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Here is a recent comment written by a former member of the ICOC… 
12th-Oct-2005 05:50 pm
Dilbert

Here is a recent comment written by a former member of the ICOC Berlin who is now operating the website icoc.de with critical information about the group.

What’s going on in the ICOC?!

August 16 2005

One more year in the new time calculation of the ICOC has passed by. The various processes of change still seem to ferment inside the ICOC. From time to time critical observers stumble over some references to a perception of the gloomy past. The lame explanation attempts of the ideological crash after Kip McKean has been “toppled over” can be found in the text of speeches at “services” or member meetings (so-called “devotions”), now publicly accessible on the ICOC Germany Internet site. When I will find some time, I comment them here shortly with quotes.

However, something else is going on, on the side of the dropouts resp. former members of the ICOC. In various e-mails and talks on the phone, these people report on late effects of (intense) memberships in the years up to about 2003, some of which were traumatic. This gives me reason to another comment under the title “late effects.”

Late Effects

Since about one year observers could have the impression that the ICOC has vanished from the scene. The times seem over when the members of the Berlin chapter were eagerly on their “mission trip” in the city. But this impression can be wrong.

The dramatic changes inside the world-wide organization ICOC left their traces for sure. I almost thought it would be not necessary to observe the ICOC any longer. The group is stagnating, plodding along, stewing in its own grease. The die-hards resp. hard-liners are striving to keep the once fanatically recruited members in line. The boastful slogans of the “building of the Kingdom of God in the whole world” this all “in one generation” and lead by power hungry “leaders” are gone.

The ICOC lost itself and their former ideology. On the one side this seems to be good, because now there is no more danger of getting into a system of mind and behavior control after meeting a fanatically convinced recruiter.

But what has happened with the many people who have left the group in the last time and before the collapse?! The other side looks rather dark. The conflict-laden past of the ICOC is a heavy burden. Again and again dropouts are popping up who are talking about the late effects of the (sometimes) long year membership in this religiously extreme group. That’s clear, because it cannot be that the ICOC left only people behind who have gotten over their time in the group and are leading a lucky and satisfying life now.

Some days ago I talked on the phone for a very long time with a young woman who has been a member of ICOC Berlin for some years. She had been recruited with 16 years as a schoolkid and succumbed to the fascination of this seemingly Christian community at that time. It followed the usual game with Bible study, baptism, discipleship partner, dating, evangelization etc. By the way, the parents did not agree with the membership, but as usual have been lied to and deceived by their child and the group. The main thing was that money was available for the weekly offering in time.

With increasing age, after passing the abitur (German school leaving examination and university-entrance diploma) and the beginning of the university study, a miserable everyday life began. The many fellow students, who were not members of the ICOC of course, met in taverns in the evenings, went into the cinema or on concerts, strolled much (free) time and often led a generous and free life.

As a member of the ICOC, the daily schedule was strictly regimented, there was actually no real room for doing anything else. The entire free time had to be spent in and with the “church”. Again and again, they were called to “incessant evangelization,” even and particularly in their free time. The meetings in the common life groups or at the chapter leader’s home became more and more annoying. There were psychological encroachments when the wife of the church leader carried her dissatisfaction (particularly concerning sex) along, or the marriage partner chosen by the group did not have his “drives” under control. "Actually you could not really talk openly and frankly with anybody in the group. Everything I said that was not compliant with the group’s ideology was given away by my alleged friends to the church leadership used against me in the end.”

Today this woman does not live in Berlin any longer. Although all contacts have been cut off, somewhat of the psychological dependence remained. For a long time the doctrine of the ICOC on all lines was considered as the only correct one and most of all pleasing to God. “I sometimes have the feeling they try to invade into my dreams and want to win me back again.” In these dreams, the man who had been arranged to be the future marriage partner also appears and pressures the young woman. She never loved him, but did not even want to love him. She only played her role in their game because otherwise she would have been the odd one out and would have been punished by the group through withdrawal of love and appreciation.

