Pigpen

Your culture might just foster a cult problem

It's been said before: Korea has a cult problem. It's not that other countries/cultures don't give birth to cults. But Korea seems to do cults like nobody else. Korean cults combine religious talk with deception, intimidation, utter disregard for ethics, a keen interest in busine$$ and political power. See "South Korea: A cult history". The Cult of the Kims in North Korea hasn't hung on for this long just because they have the guns. Part of what keeps them in power is the culture--not communist culture, but Korean culture.

A culture that leads to a proliferation of "powerful" cults is also part of why you had a cult puppet elected President and then impeached in South Korea recently. It turned out a cult leader's daughter was vetting the President's speeches and even policy documents, and the extent of this influence was under-reported in the West and also boldly lied about by the presidential thrall. It's so reminiscent of "message training". From "The Irrational Downfall of Park Geun-hye":

...
Although Park's relationship with the Choi family briefly became an issue during her two presidential runs, she dismissed them as baseless rumors, claiming that neither Choi Tae-min nor Choi Soon-sil was involved in her works as a politician.
As it turned out, Choi Soon-sil owned Park Geun-hye just as much as her father did. Peddling the presidential influence, Choi extorted tens of millions of dollars from Korea's largest corporations. When they found a small and profitable company, Choi's cronies would straight-up steal it, threatening the owner of the company with the company's destruction and personal harm. More importantly, Choi effectively controlled the presidential power. Every day, Choi would receive a huge stack of policy briefs from the presidential residence to discuss with her inner circle--an illustrious group that included Choi's gigolo (no, really) and a K-pop music video director (I'm serious.) Choi would receive ultra-confidential information detailing secret meetings between South and North Korean military authorities. Choi would receive in advance the budget proposal of more than $150 million for the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and distributed them to her friends' projects. Choi went around saying North Korea would collapse by 2017 according to the spirits that spoke to her, and the Park Geun-hye administration may have set its North Korea policy based on this claim.
For years, Park's aides complained about the mysterious off-line person to whom the president would send her draft speeches--when the drafts returned, the professionally written speeches were turned into gibberish. We now know that one of Choi Soon-sil's favorite activities was to give comments on the presidential speeches. Even the famous Dresden speech, in which Park Geun-hye outlined her administration's North Korea policy, had a number of markups from Choi Soon-sil. The aides who dug too deep into the relationship between Park and Choi were dismissed and replaced with those close to Choi, to a point that Choi's personal trainer became a presidential aide. No, really. I wish I were joking.
...

Read the whole thing, because as is always the case with cults, it gets worse.
Pigpen

"Where's the Omelet?"

Another cult leader is recently dead. George Will had this to say:

"With the end of Fidel Castro's nasty life Friday, we can hope, if not reasonably expect, to have seen the last of charismatic totalitarians worshiped by political pilgrims from open societies. ... During the 1930s, there were many apologists for Joseph Stalin's brutalities, which he committed in the name of building a workers' paradise fit for an improved humanity. The apologists complacently said, 'You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.' To which George Orwell acidly replied: 'Where's the omelet?'"

The "eggs and omelets" argument made by apologists for marxist totalitarianism is, of course, the same "ends justify the means" mentality of cults and their apologists. "We're sorry some people got 'hurt', but God used us to 'pioneer all nations'". LOL.

Yet, in spite of the numerous well-documented crimes of these absolute dictators, both political and religious, there are always the useful idiots who just can't call an absolute dictator ... an absolute dictator.

BTW, here's my petition to UBF, and the only petition suitable for an organization that consistently exiles its most conscientious members (like Castro's Cuba): GFY.
Pigpen

Against All Reason: Why I Failed to Leave My Cult

The author at https://libertyforcaptives.com/2012/11/01/against-all-reason-why-i-failed-to-leave-my-cult details why he failed for so long to leave his cult. Anyone looking from the outside in would have seen an obvious cult. But this well-educated, intelligent person could not acknowledge the obvious cult signs. It's a familiar story. The passages that struck me most are the following:

People who remain in cults, as I did, experience doubts just like non cult-members do. The difference is that cult members put up walls against the unbearable logic of these doubts. Against all reason they persist in their commitment. They have so totally invested in the system—which they believe meets their three cosmic needs of assurance of salvation (security), love, and significance—that they will ignore such doubts or explain them away in order to remain consistent with their previous commitment.

As Cialdini alludes, it is not always the act of hard-thinking that discourages cult members from thinking critically about their group, but rather the consequences of such thinking. To admit that one’s group is a cult carries serious consequences: it means that you have been deceived, that you have judged others wrongly, that you have treated disagreeing family members disgracefully, and that you have misunderstood the character of God.

A former UBF member also explained this as the "sunk costs" problem.

