"COMMITMENT MANIPULATION" TACTIC
There is good reason why abusive discipleships do not reveal the rules up front—they would not get many recruits!
People are not exactly beating down the doors of monasteries that teach poverty, chastity and obedience. Commitments like that take time to make. But, unlike monastic orders, abusive discipleships use a "commitment manipulation" tactic: getting people involved first and then introducing them to all the rules. Once people are committed and involved in something, they are much more likely to accept such new information.
I remember a college professor telling me that if a person signs an insurance policy but later finds out it says much more in the fine print than he knew about, that person would still agree with it because he had made the commitment. This is similar to an abusive discipleship. The new disciple does not realize the involvement is the beginning of a long-term and intense commitment, nor does he know all that commitment will involve.
People get involved by participating and, over time, feel committed. Then, when they find out more of what is wanted of them, they go along with it because they have already made a substantial emotional commitment. In some cases, they have also made a financial investment. They have signed on the bottom line and the discipleship will fill in the blanks as they go along.
There is a tendency to justify, and cling to, whatever you are already involved in. So you must take time to look at all the information in this book before you push it aside. If you are currently participating in a group, I know it will be difficult for you to look at this information objectively. If a group can get you involved first, form your friendships, and gain your trust, then begin to lay one rule after another on you, you will more than likely accept them without argument.
I have faced controlling disciplers and asked them: "Why don't you tell your people up front what your discipleship is all about?" Sometimes they answer that the Lord doesn't lead them that way or that the people are still babes as Christians and would not be able to handle it. This is discipleship code. What it really means is that few would join if they knew beforehand all that will be expected of them. These disciplers are not hiding "deeper truths"—they are hiding manipulation.
(Continues in comments.)