Visitors - Come on in and say hello!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dangerous Cult Mentality

I know a few people who have been involved in cults, usually religious ones, and they talk about how quickly one can get sucked into it.

Until the past few days, though, I really hadn't personally witnessed or experienced cult manipulation or recruitment techniques. Yet now that I have, I find that in good conscience, I must ask all my readers of good will and who aspire to holiness to heed the warning of Bishop Lennon who issued the Decree advising of the non-supernatural status of "Holy Love Ministries." Not just because the Bishop said so, but because I see very strong evidence that HLM, if it can't be considered to be a cult yet, is quickly headed in that direction. The warning signs are DEFINITELY present.

Based on information I obtained (and quoted in bold in several places below) from HowCultsWork.com, there are several warning signs that something might be a dangerous cult, a major one of which is the use of Mind Control, which may take several forms. I've chosen a couple that seem to apply to "Holy Love"


1. A normal religious organization would not have any trouble with you moving to another similar organization as long as you stayed in that same religion. Because it is the belief system that matters, not membership in an organization. For example if you were a Christian then you could move from one church to another and still be a Christian.

However cult leaders will tell you can only be "saved" (or can only be successful) in their organization alone. No other organization has the truth, all others miss the mark. So it is not the belief system that decides your future, but it the belief system AND your membership with that particular group.

I highlight this particular section because of the alleged "messages" saying that people MUST believe in the messages or they risk not being saved. Here is one example, among many:


November 10, 2009:
"While the flower of this Mission continues to open and to bloom, drawing thousands to its presence with the fragrance of its grace, there are still and always will be the detractors - the ones who deny the legitimacy of Heaven's Mission here. These are the ones who do not search out the truth but look for any reason to deny the truth itself."

"Heaven does not intercede here to compete with any existing authority, but to save souls - a goal which should be shared with one and all. Those who do not understand this must also not understand that in Heaven there are no labels as to beliefs or opinions. All of that is left behind. The only vestment that follows the soul into Heaven is the Holy Love he holds in his heart. It is man that opposes Holy Love out of error. It is God who calls you to peace through Holy Love."

There are some HUGE problems with this message. First the messenger clearly is using this to undermine legitimate criticism of the claims being made. It also undermines objective Truth, in the second paragraph, opening wide the gates to a warm and fuzzy relativism "believe what you want" as long as what people believe is the "Messages". They also clearly aren't speaking of the virtue of Charity, but of the MISSION of "Holy Love" the fraudulent institution. This theme is found THROUGHOUT these messages and it becomes more and more clear to anyone grounded in actual Truth.

So we see, there is ONE of the warning signs of mind control.

Another example of Mind Control is the use of Character Assasination, which can have different degrees:


2. Character Assassination is used to help create the guilt in you. Character Assassination is a type of false reasoning used by people and groups who have no real arguments. The technical name for Character Assassination is "The Ad hominem Fallacy".

This is what I experienced through some of the followers of the "Holy Love" Cult in Ohio, and the reason I had to go to comment moderation. The commenter commented several times, and along with other commenters from that place, kept telling me "Do not be afraid." They also suggested that I don't know my Faith, because if I did, therefore I must see that there is NOTHING wrong with the Messages at Holy Love. Ignoring, of course, the fact that I cited specific messages and pointed out the Doctrinal errors. He went on to berate me for refusing to publish one of his comments that included a link to a dissident site we both denounce. Because I didn't publish it, he insinuated, then I MUST be giving tacit approval for such a group. Bullying at its best.

Now, to be fair, this was very mild "Character Assasination" but it falls under that heading because they were clearly trying to INSPIRE fear in me that I was doing the wrong thing, they were trying to tempt me into DOUBT that the Bishop might be wrong, and therefore, in their lack of logic, if the Bishop is wrong then I am offending God.

In fact, one commenter stated very clearly that I had deleted Our Lady's words and that I will answer for that at my Judgment.

All I can say is: I certainly hope so! For all the times I have sinned, I will be glad to realize that for once, I actually did something RIGHT!

