THE FOREST GREEN: Cult Programming- a survivor's tale    
 Cult Programming- a survivor's tale4 comments
Monday, July 21st 2008, by Marissa A Spencer

You probably didn't know....that I was a survivor... I AM a survivor.

There are a lot of people out there who are struggling with cults of various kinds. Some mask themselves as 'mainstream' religions.. some are way out obvious like the Moonies or the other ones that you can explore information on yourself. I will be providing a list of websites that could help.

It has taken me almost 10 years to recover from the teachings of the organization that I used to hold close to my heart as the 'true church and right way to live". Now that I am free of it I can honestly say I have never been happier or felt freer. I have not lost my belief in good, freedom, love or truth. I merely want to decide on what those things are for myself without the dictation of some religious 'authority'.

I joined this church when I was 12. My sister (who is still in the church) joined and I joined as well because of her for the most part. It was not a bad thing at the time, or so I thought. I was a shy and introverted child and this church pretty much reinforced those things for me anyway. I had a whole list of rules I had to follow and a list of sins... to be afraid of doing... and a whole list of guilts for things I HADN'T done. It wasn't a church that built up the self-esteem of its female members.

Women are basically baby makers and 'help-meets' for their husbands. She cannot go to the top degree of heaven without a man. She cannot go past the angels that stand guard at the gates of heaven without him. Yes, I am sure you have figured out I was LDS...Mormon. The guilt they pile on you causes Utah to be one of the most medicated and depressed states in our country. Teens have a high incidence of suicide there also. Who can live up to the unforgiving perfection requirements?

I love my family that are still TBM (True believing Mormons) and they are welcome in my home anytime. I wish I could say they feel the same. I have resigned, my eldest has resigned... my next older two are resigning the church as well. It isn't easy to realize you lose part of your family when you leave, but that is what happens all too often. I haven't seen my sister except at Christmas for a few years, even though she lived half an hour away. Her daughter I am sure thinks I am going to hell. I want them to know I love them anyway and wish them happiness and prosperity. I forgive them for throwing me away so to speak. It is too bad as I am one of the most interesting members of the family. lol

The church was never a good fit. I was a science major in school and fascinated with nature and the world. Their beliefs never jived with scientific information. When the DNA thing regarding the Native Americans went bust on them a great many NA left the church. Most members who are intellectuals eventually get excommunicated. They don't want anyone asking any questions they can't answer. There is no free dialog. You cannot question any belief or any leader without endangering your membership. One cannot read just anything. There are recommended reading materials, to stray from that is inviting danger (knowledge).

I have no desire to ruin anyone's faith. They should be free to believe what they want. I believe though that they should be more honest with those who belong to the church and those who are joining. What they don't tell you is the biggie.

Joseph Smith's many plural wives.. some of whom were married to someone else when he 'married' them. One wife was 14 years old. He translated the Book of Mormon by looking at a peep stone in his hat. By the way, those plates would have probably weighed 400 pounds. His first vision has three versions... only the third version is the one we know of today. You cannot go to the temple if you do not pay a full tithe. Which means you have to pay to get to heaven so to speak.

Blood atonement was practiced in Brigham Young's time as punishment for certain sins to ensure that person could go to the Celestial Kingdom. It just gets more convoluted and the deceptions pile up the more you study. The oppression I felt as a member was horrendous. I realize now how it stunted my individuality and my creativity and made me less assertive and independent.

The funny thing is that I broke from the church for none of these reasons. I was suffering in an abusive marriage, (husband is much better by the way... but we are separated) which was in part due to his upbringing by an extreme LDS mother and having an inherited mental illness. The church for a long time counseled that mental health issues were due to sin and they would send him to the Bishop. His depression certainly didn't get any better. The window of freedom was my computer. I finally had access to people who weren't Mormon.... and I talked... and I listened and I was saved.

