International Churches of Christ (ICC)
While you are figuring out what to do, here are some things to avoid
so that whatever you eventually decide to do will have a better chance
- Don't say, "You're in a cult. You're brainwashed."
Think of how you would react to hearing this out of the blue, or from
someone whose judgment and objectivity you already have doubts about.
You'd probably get angry and quit listening. So will the ICC member.
Be quiet about your reservations about the ICC until you know more
about it and can discuss it, or think about it, calmly.
- Don't say, "You can't think for yourself, reason,
or make decisions." This will just make the member angry, and
it isn't true -- the ICC may have temporarily interfered with the
member's ability to reason about it, but the member CAN
STILL THINK. The whole purpose of exit counseling is to get
the member to think for themselves and start reasoning about their
- Don't argue with the ICC member about the ICC's
beliefs, or criticize the ICC or its leaders in front of the member
or in public. Maintain a friendly, neutral position
towards the group and any of its members you come into contact
with. Rank-and-file ICC members, during and especially right
after their conversion, are warned that, "Satan will use those closest
to you to pull you out of the Kingdom." This is deeply ingrained
in most members, and criticism of the ICC from a family member
will simply reinforce this.
- Don't be confrontational, aggressive, or antagonistic
to the ICC member you are concerned about, or any other ICC
members. Family members or friends who have ongoing problems
with the member should not attempt to resolve those
at this time. Family members who cannot be around the member
without quarrelling should stay away until the member's cult
involvement has been addressed and dealt with. This is not the
time for bringing up lesser issues.
- Don't give the ICC member large sums of money, or
relinquish trusts, bank accounts, titles or property deeds to a
member. It will disappear into the ICC's "World Missions" fund
or just to keep up with the group's "sacrificial giving" standards.
At this point, you may be the only thing standing between the member
and their blowing resources they will need to get on with their lives
after they get out.
Finally, a word of warning. Exit counseling is NOT
deprogramming. Deprogramming is the process of breaking a
person away from a cult using force or coercion. Deprogramming makes
use of tactics such as kidnapping the ICC member, or preventing them
from leaving while visiting the family, and then force-feeding them
information. Even in a relatively benign deprogramming, the deprogrammer
employs many of the same techniques the cult did. Even a successful
deprogramming often leaves its subjects feeling victimized, violated,
and wondering what the difference is between the ICC and their family
or friends. An unsuccessful deprogramming merely reinforces what the
ICC leadership says about outsiders who oppose the ICC.
However desperate you are, please don't make the mistake of
hiring a deprogrammer.
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