Comparisons and resemblances

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proy
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Comparisons and resemblances

Post by proy » 30 Jul 2007

One of the most striking discoveries for me since leaving the BKWSU, and reading posts on this forum, has been the similarity of the BKWSU and all the other NRMs and cults I have looked into.

The most recent example of this came when I looked up some information about the Bruderhof after a friend of ours', who was one of the first of the Bruderhof brothers to go to Paraguay, died. I remember his saying that he was not allowed to contact his wife, who was still in the Bruderhof commune, after he himself left.

Looking around on the internet, I saw that there is an information war going on, similar to the wiki-wars of the BKWSU, where the Bruderhof are trying to silence all criticism from the ex-Bruderhof people. Who are in turn asserting their First Amendment rights to free speech. I will copy and past three short extracts from an academic study of the Bruderhof here and then you might want to have a look at the ex-Bruderhof web site, KITfolk, for yourself.
Julius H.Rubin, Professor of Sociology wrote:In March 27, 1997, CBS New magazine 48 Hours televised a report critical of the Bruderhof, broadcasting this piece together with a sensational breaking story about the Heaven's Gate religious suicide. As background to this news story, The Malek Group, a Manhattan public relations firm then contracted by the Bruderhof, had contacted CBS in October,1996, urging 48 Hours to film a short piece on the beauty of Advent and Christmas at the Bruderhof. I received a telephone call from the executive producer who had just returned to her offices in Manhattan following a visit to the Woodcrest Bruderhof outside of Albany, New York. The news crew taped a Christmas musical program with Cardinal John O'Connor in attendance as the Bruderhof's 350 voices united in four part harmony to celebrate Advent. She told me that she found the performance transporting, moved to tears by their simplicity, unity, and joyous religious brotherhood.

The producer demanded to know how I had the audacity to criticize this group or to associate their spirituality with depressive illness. "Why are you their enemy? Why do you oppose their commitment to Jesus?" she demanded."You know nothing about this group and yet you persist in attacking them!"This harangue continued for thirty minutes until she had vented her anger. The Bruderhof had supplied her with my name and telephone number, characterizing me as an "enemy." The Bruderhof leadership had urged CBS to contract me and KITfolk, apparently, believing that the national media might effectively discredit my work. I urged CBS staff to investigate a variety of news sources both critical and supportive of the Bruderhof when they researched their story.
The Bruderhof strategies in dealing with KIT and academic critics first attempted to quiet them by private persuasion or manipulating the media to discredit them. When these efforts failed, the Bruderhof mobilized the Internet, and influential friends to bring pressure upon the media to retract critical stories and apologize. When these efforts proved unsuccessful, the Bruderhof began a series of lawsuits intended to punish their critics and to prevent the publication of my book.

'You Do Not have Permission to Study Us'

(interview with two Bruderhof corporate spokespersons, Yale University, October 24, 1995)
The contested narrative of the Bruderhof and their critics is neither new nor unique. American religious innovation in the past two centuries has fostered the emergence of a seemingly unending diversity of sects and utopian experiments from the Second Great Awakening in the first decades of the nineteenth century until the counterculture of the 1960s. New religious movements, formed in response to ethical prophets who have proclaimed that they serve as the instrument of divine will or as the emissary of a transcendental other, have institutionalized their charismatic messages, actively proselytized, gathered new converts and issued challenges to the wider society. Not infrequently, public controversy, contested narratives, and litigation result. The charismatic origins of the Shakers and Mother Ann Lee, the Mormons and Joseph Smith, the Oneida Perfectionists and John Humphrey Noyes, and Christian Science and Mary Baker Eddy, are four groups from a list that could include many lesser known sects. Each exemplifies the common theme of contested narratives, public controversy, and conflict between true believers and critical outsiders.

I would be most interested to hear of any other comparisons that members of this forum have found. It seems to me that there are many common veins running around all of the NRMs and cults.

To find and investigate these resemblances has been very enlightening for me. I see how the BKWSU are not alone in their techniques and attitudes.

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Jeovah's witnesses

Post by alladin » 30 Jul 2007

Hi Proy! It's good for us all that you find time and interest to investigate on resemblances and share the results on the Forum! thank you!

I heard an interview few months ago on TV about the Jehovah's Witnesses who exited and the innumerable problems their leaving created; the threats and restrictions in contacting members once you left, including within a family, in case some are still adepts and some no longer are.

I am sure we could discover more about that. I have to prepare some document on "hypnosis", so that will be my priority, promises are promises, especially to a tribe! :wink: BTW, Eugene and whoever has been posting on that topic, I need full good wishes to overcome my "laid-back-ness" and get down on it with my small but time consuming contribution!

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Re: Jehovah's witnesses

Post by proy » 30 Jul 2007

alladin wrote:I heard an interview few months ago on tv, about Jehovah's witnesses
The greatest resemblance I know of concerning the BKs and the Witnesses is, of course, their failed predictions of Destruction. The Witnesses predicted Destruction of the world in 1925, and again in 1975. The reason they gave for it not happening was that the Witnesses themselves had not made enough effort, so they were to blame. This reminds me very strongly of the many times I heard in the Avyakt Murlis that Destruction will only come when the BKs have made enough effort. Purified themselves, recruited enough new "Brahmins", etc. So "God" or his messengers were never wrong in their predictions according to both the BKs and the Witnesses. It was always the individual members of the organisations who were to blame.

