Thursday, April 30, 2015

University of Arizona Investigating On Campus Religious Group

This article provides an excellent understanding of what is going on at many universities around the nation.

Click here to read the full article.

Important quotes:

"The Arizona Daily Star interviewed 21 former employees and church members — most of them UA alumni — and nine of their parents. Their stories include reports of hitting infants with cardboard tubes to encourage submission, financial coercion, alienation from parents, public shaming of members and shunning of those who leave the church or question its leaders. Some say that since leaving, they've spent years in therapy for panic attacks, depression, flashbacks and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder."

"Moore says his self-esteem hit rock bottom after he joined Faith Christian in 2000 at age 17. Church leaders' criticism and authoritarianism caused him near-constant anxiety during his five years as a member, he says."

"They get their members to believe that any questioning, any scrutiny, it's the devil," she says. "I want to get my son out of there. I want to do whatever I can to prevent other families from letting their children get in a situation like this."

"Faith Christian is open about its goal of converting college-age youth, asserting in a 2012 YouTube video that "19 out of 20 people who become Christians do so before the age of 25."

"The UA wasn't previously aware of what the Star's investigation found, Vito says. It doesn't monitor groups for signs of trouble, but relies on formal complaints related to current students. Former Faith Christian members say the way the church operates makes that difficult because the church often tightens its grip after students graduate."

"You don't know yourself at the end," says Alfred, who left in 2009 after nine years. "You don't know you're in a cult until you leave. Pretty soon, you're at the point where you can't make any decisions."

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