What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

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ex-l

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What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post12 Sep 2018

Dr Janja Lalich: "What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?", a presentation following extensive research into the experience of the "Adult Children of Cult Members".

Plenty of resonances here with the experiences of "Adult Children of Brahma Kumari Members [Cultic Group]", children born into the cult who did not join it by choice, but rather were forced into it by their mother's or parent's adherence.

See also; Born or Raised in Cultic Groups or Relationships.

For those of us who have been on the outside of the BKs for many years ... sadly ... what the reseacher reports is not new, but it is handled in an academic manner not done before. Rather than repeat the darker elements of her talk, what she did find was that in almost all cases, what surprised the children was how "nice" people who were not in the cult were ... having been subjected to intense indoctrination about how "evil" they were.

Likewise, in all but one case, the interviewees said, they would
"They would never go back ... not even in their darkest moments.

The most painful moments outside, were better than their time in the cult"

She also reports that the most common sources of help were from ex-member websites, not just of their own cult's but other cults in general; and in most cases, this helped them to recovery.

This is a good reminder and underlines the importance of what we do here.

I found some of the interviews she quotes very touching. A real "been there, done that".

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Pink Panther

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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post12 Sep 2018

Look forward to viewing this later.

Meanwhile here’s a link in another video a few weeks back some may have missed, the topic called" EX cult members answer questions from the Public” from a show called ”You can’t ask them that!” - no narrator, just the ex- cult members talk to camera based o questions written on cards. Some were born and raised in the cult, others joined when young.

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=4011&p=46586#p46586
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Maui

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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post13 Sep 2018

Ex-I ...

You said that, "This is a good reminder and underlines the importance of what we do here ...".

I think saving my life was another ... although I am sorry to say, I still feel like going back sometimes and may; but then, so far, I have caught myself.

I cannot imagine where I would be without this site; I was lost in some abyss until I found this site.

" Thank you" hardly seems enough ...
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Mr Green

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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post14 Sep 2018

Maui we all feel like sometimes I am sure
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Maui

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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post14 Sep 2018

Thank you Mr. Green ... sincerely thank you.

Sometimes I think you all have so very successfully detached, dis-joined, etc. I know that "time takes time" and work. With this site and determination, I have to believe it will end.

Thank you.
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GuptaRati 6666

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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post15 Sep 2018

Maui,

You are welcomed. It is normal to have feelings to go back to the BK ashram. However, the graduate of BKism, the ex-BK does not need to go back and visit the alma mater high school, even for a class reunion
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Mr Green

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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post15 Sep 2018

It'll always be in me to some extent. I am not angry anymore though.
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GuptaRati 6666

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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post15 Sep 2018

Mr. G,

You are right, some of the concepts or aspects of BKism will always be with us. Those parts, which remain with us, however, seem to be universals and are all not unique to the BKs. One example is the concept of reincarnation or The Cycle.

For sure, there is a grand cycle in which many cycles are contained. However, the 5000 year timing by the BKs has not been validated spiritually and scientifically.
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Pink Panther

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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post16 Sep 2018

GuptaRati,

I would disagree with the adjective ”universals". They may not be unique but they are far from universal. Do they fit into a certain bigger set of similar ”possibilities”? Yes. But in the end, what we have as human beings is a gift of reason and proportion (rationality) to ask and consider other possibilities.

From what has been show to work (proven) it seems that, on the cosmological level, Newton’s and Einstein’s theories and those that have developed their work describe it best, whilst on the social and human level, there is a common, basically humanist thread to be found through all the traditions East and West, eg The Golden Rule.

Religions tend to be attempts to provide explanations and guidelines but, lacking or ignoring the proper tools for whatever reasons,they tend to prolixity and appeals to authority as rationalisations. Those who lack the same tools (as I once did) will find their religion's rationalisation ”plausible” so we consciously suspend disbelief and go along for the ride.

Most religious beliefs and communities create a certain social dynamic and sense of manageable unity through loyalty and commonality but in the end they are artificial and deep down I think even the most devoted follower knows this.

The cognitive dissonance or compartmentalisation that goes on is damaging to the psyche, even if ‘belonging’ provides a support in other aspects of life.

It becomes a co-dependency between group and individual and, for the individual who's developed a serious conditioning of dependency it’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy of suffering and difficulties if you leave.

This dynamic of dependency, by its nature, shows the lie behind any promise of ''liberation” whether ”in life” or in any ‘after life”. You cannot develop sanskaras of independent self-actualisation through being dependent and submitting to others.

