NV News Lecture on cults leads to RSE reflections

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NV News Lecture on cults leads to RSE reflections

Unread post by David McCarthy » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:56 am

Thank you Jeff.... :idea:
Lecture on cults leads to RSE reflections
By Pastor Jeff Adams
Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 5:20 PM PDT
Editor’s Note: Today’s column by Pastor Jeff Adams is the first of two. Look for the second installment in next week’s Nisqually Valley News.

This week I am privileged to give a three-hour lecture in a college class on cults.

I’ve had the honor of doing seminars, leading courses, etc. in churches, colleges and universities for many years. It is not something I take lightly, and I work hard to be accurate, relevant, practical and interesting.

The reason I have been asked to serve as a guest teacher is because of my involvement with former members of a local organization that calls itself Ramtha School of Enlightenment, apparently under the umbrella of JZK, Inc.

The leader of this group, JZ Knight, made local and national news at election time in 2012 with videos that went viral, showing JZ Knight making disparaging remarks against Jews, Catholics, gays, organic farmers and more. Many saw it as hate speech.

The official response was that it was taken out of context, and that it was about the Catholic Church molestations and cover-ups. I’ve watched it in context, and it seems like a drunken slur of foul hate speech to me.

Over the years an increasing number of former members of this organization have reached out to local community leaders for help, of which I am one. Many people who don’t even know each other tell eerily similar stories of losing their families, friends, wealth, health (mental, emotional, and sometimes physical), and even their ability to critically think.

I am not the only pastor to whom these people reach out. I just happen to be a pretty visible one.

One of the things that screams out at me as I study to prepare for this lecture is the alleged brainwashing, fear-mongering, and bullying that apparently comes from this organization.

The stories are remarkably similar of people finally “waking up” and realizing they are in what many refer to as a cult. Some try to speak out, but reportedly are told things like, “You created this for yourself” and “You caused this.”

This response is not surprising because this organization has taught things like, “You create your own reality” and “There are no such things as victims.”

So, there is a feeling of a lack of sympathy from a group many leave everything behind to join. There’s this idea of belonging to a community, unless you dare say anything negative about the organization. Then, as I am told, people are ostracized, left feeling extremely alone with a fractured family and former lifelong friendships, and now are pushed away by what they hoped would be their utopian community.

There is also a feeling amongst those who leave the organization that others look down on them and see them as gullible. Some in our community give credibility to their assumptions by saying things like, “People who join such a cult deserve to be messed up. After all, they chose to join it.”

As this organization calls those of us outside their group “the walking dead,” apparently implying we’re worthless in society, they cry “foul” when I try to encourage our community to not see them as gullible (See my column on Oct. 5, 2012, and a letter to the editor that followed from an accused child molester, Micheál Ledwith, who apparently now prefers to use the identity, Miceal Ledwith, as he lives amongst us). I still say to be gracious with those who have joined what I believe to be a dangerous Modern Gnostic (New Age) cult, and try not to see them as gullible.

It jumps out at me that these former members feel alone. They say they were encouraged to leave family and friends to come to Yelm. They say they are pushed away and made to feel isolated when they leave the organization. Then, as they try to reintegrate into their communities and find a sense of normalcy, they sometimes are treated as strange since they joined such an organization.

Sure, it’s natural to wonder what gets people caught up in such a thing as this. I can assure you those who come out of it ask themselves the same question. Most conclude it is well-crafted, carefully marketed, strategically planned brainwashing.

For most it takes years of determination to get their lives back. Some never fully recover. It might interest you to know that people who go through this organization can be diagnosed with PTSD from being part of a group that’s “toxic to their mental health.” Sometimes when this happens, such people become totally dependent on government assistance, which means the rest of us have to pay for what mentally-damaging groups like this do to individuals.

Although I could approach this college lecture with an angle to instill fear in people of such an organization, I refuse. It is my opinion it is a dangerous cult that tries to keep everyone it can under its control using fear and intimidation. I have no desire to appear to be like any cult in any way.

Instead, I will be teaching how to recognize the dangers of Modern Gnostic organizations like this, how to avoid doing anything that may be identified as brainwashing, how to guard against being sucked into such a thing, and how to help people come out of organizations like this.

Obviously, I will be teaching from a Christian perspective because I am a pastor, and I truly believe in what I am doing.

Next week: Gambling, fictional cities and thinking for yourself.

Jeff Adams is pastor for Paramount Christian Church. His column appears weekly in the Nisqually Valley News. Email him at jeff@paramountchristian.org
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Part 2 of 2 on R$E in the NVN

Unread post by Jeff Adams » Sat May 11, 2013 3:12 pm

Major problems found in teachings of Ramtha

By Pastor Jeff Adams
Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 5:20 PM PDT
Editor’s Note: Today’s column by Pastor Jeff Adams is the second of a two-part series on how his lectures on cults have led him to reflect on the Ramtha School of Enlightenment.

In my experience, the Ramtha School of Enlightenment produces a lot of Christian and church haters.

