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There has been quite a lot of writing recently on Talk to Action (and today in regards to a secretive political dominionist group known as "The Fellowship" or "The Family"--especially in relation to an upcoming book by Jeff Sharlet (titled The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power--you can pre-order here) which threatens to blow the  "Family Secret" wide open.

Frederick Clarkson here on DailyKos has recently reported on an NBC News report--along with a recent Mother Jones article re Sherlet's book--which give disturbing confirmation to something I've suspected for a time: Namely, that "The Family" uses a particularly abusive "discipling and shepherding" model common in neopentecostal dominionist cell churches.

The abusive tactics could have major implications politically--especially as Sharlet's book has noted that no less than Hillary Clinton is a member of one of the cell-churches linked to "The Family".

A brief history of cell churches and "discipling and shepherding" within neopente dominionist groups

The "discipling and shepherding" tactic known as the "cell church" has a fairly long history within neopentecostal dominionism.  According to research I've done informally on the history of "cell churches", the earliest reference to their use has been with the "Watchmen Nee" and "Witness Lee" groups in China (and Chinese emigre communities) in the early to mid-40s (of note, both these leaders were heads of particularly coercive splits from the Church of God), and the tactic seems to have been especially popularised by Campus Crusade (and other "parachurch" quasi-denominations and recruitment fronts run by neopente dominionist orgs and denominations) and the Assemblies of God (starting with Paul Yonggi Cho in the 50's).

There is some preliminary evidence that cell churches may well have been used in the Assemblies prior to Cho's popularising of them; this includes the use of "cell-church"-like tactics to infiltrate and steeplejack Reformed Baptist churches throughout Eastern Europe in the 1910s and 1920s (and essentially planting the seed for what would become the especially violent "Joel's Army" group "Watchmen At The Walls").

If the use of "cell churches" is confirmed from early on in "The Family" (which has a history dating back to the early 30s--and some rather disturbing and persistent rumours of possible collaboration with American Nazi groups in that period which I hope Sharlet's book can either confirm or deny), that would lend credence to the neopente dominionist movement having invented it early on--possibly initially as a tactic for the steeplejacking of church and state alike.

Cell churches and "The Fellowship"

As I noted in an expose I've done in past on coercive tactics in cell-churches, the neopente dominionist model of "discipling and shepherding"--the very model which appears to be in use by "The Fellowship" nee "The Family"--may be one of the most singularly coercive and harmful tactics ever devised by spiritually abusive groups.

How cell-churches work is actually rather simple--the best model to look at, in fact, is probably the plethora of "affinity schemes" and similar pyramid schemes promoted throughout the dominionist community.

At top, you have the pastor.  Below him, he is "shepherd" over the assistant pastors; these are in turn "shepherds" over the deacons; the deacons are in turn "shepherds" over the small-group managers, these in turn are "shepherds" over smaller groups, and so on until you get down to "home churches" or "cell churches" of around six people, including a "shepherd".

Those of you who are familiar with pyramid schemes and multi-level marketing have seen this before.  Namely, everyone reports to or gives money to the "upstream", and they report to the "upstream", and so on and so on till you hit the very head of the organisation.  (Yes, there's a reason why pyramid-related affinity fraud is so common--not only is it similar to "discipling and shepherding" models, it's not uncommon for pyramid schemes to be promoted within cell churches.)

Though "The Fellowship" doesn't have a pastor per se, there are indications things work pretty similarly.  From a recent Mother Jones article on the upcoming book by Sharlet:

Through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. Her collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that connection. When Clinton first came to Washington in 1993, one of her first steps was to join a Bible study group. For the next eight years, she regularly met with a Christian "cell" whose members included Susan Baker, wife of Bush consigliere James Baker; Joanne Kemp, wife of conservative icon Jack Kemp; Eileen Bakke, wife of Dennis Bakke, a leader in the anti-union Christian management movement; and Grace Nelson, the wife of Senator Bill Nelson, a conservative Florida Democrat. Clinton's prayer group was part of the Fellowship (or "the Family"), a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business, and military leaders dedicated to "spiritual war" on behalf of Christ, many of them recruited at the Fellowship's only public event, the annual National Prayer Breakfast. (Aside from the breakfast, the group has "made a fetish of being invisible," former Republican Senator William Armstrong has said.)