As in so many cases, a lasting processing of these experiences and healing of the mental injuries is hardly possible today. Discussions with those people who at that time exerted such an influence on many biographies resp. interfered deeply into their lives (and that often without being aware of the consequences) are not possible, they cannot talk with these people who have once been forced upon them as “discipleship partner,” fellowship leader or church leader. Either that person is still “with ardent zeal” in the group, or has also left the group and cannot be reached any longer.

I keep my opinion that it is extremely negligent of the ICOC and their responsible persons to forget about and repress the past (after all a sound 20 years), to conceal, to romanticize or even glorify, to play down or even to deny. You cannot say simply: “We accepted the punishment of God, have changed, and thus the sins of the past are forgiven.” If you make a “restart,” not all onerous “data” has been already deleted from hard disk automatically.

H.S./August 2005

Comments 
13th-Oct-2005 03:39 am (UTC)
The ICOC practiced dating, but it still arranged their members marriage partners! That is really bating people on.
13th-Oct-2005 07:01 am (UTC)
Yes, they had a really strange practice of "controlled/arranged" dating. You even kind of had to date every Saturday, even if you didn't want to. Of course you were only allowed to date with members, only as arranged by your "team leaders" or "discipling partern" (shepherd) and only 2 pairs together so they could control each other. Just as UBF, they exploited group dynamics and the desire for friendship and marriage to bind people to the group.

Some practices of the ICOC look different (particularly their over-emphasis of baptism where UBF has under-emphasis), but still it was very similar.
13th-Oct-2005 03:48 am (UTC)
"By the way, the parents did not agree with the membership, but as usual have been lied to and deceived by their child and the group. The main thing was that money was available for the weekly offering in time."

Yea, I was guilty of the same behavior. I would always paint a rosier picture or less austere picture of my experiences to my parents and to other outsides, not to mention my sheep.
13th-Oct-2005 07:22 am (UTC) - Been there...
I think the best thing to describe that article is "Been there, done that."

déja vu.
15th-Oct-2005 12:16 am (UTC) - "Late effects"
"Late effects" sounds similar to "Lake affect" Lake affect is a weather phenomenon that occurs around large inland bodies of water, like Lake Michigan. Water takes a lot longing of time to loose its heat or heat up compared to air. So, the temperature of a body of water the water in a lake will always be warmer or cooler than the air in atmosphere above it. This can Affect the weather conditions noticeably in areas around great lakes if the weather is extreme enough from one season to the next, like Chicago. Here in Chicago, we can get "lake affect snow". When the air temperature outside is too warm for snow, the colder water temperature can affect the air temp. enough to make it snow and vise-versa. The lake affect snow in Chicago will fall in the surrounding suburbs, but over all is never a significant amount of snow . In the Summer time, it is always cooler by the lake and less humid because the lake water is still retaining the the wintertime temperature.

In a way, this phenomenon applies to this author of this article. Though the author talks about the lasting damage inflicted upon members, he/she says, also says "The dramatic changes inside the world-wide organization ICOC left their traces for sure." and "If you make a “restart,” not all onerous “data” has been already deleted from hard disk automatically. He/she is i talking about the traces and the residual data of the ICOC which is affecting current activities of the ICOC, in whatever form still remains of it. In considering these lasting negative effects on former members, he/she is saying that as long as the negative influences of the ICOC are still embodied by some "fanatically convinced [ICOC] recruiter", the ICOC, in whatever shape it remains, should still be monitored. The traces and onerous data could still affect any restarted or "reformed" ICOC. The problems with ICOC may or may not have been inherent, but like the slow changing water temperature, they will not go away anytime soon or at least not soon enough for it to ever have a healthy "affect free" restart.

I'm sure German's have the same concerns about German nationalism because of the Nazis and of course their is our own white supremacy issues in America. The institution of slavery in America, has forever altered black and white race relations in America. I don't think any amount of generations passing will ever heal the wounds inflicted by slavery. Maybe that has something to do with why Blacks in America hardly ever stay in UBF. They have "been there, done that" so to say. They have become immunized to cult-like tactics because of the cultic institution of slavery in America.

