Members of the Two by Two church are rigidly bound by a code of restrictions that they are strongly discouraged from thinking, questioning or talking about. The fears that bind the people are numerous and especially strong among those raised within the group.
Fear is a common emotion to man. However, God has admonished us that we are only to fear Him, not man. Psalms 128:1, 4 “Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in His ways. Thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.” Isaiah 51:7 “…fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be afraid of their revilings.”
Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”
1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
Revelation 21:8 “But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable and murderers and whoremongers and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Do you notice that the fearful and unbelieving head the list before murderers, and other abominable characters?
55 FEARS THAT CONTROL PROFESSING PEOPLE
Fear of displeasing the workers. The first question in every professing person’s mind is “What will the workers think?” The answer to that is, “It doesn’t matter what the workers think. What does Jesus think? Who is your God; the workers or Jesus?” It isn’t a sin to question the workers’ doctrine and history and right of authority. The scripture commands us to do just that.
Fear of something terrible happening; ie, that God will hurt them for questioning the group’s beliefs. Some workers actually infer or teach them that they or their children will die or have a terrible illness or accident if they question the workers or leave the church. Illness is such a big part of many professing peoples’ lives that they are very preoccupied with health and health issues. Many of them subconsciously feel that illness is a punishment from God for some doubt or sin they have committed.
Fear of any historical or Christian information that doesn’t come from the workers. They think that anything that doesn’t originate with the workers is from Satan or is false.
Fear of being deceived again. The friends are taught to be suspicious of all who claim to be Christians. They are taught to judge whether others are Christian, or not, by the group they meet with.
Fear of making a decision. Most personal, doctrinal and recreational decisions are already made for professing people. When they leave the church there is definitely a lack of decision-making ability because of lack of experience. Members are led to feel that they are too ignorant to understand doctrinal concepts. Many are afraid to trust their own judgment.
Fear of being spoken against. They know how the friends and workers talk about anyone who challenges their belief system. “Oh, he is just a tool of Satan.” “Don’t listen to that poison.” “Oh, he just wants to take his own way.” “They have gone back to the world. “They always were WORLDLY.” “Satan has taken hold of their lives.” etc.
Fear of shunning from other members.
Fear of loss of prestige among the members. Those with meeting in their homes, workers in their families, and convention on their property have a great deal of status in the group. If they leave the group, they are afraid they will become nobodies, at the very least. A big possibility exists that they will become the focus of a lot of talk or animosity.
Fear of having to start a new career (if one is a worker). Most workers have little training for the job market and experience a complete loss of security if they must financially support themselves.
Fear of the unknown. If one has been raised within the group, they cannot begin to know how to attempt to live outside of the framework of the church. Their whole lives have been lived within restrictions. It is very much like a slave who is set free feeling unable to cope with freedom.
Fear of death and “who would have my funeral?” This is a real fear for those who haven’t established a contact with another Christian group. They know that if they died, their professing families would probably have a worker conduct their funeral who would more than likely infer that they went to hell for leaving the group, no matter how godly and saved they may have been.
Fear of rejection by family members. Family members are often warned against close relationships with unprofessing members. In the past, some have even been forbidden to talk to a family member who left and became a true Christian. Those who do so are sometimes excommunicated. While this isn’t so common now, it is still a possibility, depending on who the workers are in the area.
Fear of displeasing God by questioning what the workers have said. Members are conditioned to believe that the workers speak for God. To question a worker is to question God.
Fear of excommunication. This was a common method of quieting those who challenged the workers. The workers will almost consistently deny that they excommunicate anyone. They will invariably say, “They chose to leave, we didn’t excommunicate them.” However, if one asks the excommunicated person they will find that this is definitely untrue and that the person is totally shattered by the workers’ decision. Many excommunicated people feel eternally lost or at least without anywhere to turn for fellowship.
Fear of appearing foolish.
Fear of being wrong; Fear: “What if the workers are right?”