Of note, this is almost identical to how cell-churches operate in the Assemblies of God; often "cells" are segregated by sex, the use of the cell church is explicitly promoted as a "spiritual warfare" tactic, and cell-churches are explicitly promoted as a method of recruitment of people going to seemingly-innocuous affairs.

It's quite possible to herd surprisingly large numbers of people via what amounts to a religious pyramid scheme/"Big Brother Network".  An example is given with Yoido Full Gospel Church--Paul Yonggi Cho's church, which has a claimed membership of over 3/4ths of a million people and which effectively operates as the Assemblies of God in South Korea.

In the case of Yoido Full Gospel, the level of layering is very apparent in the first three layers--Cho at top, and 171 associate pastors and 356 lay pastors (who are themselves supervised by associate pastors).  The number of potential "big brothers" only gets more numerous from there.

And, as it turns out, the primary problem IS with these "big brothers"--just as it is with other kinds of pyramids.

"Big Brother"--not just a TV show anymore

Where this gets especially worrying--in particular in regards to Hillary Clinton's known involvement in a cell-church group linked to the Fellowship--is with the abusive tactics common in these groups.

In fact, the tactic is so abusive that even a number of premillenial-dispensationalist churches otherwise sympathetic to dominionism have commented on how the tactic is harmful if used as directed:

   As we shall see, the cell churches are all pyramid structures where apprentice leaders are carefully trained and monitored but under the headship of another leader and the staff of the church.  Although they claim to be "New Testament" forms, they are more rigid and authoritarian than the traditional structures we have today.  Well known "church growth" consultant, Carl F. George describes his "Jethro I and II" systems (named after a system Moses established of ‘lay judges’).  It starts with the individual followed by the apprentice leaders, cell group leaders leader of ten, the leader of five groups of ten, of a hundred and five hundred.  The flaw here is that the Old Testament form of organization, including the temple and the priesthood were done away with by the New Covenant.

   The Pastors develop a hierarchy clergy and lay leaders into an organization which can be drawn on a chart called a "Meta-Map".  "Skillful use of a Meta-Map helps staff and boards understand how their churches are configured so they can track such critical important factors as where leaders and potential leaders are, where new people are, how visitors are being handled, and where long-term members are relative to more recent members.  A Meta-Map enables leaders to see what happens after everyone has gathered for corporate worship:  Where do they go?  What tasks to they take with them?  What stations in life are they occupying?...Every visual symbol on a Meta-Map represents a leader to be supervised, a training site for producing an apprentice...)  (Carl F. George, "The Coming Church Revolution", p. 246)  Far from being loosely organized and under the direction of the Holy Spirit, cell groups are tightly controlled within the church hierarchy.

   Proponents feel that "the traditional, program-based church cannot contain the coming revival."  (Larry Stocksill, "The Cell Church," p. 17)  The following describes an ideal cell meeting: "Sometimes, in a home setting, everyone will move into the living area and begin the ‘icebreaker’ as naturally as any other topic of conversation.  The group leader poses a simple question (written into each lesson) to which anyone can have a quick or humorous response.  An ‘icebreaker’ is indispensable because it promotes group community as well as opens up the members to sharing...The next component is a discussion of four questions based around a passage of Scripture.  Our groups generally discuss the topic from the previous Sunday’s sermon...The lesson closes with an ‘application’...After the lesson, the group focuses again on prayer and ‘vision.’ (ibid., pp.135-136)   This is hardly a description of a spontaneous "early church" meeting where everyone is free to share what the Lord is doing in their life.  Sharing is okay as long as it relates to the previous Sunday’s sermon.

Again, there is evidence of an almost identical setup in "The Fellowship".  From the Mother Jones article:

The Fellowship believes that the elite win power by the will of God, who uses them for his purposes. Its mission is to help the powerful understand their role in God's plan. The Fellowship isn't out to turn liberals into conservatives; rather, it convinces politicians they can transcend left and right with an ecumenical faith that rises above politics. Only the faith is always evangelical, and the politics always move rightward. This is in line with the Christian right's long-term strategy.

From a recent NBC Nightly News broadcast relating to Sharlet's book:

MITCHELL: Jeff Sharlet lived among Coe's followers six years ago and came out troubled by their secrecy and rhetoric.

