Michael Langone, director of the International Cultic Studies Association and editor of Recovery from Cults, defines a cult as:
“a group or movement that, to a significant degree (a) exhibits great or excessive devotion to some person, idea, or thing, (b) uses a thought-reform program to persuade, control, or socialize member (i.e. to integrate them into the group’s unique pattern of relationships, beliefs, values, and practices), (c) systematically induces states of psychological dependence in members, (d) exploit’s members to advance the leadership’s goals, and (e) causes psychological harm to members, their families, and the community.”
Whatever happens to you, it is your fault. Leave your critical thinking at the door. Tell your doubts to no one. However much you do, whatever you have contributed to the group, it is never enough. Never criticize management, they are the ones that provide God's will for you. Those who have been in an abusive group, religion or cult know those tenets by heart.
Acquire the Fire. Global Expeditions. Honor Academy. These are all trademarks of the group called Teen Mania led by Ron Luce. This group exclusively targets Christian teens with promises of making them Soldiers of the Cross. They promise college credits for attending their summer and leadership training programs, but when students go to transfer their credits they find out that most colleges and universities will not accept their credits. They actively search for children with a passion for God and then betray that yearning with their quasi-Biblical blathering and abusive mind control tactics. Part of the "training" is called Gauntlet Week and has been referred to as part Marine Boot Camp and part Fear Factor. Some young people have spent as much as ten years and more trying to get their minds back. Although kids have to spend over $8,000 for the summer program they still must work over 80 hours a week to earn their keep.
One young woman said "While being an intern, I confessed to a woman in leadership that I had been nearly raped when I was 17. I was told that my impure thoughts had made it happen. I also confessed that I had masturbated on and off through my high school years and this woman in leadership told me that because of my doing that to my own body, that I had caused this man twice my age to attempt to rape me. She told me that I might always be sexually scarred and never be able to have a healthy relationship with a man unless I continually asked God to forgive me for touching myself and for making a grown man touch me."
There are more than 80 stories from young people who have been abused at the Recovering Alumni Website and I encourage you to read them so that you can get a good idea of the abuse that occurs there. You may be able to help keep a young person from making a terrible mistake. Here are a few excerpts:
Please watch the MSNBC show "Mind Over Mania" with four victims of this cult.