15th-Oct-2005 09:53 am (UTC) - Re: "Late effects"
Be very cautious about the last paragraph, you're assuming a lot.

First, the dormant idea of supremacy of nation/race is *somewhere* out there, maybe not in everyone of us, but just having experienced the tremendous harm of that issue doesn't automatically pcreate a cult-proof mentality. It works for some, but not for so many. Surveys in psychology show that people are keen for dangers only a short time after a negative impact, but they dull out very quickly.
If I give my opinion of the black/white relationships in the U.S., I would presume that like 95% of the population would "just get it over with" and accept their neighbour regardless of who they are, where from and whatever. The scars are there, I won't deny that, but black liberation hasn't fought for "continually reminding white people of the damage they wrought", but for "a country where black and white people will not even consider the skin colour of the other any more". What happens is that a minority of extremists from both sides are continually building up barriers that should have been removed permanently.
It's the people who see what this barrier-building process causes that are totally fed up with a "black and white thinking" (no pun intended), i.e. binary "we:good - they:bad" and they've experienced it all their life, so they won't eat UBF's "We:God's chosen - they:hedonistic pleasure seekers doomed to hell" any more. Life teaches black people as well as white people that you can't categorize people just so easily. You can't build a fence and separate the world into two groups. There's good guys on both sice of any fence and bad guys as well.

And about "immunized to cult-like tactics"... well, then they should all be keen about Dubbyah and his "axis of evil", but that's another issue. We're all still vulnerable to cult-like tactics, the question is merely: are we capable and willing to see such an influence and at accordingly?

This has a lot to do with integrity, but also with God's giving us "a spirit of freedom".

In Christ,
Mike K.
15th-Oct-2005 05:59 pm (UTC) - Re: "Late effects"
Yes, my last paragraph is very generalizing, and not too analytical,and it is true that the African-American fight has been for equality. However, reminding the world of what was done to them goes part and parcel with that. Yes, as you said, their are minority extremists on both sides that perpetuate the tension. They are the "affect" elements that are trying to "effect" a certain outcome, or the "traces" and "erroneous data" that are left over from the past. Again, you are right that no one is ever immunized fully from being duped again even after a bad experience, that is also part of the "affect". I know you wouldn't be as familiar as I am with the percentage of African- American who stay in USA UBF, but it is something I have noticed. (Again, I am generalizing.) On the other hand, there is a large percentage of African-American's who are Jehovah Witnesses.
Thanks for the critque. I just threw that last paragraph out there.
16th-Oct-2005 01:44 am (UTC) - Coincidentally
Coincidentally, this incident of racial violence just took place today. (I posted the article because the link was too long.) What is most interesting to me is the mayor's statement that the some of the black gang members had "imagined grievances" against the white supremacists.

Mayor Blames Gangs for Anti-Nazi Violence

By JOHN SEEWER

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A crowd that gathered to protest a white supremacists' march Saturday turned violent, throwing baseball-sized rocks at police, vandalizing vehicles and stores, and setting fire to a neighborhood bar, authorities said.

Mayor Jack Ford blamed the rioting on gangs taking advantage of a volatile situation. He declared a state of emergency, set an 8 p.m. curfew through the weekend, and asked the Highway Patrol for help.

``It's exactly what they wanted,'' Ford said of the group that planned the march, which was canceled because of the rioting.

At least two dozen members of the National Socialist Movement, which calls itself ``America's Nazi Party,'' had gathered at a city park to march under police protection. Organizers said they were demonstrating against black gangs they said were harassing white residents.

Violence broke out about one-quarter of a mile away along the planned march route shortly before it was to begin. One group of men pounded on a convenience store, and others overturned vehicles. There was a report of a shooting but police hadn't found a victim, Police Chief Mike Navarre said.

For several hours, about 150 police officers chased bands of young men through the area. Officers wearing gas masks fired tear gas canisters and flash-bang devices designed to stun suspects, only to see the groups reform and resume throwing rocks and bottles.

Finally, police marched shoulder-to-shoulder down the street shouting to people to stay inside, and the crowd of several hundred dispersed.