Pigpen

Little Stream

(Posting this poem for a friend)

Little Stream
(alternate titles: “Weapons of Righteousness”,  “Yet Another Conference”)


Little stream

I’m thirsty

So bright

So clear

So refreshing, I’ll follow you


Little stream

I’m thirsty

Still bright

Less clear

I’m refreshed when I drink more


Little stream

I’m thirsty

Less bright

Not clear

All other streams are left behind


Little stream

I’m thirsty

Not bright

Not clear

Where have you led me?


Little stream

I’m thirsty

Not bright

Not clear

So refreshed, so thirsty.

Pigpen

PragerU: Forgiveness

Cult defenders will try to convince you that forgiveness is a simple concept, and they will probably try to couch their definition of forgiveness in Christianese. Their motives for pushing a naive, simplistic view of forgiveness are any of the following: excuse abusive behavior, erase history, do damage control, exert more control.

In reality, human forgiveness is a very complex concept. Here is a video that expresses the complexity of forgiveness.

A clinical description of the shepherd / sheep relationship.

Folie à deux - French for "a madness shared by two", shared psychosis, or "the theatric of two"

This syndrome is most commonly diagnosed when the two or more individuals concerned live in proximity and may be socially or physically isolated and have little interaction with other people.

Folie imposée is where a dominant person (known as the 'primary', 'inducer' or 'principal') initially forms a delusional belief during a psychotic episode and imposes it on another person or persons (known as the 'secondary', 'acceptor' or 'associate') with the assumption that the secondary person might not have become deluded if left to his or her own devices

UBF chapters created the perfect environment for this to happen.  On top of this, my shepard used to have paranoid dilutions about the chapter director and the other members, of which he tried to convince me.  Our 1:1's turned more into conditioning sessions to turn me into a more adherent disciple of his, not of Jesus.
Pigpen

"When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong."

"There's something missing from our lives; something that has been stolen..."

That's from a trailer from an upcoming film adaptation of "The Giver":

What's missing from your lives, members of cults and totalist groups? Here's a clue from the same trailer:

"When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong." (To me, that's UBF in a nutshell.)

You should see this film.


Pigpen

Not Overbearing, but "Complex"

Some years ago, there was this "student leader" who had been at Wheaton College and other places, who made the news because of the abuse he dished out to young Christian recruits in the name of "mission training". His name was Feroze Golwalla. Here are some article links that still exist and some excerpts from those articles that describe some of the abuses he dished out:
"Andreson says that Golwalla hit her, ordered her to screw a twisted clothes hanger into her face, and convinced her to lick a filthy bathroom floor. Wolfe describes Golwalla as beating and sexually assaulting his male followers. Both Andreson and Wolfe say Golwalla ordered them to assault other group members in the name of spiritual purification."

"He had some very good reasons for what he did — not good reasons, but convincing reasons," says Andrew, another former member of Tariq’s group. "He’d say, ‘Well, if we were going to Canada or Mexico or something, maybe we’d get by with a little bit of prayer, a little bit of discipline or training, but this is Pakistan. We’ve got to have Olympic training.’ That was how we justified what was happening."

"Benjamin Wolfe was beaten so badly that blood poured from his ears when his eardrums were ruptured from Golwalla's open-handed smacks, his brother said."


"You beat people for training. Do you remember a big traffic jam in January of 1973 due to a severe snowstorm? Shepherds Nam-Kyun Lee, Isaac Koh, Jonah Kim, and Matthew Sohn were late for the leader meeting on that day. You ordered them to hit each other 10 times. Some of them fainted and some were hospitalized because of their wounded ears. According to the testimony of Moses Kim, you locked Dong-Jin Park in your house and made him sit naked in ice water for five hours. You ordered missionary candidate Ki-Hwang Yoo to be your personal driver. When he didn’t obey you, you expelled him to Jejoo Island. You also ordered shepherd Nam-Kyun Lee to give Ki-Hwang Yoo only one meal per day at Jejoo Island and beat him 100 times everyday. He finally got pneumonia due to ill nutrition and horror. You made shepherd Man-Suk Chang take his two toenails out. You beat National Medical Center doctor, Hyung-Sik Sunwoo, at Chongno chapter before his brothers and sisters. You ordered shepherd Man-Suk Chang to beat Ki-Cho Kim at the CNF Mission Report in September of 1975. He got bruises in his face and ears. After this, he left..."

Oops! That last excerpt was from a letter to another "mission-minded" abuser, written to him by young, intellectual Korean recruits.

How would the victims of Feroze Golwalla feel if you went up to them and told them that Golwalla wasn't overbearing, not overbearing at all? And that he was just "complex". And that he "had his reasons".

If you happened upon a supposed Christian ministry, ministry leader or web site that tells you that a monster like Feroze Golwalla wasn't overbearing, that he was a "complex" individual with strong beliefs that motivated him to do "sometimes" abusive things, what would you do? I know what I would do.