Cult recruits speak of ‘control’

Cult recruits speak of ‘control’

This is Lancashire, 30 April 1999

An ex-member of a dangerous Waco-style cult has spoken of her experiences with the group – compounding the fears of a Preston woman who believes she has lost her daughter to the group.

Former cult member Sarah Martin spoke to the Citizen after we revealed the Manchester Christian Church, part of the International Churches of Christ, was operating in the Preston area.

She said the group, who targeted her as a student, ‘condition fear of other people into members’ to ensure they are under the control of the group bosses.

Her revelations about the group match the fears of Denise Dixon, whose daughter vanished from her student digs in Preston a year ago while she was at the University of Central Lancashire.

Sarah, who asked us not to reveal her address, said: ” There isn’t a physical danger in joining the group, it is more of a mental or emotional threat.

“They indoctrinate their members to the point where they begin to fear the outside world, so they believe the only ‘real’ safe place is when they are part of the group. Students are urged to believe that their families will try and kidnap them so they can be ‘deprogrammed’ against their wishes.

“This group takes full advantage of this fear once the recruit has been ‘installed’ as a member.

“I can say from experience that they go about in a very calculating and systematic manner.”

Once a member, victims are alienated from their family, something which has concerned the family of students at the UCLa.

Pauline Dixon’s family say she became detached from her family and began acting strangely shortly before her disappearance – in keeping with the behaviour of cult members.

UCLa students are being advised to contact the university’s multi-faith centre if they are approached by the cult.

Bill Turner, centre co-ordinator, said: “I would advise people who are approached by anyone who seems to be excessively enthusiastic about religious beliefs to check out the organisation and find out what is involved in terms of freedom and rights.”

Back to other media reports about the International Churches of Christ.