Here are some possible similarities with another organisation. More people who were told that they are "special".
Kathryn Tropp Barbour wrote:Were we special? That is, were we in People's Temple more progressive, caring, humanistic and revolutionary than others? We were often told we were. I found it easy to believe. It seemed obvious, in fact, and was reinforced by the reactions of guests and visitors who all seemed inspired by our ardent integration, impassioned focus and seeming unanimity of purpose. It won us many friends and effectively steamrolled any potential doubters and detractors among the observers.
As to any remaining illusion of specialness, it must have been jettisoned immediately after November 18, 1978, as condescending, if not ridiculous or even repugnant, as we scrambled for footing in the outside world we had once scorned. My informal tracking showed an almost uniform relaxation into previous habits, patterns, learning/earning ability, and political involvement as was true prior to our Temple lives, with some notable exceptions. And since my own conversations with some have indicated their politics are now the polar opposite of mine, I ask your tolerance and theirs, to inquire once again, were we special? Were we made special in those years spent under Jim’s teachings?
I’d love to see a forum where we could share our current attitudes, opinions and takes on life today. One starting point could be the question: “Has the effect of 11/18/78 affected your desire to participate in political advocacy?”
Source =Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple

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The End of the World Cult: Michael Travesser

Post by proy » 19 Dec 2007

I watched this documentary, which I had recorded, last night.It was chilling to see. Especially when the end of the world did not come and the cult followers were still ardent believers.
.The End of the World Cult Film Clip

"Michael" (not his real name) set a new date for destruction near the end of December. This has now also passed.
Religion News Blog wrote:[Documentary to be broadcast on Channel 4, UK, Dec. 12, 2007, 10pm]
Michael Travesser says he’s the Messiah and that God has told him the world will end with an apocalyptic event at midnight on 31 October 2007.

As leader of a cult in a remote corner of New Mexico called Strong City, this 66-year-old former sailor, previously called Wayne Bent, has spent nearly 20 years preparing his 56 unquestioning and devoted followers for Doomsday. They say they are all preparing for death, to go to a better place.

In this Channel 4 programme, filmmaker Ben Anthony goes into the heart of the cult to discover how Michael exerts his influence. He hears teenage girls talking about desiring sex with their leader, discovers that this sexual activity extended to Travesser’s own daughter-in-law, and meets parents who have left the cult and are desperately trying to prise their children from his grip. Strong City has come to the attention of the FBI, who are keeping a watchful eye on the group.

As the programme delves into the world of Strong City, Ben Anthony asks whether Michael Travesser is about to lead his cult to suicide. Will this be another tragedy like Jonestown or Waco? Or is Travesser just a skilful manipulator, who undermines his subjects before convincing them that he is the route to all wisdom? Our world did not come to an end on 31 October 2007 – but did theirs?
Self-styled Messiah Michael Travesser is at that awkward stage right now that many religious cult leaders go through.

The world was supposed to end on October 31 this year, and conspicuously didn’t.


British film-maker Ben Anthony visited the group’s settlement in New Mexico as they prepared eagerly for the end and found Michael and his weird, bony-looking followers surprisingly willing to chat.

Michael’s two female companions stare at him with a demented intensity. But what’s most disturbing are the children - almost all girls - who have been brought up in this cult and then left there, even after their parents realised Michael wasn’t the Messiah, but a 66-year-old former sailor called Wayne Bent.

Then, as Ben hears about a ceremony that called for seven virgins to help Michael mark the end of the world, his film takes an all-too predictable detour into the cult's sexual nature and the hold Michael has over his flock.

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seeing the wife

Post by sparkal » 19 Dec 2007

In case the opening few lines of this thread are taken the wrong way, BKWSU does not stop people from seeing their wives. People may stop themselves from seeing their own wives.

Teachers should not be teaching such things, if they are, which I doubt. What they think however may or may not be something different.

Every principle is, or should be left to the individual to administer themselves. In future, with laity, this sort of thing will be impossible to administer, if it IS going on in the first place. There are differences among the different cultures also.

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Re: seeing the wife

Post by proy » 19 Dec 2007

sparkal wrote:In case the opening few lines of this thread are taken the wrong way, BKWSU does not stop people from seeing their wives.
The resemblance between the Bruderhof and the BKWSU that I was highlighting was the attempted suppression of free speech by the Bruderhof, which was being fought over by ex-members of the Bruderhof in an attempt to assert their first amendment rights to free speech.

This is a resemblance which has been highlighted by attempts by the BKWSU to silence the members of this forum.

Looking back it seems as if my post was predicting the future, considering the legal wrangle over the domain name of this site.

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The world did not end...now what?

Post by tete » 19 Dec 2007

OK, the world did not end, but the film maker is reminded of one of our favorite stories here: The Emperor's New Clothes.Chapter Two: OK, let's get the writers, and those handy scissors over here to re-write the history of our group ... :shock:.

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