Cult members: help, forgiveness
The Boston Globe, 3 June 2003.
Thank you for Farah Stockman’s May 17 front-page story on Thomas “Kip” McKean’s organization (“A Christian community falters”).
I have been counseling people injured by their affiliation with this group since 1982. Recently I gave a lecture at Beth Israel Deaconess and a nurse came up to me afterward and told me how she had problems for 10 years after leaving this cult. Unfortunately, most mental health professionals have not received specialized training in how best to address the psychological problems of people involved with cults. This woman said she went to a therapist for help for years and she was clueless about mind control issues.
Most therapists hear the name Church of Christ and think of legitimate denominations such as the United Church of Christ or the mainline Church of Christ. It doesn’t occur to them that there are destructive mind control groups that masquerade as legitimate.
The Rev. Buddy Martin, then a minister at the Cape Cod Church of Christ, now relocated to Texas, has been speaking out against this cult since it began in 1979. Also, as Stockman noted, this group has been kicked off college campuses for the harm it has done. Its methodology of deceptive, manipulative recruitment and indoctrination has caused tremendous harm. I have met hundreds of people who have been turned off to religion because of their experience.
Now there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who might be leaving this group and can use all the help they can get, especially from family and friends.
I encourage family and friends of members of this group to reach out and give forgiveness. These people didn’t join a cult to hurt the people they love; they thought they were following God’s will. Now many realize they were just following a man.
STEVEN ALAN HASSAN
Freedom of Mind Resource Center Inc. Somerville