Introduction: A parent of a teens’ apologetics class at church asked me to give my testimony (below) of being raised in a cult because they are teaching the teens the importance of doctrine and being able to ask questions to expose bad doctrine. This is the presentation given to the apologetics class.
In 1897, in the small town of Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, a man by the name of William Irvine began preaching a radical new message to the people there. He dressed rather oddly, so oddly in fact, that people called him and his followers “the Tramps.” He required the men to wear beards, brown underwear and old clothing.
The women had to wear straw hats, black stockings, long dresses and shoes with thick heels like boots. Newspaper reports said that they didn’t smell good either. He mocked people who dressed well. He said, “Fine linen, white collars and silk handkerchiefs are the marks of a man going to hell.” In fact, he talked about hell quite a lot. He didn’t mention sin or salvation as much as he talked about the need of “giving up all and becoming poor.”
He said it was wrong for the clergy to receive a salary, take collections or require a tithe. He said that one must become “poor and homeless like Jesus” had been in order to be saved and to please God. He said it was wrong to call men priests, reverend or Father. He used the words worker, brother worker or sister worker for the preachers’ titles. Yes, he believed in using women to promote his beliefs and spread his fame. There are about twice as many sister workers as there are brother workers.
The leaders, or workers, as we called them despised education and said that education was what produced scribes and Pharisees or the “wise and prudent.” They didn’t encourage the development of musical talent because they said it was worldly. And of course, they scorned seminaries, Bible dictionaries, and commentaries. Christian books were forbidden. The workers are professional guilt producers. If you don’t live up to their expectations you are shunned, preached at, talked about or disfellowshipped.
They have little pity or sense of humor. Oddly enough, even though these people sold all they had to become workers, they had no pity for the poor and needy. Usually, all the funds from the sale of property were given to the head workers. They didn’t believe in giving to the poor, the homeless, orphans, or widows….They considered themselves to be “the poor”. They spurned what they called “a loaves and fishes ministry”.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Ideas have consequences”? Lies always affect two sets of people: the ones telling the lies and the ones who believe the lies. We began to see that this way of life was affecting our children, especially our teenagers. They had to live a severe lifestyle that was mentally backward and yet attend school with children living in a different era. It was having disastrous results for lots of professing children.
I was helping at the Junior High and the elementary school in an effort to watch the environment there. The only thing that I observed was that the reading teachers couldn’t spell well and the librarian was reading inappropriate books to the grade school children. I knew that if anything bad happened to any of our children, I would not have the coping skills to manage it. I loved my children with the fierceness of a mother Grizzly bear.
We didn’t approve of the 2×2 secret society but we believed we had to live this way in order to stay out of hell. God intervened to answer my prayers in an unusual way.
It was probably 1982 or 83. At that time we were living in Vancouver, Washington. A man by the name of Dr. Henry Moore was asked to speak at a school function. The parents, volunteers, and teachers were meeting with Washington State legislators to discuss various educational issues because the legislators and public schools were planning to eliminate the home economics classes from high schools. The teachers wanted parents to express support for the Home Economics Classes as being important for all students: girls and boys.
Henry Moore had been a professor at Stanford University and had done a thesis for his Ph. D. studying the long-term effects of the Head Start Program which had been offered to lower-income and immigrant families starting in 1965 as part of the war on poverty. It was a Government-funded Day Care center that attempted to teach children to read and write at an early age.
Copying socialist beliefs, government planners believed that it would be better for children to be raised by professionals and for their mothers to go to work. Think about it….the government wanted to eliminate programs which teach homemaking skills to teenage girls because they wanted to intervene in family life and take children away from parents at an early age in order to put women in the workforce. And that is what they did.
Dr. Moore’s lecture was like spitting in the wind. They ignored all that he said. Dr. Moore spoke at great length about how emotionally, mentally and physically damaging it was to children to be separated from their mothers and family at an early age and the results were recorded in his book titled Better Late Than Early and another one titled Home Grown Kids. He was the pioneer in the Home School movement and later Greg Harris joined him in his lecture series.
I was fascinated by what he had to say. To make a long story short we started homeschooling our youngest daughter, Jeanne when it was still illegal in the state of Washington. She had been very unhappy in the public school and begged to be able to stay at home. She was in the first grade when we first learned about it so the following year we began a new life experience. To our surprise, the workers were very much against homeschooling.
This seemed contrary to their many statements against formal education. I couldn’t understand their viewpoint but it alerted me to the fact that there was something they were hiding from us that they didn’t want us to know.
Christians we met at homeschool events accepted us as Christians, not knowing that we actually knew little to nothing about Christian beliefs. Their friendship and the things we learned through the years eventually saved our souls.
It took us five years to figure out what was the matter with the Two by Two beliefs. And at first, we didn’t even know there was anything wrong at all. We had begun to notice that the workers showed no interest in teaching or obeying the Bible, except for about two or three verses of it. They ignored the children and the welfare of Two by Two families. The meetings were all about the workers; not Jesus.
There was a big discrepancy between what was said and what was done. There wasn’t any published information about our group available in the United States. And that made the group seem ancient and mysterious. There was no way to research its background. There was no name to research. And of course, the workers wouldn’t ever tell us the truth because most of them knew less than we did.
