed in the mid- to late-1980s... Although the Family International has apologized on a number of occasions to former members for any hurt, real or perceived, that they may have experienced during their membership, we do not give credence to tales of institutionalized abuse told by those who seek to promote their personal agendas or causes, or for financial gain."

This is galling. The Family International seems to view the thousands of young people who were directly and deeply harmed by the practices and doctrines presented as from God by David Berg and Karen Zerby as disgruntled losers who can't move on, or whiny people hung up on the past hoping to make a quick buck on sensationalizing their childhood experiences in the cult.

Does The Family International leadership not realize that it is against media policy in the U.S. to be paid to give an interview? There was no financial gain.

Are The Family International leadership not willing to consider that maybe the reason these second generation ex-members keep on speaking out is because of the lack of closure? The lack of sincere apology? The lack of admission of guilt? The unwillingness to help make amends?

Surely The Family International leadership does not see this. To them, "All things work together for good,"* and if those second generation people who "claim" to have been abused would just accept the Lord's hand in their lives, they could "forget those things which are behind"** and move on with the Lord. 

I can see no other explanation for TFI's leadership's utter lack of compassion for the thousands of second generation ex-members who suffered educational, medical, physical, sexual, emotional, and spiritual abuse throughout their formative years, and for the hundreds who took their own lives out of despair.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

*Romans 8:28
**Philippians 3:13

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