One night over ten years was like a light blinded and seared my mind. I was suddenly aware of everything. All the pain, all the guilt, all the lies. I spent a period of 24 hours in a fire of enlightenment. It was an epiphany of fire. I spent that night talking to a RN friend of mine in Arizona. She was a brilliant and outspoken woman. I thank her for being there for me. When I came out of it I knew I could never go back to church. Not really....I went a few times and felt like everyone there was asleep and I was the only one awake. My children never did like the church that much. I taught freedom of thought at home and I guess it stuck .

Anyway, just wanted to share this. I hope if there is anyone caught in this kind of thing to seek help. I didn't have online support groups like there are now..

I go to [link]

There are other cults to watch out for...


Here is a list from that site.


1. Their leader/s may claim a special, exclusive ministry, revelation or position of authority given by God.

2. They believe they are the only true church and take a critical stance regarding the Christian church while at the same time praising and exalting their own group, leader/s and work.

3. They use intimidation or psychological manipulation to keep members loyal to their ranks. This could be in the form of threats of dire calamity sent by God if they leave; certain death at Armageddon; being shunned by their family and friends etc. This is a vital part of the mind control process.

4. Members will be expected to give substantial financial support to the group. This could be compulsory tithing (which is checked); signing over all their property on entering the group; coercive methods of instilling guilt on those who have not contributed; selling magazines, flowers or other goods for the group as part of their "ministry".

5. At the same time bible-based cults may ridicule churches that take up free-will offerings by passing collection plates and/or sell literature and tapes. They usually brag that they don't do this. This gives outsiders the intimation that they are not interested in money.

6. There will be great emphasis on loyalty to the group and its teachings. The lives of members will be totally absorbed into the group's activities. They will have little or no time to think for themselves because of physical and emotional exhaustion. This is also a vital part of the mind control process.

7. There will be total control over almost all aspects of the private lives of members. This control can be direct through communal living, or constant and repetitious teaching on "how to be a true Christian" or "being obedient to leadership". Members will look to their leaders for guidance in everything they do.

8. Bible-based cults may proclaim they have no clergy/laity distinction and no paid ministry class - that they are all equal.

9. Any dissent or questioning of the group's teachings is discouraged. Criticism in any form is seen as rebellion. There will be an emphasis on authority, unquestioning obedience and submission. This is vigilantly maintained.

10. Members are required to demonstrate their loyalty to the group in some way. This could be in the form of "dobbing" on fellow members (including family) under the guise of looking out for "spiritual welfare".

They may be required to deliberately lie (heavenly deception/theocratic strategy) or give up their lives by refusing some form of medical treatment.

11. Attempts to leave or reveal embarrassing facts about the group may be met with threats. Some may have taken oaths of loyalty that involve their lives or have signed a "covenant" and feel threatened by this.

Refugees of the group are usually faced with confrontations by other members with coercion to get them to return to the group.


1. ABUSE OF INDIVIDUALITY They adopt a "groupness" mentality. They are not permitted to think for themselves apart from the group and only accept what they are told.

2. ABUSE OF INTIMACY Relationships with friends, relatives, spouses, children, parents etc are broken or seriously hampered.

3. ABUSE OF FINANCES Pressure to give all you can to the group. In non-communal groups, members usually live at the lower socio-economic strata, not because of a lower income level, but because they are always giving money to the group for some reason.

4. "US VERSUS THEM" MENTALITY Isolation from the community in general. Anyone and everything outside the group is seen as "of the devil" or "unenlightened" etc. Their enemies now include former friends; the Christian church; governments; education systems; the media - the world in general. Those who are involved with these in any way see such involvement as a "means to an end".

5. ABUSE OF TIME AND ENERGY The group controls and uses almost all the members time and energy in group activities. They are usually in a constant state of mental and physical exhaustion.

6. ABUSE OF FREE WILL They must unquestioning submit to the groups teachings and directions and their own free will is broken. Their "will" actually becomes the groups "will" without their realizing it. This is done either by coercive methods including low protein diets and lack of sleep, or over a period of time through intimidation. Both methods make heavy use of "guilt".


Relatives will say they no longer recognize the person. From a warm, loving personality will come heaped abuse, rejection and feelings of hate. The cult member sees himself as "righteous" in comparison and this comes across in their attitude toward all outsiders.

