In my last post I suggested that we are locked into spiritual abuse by the desire matrix that freely flows within abusive groups; groups whose subliminal goal is to suck us in, mold us and conform us to their Utopian image. Such a desire flux usually emanates from the group’s most ‘God-like’ member, often the founder or senior leader. Once we absorb their infectious desire we gradually morph into little clones of the anointed one, further transmitting their psychic energy around the group and to the outside world beyond. Such a network of transmissions quickly gives birth to a group desire as our individual desire bonds are reinforced and reflected around the group. Over time we become little mirror images of each other in the bonded community or family of faith.
Once such a dynamic is present in a group, the level of subliminal control can be raised a notch as each member mistakes their leader Model’s desire for that of their own. Remnants of our old individual desire are now suppressed in our lower unconscious, popping up occasionally but quickly misdiagnosed as the flesh or the Satan, the destructive elements of our hell-bent pre-group life. As long as the leader or God Model keeps desire stream flowing, the group generally tows the psycho-spiritual line; at least until, a young pretender emerges from the mimetic discipleship process to challenge and perhaps replace the Model in question. But more of that in my next talk.
In the day-to-day life of the group, whilst subliminal desire locks in unsuspecting members another chain is added to maintain group cohesion and therefore any abusive control present. Simply put, both the leader Model and the group need a story, a metaphysical narrative of mythic proportions. On such a foundation or base story a philosophical world view or paradigm can be erected; one that cleverly hides the groups deadly desire exchanges in a quasi-logical protective, coating.
The group story is usually based on the early life events of its founder, especially on their initial encounters with the Divine. Often the unsuspecting, young future Model has a spiritual experience that somehow sets them apart from their religious peers. They appear as a shining light in the midst of a dark and apathetic religious sky. A beacon of hope for those fed up with dull orthodoxy, those hungering for an experiential contact with God. Strangely, the embryonic Model’s Divine encounter may in fact be genuine, yet the wounded psyche of the chosen one in question, quickly reinterprets it to protect themselves from further psychic pain and rejection. Perhaps starved of parental love as a youngster, the gifted individual feels a call to act as a spiritual parent to all who will listen. In the desert of religious nominalism such a fledgling apostle, prophet, pastor, or teacher doesn’t take long to gather a following of fellow seekers.
But why is the Model’s early life important to the group’s identity and narrative?
As the founder, the one who emerged, John The Baptist style, from the dry, religious desert, is seen as God’s parental figure, one from whom to receive nurture and genuine spiritual nourishment; a Moses of sorts to lead the seekers out of the religious ‘land of Egypt’ to the group’s ‘Promised Land’. Their mythic-like ‘calling’ narrative is the bedrock upon which the group’s future God narrative is built. Of course both Model and flock would insist that their view of the Divine is based on Divine revelation, whether Scriptural or Spirit directed, yet the interpretation of such revelation is channeled through the Model, the one who appears somehow closer to God. The authority granted to the Model through their personal myth now sets them apart to discern and teach Truth for the group. Amazingly, the willing group of listeners does not always comprise a membership with a low-level of education. Paradoxically it’s often a highly educated follower who lays aside their own take on spiritual or religious issues to sit under the authority of their charismatic Model. In my own case most of my fellow group members had university degrees, and jobs within the mainline professions, so it would appear that intelligence is not a defense against the deadly desire matrix and its God cover story.
So what of this teaching?
The theological niceties of the teaching that the group is regularly exposed to, through sermons, literature and personal one-to-one counseling sessions are many and varied but usually have a common sociological message that runs something like this.
1) God started this group.
2) God continues to back this group
3) You have been chosen by God to belong to this group.
4) You are therefore special and indeed privileged.
5) God has appointed the leadership of this group
6) If you doubt the leadership of this group you are doubting God.
7) If you doubt the Scriptural message delivered through the leadership you are also doubting God.
8) If you leave this group, you are walking out on God.
9) Such a departure may have unspoken, eternal consequences
This subliminal or sometimes overt message is commonly peppered with multifarious religious words that add to the apparent orthodoxy of the group’s beliefs and practices. No religious, nor indeed spiritual word is ruled out of the groups vocabulary.
‘Grace’ , ‘Love’, ‘Family’, ‘Covenant’, ‘Brothers and Sisters’, ‘Faithfulness’, ‘Service’,'Spiritual Discipline’, ‘Children of God’, ‘Mission’, ‘Outreach’, ‘Prayer’, ‘Spiritual Warfare’, ‘Satan’, ‘Fasting’, ‘the Flesh’ etc. are all added to the group’s linguistic psychic mix, with their interpretations and practical out workings as defined by the group’s leadership.
And so the scene is set for abusive control.
At times, the Model subtly pulls the group’s mimetic desire strings by a demonstration of their own ravenous levels of metaphysical hunger. Zealous preaching, prayer, weeping, special acts of rededication etc. acted out on in the public forum usually has the desired effect viz.the lukewarm flock are drawn back into the Model’s desire field, one cleverly disguised as a desire for God.
At other times, the Model abuses their followers by means of theological mind control, reinforcing the revelations that lock the faithful into a God, who is fickle with His Love; one who constantly needs appeasing through increased devotion to the group and of course to the Model. Dedication to the Divine is misinterpreted as dedication to the group, providing the Model with a large shepherd’s crook, one willingly used to keep the flock together; a flock that coincidentally maintains the Model’s career path within the world of religious enterprise.
In my next post I’ll look at how we can make a break for freedom; a freedom that, contrary to the group narrative, leads us into a genuine experience of Divine Love and personal authentication.
Dylan’s Author page ~ https://www.amazon.com/author/dylanmorrison