But, then again, in the case of BKs and many other cults, it is about finding then accepting your place in someone else’s ”kingdom”.
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ex-l

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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post16 Sep 2018

GuptaRati 6666 wrote:For sure, there is a grand cycle in which many cycles are contained. However, the 5000 year timing by the BKs has not been validated spiritually and scientifically.

The BKs' 5,000 Year Cycle of Time has not "not been validated spiritually and scientifically" ... it is so far off the registered of possibilities, it appears to blow the fuses of the minds of adherents.

This is one aspect of the human psyche that I do not entirely understand. How we appear to be quite rational and operate well within small scales but when things get outside of that register, our minds just flip or freeze.

For example, we can be moved to tears by the death of one child in our community, but when we read 500,000 children have died in Iraq due to America's wars there, our mind just feels nothing.

I suspect the BK Kalpa concept was not as 'solidified' in Lekhraj Kirpalani's time as it has become since, and post-Jagdish Chander's influence. I am pretty confident that in the beginning it was just a reference back to Hinduism and Krishna's laast appearance (the BKs believing Lekhraj Kirpalani was Krishna reincarnated). I suspect that in the beginning, it was just such an unthinkable large number that it did not matter, a bit like the Taoist "10,000 things" meaning "everything". And, of course, his primary audience were extremely cloistered, utterly uneducated women, in a relatively uneducated merchant caste.

But now general scientific knowledge within society has grown to strong and large their position is so much more untenable. Explain how every photon and molecule will be moved back into position and raised to its original energy level?

This then sets up a great difficulty, or dissonance, for children being born into the 1930s Lekhraj Kirpalani psychosis "bubble".

It's become a tribal indicator, like circumcision or facial scarring.

To be a BK you must accept the 5,000 Year Cycle. In or Out.

Your logic, your rational understand, must be curtailed or scarred in order to remain part of the tribe. In order to enjoy the fruits of the tribe ... including your own mother's "allowed" amount of love and affection.

How much does BKism interfere in normal parental love and affection? From what age are children of BKs subjected to their "non-attachment" theory?
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GuptaRati 6666

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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post16 Sep 2018

Thank you, Ex-I,

I watched Dr. Lalich's presentation and many of her data detailing the experiences of ex-cult members resonate with me, except the sexual and physical abuse. The verbal and psychological abuse I did experience. There were times after my forced departure from the BKs when I would experience mild anger. I was able to get rid of the anger by meditation, the martial arts, and establish normal social relationships. The anger states only lasted for a year. There was a great soul mate relationship with my fiance and that was also helpful.

Academically, the Lalich research with a sample size of 65 participants is not a randomized clinical trial. It still has generated useful data to any individual young or matured age who just wish to get out of a cult and get on with their true life missions.
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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post17 Sep 2018

GuptaRati 6666 wrote:Academically, the Lalich research with a sample size of 65 participants is not a randomized clinical trial. It still has generated useful data to any individual young or matured age who just wish to get out of a cult and get on with their true life missions.

It's a difficult problem with the soft sciences like sociology. Short of taking 1,000 orphans and sticking them in a variety of cults for 18 years, it's difficult to imagine how one could do a "proper" experiment. I suspect she actually did very well just to find 65 adult children of cult members willing to talk in the first place, as - in our experience - individuals coming out of cults often just don't want to revisit the experience or are in a difficult situation with loved ones or family still in the cult. It also takes time to process the experience.

Then, I think, a secondary problem would arise;

Is there a "type" who comes forward to speak out, and others who don't
Are there stereotypical degrees of reinvention require by exiting members at different times within their exiting process, and so on.

A critic might say, "you don't hear about good news (eg people who think they had a good experience and benefited), you only hear about the bad news".

Lastly, Lalich briefly mentions the other problem in this area of study, that of a network of professional "cult apologists"; academics who lend their title to defending the cults and defusing the moral outrage surrounding them. They've gone to court, and influenced government and police, with agendas I find difficult to understand making cults look no so bad ... and even turning the criticism against cult victims.

They tend to portray cult victims, and their experiences, as unreliable witnesses and cults as "baby cultures" that we should observe, nourish, allow to grow because - just may be - something good might come out of it.

I suspect their motivations are unacademic; either simply financial, personally motivated from an unconscious point of view, or - initially - as a counter-reaction to the reactionary Christian Right establishment that at first turned on cultic religions as alien anti-Christian cultures. In short, challenges to the exising order.

