“Masters of Seduction”
I am not a former member, but as an objective outsider, I have felt the conflict and pain for my mother, who was seduced by ICOC.
We live in Nashville and a co-worker of a friend of my Mom’s is a member of ICOC. This co-worker recruited my Mom’s friend and his wife into ICOC. My Mom soon followed.
The initial contact with the cult was full of energy and seemed to be really spiritual and sincere. The feeling of love was abundant. Once my Mom and her friends showed interest in the cult, they were soon on their way. Immediately pursuing their first attendance to the cult were phone calls and visits from ICOC members. It was a common occurance for strangers to show up at their houses and tell them how much they were loved. They mistook this for sincerety when it was pure seduction.
The members of the “Nashville Church” have quotas to meet. They are rebuked by “higher up” members of the church if they do not have a pre-set number of people converting into their church. My Mom and her friends were swept away with all of the “love” and the proof of ICOC’s rightousness in the way that they interpreted the Bible. Soon my Mom and her friends were baptised into the cult.
Out of a sense of duty, I went to the baptism because it was so very important to her. My children were with me, a five year old and a two year old. During the ceremony, which was very long, my children became restless. In light of this, I took them outside for a short break. I am a devout Catholic and the members of the ICOC are very aware of this. When they began to pressure me, I turned the tables on them and told them that no matter what they had done, they could still be saved. I told them that converting to Catholicism was not necessary to be saved, but that following and seeking truth was necessary. These “so called” disciples of Christ proceeded to pursue my two year old and my five year old, telling them of their “children’s church” and all of the fun things that they did and just what my children were “missing’! I blew a fuse! I told the group that was trying to convert my children, just how wrong that they were. I also informed them that any information they felt like sharing could be shared with me and not with my children. My kids both go to catechism each Sunday and my husband and I attend church each Sunday as well. We follow the Catholic doctrine because we choose to.
I didn’t have a problem with my Mom joining the ICOC, because at first she really seemed to have a closer bond with God. However, soon after she had attended all of the mandatory, “bible talks”, they told her that in order to achieve salvation that she must distance herself from us, because we refused to become part of the ICOC. She did distance herself from us and was attending either church functions, bible talks, dinners or dates set up by her “higher ups” and was busy with the cult seven days a week.
About two months into that cycle they told her that in order for her to continue in the “church” that she was going to have to disciple. I have no problem with discipling or sharing faith. In fact, I do so myself when the opportunity presents itself. The difference is that the ICOC presented her with books on how to defend their beliefs and tear down others.
She was also designated with a quota, a number of converts that she must convert in a specific amount of time in order to remain, “spiritually right”. I find this abhorrent. My mom ended up trying to convert family members, friends and mere acquaintances, not in order to bring them closer to God, but in order to keep from being rebuked and isolated from her new found “friends”, other ICOC members. When she didn’t meet her “quota” they began to turn on her. Then it began to get ugly, constant phone calls from them. The calls were less than supportive! Then there were calls to her friends, regarding how she just wasn’t right with God. Calls to work. People sitting in her driveway for hours, waiting for her to get home so they could put just a little more pressure on her.
In closing I have to say that I am thrilled that my Mom “drifted away” from the “church. She did not choose to return to Catholicism, but that is fine by me. She is attending different churches to try to find what is right for her. I think this is great! It took a long time and a lot of guilt and pressure for her to get away from the “Nashville Church”. I am thrilled that she made it.
I am pretty much open to any religion. They all have good points, but the International Church of Christ is not a religion, it is a cult. These people are into mind control and the “church” is set up as a multi-level marketing company. The more people you convert, the higher up you move into the “church”. Eventually, if you consistently convert your “quota” then you are put on “staff” and all of your expenses are paid by ICOC. These people are dangerous.
The whole point of me writing this is to inform people who are thinking of joining ICOC and informing family members of those people that there is hope. Please be careful, they are masters at the art of seduction.