At least two dozen people were arrested on charges including assault, vandalism, failure to obey police and failure to disperse. Several officers and firefighters were injured, Navarre said.

``We frankly could have made a couple hundred arrests easily,'' he said. He said the white supremacists left shortly after the march was canceled.

The mayor had appealed to residents the night before to ignore the march. He said the city wouldn't give the Nazi group a permit to march in the streets but couldn't stop them from walking on the sidewalks like other citizens.

When the rioting broke out, Ford tried to negotiate with those involved, but ``they weren't interested in that.''

He said they were mostly ``gang members who had real or imagined grievances and took it as an opportunity to speak in their own way.''

``I am disappointed that some folks who clearly are not strong citizens to begin with took this opportunity to make this statement,'' Ford said. ``I was chagrined that there were obvious mothers and children in the crowd with them. Several intimated that they had guns.''

Thomas Frisch, 76, said a large group of men destroyed the exterior of a gas station next to his home of 30 years.

``A whole big gang started to come in here. Next thing you know, they're jumping on the car. Then they overturned it. Then they started on the building, breaking windows, ripping the bars off,'' he said.

Keith White, a black resident, criticized city officials for allowing the march in the first place.

``They let them come here and expect this not to happen?'' said White, 29.

A spokesman for the National Socialist Movement blamed police for losing control of the situation.


10/15/05 20:36

© Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained In this news report may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
16th-Oct-2005 07:14 am (UTC) - Re: Coincidentally
Actually, this is what I meant.
Extremists provoking other extremists, who in turn provoke the masses.
Those things can happen, and we should most definitely warn against extremism.

But just like I don't look at my friend from Ghana, saying "You should be serving the food", I don't want to have him look at me and say "You are responsible for slavery!". He's a free man, responsible for his own life, as am I. I'm not playing superior and the last thing I would want is have him play "the inferior" only to prove his own moral superiority over me. That's not the way to blend the community, that's segregation at it's finest.
And this is what those people in that article were doing: whites blaming blacks, blacks blaming whites, when all that was on stake are a few white extremists protesting about black vandals with the obviously wrong implication black = vandal.
The moral victor in such a battle is never the one pointing the finger at the other or the one making sweeping statements, the moral victor in such a situation is the one who will stay calm and let the actions of their opponent discredit themselves.
But resorting to vandalism in order to prove that you're not a vandal... I'm sorry. It isn't funny.

I wholeheartedly agree with Martin Luther King's dream:

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.


This will never happen as long as either side is hurling accusations against the other for the sole reason of colour.
Sad, so sad. God created all men equal.

In Christ,
Mike
16th-Oct-2005 09:58 am (UTC) - Re: Coincidentally
"the moral victor in such a situation is the one who will stay calm and let the actions of their opponent discredit themselves."

Yes, I agree that that would be the best thing to do- turn the other cheek- so to speak.

This is what the mayor wanted to do also: "The mayor had appealed to residents the night before to ignore the march. He said the city wouldn't give the Nazi group a permit to march in the streets but couldn't stop them from walking on the sidewalks like other citizens."

I guess it was to painful of a reminder to the African Americans. "a black resident, criticized city officials for allowing the march: `They let them come here and expect this not to happen?'"

Anyways, where was Toledo UBf to invite the Nazis to Bible study?
16th-Oct-2005 07:02 am (UTC) - Re: "Late effects"
I would like to note one small thing, that "black sheep" aren't all that welcome in UBF. They're tolerated as long as there are no other "leadership candidates", but as soon as a chapter director takes orders from Lee or whoever to "feed 120 HNW sheep", everyone not of Caucasian heritage is a "junk sheep", and made feel like that.

The reason why we don't see so many black people in UBF-USA or UBF-Europe is, in my opinion, because UBF is blatantly discriminating against everyone "of colour", and to be honest, if I were "of colour" and be made feel inferior, I'd get my heels out of there at light speed.

That's the thing keeping blacks away from UBF for the most part.
Again, in my opinion.

In Christ,
Michael
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