We had never been told what our history or doctrines were, so it took years of talking through each issue and listening to Christians on the radio, reading Christian books and talking to other Two by Twos. We didn’t even know what the word “doctrine” meant until just before we left the group. And we didn’t see “The Secret Sect” book until just before we left meetings.
The reason why it took so long for us to figure it all out was the factor of mind control. Mind control is not that hard to achieve. It starts with believing lies and illogical fallacies. All it takes is to isolate people from information and friendship with people that disagree with or counterbalance the person or people in power. The difference between mind control and brainwashing is the method used.
Mind control is accomplished through friendly subtle persuasion which turns into abuse. The isolation is slowly achieved but eventually can be noticed by the fear, guilt, intimidation, abuse or crimes committed by the one in control.
Brainwashing is done against one’s will by an enemy who uses violence, threats or fear.
We left meetings in 1988 when our older son, Gary and his wife, Merrilee, came to us one night and said, “We are leaving meetings this weekend. We are going to give our testimony in meeting and tell them why we are leaving.” Gary, too, was suffering from the cult. He had internalized his emotions and it was harming his health. He was thin and very pale. We knew we had to make the same decision.
We had been talking about leaving for quite a while. Don was 44 and I was 43 years old. We knew we had to honor the Lord by putting His Word and His Son before our own parents and all the people we had known all our lives. It was a difficult experience but we were rewarded with a joy that can only be called euphoria. I felt like I had lost 100 pounds and was 10 years younger!
The Lord has blessed us in so many ways ever since. All our children became Christians but our parents and siblings stayed in the cult and refused to listen to us. Don’s brother became a Christian about 19 years later. One of the best things that ever happened to us was the Home School movement and the friendships we made during that time. Our family life bonded on a much deeper and more spiritual level. Through our daughter, Jeanne, we met many wonderful Christian families who helped us understand scripture. Spiritual abuse can be a real problem even in good doctrinal churches.
Legalism and confusion can happen inside the church if people do not understand the meaning of certain words and Bible verses or the practical application of them. This is why Bible study is so important. Families can be harmed in the same way we harmed our daughter and son. We were harmed as well.
The Holy Spirit transforms us into the image of Jesus, not people…That was what the 2x2s were trying to do….usurp the role of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. They were producing unChristian religious clones.
A person does not just leave mind control situations at the drop of a hat and suddenly become normal overnight. It takes about ten years to become normal and that is with the Lord’s help. Your brain chemistry and logical reasoning ability is harmed by unscriptural rules and guilt imposed by humans rather than God. Some people never become normal.
Deprogramming used to be in the news during the 1980s because there was so much trouble with different mind control groups like Scientology, Moonies, Hare Krishnas, New Agers, Rajneeshies and other Indian Gurus. Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and Islam are obviously mind control groups. Witchcraft, Darwinism, and Marxism are others.
But most of the deprogrammers gave up on the project because they were being sued by the different cults.
There is only one place I know of that counsels such people:
Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in Albany, Ohio. It was founded by people who had escaped a mind control experience and then went to school and got training in how to help others.
Remember, mind control also occurs in other settings besides religion. It can happen in boy/girl relationships, in schools, through the media, in government politics, street gangs, organized crime syndicates, work settings, business, and families whenever people abuse others or manipulate them with lies, threats, intimidation, fallacious reasoning, guilt, blackmail, physical or emotional abuse.
Right now the slave trade is still operating, even though it is illegal. Children and adults are being kidnapped, lured, bought and sold as slaves in Africa, Thailand, China and other places. It is even happening in the United States in the back alleys and streets. And think about how the abortion industry works…. in the same fashion.
It isn’t exactly mind control in the sense of controlling every aspect of their lives; but they tempt or lure girls and women into sexually promiscuous behavior, and then manage to trick them into killing their own children by deceiving them into thinking that babies are not babies, just blobs of tissue. They promoted their plan in every public venue possible.
It started in the public schools as a debate topic. I was in high school at the time and remember how shocked people were at the topic. It was no accidental choice of topics.
The National Debate Society chose “Abortion” for High School students and College students to defend and debate. Every public school debate team had to debate it. Of course, Planned Parenthood had all the arguments for abortion and no one had ever thought about it before, so there was no information against abortion.
Planned Parenthood has very strong allies in the public school system. It had almost been inconceivable to consider abortion prior to this. But it only took about 4 or 5 years and the whole thing went like clockwork. The very first time they put it to a vote, the law was changed.
Via the media and the public school system people had become convinced that the problem of child abuse could be stopped by abortion. Yeah right!
Like murdering helpless babies is more humane than spanking them for disobedience!? I think Oregon was one of the first states to make it legal. Beware of what the media tells you and beware of the media’s messages. There are hidden agendas to capture the unwary.
The love of money is the root of all evil and promoting evil is one way of making a great deal of money.
Jesus Christ sets us free from sin and from bondage of all sorts. If we have Jesus we are free indeed when we believe, understand his teachings, meditate on them and obey them.
By Kathleen (Munn) Lewis