The basic premise of "Character Assasination" or maybe "Intellect Assasination" is to exert mind control over you, to make you doubt your own intellect, and through their circular logic, or if they resort to it, outright bullying (i.e. you're going to Hell because you deleted Our Lady's words), will, in a person of weak will cause them to give in. In someone with a stronger will but who must ford such tactics constantly, they may finally one day just say, "Oh, fine, if it'll shut you up, I'll go with you!"

Maybe some of you who know people involved with "Holy Love Ministries." Was THAT how they got involved? Did they have reservations but with people spouting propaganda, attacking their legitimate use of logic, attacking their character finally give in just to "shut them up" only to be taken in when surrounded by the crowd hysteria?


OTHER KEY WARNING SIGNS:

Intense Unrelenting Pressure
They call repeatedly. Meet you on campus or outside your work. Trick you into coming for only an hour and then lead you into a long study, meeting or talk. They have to keep the pressure on, otherwise you might snap out of the mind control environment they are trying to immerse you in
While as a blogger I'm a bit immune to such a technique with regard to the HLM fiasco, my guess is that those techniques are going on all over the place in the Cleveland Ohio area, or any area where the "Messenger" goes to speak and see her alleged visions. I will say though that these commenters who bombarded me repeatedly said that I should go there, wanted to press points, continued to quote messages at me, etc. VERY cultish behavior. It's why I refused to post the comments. Seriously, I took a nap today, came back to check email and had SEVERAL messages from the same person!

It's a big red flag that someone associated with that place would care so much that I don't believe in it and think it's bunk. So much so that he was sent to recruit me and turn me to their side. If they weren't a Cult, then they really wouldn't care. After all, if I sat here and wrote up a treatise of why I think the theology of the Baptist church down the road has faulty theology, I can guarantee you no one would care. They're probably just say, "Oh, well, she's Catholic, we don't expect her to agree."

But Holy Love Ministries clearly will tolerate NO DISSENT against their beliefs or messages or messenger. DANGER!

Now, here's a REALLY fun one, and I will end this treatise with a PERFECT example from "Holy Love" herself:

THEY TELL YOU THAT THEY ARE NOT A CULT

This is a preemptive strike against the warnings from friends and family members which they know will come. In fact some cults go as far to tell you that Satan will try and dissuade you by sending family members and friends to tell you it is a cult. When this tactic is used then often a warped form of logic occurs in the recruits' mind, the "agents of Satan" do come and tell them that it is a cult. So since the group predicted that would happen, the group therefore must true! Basically if any group tells you that they are not a cult, or that some people call them a cult, then for goodness sake find out why!

Let me show you a PERFECT example of this from the messages at "Holy Love":

November 18, 2009:

"Please realize that Satan is actively opposing this Ministry. He is trying to transform belief in the truth of these Messages into a forbidden act of disobedience. Do not be tricked, but realize that Heaven is offering abundant graces and fruits here to those who will open their hearts."

"Here at this site Heaven is trying to win the war against evil in hearts. Such an effort should be encouraged by one and all. Instead, it is presented as something to avoid. It is mankind who seeks to destroy. Heaven will not be conquered by Satan's lies. Truth will reign victorious. No one can rule against Heaven's grace."

Although this was written AFTER the Bishop's Decree regarding the unsoundness of the place, it is clearly exhibiting the very form of mind control detailed above. They are inspiring people to DOUBT and DISOBEY the Bishops, but by no means should they disobey the messages of "Holy Love." I actually saw many messages, going back even beyond 1996, that continued to say that Satan would oppose their "ministry" and they shouldn't worry about that. THAT FAR BACK.

It is my opinion, based on this, and more, that Holy Love Ministries is probably a Cult, and it's getting more and more dangerous to souls by the day. It has been working long to exercise mind control over people, and now that there has been a Condemnation from the Diocese of Cleveland on behalf of the Faithful Catholics there, "Holy Love" has cranked up the message-generating machine in order to try to do "damage control."