Mr. JEFF SHARLET: We were being taught the leadership lessons of Hitler, Lenin and Mao. And I'd say, `Aren't--isn't there a problem with that?' And they would even seem perplexed by the question. Hitler's genocide wasn't really an issue for them. It was the strength that he emulated.
. . .
Mr. DOUGLAS COE: (1989) I've seen pictures of the young men in the Red Guard. They would bring in this young man's mother. He would take an ax and cut her head off. They have to put the purposes of the Red Guard ahead of their father, mother, brother, sister and their own life. That was a covenant, a pledge. That's what Jesus said.

[Andrea] MITCHELL: In his preaching, he repeatedly urges a personal commitment to Jesus Christ, a commitment Coe compares to the blind devotion Hitler demanded, a rhetorical technique that draws sharp criticism.

Mr. COE: (1989) Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler were three men. Think of the immense power these three men had, these nobodies from nowhere.

(Yes, you are reading this correctly; one of the present leaders of "The Fellowship" literally is invoking the totalitarian models of both the Cultural Revolution (in China) and Nazi Germany as an appropriate model of devotion.  He is literally promoting Jesus Christ--and those in the Fellowship who claim to speak for Him--as a cult of personality.)

Tricia Tillian has written a book called "The Transforming Church" which includes a section on the use of cell-churches--and which warns of their coercive potential:

Up to now we have looked at the Church Growth model for change, and the house churches. But now we turn our attention to a different kind of enterprise - the cell church system.

At first glance, there seems little to distinguish cell churches from house churches, and the rhetoric appears to be identical. Both would denigrate the ecclesiastical structures of the old denominations; both would point out the small informal structure of the Early Church and urge Christians to transform their thinking about the way the Church is organised.

But there the similarities end. Christians could be forgiven for believing that cell churches are another method - a commendable method - of avoiding heavy shepherding and making sure that elders do not take on too much authority leaving the church members nothing to do but submit and obey like sheep.

Unfortunately the very opposite is true, for as we shall see, the cell church system is actually designed to enforce stricter obedience to the new order of apostolic government, and to ensure that this obedience is spread to local communities and eventually the entire world.

The purpose of cell churches is to transition the Church as a whole into a new order, to create a radical and ground-breaking reformation that will overthrow the established order and bring into being a pattern of apostolic government and prophetic revelation that will change the thinking of all Christians.

Especially in conjunction with the fact that "The Fellowship" already shows praise for leaders who constructed cults of personality and used tactics of thought reform against their own countrymen, this is especially worrisome.

As Tilliman documents, tactics that would be considered coercive and spiritually abusive are part of the game plan with these groups:

The method being used to change the entire thinking and value system of Christians today (the "paradigm shift" so sought by the leadership) is the Hegelian Dialectic which removes a person's confidence in what he previously believed so that he is open to accept another way of thinking.

As the cell church leadership have realised, this can best be done in a group setting providing love and support, but more importantly to ensure that each person is pressured to compromise his/her established rules or standards in order to be accepted as part of the group and to properly submit to the mentors and trainers set over them.

The aim is not to establish objective truth, on the basis of God's word and the nature of God, whether people like it or not, but to ACHIEVE CONSENSUS.

Group meetings in an informal context are the best place to do this, and that's where the change in thinking is taking place, as well as in the arena of seeker-sensitive megachurches and the revival churches where study is abandoned in favour of music, worship and experiencing God. What little teaching takes place emphsises over and over the need to conform, unite, love everybody, despise rational and critical thinking of all kinds, and agree as one for the good of the whole.

One commentator interviewed for a radio show comments:

"...what the Hegelian Dialectic is – most simply stated as – a synthesising of two opposites and so in a ‘seeker friendly’ church what you would see, is believers admixed with unbelievers and they would synthesise – that is coming to consensus where truth becomes somewhat in the middle; and so basically what happens is the believer ends up moved very slightly away from his original position of moral absolute – the seeker or the unbeliever is moved slightly more towards faith and the people who are doing this movement think that is good enough and eventually they will come to faith through this process. But the thing that ends up sacrificed really is the truth of the Word of God... [Jesus] always taught it factually and it would either convict people or it would not convict people. It was never watered down or softened ..."

