common characteristics of cult leaders

Good article below by Randall Watters regarding characteristics common to cult leaders. Here’s a snippet.

“Their ego and sense of self-importance swells, and they lose all accountability to anyone else. They see themselves as the only ones truly doing God’s work.

Their sense of righteousness and their simplistic black and white mentality cause them to wage war against the agents of the devil; i.e., outsiders. The followers are indoctrinated with a persecution complex and a deep sense of paranoia towards the world. They will finally only trust and obey their one leader or organizational dictates. They have a righteous cause, which tends to alleviate their own consciousness of guilt and failure, and this becomes a drug that insures their continued obedience with a fanaticism that no logic seems able to dismantle.

The Bible is written to them and about them, indeed it cannot be understood without them in mind. The cult leader practices various forms of mind control over his followers, including control of their thoughts, their emotions, and their behavior, as well as restricting what they are allowed to read or listen to.

Cult leaders keep their followers so busy that they do not have time to return to previous, more intuitive and natural ways of thinking. Such ways of thinking are now seen as worldly or “of the devil.”—>Source: Profile of a Cult Leader |

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Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 8.27.14 PMGaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.  Wikipedia

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 mamby-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, and in this case, our lifelines. We sacrificed OUR SELVES—our authentic selves—for Jim and Lila’s militant, vengeant god.

But one huge conflict—one loud thought—brewed inside my head regardless of how hard I fought, 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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10 Signs Your Church Is Actually A Cult | Dust Off The Bible

“The greatest threat to power are followers who have the will to follow their own thoughts and instincts. In order for a cult leader to have the ability to keep a grip on the cult he or she must be able to disseminate instructions without being questioned. In many cults any type of questioning of authority gets presented as the questioner being possessed by demons or that they are purposefully trying to cause division. This drastic method is taken against the free thinker because the entire basis of having a cult requires followers who are willing to do just about anything for the leadership. Without this power, the “group think” can slowly drift away from the leader and the group could completely leave as a whole. This is often how cults start to begin with, group think.Spot on!”

—>Source: 10 Signs Your Church Is Actually A Cult | Dust Off The Bible

Ex-Members Describe Military-Style Christian Sect Now Accused of Child Abuse – NBC News

Article from August ’17.

—>Source: Ex-Members Describe Military-Style Christian Sect Now Accused of Child Abuse – NBC News

Jim’s smirk, and the real story

Jim’s smirk in the courtroom scene below when the prosecutor says “a member escaped” was actually a reasonable response: I didn’t escape. Jim’s wife Lila (AKA General Deborah, or “God’s Prophet”) excommunicated me, and changed my name to Forsaken, as in “forsaken by God.” She handed me a dingy cotton sack-dress with a black scarf, and told me to wear them “when in the presence of God’s soldiers”, and to wear them “with shame.” Shortly after, Jacque (AKA Rachel) experienced something similar, God’s wrath, her name changed by Lila to Barren, her new garb a hospital gown.

Most mornings Bernie gave us orders for the day. He’d knock on the bare wood door and yell, “time to go to work!” Sometimes he’d knock as early a 3 or 4 AM. We sawed wood, we washed houses, painted houses, washed the camp vehicles, wheelbarrowed rocks, pulled nails, shoveled dirt, cleaned garbage cans, swept sidewalks, raked and picked up leaves. For 3 months when we lived in the shed we were given peanut butter sandwiches only to eat morning, noon and night, delivered all at once, usually in the morning, in a plastic bread bag dropped outside the shed door in the dirt. Some days nothing lay there, and on those days we fasted without complaint. We knew how to fast, and more than anything we wanted to please God.

Lila instructed everyone in camp to turn their heads away from us if they saw us working on their holy ground, and to have no compassion for us, as “God Himself had none.” “They’re mere cleaning women,” she said. “They’re not one of us anymore.” They called us “women set aside,” and later “prisoners.” Lila prophesied that if we failed to “fully repent,” and be “completely broken,” that we would “dry up on the vine,” and be cast in hell to burn forever—anathematized. This was our last chance to get it right. Our hope depended on our dying to ourselves, hushing our own internal dialogues, our own thoughts too shallow for the likes of God: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LordAs 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 

Jim’s right though, we could’ve left, we weren’t physically locked up. Fear of Lila and Jim’s God is what kept us there. We were prisoners under God’s wrath. 

—>Source: Attorneys argue over the bond for a religious leader accused of child abuse, kidnapping