Use extreme caution, and if you have loved ones involved with that place, realize now why you can't reason with them: they've given over their ability to reason to a Cult.

I'm actually sending this post and my findings to a few Cult Watch groups so they can apply their own expertise and warnings. I may also turn over to them the comments received by the Cult members, which I did not publish, but hold as evidence. What I found to be particularly damning to "Holy Love" was the way these Stepford Wives parroted the messages and slogans of the place. It made my skin crawl.

It occurred to me at Mass tonight how easy it is for any of us to lose our way. But when a place that predatory that disguises itself as an angel of light and pretends to be doing great things, but with a clear diabolical agenda...well...that's just plain scary.

Catholics, you don't need private revelations in order to be Saved. If you stay close to the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion, spend time in prayer each day, read Sacred Scripture, practice virtue, and live your life as a Catholic seeking holiness, you'll be fine. That's what you need. Stay close to Christ.

If ANYONE tells you that you HAVE to believe in this or that private revelation or alleged apparition or risk going to Hell...well...run away as fast as you can. They do NOT speak with the voice of the Holy Spirit.

****************************************************************
Note: The usage of the word "cult" here doesn't refer to its original general context of "worship" but rather, of dangerous mind-controlling groups that prey on innocent people who are probably truly seeking a deeper relationship with God. Dangerous cults take small things, warp them, and exploit the faith of believers, which ultimately ends up pulling them AWAY from God. Or, in the present case of "Holy Love Ministries", it pretends to be Catholic while claiming to be Ecumenical, is heavily controlled by the "visionary" and points to the messages as the idol worthy of belief. It has separated sheep from their true shepherd by, like a mockingbird, imitating His voice through the mouth of a woman who is clearly making stuff up.

"HLM" is either Catholic or is not. If they are Catholic, they are disobedient. If they are not Catholic, they are dangerous to the Faithful who ARE under the loving authority of the Bishop who was ordained and given the authority to speak for Christ. "Holy Love Ministries" can't claim both, and in any case, the Catholics affected are bound by the Sacraments of Oil and Water and the very Body and Blood of Christ...NONE of which can be found through "Holy Love Ministries", a concept conceived in Hell and carried out through the Epic Pride of Maureen Sweeny-Kyle who has declared to her own Bishop, "NON SERVIAM! I WILL NOT SERVE!"

Last words of the Fallen Angels. The beginning of Hell.

*****************************************************************

22 comments:

Hidden One said...

On the subject of them thinking that you do not know anything about your faith... how long until you get awarded that MTh, again? ;-)

Qualis Rex said...

Adoro - I don't think I'm being controversial here by saying people who follow cults are seriously mentally disturbed or simply of low intelligence. I truly believe this is the case of the early Mormon church. The problem is that the offspring of such people can be very "normal", if not intelligent. So, we have a number of Mormons today who are 5th - 6th generation, but nonetheless smart people. They are in a constant battle: uphold their beliefs passed down from generations and maintain their expected place in society or acknowledge it is all a load of sheep-dip, and lose everything. I don't think I have ever met a people who are a) more moral relativists and b) casually use/abuse perscription drugs. Mitt Romney is a perfect example; support abortion when necessary to get into office (no doubt with a wink and a nodd from his churh elders, since the ends justify the means) then change your mind when playing to the wider audience in your party.

shadowlands said...

What does holy lurv think of this scripture then? How do they align it, with their encouragement to their members to disobey their Bishop?

"obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account" (Hebrews 13:17).

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2nd Timothy 4:3-4).

Adoro said...

Hidden One ~ I did respond to the poster, without publishing his comments, and told him I'm in grad school, which makes me VERY clearly see the error of that place. I also told him there is no further reason for him to comment at my blog. ;-)

Qualis Rex ~ If you go to the link above, the site I linked to for the cult explanation/definitions, you'll see right away some mythology about people who get involved in cults.