There has certainly been a lot of anti-Christian teachings come from it. Additionally, the idea of teaching people they can become Masters and even Gods is antithetical to the orthodox Christian teaching of being servants and having only one God.

In 2008, a local newspaper in Thurston County had the audacity to print that I had “no problems with the teachings of Ramtha.” Fortunately, that reporter mysteriously moved to a new job out of our area shortly after her misstatement.

For those of you new to the area, let me be clear, not only do I have major problems with the teachings and practices of Ramtha School of Enlightenment, I believe there never was a 35,000-year-old warrior from Lemuria or Atlantis – two fictional cities. Think about it: two fictional cities! That means they never existed.

I’ve put out the challenge before and continue to do so. If Ramtha is real, then let’s have him point to where these cities were, and it will be settled once and for all. Let’s hear him speak one of the many languages he’s learned over the years of which modern historians have no record. Let’s have him demonstrate the amazing fighting techniques he learned as he became this great conqueror. Surely, they would be effective against an average man, today.

I believe JZ Knight, the leader of this organization, is a master at deceit. Why don’t the predictions come true? In 2012 she predicted North Korea would bomb South Korea by the end of November. Of course, the typical excuse ensued, “The timeline shifted.” Nice. That means whatever she says is irrelevant because after it is found to be false, she’ll claim the facts shifted around. See, there’s how you create a reality, just lie.

Don’t children get in trouble for lying? Oh, I forgot. I spoke with a former teacher of RSE children. At least some of the kids were taught, “Never say you’re sorry” and “Never say, ‘thank you,’” because you are Masters. So, why teach them to tell the truth? Why not just teach them to “create their own reality?”

Historically, the organization has allegedly encouraged excessive drinking, smoking, cussing, blaspheming, taking money out of banks and storing it at your property – without locking doors (to lock doors would be to not trust Ramtha’s protection), and even investing in what turns out to be what many refer to as scams.

Right now there’s an event going on that promotes what I believe to be excessive and reckless gambling. People spend loads of money trying to “see the numbers” in order to win. When they fail, they still believe they win if one or more of the numbers is in their losing hand, ticket, or whatever. Somehow, they are still “winning.”

To me this creates addicts. Those who struggle with gambling addictions typically lie about their winnings. They’ll tell you they just won big, but deny they blew a whole lot more to get a small portion back.

If it were true that a thousand or so people from an organization in Yelm are “cleaning house” at casinos and with lottery tickets, casinos and the gaming commission would be all over this. The fact is the house always wins, overall. You may have a nice win, occasionally, but the lottery and casinos are structured to generate income, not go broke. It is the addicted gamblers who lose.

Right now, in my opinion it is clearer than ever the organization that calls itself Ramtha School of Enlightenment is generating more losers.

As always, the local churches, pastors and good citizens of our community will be available to help those in need after they have frivolously and carelessly blown their resources on gambling addictions. We’ll be around when lives are falling apart. We’ll help when good people have been misled, and have needs as a result.

What about these court cases? This organization teaches there are no victims and whatever happens to you is by your own creation. If this organization really believes this, then why ever hire a lawyer or take someone to court? Doesn’t taking someone to court necessarily mean you are claiming to be a victim? And if you believe you have created your own reality, then why sue somebody else for what you manifested for yourself?

My personal opinion is the legal battles are mostly a tactic of trying to maintain a level of fear and intimidation so people will be afraid to talk about their negative experiences.

If it is about creating a positive public image, it’s not working. Recently, a judge ruled no pastoral or doctor privacy privilege applies in a private online support and recovery group of former members of this JZK, Inc. organization called Ramtha School of Enlightenment.

However, he made it clear all members of said group have a privacy protection greater than that – no special clergy or doctor privilege needed. That is huge! He made it clear JZK, Inc. cannot go after personal and private identifying information with the exception of IP addresses. So, it is clear to me former members of this organization should feel a level of protection now.

As a longtime leader of camps, retreats, seminars, etc., I have worked hard to ensure people are not subjected to long meetings, overly emotional or manipulative presentations, sleep deprivation or anything that might be construed as brainwashing. The reason I have been keen on this is because I have witnessed churches, pastors and parachurch organizations function much like brainwashing cults.

Churches have been guilty of similar harmful practices that leave people struggling to get their lives back. May I encourage anyone seeking spiritual advancement, mental wholeness, or emotional well-being, please carefully examine things before jumping into them.

Christianity is not a blind leap into the dark, but rather a conscious step into the light. Dulling your thinking, clouding your judgment, or shutting off your mind in order to understand something is pure foolishness.

Understanding the deep things of life “calls for a mind of wisdom” — Revelation 17:9, as John says of understanding the revelation of Jesus to him and us. Just like you were taught in elementary school, “Put on your thinking caps.” Critical thinking is vital in things such as these.

If you don’t think for yourself, someone else may do it for you and lead you down a very dangerous path.

Jeff Adams is pastor for Paramount Christian Church. His column appears weekly in the Nisqually Valley News. Email him at jeff@paramountchristian.org

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