I remember one specific example, Dr Eileen Barker in the UK, argue how, "we should not be looking at cults to criticise them for suicides, but examining cults to see what they do in order reduce suicides". A fair enough point to the extent that we don't know very much about actual statistics and how they compare with "normal" society, however, I'd find it difficult to accept that we should all adopt BKism and its beliefs, or any other whacky cult's, just to reduce suicide levels.

None of this, however, helps the children - adult or not - who grew up within a cultic bubble and then - at some point later - burst out of and were left to find their way in an often harsh alien world.

I see it as a kind of second 'birth shock', as they out of the 'psychic amniotic' sack of the cult into a world they are unprepared for.

I only joined the BKs at around 20 years old and spent a relative short - but intense - time within them. All the same, I can say that I felt strangely out of place and other worldly and 'left behind' after I physically left. There is a difference between 'physically leaving' and 'psychically leaving'.

The hardest part, perhaps, was not being able to explain to my peers what happened or where I was during my "lost years", not having shared the same experiences as them.

What we should examine are the real and actual values that children are subjected to within BKism, e.g.
    denial of healthy personal intuition,
    the utter neglect of the development of rationalisation and logic,
    the withholding of love and affection on behalf of the parents and the transfer of it to Senior BKs or "Baba",
    the tendency of suppressed feelings and passive aggression,
    dependency on magical thinking etc.
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Pink Panther

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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post17 Sep 2018

ex-l wrote:I remember one specific example, Dr Eileen Barker in the UK, argue how, "we should not be looking at cults to criticise them for suicides, but examining cults to see what they do in order reduce suicides".

This was a point I was arguing against in a few recent posts in this and other topics.

It is not unreasonable to ask whether a method that prevents worse outcomes is so bad. But it is also reasonable to question whether it is the best standard to judge a method by. You might say ”Yes, but is it the best thing for them going forward or, like an addictive painkiller, is it a case of being the inferior but more profitable treatment?”. Is it enhancing full recovery or preventing that? Is it keeping the patient in a chronic, dependent condition, to be milked for ”profit", as we find in some profit-driven health systems? ?

Yes, some people join a group for help in countering negative experiences in life, childhood trauma for example, to find a crutch, a structure that supports them.

There are many Western BKs who’ve discussed their abuse as children with me. The number surprised me, a high ratio out of the BKs I knew, so how many overall? (we know a lot of abuse was never admitted to or reported).

Then there are many who have all kinds of emotional or psychological difficulties who find refuge and a way to deal with things (even if it is avoidance).

BK lifestyle and practices (like many religious practices) are their own kind of CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) - when you identify a certain response or a certain situation, then do this or think this, make this habitual.

The problem is, as previously mentioned, you are replacing one addiction or compulsion with another. Is this the path to ”liberation” ?

Whether they are better or worse than when they first joined the group is an irrelevant question. That’s now done, past. What next?

The question is threefold:
    1. Is staying with this ’treatment” the best thing for them in future?
    2.What the ‘group' is providing the person, is it what they first promised or is it changing, a way to keep people involved so as to benefit the group? ( I know naturopaths who’ve kept ”milking” patients for decades! They feed off the patients’ need).
    3. Is the group they’ve joined aiming to enable the person to move forward and not need the group any more, to be independent, or to become more dependent on the group?
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ex-l

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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post19 Sep 2018

Pink Panther wrote:I know naturopaths who’ve kept ”milking” patients for decades! They feed off the patients’ need.

I'll leave this discussion open for others to respond to but I wanted to pick up on this element.

Recently, I've come to wonder whether the entire structure of Freud's psychotherapy, and all its derivative, have not just got "good business model" built into them, rather than addressing patients' needs. Based as it was, arguably, on a rabbinical model, and see all formal religions as social businesses themselves.

I would certainly encourage any ex- or exiting BK to go into therapy with their eyes wide open and not start from a position of 100% trust, or indiscriminately "suspending their disbelief", as we were encouraged on being enculturated into the BKs.

Then, to add to what you are saying, arises the question of whether the "easy" method actually makes us weak and perhaps a little bit of adversity is good for the soul.
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GuptaRati 6666

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Re: What Can We Learn From The Children of Cults?'

Post23 Sep 2018

Pink,

I accept your point of view. I should have used a better word than universal. In many cults, including the BK culture, there is not much or any room for thinking out of the box. There is too much time dedicated to completion of tasks in short deadlines, including the time lines for the world to end of for transformation.
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