Really, they AREN'T needy, unintelligent people. Any more so than in the rest of the population. Now, I would be interested in testing that theory on the "HolyLuvBots" but I don't think it would be ethical to get a good cross section of specimens for that purpose. ;-)

Shadowlands ~ They twist scripture in a really weird way. If you scroll down to the origial post on this, or maybe "Diabolical", it might have been the visionary herself or one of her main henchmen commenting. You'll see scripture twisted to cast suspicion and doubt upon the Bishop and the hierarchy of the Church.

And they do it in really non-sensical ways. They have the people there in dissent out of distrust and doubt because "The Blessed Mother" and "Jesus" have told them that the HL mission is more important and that is what they'll be held to account for at their judgment.

It's quite scary. And these people have switched off their intellects and they've handed the breaker over to the CultMasters.

Maureen said...

Re: cult members

Yep, there but for the grace of God go we. People have very strong free will, yes. But they also have plain old human nature, with bodies and psychologies that can be exploited. Perfectly normal and intelligent people can be sucked in by this stuff.

It's a lot easier to shy off at the beginning, even without any good reason you can put your finger on. That's what prudence is for.

Mike said...

Thanks for being a beacon of sanity and good advice. Too often we are told to "follow your heart" rather than "use your head".

Adoro said...

Maureen ~ AMEN to that! Prudence is a virtue for a reason! (Incidentally we studied that virtue in great depth this semester!) I can say that those who back that place in Ohio are greatly lacking in that virtue. And in the virtue of spiritual discernment.

Mike ~ Well, even a broken clock is right twice per day. ;-) I'm with you on the "follow your heart" thing, and of course, I'm a sentimental person. But gotta say...if the heart isn't ruled by the head, you're nothing but a slave to your passions.

Anna said...

Having been involved in HL at one time, I can verify that it is very cult-ish. EVERYTHING is run by the messages. Besides the public messages, there are also ministry and personal messages. If Maureen does not like what you are doing, you will receive a negative message from someone in heaven. If you actually begin to doubt the messages and are foolish enough to make that known, you would be shocked to see what kind of names you could be called, how you are cast as being against Jesus and Mary, how denigrations to your character (by heavenly visitors) are given in messages, etc. Those who leave have been treated as evil and are shunned. Most people who visit and follow the messages have no idea what goes on in the background. In particular, those who could be big contributors or can bring in a lot of believers or priests are given very special treatment and special personal messages from heaven.

Have compassion on the followers - it's difficult to get out of the spiritual darkness. They are often very spiritual people who are looking for personal spiritual experiences, and are afraid to disbelieve because it is at the minimum disloyal to Jesus, and at the worst condemns you to hell if you don't repent.

Anonymous said...

Well, you sure all know how to share your judgmental, sneering, mocking others, catholic faith! It makes your faith look hate filled.
personally I think the catholic faith is a beautiful tradition, but reading a lot of things written over the last week from catholics against HL (Holy Love that is standing for the same things as catholics?) really makes others want to run and join one of the biggest religions in the world. NOT!
from seeing the way "catholics" behave and judge others who believe in the same traditions is scary, you can bet if you spoke out against baptist, luthern or methodists about their so called wrong teachings, they would also stand up and defend their beliefs. Its human nature to defend what we believe in, It doesn't make us any less a child of God.
can you read the hearts of others? you all sound like you know a hearts intention better than God himself.
God is the only judge, better to believe God would do these sort of things then to say he does not, and slander those who believe he will and does, but then, Jesus did say "if you are presecuted for my names sake, REJOICE!!! and I don't believe that was just meant for catholics.
there are bishops against bishops, cardinals against cardinals, priest against priest, within your own churches none can agree. how does that show your unity and love of others you all say you have so much of?
Jesus himself said "where there are two or more gathered in MY NAME, there I AM also. Was this just said for catholics? What about when Jesus said, " I have others NOT of this fold that I will tend to."
thats something to think about.

sincerely,
from one who is on the outside looking in and staying
anonymous only because I choose not to receive your hate mail

Adoro said...