["The Purpose Driven Nightmare"]

On the website of Berit Kjos, there is an excellent explanation of this process:

"When the Word of God is dialogued (as opposed to being taught didactically) between believers and unbelievers, with multiple Bible versions utilized (with King James usage discouraged) and consensus is reached – agreement that all are comfortable with – then the message of the Word of God has been watered down ever so slightly, and the participants have been conditioned to accept (and even celebrate) their compromise (synthesis). The new synthesis becomes the starting point (thesis) for the next meeting, and the process of continual change (innovation) continues. The fear of alienation from the group is the pressure that prevents an individual from standing firm for the truth of the Word of God, and such a one usually remains silent (self-editing). The fear of man (rejection) overrides the fear of God. The end result is a "paradigm shift" in how one processes factual information."

[What's Wrong With The 21st Century Church?" by Dr Robert Klenck]

Studies of this concept of the Hegelian Dialectic, and what Dean Gotcher has called DIAPRAXSIS have been undertaken, and you should not be put off by the scholarly nature of this discussion for at its heart is the basic building block of the New World Order. See for example this article on another website: Dean Gotcher's booklet and an overview and summary here: How Diapraxis manifests itself in the Church Growth Movement.

What is wanted by the cell church leaders is experiential knowledge of God in spiritual intimacy, the miraculous, group hugs, laying on of hands, singing and dancing, food, fun and thrills. Bible study, teaching and preaching the Word are downplayed and in some cases derided, and the main focus is on meeting people's "felt needs", relating to one another, "sharing", social activities, psychology, counselling and using spiritual powers to effect changes in the people who attend or who are being drawn to the group. Developing community life is deemed much more important than establishing objective truth in the heart of the individual.

Uh-oh.  To anyone familiar with research on coercive religious groups and other groups practicing thought-reform tactics, this should be throwing up danger signals a-plenty.

Steven Hassan's BITE Model, a generally-accepted map of potentially abusive tactics in religious and business groups, notes some of these tactics rather specifically.  In fact, the tactics used in cell-churches practically cover almost the entire BITE Model list of "red flags", including covering almost the entire Behaviour and Emotional Control sections (this is extremely unusual unless one is dealing with an incredibly abusive group; it is very, very rare that a group will hit each and every single category in the BITE model even if the group IS known to be abusive).  Of note, the tactics described above would also qualify as abusive in lists of thought-reform tactics devised by Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer and Dr. Michael Langone, two of the original researchers on coercive tactics; I've used the BITE model precisely because it is probably the most in-depth model available of coercive tactics used in spiritually abusive groups.

Tilliman goes on to describe the level of coercion in Yoido Full Gospel; she makes a very persuasive case that essentially Cho has an iron fist over his congregation via the use of the extensive cell-church network.

And there's a very good reason why it works, sadly enough.

Evidence of psychological harm in cell churches

Possibly one of the most damning bits of evidence to ever come out re the effectiveness of cell-church groups to essentially breed a hivemind in their members (and that is pretty much the purpose of them) is a psychological study published in the book "The Discipling Dilemma" (which covered abusive "discipling and sheperding" tactics within the Boston Church of Christ, now the International Church of Christ--a group now, along with Maranatha, considered a model of how abusive "Bible-based" coercive groups tend to operate).

In this study, seven groups widely considered to be coercive (Scientology, the Hare Krishnas, the Moonies, The Way International (an abusive neopente group which has had some links with Bill Gothard promoters as of late), the ICC, Maranatha (now Every Nation) and the Children of God (an odd "Bible-based" cult which has had aspects of neopentecostalism and which has had notable issues with sex abuse) were compared with a control group of Churches of Christ not employing cell churches as well as members of mainstream Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches.  

In literally all the cases of known coercive religious groups--including the two groups (Maranatha and ICC) known to use coercive "cell church" models and Scientology (which has used similar models)--there were documented personality type changes based on the MBTI in past, present, and future axes (usually converging on ESFJ, ESTJ, and ENFJ).  In the case of the "Bible-based" groups using abusive cell church models, the evidence was particularly disturbing:

Among the 835 individuals who took all three forms of the MBTI, less than five percent showed no change at all and less than seven percent had the same past and future type. Among the rest, a comparison of past and future types showed that almost 20 percent changed on one MBTI scale, 35 percent changed on two, over 26 percent changed on three, and over 12 percent changed on all four scales, thus experiencing a total reversal of type.
. . .
A second result of this study that must be noticed is that the observed changes in psychological type scores were not random since there was a clear convergence in a single type. Ten of the 16 types show a steady decline in the percentage who came out as that type in the past, present, and future versions of the MBTI. Three transitional types show an increase from past to present and then a sharp decline in the future outcomes. There were three popular types in this study: ESFJ, ESTJ, and ENFJ. There was a steady increase in the percentage who came out with these three type indications in the past, present, and future results Percentages are figured separately for males and females since male and female distributions differ on the thinking-feeling scale. In the past, present, and future results, the percentage of males who came out ESFJ went from 2.58 to 26.37 to
to 54.23 while the percentages for females went from 5.10 to 34.31 to 53.48. ESTJs differ from ESFJs only on the thinking-feeling scale. The percentage of males who scored as ESTJ went from 7.73 to 15.92 to 20.37 while the percentages for females went from 4.67 to 13.81 to 23.04. ENFJs differ from ESFJs only on the sensing-intuition scale. The percentages of males who came out ENFJ went from 1.29 to 4.73 to 14.81, while the percentages for females went from 0.64 to 3.97 to 12.17.

There was a clear pattern of changing from introversion to extraversion, from intuition to sensing, from thinking to feeling, and from perceiving to judging.

(Emphasis mine.)

Generally, someone either has to be very good at faking answers or has to be involved in a group that practices pretty severe thought reform tactics to have a total reversal from INTP to ESFJ.

None of the controls showed this longterm personality change--thus indicating that the practice of "discipling and shepherding", as typically applied in cell-churches, is inherently harmful.  This is the sort of thing that can trigger literal mental breakdowns (and has been well documented to do so in the case of Scientology and groups into "deliverance ministry").

Needless to say, this is very worrying--especially with Hillary Clinton's involvement in the group.  (I would especially like commentary from Mr. Sharlet, if it's not been published in the book, in regards to tactics used within Fellowship "cell churches".)

This is especially worrying, too, not just on a personal level (I am a survivor of a group that did, and does, use abusive cell-church tactics--which is part of why I'm sort of a subject matter expert in that field).  Other reports re David Coe, the leader of "The Family", don't really rest my mind, either.

We hope Hillary Clinton decides to be forthcoming regarding her relationship with "The Family" and in particular the cell-church group linked with "The Family" she is apparently a member of.  It would be good for her to be open about this, or to better yet, disavow the group; secrets regarding "The Family"...are, pretty soon, no longer going to stay "in The Family".

Clarifiation/Edit: Much of my concern re these reports are in part due to my own experiences with coercive religious groups using the "cell church" model, as well as those of others.  Recent reports by Jeff Sharlet in Fred Clarkson's thread do give me some legitimate reason for concern--and, to be honest, for legitimate worry for Hillary Clinton.

In particular, Sharlet has noted in the book that "The Family" may well have been one of the earliest groups documented to use the "discipling and shepherding" model in dominionist churches.  In addition, there is evidence that coercive forms of government (with personality cults that have served in part as models of thought reform to people studying coercive groups in general) are explicitly seen as models to emulate in promoting Jesus Christ as essentially a "cult of personality".

Even more disturbing (and a likely sign they are using explicitly abusive "discipling and shepherding" models), Sharlet has confirmed that the general internal setup of cell groups in "The Family" is very similar to how cell groups operate in neopentecostal dominionist churches and other coercive groups using a "pyramid"-style structure.  Specifically, it would appear that Hillary Clinton is a member of a cell-group (denoted as "friends" within "The Family") but not a group "shepherd" (denoted as "leaders"); the National Prayer Breakfast is in part used to recruit potential "marks" into being "friends"--shepherded as part of cell-church "flocks".

This is especially worrisome.  Generally the "shepherded level" is one of the more dangerous levels, as this tends to be where the heavy indoctrination starts with abusive "pyramid-style" groups.  (To put it in terms of a particularly infamous coercive group with a known "pyramid-style" of recruitment: the "National Prayer Breakfast" is akin to the Dianetics books or the Scientology "psychology tests", the "friends" level is akin to someone who's a Scientologist but not yet in the high levels, and a "member" is an equivalent of the OT VII who's paid the $400,000 to hear about how all one's problems are due to Evil Overlord Xenu and alien ghosts "oppressing" you.)

In fact, "pyramid levels" of knowledge about the group are generally recognised as a potential danger sign in and of themselves by exit counselors (and in fact much of the activities of "The Family" would count as potentially coercive based on the "Information Control" axis of Hassan's BITE Model).  

