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REVEAL: The Crisis Line

Preparing for the Future

While you are learning about the ICC and evaluating your options, there a several things you can do to keep the lines of communication open with the ICC member you're concerned with, and prepare yourself for whatever course of action you decide to take. The belief that most cult members come from very dysfunctional families is an urban legend -- cult members come from all backgrounds. There are few families whose communication skills are so good they can't be improved, though -- even good families have problems.

    1. It will help deal with a problem which probably has affected the cult member's trust in their family and willingness to listen to their family's concerns.

    1. Alanon addresses "denial" -- the psychological state of refusing to see or acknowledge an upsetting reality -- extremely well. Denial is also a common problem with cult members and their families.

Remember that the ICC will, as a matter of principle, do its best to minimize the member's involvement with their family and non-ICC friends. They won't leave the member much time to spend with you. If the member lives at home, they will usually encourage them to move in with other members. They may be encouraged to visit home only with their discipler or another member, especially if the local leadership suspects their family might be suspicious about the ICC or considering taking action.

The ICC will probably also discourage the member from pursuing activities and interests that predate his/her membership in the group, unless the activity can be made advantageous to the group. This is both to free up time and money for the group, and to discourage anything that might cause the member to think favorably about people or a period of time outside of the group.

It is your job not to go along with this program.

Fortunately, you have some tools on your side. Since the member will probably be tired and stressed much of the time because of the schedule he/she is keeping in the group, you have the opportunity to become their haven from the stress in the rest of their life. By keeping your home quiet, peaceful, and welcoming, allowing the member to get some extra sleep when the opportunity arises, feeding them some nourishing meals, and not exposing them to quarrelling or disputes, you will make your home a refuge from the struggle and stress of the rest of their life.

You also have something else on your side -- the relationships the ICC member built up over the years before they joined the ICC. The ICC is exciting, especially at first. A new member will probably have more friends than ever before, and an enormous amount of "instant intimacy" with a number of them. But instant intimacy isn't the real thing. When the first excitement wears off, a new member often finds that they are being rebuked constantly for minor things, expected to meet a discipler's often unrealistic expectations, and expected to go on without the same level of emotional support that is given to a new member at first.

When this happens, the instant friends start looking like fakes. Those who have been in the discipling movement know that some of these friendships will be real, but most are not. If a tired, stressed out, frustrated, depressed member sees that their family and old friends have stood by them even though they neglected them or tried to drive them away, the contrast between the fake and the real thing becomes a powerful witness to the possibility that the ICC isn't all it claims to be.

Probably the biggest factor in successfully extricating an ICC member from the ICC is giving him/her people worth returning to. Regardless of what action you choose to take, do your best to see to it that a member has someone and something to turn to when they are ready to leave.

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