Anna ~ Thank you. Your own witness is powerful. Yes, they DO need compassion. They ARE people sincerely seeking. I don't condemn them...I, with the Bishop, condemn the falsehoods and the lies that lead them out of the Church, or for those who are not Catholic. My heart aches for the people being so spiritually damaged. Case in point: the anonymous commenter who commented just after you did.


ANONYMOUS: Thank you for making my point. Bullying, ad hominem attacks, fallacious arguments, Character Assisination....IT'S ALL THERE! ** APPLAUSE!!!*****

Your accusation about hate mail reflects YOUR heart, not mine.

And the Catholic Faith IS a beautiful Faith...unfortunately if you're involved with Holy Love, you're getting a very very warped view of it. I'm sorry about that.

Londiniensis said...

Just piping up to show solidarity. You have my prayers. God Bless!

Lyss said...

Another observation: why it is so frustrating to "argue" or discuss theological issues with people sucked into a cult of any type is the evident circularity of the arguments. Not only are the arguments circular, but they focus on little, irrelevant details, evading the most important point. Defensive walls go up and ad hominem after ad hominem is lashed out. These are some observations from personal experience...now my question is does anyone have any advice on how to "talk" with those under mind control or who have been brainwashed? or is prayer and calm but obvious disapproval the only answer?

Adoro said...

Lyss ~ I just did a google search on your question, and this seems to be a pretty good summary:

http://www.culthelp.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6&Itemid=5

And of course, it makes me realize that I did everything wrong in my responses to the people who commented on my posts. Then again...I didn't realize I was dealing with a cult at the time.

I also found this link with more info on how to ID a cult:

http://www.spiritualabuse.org/articles/idencult.html

That site in general has a lot of articles from different perspectives, might be worth perusing. It seems that most cult awareness type groups or sites are from Evangelical Christian groups, have found several that call the Catholic Church (as a whole) a "Cult", and I came across one article that was purely based on a model of Christianity vs New Age (new age being the cult). So you'll just have to maybe look around for those articles that apply to your situation. Hope it's helpful!

Nikki said...

Adoro, I am married to a devotee of HL, whom I shall refer to as Noah. You see, Noah and I separated in February, and he moved out of our home. We were married 19 years and have 3 children. He is planning on filing for divorce as soon as the required legal waiting period is up.
Noah has been involved in HL for about 10 years. He employed all the cult techniques in your article, especially the character assassination and intense unrelenting pressure. This resulted in extreme emotional and verbal abuse towards me and the children. We were constantly being told that he had the truth and that someday “soon” we would find this truth out. He finally left the marriage because he was the “head of the household” and I was not being a “submissive wife”. Being submissive to him, meant being submissive to the HL messages and I wasn’t willing to do that. I find it quite ironic that I was supposed to be submissive to his misguided authority, but he is unwilling to be obedient to the Church’s authority. At the counselor’s office he made it quite clear it was over when he said “I will not compromise, Catholics do not compromise”. His logic and reasoning never made any sense, it was usually pointless to try and talk to him.
In May of 2006, “Pope Maureen Sweeney-Kyle”, told Noah that St. Teresa of Avila had appeared to her with the following message “Heaven is asking him to help make the messages available to more people- Praise be to Jesus! I am referring to Noah Nelson. This is a spiritual journey all should know about”. Imagine that! When the cult vultures prey on vulnerable, trusting souls who sincerely love Jesus and Mary, it is hard for them to not become brainwashed. Well, did he ever listen to St. Teresa of Avila. He passed out “HL calling cards” to every person he met, everywhere we went… even as he was distributing the Eucharist at Mass. He worked diligently for their organization most evenings. He would make trip after trip to HL, 8 hours away because “Mary asked him to be there”. If he couldn’t be at the apparition site, he would stay up into the wee hours so he could pray with them. He would spend hours on the phone with them every day forming “emotional bonds” with other women who are also involved there. There wasn’t much room left in his life for his family.
Noah also told our children that I was possessed by the evil Spirit of Leviathan. This is a spirit that works against ministries, and I believe can be found in Jeremiah. I was also told by Noah that I was a Jezebel wife. I am actually a stay at home mom of 16 years who homeschooled my children for 7 of those years. I sound demonic, don’t I?
The priest who works at HL is Fr. Michael Flynn and he is also Noah’s spiritual director. In desperation, before Noah had moved out I called him. I was told that I wasn’t being generous enough. If Noah was being called to this, I needed to pray about how I should be supporting him. I was also told that our marital problems may not be able to be fixed and it might be over.
I could tell you so many stories it would make your head would spin. This cult brainwashed a vulnerable man and he is now doing his honorable best to lead as many souls as possible to Pope Maureen the first. Not only has my family been combusted, but his extended family as well. Our large Catholic community has also been hurt by his obsessive addiction. I am so thankful that our Holy Church has finally come forward with an official decree. I pray that God will heal my family and all those that have been adversely affected by this demonic cult.