Fear of being accused of starting another religion. This is a common accusation of workers against other workers or friends who have strong scriptural objections to the group.
Fear of marital problems or divorce. The disagreement on this issue has destroyed more marriages than one can even imagine. The workers sometimes sabotage marriages if one spouse objects to their authority.
Fear of hurting one’s parents. Respect for one’s parents keeps the majority of professing people inside the group, even when they are extremely dissatisfied. Parents spend so much time in conditioning their children to behave and believe the workers that if their children ever reject the church doctrine, the parents feel that their lives were wasted. Parents of unprofessing children are either pitied or less respected by the group. Parents definitely lose ‘face” and status in the church when their children leave the church.
Fear of the grapevine. Some professing people are more afraid of expressing their questions to one another than they are to a stranger because they are accustomed to having their confidences betrayed. It is common for members to act like they are sympathetic to one another, when in reality they will run to the workers immediately to tell all they know about someone’s questions.
Fear of admitting that one has preached a false gospel or supported an unscriptural doctrine that may have led others to a lost eternity. This is a difficult fear for a worker or ex- worker to face.
Fear of losing an inheritance from professing parents or grandparents.
Fear of being without a church. Ex-members usually shun churches of any kind. Therefore, when they leave, they usually quit believing in God. This has changed, somewhat, since information is now available to help the ex-member understand Christian doctrine. They are now able to evaluate a Christian fellowship and a group’s doctrine with understanding and confidence.
Fear of responsibility. Fear of taking a stand for what one believes. Many cult members like to let others choose for them because they trust the person and don’t feel qualified to make spiritual decisions or have opinions about doctrine and scripture. Some of the friends have lived with hidden sin in their lives and have little sense of responsibility for their behavior. They feel that since they are part of the “chosen few,” and are faithful in going to meeting, that will somehow make up for their immoral behavior.
Fear of lost security.
Fear of finding out you have wasted your life. This is a crushing thought to those who have invested their whole lives, and often all their resources to the group.
Fear of “eating crow.” Nearly every professing person has at one time or another tried to prove to their friends and relatives that this is “the only true church”. When one discovers that this is not only untrue but that the church is a pseudo- Christian cult, it is very difficult to admit that one has been duped.
Fear of asking questions. The workers disapprove of questions and condition everyone to consider questioning as a sin.
Fear of getting answers. The friends are afraid of finding out something that will conflict with what they have accepted as truth. “My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.”
Fear of reality. The church has always determined “truth” and reality for its members. Those who leave the church realize that now they must attempt to figure out what truth is. Just like Pilate, many say “What is truth?” and then give up on the quest.
Fear that people will accuse them of forsaking God or of wanting to be worldly. Most Two by Twos love God with all their hearts. They hate to have ANYONE think that they are turning their backs on God.
Fear of the unfamiliar.
Fear of financial loss if one is working for a professing employer.
Fear of verbal confrontation. Many workers, even the most soft spoken, are capable of being verbally sharp or hostile when faced with questions they don’t want to deal with. Most members are scripturally ignorant and easily impressed by anyone who can quote a few verses. They are at an extreme disadvantage when faced with two scripture spouting workers. Moreover, they are conditioned to respect the workers for their self-denial, therefore, they are usually afraid to confront them with any challenge.
Fear of having no friends. The mental isolation of the group makes one extremely shy of anyone outside of the cult. Fear of relating to people outside of the group.
Fear of losing friends. All trust and confidence is placed on other cult members, therefore, one is definitely in a vulnerable place when realizing that one’s friends will now emotionally and verbally shun you.
Fear of scorn.
Fear of taking a stand.
Fear of knowledge of the Bible. They believe if they know more about the Bible that God will expect more from them. They misunderstand the verse, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
Fear of being happy. They feel guilty for being happy. They believe that sorrow and dying to self are attributes of anyone who has the SPIRIT.
Fear of trusting one’s own judgment and beliefs. Most are conditioned to feel “unworthy”. This unworthy feeling undermines confidence in ones’ ability to understand scriptural teaching and form strong convictions of his own.
