Gaslighting: a type of psychological manipulation that sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or individuals with the intention of making them question their own memory, perception, reality, or sanity. By using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction and lies, the manipulator tries to destabilize the manipulated by undermining their thoughts or beliefs. 

A good example of gaslighting comes to mind from my days inside ACMTC. From the get-go when my family moved to Sacramento to join Free Love Ministries (later ACMTC), the Greens and my now ex shoved my thoughts regarding matters of my family and my children’s welfare into some god-forsaken corner, saying God’s ways were higher than my ways, that I leaned on my own understanding, and I listened to the voices of demons that I let inside my head. I needed to repent, resist the devil, and get my demons cast out.

They quoted scripture. “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Prov. 13:24. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt. 10;37.“

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Prov. 3:5

Lila prophesied. “I say, unto thee this day that those who will go on walking in their own understanding and desiring their own will and their own way, I say they are mockers and scoffers and they walk after their own lusts. And I say they shall not have a part in my kingdom.”

Jim taught. “This is not a namby-pamby family church. There’s one of those on every street corner in America. I’m saying that God is sounding His battle cry, and we are called to march in obedience to Him, to lay down our lives for him as he did for us.” 

Steve bullied me. When I shared my concerns with him he’d tell me to grow up.

We were drilled to fight thoughts, feelings, and emotions that were not in sync with the Green’s teachings or preachings, burying any glimmer of awareness, or of who we really were. We learned to doubt and put aside our own “selfish, foolish” thoughts, our lifelines. We sacrificed OUR SELVES—our AUTHENTIC  selves—to be one of Jim and Deborah’s soldiers.

But one huge conflict, one loud thought–brewed inside my head regardless of how hard I fought it, and that was: surely Jesus–loving, merciful  God and all–wouldn’t treat the children like this. 

Deborah re Jim’s 2005 arrest, when he threatened to kill her

Old news (2005), but telling. These are the paranoid leaders of the “army that sheds no blood.” As is common inside abusive cults, the Green’s attribute criticism—being held accountable—to PERSECUTION.

“I (Deborah Green) was out of the room when the violence erupted. I hadn’t seen him with such a violent temper in 35 years. I’ve never seen him erupt in such a way. In retrospect, my assumption could have been based on my fear. But I’m not living in fear of my own husband. It’s been a lack of skillful communications. I’ve made decisions of my own which are probably somewhat equal to his. It’s all because of the persecution, which has been quite a pressure for a number of years.” the Independent, Gallop, NM, 2005.  Full article—> General sense of well-being 

healing begins with honesty

Healing begins with HONESTY, and psychiatric treatment might really help.Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 9.15.52 AM

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now go in shame

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 12.14.46 PM“Now go in shame.”—Lila Green’s words to me after declaring me forsaken by God. I was not the first to be rejected, and certainly not the last. Everyone in there at some time or another was shamed, the more favored less, the less favored more. Steve wrote his letter to me when under the spotlight of shame. My children and other’s were frequent targets of shame, and a child with a problem was a parent with a problem, somehow related to their relationship with God. Something wasn’t right with the parent. Nothing at all to do with how the child was being treated. I had “rebellion in my heart.” We were as disciplined as anyone, and we earnestly sought to please God, but some of us were less fervent, and we just never quite measured up. I saw glimmers of gas-lighting, not knowing what it was or what it was called. I questioned if this was really God. But Steve, my husband, he was Jim and Lila’s right-hand man. He too prophesied, and he had his own power.

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dependence within a cult

Extremist cults—with their encompassing and encapsulating characteristics—exploit the dependency needs of their members. This is especially true of those groups which are communal in orientation. The member’s basic needs—food, housing, clothing, companionship—are provided. In the same way that inmates of prisons and mental hospitals become “institutionally dependent,” members of extremist religious cults exhibit a tendency to surrender their autonomy, their independent decision-making capacity, to the group.”

Ronald Enroth, The Lure of the Cults.

control mechanisms of cults

Cult expert Ronald Enroth, professor of sociology at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, describes the following as the “primary control mechanisms” by which cult leaders keep hold of cult members:

“Sensory deprivation (especially sleep); the severing of all familiar social support systems (old friends, family); removal to a highly structured environment where all aspects of one’s life are controlled; indoctrination by an exclusivistic group possessing the truth; limited access to outside stimulation; diminished ability to think for oneself; the use of fear and intimidation—these are the ties that bind the spirit and cripple the mind.”

Ronald Enroth, The Lure of the Cults,

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