Vincenzo said...

Nikki, so sorry to learn of this. I'm praying for you and your family, that you will have the strength to get through this, and that your husband will accept the Bishop's decree and return.

Amethystmenace said...

Qualis,

I'm MENSA-eligible, and I have been involved in cult activity. I think we book-smart people are especially prone to intellectual and spiritual pride that makes us MORE vulnerable to cults, fringe groups, and "secret" knowledge.

Anna said...

Nikki, having been in a similar situation with HL, I would urge you to contact the Cleveland bishop's office with your specific information about Father Michael Flynn. In the past they have done something about things like that. You have my heartfelt prayers.

Amethystmenace, I agree with your premise, especially relative to "secret" knowledge.

Anna

saintos said...

Nikki, God bless you for sharing. I've been around ministry (protestant, now a Catholic) for a long time and have seen this, sadly, many times over. This is a wolf in Catholic clothing. The core of it all, the key is in this "I find it quite ironic that I was supposed to be submissive to his misguided authority, but he is unwilling to be obedient to the Church’s authority." - authority. They now clearly show themselves to be absent of the holy love they claim because true love would not contradict itself and Jesus would most certainly not oppose the authority, his own authority, given to the Church. The enemy is tail spinning once again.

May the Lord grant you grace and peace enough for each day that you and your children face this very real trial and may our Lord have mercy upon Noah, granting him the humility to return to the Church.

Lyss said...

Thank you so much for the links! They are quite helpful!

I read a book a year ago called "Combatting Cult and mind control" i would recommend it if anyone is interested in learning more about methods used in cults.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

As someone who was once in a cultish church, I find HL disturbing. Also, upsetting are the attacks on Bishop Lennon.

Adoro: Thanks for this series.

Bock said...

Holy Love Ministries is NOT a Roman Catholic movement, but is an Ecumenical ministry. The present Pope is also well known for being an Ecumenical Pope! Anyone driving past the Holy Love Ministries can see the sign out front announcing ECUMENICAL! HELLLLLLOOOO!! Therefore, the bishop of Cleveland has no authority over this movement. Zip! Show me where they refer to themselves as "Roman Catholic".

Adoro said...

Bock ~ HE-LLOO! Again, the Decree was issued for the Catholic FAITHFUL to stay away from the place, for that place is spiritually dangerous.

However, I'm interested to know why people who go there THINK it's Catholic and then as soon as the Bishop is mentioned, you all fall back on "but it's Ecumenical." You can't have it both ways. Either it's Catholic or it's not.

Either way, it doesn't matter. The Bishop has spoken to his flock, and he DOES have authority over them, spiritually, for it is the voice of Christ HIMSELF speaking in that authority. Thus, of those members of this bowel movement that are Catholic, they need to get out of the mire and return to the Church.

It's patently obvious that Pope Maureen has created a new religion with her as the head, has borrowed heavily from the Catholic Faith, and has made herself and the messages the idol.

Go read the Decree again. It's not directed AT Holy Love Ministries Cult, but at CATHOLICS.