Fear of breaking the unspoken rules of etiquette by speaking out. Members raised within the group are much more controlled by the etiquette of silence. Newcomers are much braver about speaking up or speaking out because they didn’t learn the etiquette as a child.
Fear of challenging the traditions and Irvine’s legalism which are referred to as the “standards of the Kingdom.”
Fear of the anger one feels about the situation. The anger is spawned by the feeling of helplessness, ‘What can I do?” The emotions one feels in this situation are rather like a roller coaster ride. It is almost impossible to be emotionally calm while visiting with other members or workers.
Fear of Christian churches and doctrines. Negative conditioning against all Christian practices and attitudes is extremely hard to overcome. It is better to prepare oneself ahead of time for what one will encounter within other churches.
Fear of appearing in the position of “judging one’s brothers”. Sincere people continue to love the people they once loved and had fellowship with. It is extremely hard to think of old friends as “lost”. And it is awful to feel or have them feel that one is judging them.
Fear of alienating the friends and relatives with whom one wants to explain the true gospel. The group mindset is so foreign to scriptural doctrines and concepts that it is an enormous task to explain the differences between true Christianity and the distorted beliefs of the group. Since the words and scriptures have different meanings to a professing person, anyone who tries to attempt a brief conversational dialogue will become extremely frustrated because professing people almost universally refuse to listen to a five minute statement of belief. One is usually allowed only one attempt, then the professing person will rarely allow another discussion.
Afraid to trust what Jesus did as sufficient for salvation. They can’t imagine that Jesus did it all. They have been taught that they must earn salvation. This is extremely hard to change.
Fear that someone will find out that one is investigating information regarding the church history and doctrine. People have been known to send for information anonymously and to rent a Post Office box, or have it sent to their work address, or a neighbor’s address simply to hide the fact that they are searching for answers to their legitimate, honest questions. Others have even left town and stayed in a motel in order to study the material they have sent for. And some have kept all their books, names and addresses and historical records under lock and key just to keep their friends and relatives from knowing that they are studying information that exposes the church as a fraud.
Fear that one’s questions will get a friend or relative in trouble with the workers. The workers always try to isolate the source of information. If anyone questions the workers’ doctrine, they will immediately try to find out the source of the questions. They are usually more concerned with the source of the questions than in answering the questions.
Fear of hurting other peoples’ feelings by taking a stand and disagreeing with their beliefs.
Fear of distressing other people by sharing information. Those who have gone through the pain of examining their beliefs have a paradoxical attitude towards sharing information with their friends and relatives inside the group. They hate to put their loved ones through the same pain they have experienced, yet they have the strong desire to set them free and share with them the true gospel that can give them great joy.
Fear of the condescending “Pity” expressed by the friends and workers when they find out one has questions about the doctrine of the “Truth.” They treat one as if he has become feeble-minded and contracted leprosy at the same time. They almost act as if one is reduced to the level of a three-year-old in mentality: “Poor Glen has just become so confused!” “He is getting old, you know.” Or “Isn’t he having mental problems?”
Fear of feeling guilty. Guilt is so programmed into the mindset that it hampers every decision a professing person makes.
Fear of those who may be farther along in the withdrawal process. Someone just beginning to examine the doctrine and information about the group is very wary of anyone who has been studying the situation longer than he has. Therefore, it is helpful to have several people from varying perspectives to discuss the issues with, in order to realize that it is possible to come to conclusions of one’s own, without being forced to accept someone else’s conclusions.
Fear is something you know you are afraid of. Anxiety is something vague and unnamed that you fear. Worry is a fear of a possibility that you have constantly on your mind. Unconscious fears are those things that you aren’t even aware of that eat at your peace of mind. Phobias are hidden fears that manifest themselves in bizarre fears of things that aren’t the true source of fear.