I'm now honestly worried for Mrs. Clinton. :(

Originally posted to dogemperor on Fri Apr 04, 2008 at 12:24 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar for some soap kthx (17+ / 0-)

    You guys know I never post candidate diaries.  I never, ever do this.

    The revelation that Clinton's in a cell-church group worries the hell out of me, though, just because of what I've seen with cell-church groups (and what little is known about "The Fellowship" nee "The Family".

    Seriously, I feel dirty and I think I need a shower after posting this.  I do think this needs more publicity, and I'd definitely rest easier if Mrs. Clinton gave a statement disavowing the group or stating she got sucked in under false pretences or whatnot.

    After this, we'll be going back to our nice, candidate-neutral diaries.  I promise. :3

  •  Surprised this story hasn't gotten more traction (7+ / 0-)

    It's interesting and I want to know more.

  •  Is it possible that it is true... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dogemperor, Neon Vincent

    ...That "those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it"?

    We The People are the sentinels and guardians of our liberty. Not our government. Not even our leaders. It is our liberty and it is our ultimate job to preserve our freedoms.

    This disturbing video is a constant reminder to me of how fragile our lives and freedoms are, how short our collective memories are, and how easily it often is to recover our essential liberties once lost!

    I don't want to be a foreigner in my own country!
    "Ich bin ein auslander":

    [Disclaimer: No one here or anywhere else that I personally know of is a Nazi, or a follower of Hitler, Goebbels or Himmler, but it is possible that some among us, who are currently in power, or whom are seeking power, could be following their methodology or script, in order to obtain absolute power over us.]

    "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Fri Apr 04, 2008 at 12:51:14 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this writing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    homogenius, Fabian, dogemperor

    The other diary was creeping the hell out of me. It was like stumbling into some conspiracy theorist chatroom.

    If this group is a cult, then they need exposing. But some people around here are treating this group like it's the secret Illuminati controlling everything in the world.

    Realignment (and it feels so good)

    by droogie6655321 on Fri Apr 04, 2008 at 01:33:49 PM PDT

    •  Not only that... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dogemperor

      But everyone keeps posting the same paragraph from Mother Jones about Hillary over and over. I'm not convinced that it's the smoking gun that some are touting it to be.

      I think it absolutely needs to be investigated. And while I realize the Family/Fellowship are highly secretive, I want more proof before I'm willing to watch it hung around Hillary's neck like an anvil before dumping her in the river.

      I don't have a good feeling about this. I don't like using these chuch/state and dominionist issues as just one more bludgeon for the Hillary haters. Let 'em fling poo in their own sandboxes.

      Well fuck it all, I'm still not leaving. I'm too goddamn mean and stubborn to be run off by a swarm of annoying insects.

      by homogenius on Fri Apr 04, 2008 at 01:51:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hate seeing intelligent people (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        homogenius

        ... taken in by conspiracy theories. Ideas like the Illuminati play on a glitch in human thinking. When people get hold of something that makes them suspicious of some far-reaching conspiracy, confirmation bias sets in.

        The end result is no different than smart people believing in stupid ideas that aren't backed up by any evidence. It's no different than young-earth creationism or the people who think the moon landing was faked.

        Realignment (and it feels so good)

        by droogie6655321 on Fri Apr 04, 2008 at 01:59:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It is actually worrisome. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sister Coyote, Neon Vincent

        Waiting for some posted confirmation from Sharlet in another article, but as he has noted, there are multiple levels of involvement in "The Family" (much as there are in other abusive groups with a "pyramid" setup, like Scientology or AmWay).  Based on his writing and my understanding of how cell-groups in general operate (again, I grew up in a group that made heavy use of this), here's where she is likely at.

        At the very base--the "pre-recruitment" stage--would be the National Prayer Breakfast; this is the equivalent of those AmWay "business seminars for entrepreneurs" or Scientology's hawking of "Dianetics" and their "personality tests".  It's the initial bait, and if they catch a mark, they go to the next level.  (Of note, practically the entire US Congress is at this level at least--most, like Obama and McCain, are not past this level.)

        "Friends" (which is apparently the level Hillary Clinton is at) are people who have been inducted into "The Family" but are not yet seen as trustworthy enough to not require shepherding.  This is the major indoctrination phase; in terms of other abusive "pyramid style" groups, this would be the equivalent of the person who's now selling AmWay and attending seminars on how to become a Diamond, or a person who's a Scientologist (but not yet OT VII) and who's joining the Sea Orgs as a way of paying for those very, very expensive "clearing" sessions.