They cannot see themselves as individuals apart from the group. Some even change their name as a rejection of their former life.

Any time you say anything negative about the group, whether justified or no, it is regarded as "persecution". Any criticism of the individual is also seen as persecution only because they are the "true Christian" or "enlightened" one - not because they, as an individual, have done the wrong thing. However, at the same time they will feel free to criticise whatever you believe, say and do because they are "the only ones who are right".

They lose their ability to socialize outside the group. This can go so far as to not being able to structure their time or make simple decisions for themselves when they leave.

Their world-view alters and they perceive the world through their leaders eyes. They become very naive about life in general.

They are made to feel guilty of everything they did before entering the group and are to strive to be "good" and "worthy" for "eternal life". Misdemeanors are made into "mountains" so that members are in a constant state of guilt for infringing even the most minor rules. Guilt comes because they aren't doing enough; entertaining doubts or questions; even thinking rationally for oneself.

This guilt is piled upon pile with new rules constantly being laid down about what is sinful and what is not. Illness may be seen as lack of faith - more guilt. Emotional illness may be seen as proof of sin in your life - more guilt.


Not all these points will be found in every cult, but all cults will have some if not most of them, although these may vary to some degree.

Copyright 1985, 1991 Jan Groenveld
Internet Address:
Mail: PO Box 2444 Mansfield Q 4122 Australia

Reproduction is permitted only if text is intact. The above identifying information must be left intact.




23 Jul 2008 @ 04:49 by a-d : Every single organized
has a Church that INDEED functions as a CULT!!!.... no matter how "Mainstream" that Church might be!
If they can dictate your thoughts, take your money and throw you out at the Church's whim, then they --by very definition-- are a cult. All of them have two Missions to hold: 1) BRAINWASH > MIND-CONTROL People ( with ALL what this entails, like confusing people, weakening people's trust in themselves etc etc. ). 2 ) To milk people of as much money as possible!
The Mormon Church ,BTW, is also known as "The Other Zion"/ism Movement! Doesn't that alone speak volumes,huh?!... ; )

I never forget the moment when Phil Donahue told on MAINSTREAM TV, on his own Talk-show 1990/91 that he was going to a RCC Survivor "Alanon" . Boyyy, did that open my eyes to a World I had never known anything about!
Not only are these Churches all CULTS; on top of it all they are For - Profit CORPORATIONS...just like American Hospitals and Prisons!!!! RCC is indeed the Worlds OLDEST Corp, officially almost 1800 years old!...
ahhh, U gotta look at this pic!.... very carefully![ ]
Thanks Darling-Gal, for sharing such a painful episode of your Life with us! So very sweet of you!

23 Jul 2008 @ 05:55 by skookum : thanks so much
it has taken me ten years to get to the point where I am no longer afraid.. I resigned before they could trump up some reason to excommunicate me. I didn't want to shame my True believing family members... even if they never speak to me again.  

26 Jul 2008 @ 01:53 by jmarc : Thanks
for the testimony.

I experienced similar with a fundamentalist baptist church in one of the foster homes I stayed with as a teen.
It does take a long time to get over the fear and guilt of splitting from these cults.
It sounds like you made it through the "dark night of the soul" in one piece, which is great.

It's too bad that some of the nicest, most giving people are the ones who get caught up in these things.  

27 Jul 2008 @ 07:15 by vaxen : Thanks skookum...
for your telling a bit of your tale. The whole society we are now living in is of the same ilk. The Kult of government, the hypocrisy of materialism, the warrior cultus... all of it only a refelction of the overall insanity of the world 'society.' May others find hope in your story. You must know that you aren't alone. It is individuality that is being crushed neith the iron heel of conform, conform, conform... vocation instead of education (An inner thing) From the cradle to the grave... lies.

Let freedom ring in every dark corner of this ancient world. Let the dust mites rise up and smite the hypocrites where they lay and let there be an end to the enslavement of this worlds peoples by those ignorant of eternity and afraid to stand there with us because they can't...

Thanks, again, skookum. Bravo!!!  

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