Examine exactly what you are afraid of and then verbalize or write it down. Look for the source of your fear. Then ask yourself if it is a valid fear, is it logical in view of God’s word? Think of a worst-case scenario and then deal with the worst case in your mind. Challenge the irrational ideas. Keep things in perspective.
Don’t allow fear to appear bigger than reality. Pray that God will remove your fear and protect you from being deceived. Memorize scripture that applies to that particular fear. Pray that God will bring thoughts to the minds of those you love, those who may be in authority over you, that they will begin to understand God’s Word and reality for themselves.
Begin an all-out investigation for yourself. Write to all the addresses available, talk to all the people you can find, look at all the historical evidence, investigate doctrinal differences, do your own research! Don’t take anyone’s opinion or advice. Be thorough. Information can’t hurt you. Your eternal welfare is at stake. This is the most important subject you could ever look into. You haven’t really made a choice until you have learned the whole story and thoroughly checked into all angles of the situation.
Fear is one of the most common methods of controlling people. Those who have studied the phenomenon of demonic oppression tell us that it is a typical symptom for people troubled by demons to believe that one is going to die if one tries to change oppressive habits and thoughts. Satan is a liar, the accuser and a murderer. He leads people to believe that they will die if they trust in the Blood of Jesus, instead of their own efforts at righteousness. He insinuates fear into the minds of people under his control.
According to Paul A. Hauck in his excellent book, OVERCOMING WORRY AND FEAR, the fruits of fear are many: Inferiority, Shyness, Anxiety, Guilt, Compulsions, Withdrawal from people and friendships, Depression, Exhaustion, Illness, Homosexuality
Cults control their members with fear. Therefore, it isn’t surprising that anyone leaving a cult will be burdened with fear.
Paul Hauck observes in his book that things usually get worse first. If a person has been trying to avoid a confrontation or an issue all his life, the fear may seem exaggerated at first. Learning to relate to situations that one hasn’t faced before is a stressful, up and down, back and forth, experimental feeling. One must expect to have a few trial and error experiences. That shouldn’t intimidate one into avoiding an issue that needs resolution.
Hauck says, “There is a strong tendency for neurotic symptoms to return after you have gotten rid of them. What you must realize when a symptom returns spontaneously is that you have simply been careless about fighting it.
All you need to do is get back on the job and beat down that mental nonsense until you no longer believe: that you ought to be terribly upset about something, that worrying helps, and that the more you focus on some dreaded event, the better it is.
If you challenge such notions immediately, you are bound to regain quick control over that symptom, and you will find yourself getting back to where you were before it suddenly reappeared. Each time you have to fight your way back to calmness you will find that it takes less and less time to recover from one of these spontaneous slips.”
Getting rid of fear is simply a learning process and it follows a learning curve.
True Christian doctrine and scriptural understanding release us from fear. Faith in Christ Jesus is the dispeller of fear. Faith can be in many things, but only faith in God has the power to release us from worry and fear. Faith in God is an action word, not simply a noun. Our depth of faith is determined by the depth of our knowledge of the object. That is why “Knowing God” is the primary step in becoming a true Christian. That is why knowing WHO God is is the first subject a Christian must study and why WHO God is is the determining factor in separating cultic beliefs from Christian beliefs. “Knowing God” is not just another form of Gnosticism. Gnosticism is a “secret knowledge” known only to a certain group. True knowledge comes from the Holy Spirit at one’s prayerful, honest request and thorough study of God’s Word. It is free to all. God is not a respecter of persons.
It has been said that “Fear and faith cannot walk together–it’s like having a piece of gravel in your shoe, to walk with fear. Because God’s Word says it’s impossible to please God without faith, then the only conclusion has to be to get rid of the fear.”
Daniel Brose once said, “Courage is simply fear that has said its prayers.” Pray that God will remove your fear. The very fact that professing people are AFRAID to examine the history, doctrine and moral lives of the workers and original workers indicates that they know that information will reveal their doctrine as false. No one needs to fear questioning the workers or any church doctrine.
Source: Forward Press, Summer 1991
Compiled by Kathy Lewis