        "Members" are the inner circle of the group; these would be equivalent to AmWay Diamonds or Scientology OT VIIs and above (they are known to be loyal, have thousands of dollars invested, and would pretty well have to start over from the beginning if they left).

        In the terms of a traditional neopente dominionist cell-church, Hillary is at the level of someone who is in a cell-church being "shepherded"--she's past the "recruitment at revival/bogus "talk about God" dinner stage, but isn't quite at the "Member"/"Shepherd" stage.

        In other words, still very much in a bad way.

  •  the most concerning item (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dogemperor

    which makes alot of sense to me is the change particularly from P->J on the Meyers-Briggs test. esp for example that ESFJ's went from an average of 2-5% to 53% !!!!!!!!

    You could give people a little more context on what this means in the diary.

    here is a relevant quotation on the ESFJ type - which kind of explains why we have problems reasoning with people who are members of these types of organizations:

    The ESFJ's value system is defined externally. They usually have very well-formed ideas about the way things should be, and are not shy about expressing these opinions. However, they weigh their values and morals against the world around them, rather than against an internal value system. They may have a strong moral code, but it is defined by the community that they live in, rather than by any strongly felt internal values.

    ESFJs who have had the benefit of being raised and surrounded by a strong value system that is ethical and centered around genuine goodness will most likely be the kindest, most generous souls who will gladly give you the shirt off of their back without a second thought. For these individuals, the selfless quality of their personality type is genuine and pure. ESFJs who have not had the advantage of developing their own values by weighing them against a good external value system may develop very questionable values. In such cases, the ESFJ most often genuinely believes in the integrity of their skewed value system. They have no internal understanding of values to set them straight. In weighing their values against our society, they find plenty of support for whatever moral transgression they wish to justify. This type of ESFJ is a dangerous person indeed. Extraverted Feeling drives them to control and manipulate, and their lack of Intuition prevents them from seeing the big picture. They're usually quite popular and good with people, and good at manipulating them. Unlike their ENFJ cousin, they don't have Intuition to help them understand the real consequences of their actions. They are driven to manipulate other to achieve their own ends, yet they believe that they are following a solid moral code of conduct.

    •  By the way (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dogemperor

      I would love to read a whole diary on this. This is really an astounding study.

    •  And thank *you* for your commentary! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      biscobosco

      As it is, I don't claim to be a complete expert in the MBTI, so having some info that puts this into layman's language does help.

      •  I have some background in psychology (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dogemperor

        But certainly not an expert.

        what stands out from that section is that after going through the church indoctrination, about 75-80% were in these two types: ESFJ(54%), ESTJ(23%) - wheras beforehand, only 10% were in those types.

        Here is more information on the dominant type:
        http://www.discoveryourpersonality.c...
        http://www.mypersonality.info/...

        "group oriented, following rules" - the main thrust is that validation of themselves comes from their group, and meeting the needs of the group.

        here is an overall list of SJ types
        Including the secondary type (ESTJ)
        http://www.mypersonality.info/...

        which includes GWB and Billy Graham in the personality types

        Structure, Tradition, Stability are big things for these types.

        •  Interesting. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          biscobosco

          Again, thanks for your input--this will help a lot in a followup post (yes, I do intend to do a followup post on what this "personality change" stuff actually means, want to do some proper research first of course).

          Mucking about, I found (with the free test, anyways) I tend strongly towards INFJ, which I've heard INTP and INFJ tend to be common among geeks.

          At any rate, the links you provided should be quite helpful--thanks!

          •  myself I seem to move around a bit (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dogemperor

            depending on the test. I am not positive how much credence I put on the online tests, but I did take 2 or 3 at one point, and I always come up NP, so I trust that part.

            but it varies between E/I and F/T - I am more on the border of these two types.

            You might try to find a psychologist who could discuss some of that stuff with you, to help you when you write on this.

            Hey - maybe even the person who wrote the study! if they are still around.... It was done awhile ago.. .

            What is interesting to me, when you read the descriptions is how much this fits into what we talk about when we say "they wont even listen to other viewpoints" or "their logic is crazy, its like they made up their mind, and they only see what they want to see."...

            It is also fascinating how mobile the personality types are in this case.... that the type can change so much based on this experience. that is amazing.

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