Research * Examine * Verify * Educate * Assist * Liberate
International Churches of Christ (ICC) * Boston Movement * Crossroads Movement

REVEAL: The Crisis Line

Assessing Your Options

By now, you should have a pretty good idea what's going on. If your friend or family member is in the ICC, you'll have almost certainly seen a number of the behaviors and changes described above. This information is scary, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed and unable to do anything productive to cope. A few things to remember:

There are three steps you will need to go through to understand what has happened, and what you can do about it. This applies to current ICC members who are thinking of leaving, to former members who don't know what hit them, and to others who want to help someone in the ICC.

Educate: Research the ICC. Order books, videos, audio tapes, and other materials from such organizations as the American Family Foundation (AFF), Wellspring, and other sources of information about the ICC and other such groups. Read books; watch videos; listen to tapes; dig your way through newspaper and magazine clippings. It is vital that you understand the ICC, either to regain your own freedom, or help your loved one regain theirs.

Often people involved with the ICC will find it helpful to learn about a different psychologically abusive group, perhaps the Unification Church (Moonies) or the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON, Hare Krishnas). Many people, cult members and others, find this helpful in spotting the psychological behaviors common to all cults.

Communicate: Talk with others who have experienced what you are going through. If you are a member thinking of leaving, talk with former members. The reasons many former members have been "marked" are not the reasons you have been given by your leaders; your leaders use "marking" and terms such as "spiritual pornography" to keep you from hearing things they don't want you to know. Especially when you have questions, do not let them get away with this. Talk to everyone you can.

If you are a family member or friend of a member, talk with other parents with children in the ICC, and other brothers and sisters with siblings in the ICC. If you are a friend of a member, talk with others who have had friends join this group.

This type of communication can be very helpful, not only in giving you support and encouragement, but in helping you decide how to proceed.

Debate: Consider your options. You basically have three -- do nothing; plan a private "family intervention", where only those close to the cult member are involved; or hire an exit counselor to do a more formal intervention. Debating your options can be done with help from other parents who have "walked a mile in your shoes," former members who have left the ICC and know what that is like, or an exit counselor.

You will need to determine just how much of an emergency the situation is. If you are a member of the ICC and are still reading this, you are probably at least considering the possibility that something is very wrong with your church. And we probably don't need to warn you about what will happen if you tell your discipler that you've been reading this. Please take your situation seriously -- call someone from the list below and get some support and help.

If a friend or family member is in the process of being recruited, but has not committed to the group yet, you may want to intervene quickly before they are fully drawn in. If a member is showing signs of acute physical or emotional illness, is contemplating a marriage in the group, or is considering some other major life change, that might also justify treating the situation as an emergency.

Most situations are not emergencies, though. A person who is a member and has been for a few months, or a few years, is probably not going anywhere. Unless they show signs of acute psychological problems, such as suicide threats, a few more weeks or months in the group will probably not hurt them further. Since thorough preparation is the key to a successful intervention, you do not want to rush unless you have to.

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