Challenge of the Cults

Foreword

This latest addition to our ‘Knowledge and Enlighten-ment series of publications expresses our paramount concern for the integrity and wellbeing of the traditional family unit.  The family is finding itself increasingly beleaguered in a seething sea of cultural chaos inimical to its welfare and, indeed, it is not beyond possibility that the conventional family is threatened to such an extent that it may not survive.

One threat comes from the rising tide of cultic sub-culture and it is with this particular aspect that this publication concerns itself.  Our objective in publishing this information booklet is to stimulate dialogue between therapists, to awaken the social consciousness of those who are indifferent to the impact of cultism and to arouse the interest of prospective supportive families.  We want every concerned citizen to be better able to comprehend the cults, their appeal and impact.  The objective is to educate and forewarn young people contemplating joining any one of these cults and to provide knowledge and understanding in dealing with those wishing to re-enter the society to which we owe loyalty and allegiance.  We want also to enlighten and help the families of those who come to us for advice, help and ‘healing’.

New Zealand is relatively isolated and, as yet, has not experienced the full flood of cultism, but the rising world tide is already lapping at our door and it is only a matter of time before exponents of cults descend upon us like vultures swooping upon carrion.  They will be experts in their own field, who have picked the bones clean elsewhere and to whom we appear vulnerable and inviting; they will not miss the opportunity presented here where complacency reigns.

They have been at work in the more populous centres of civilisation for some time, challenging our old traditional ways, establishing systems more compatible with their own alien standards.  The vanguard has been here for some years and already there are a number of centres of potential infection, well-disguised and hardly recognisable for what they are under their plausible and pleasant fronts.

Some, simply having their own axes to grind, are seeking our hard-earned dollars, but they are primarily hustlers of the minds and spirits, even the souls of men.

They are the con-cultists, the pseudo-religionist carpet-baggers hawking comforting creeds to the credulous and vulnerable.  They may be hark-line sellers from the USA wearing $500 suits or they may be subtle, ingratiating so-called ‘gurus’ wearing cheap alien robes.  These saboteurs of the senses armed with an understanding of human nature, are arriving in constantly increasing numbers, aided and abetted by unsuspecting locals hoping to fulfil their own needs, quirks and drives.

They appear as missionaries of enlightenment having landed on some primitive shore; they come to teach us what everyone else in America, Europe and elsewhere seems to know, but of which we are unaware.  They tell us about our minds and bodies, how to eat properly and how to avoid stress in these most stressful times, how to live longer and relate better to those around us.  Granted, this is quite valid, but why import it when even better varieties are produced here at home?

It is no doubt the appeal of the exotic, for even the indolent Kiwi has come to realise that the apparently accepted norm – mutton and spuds, smoke and drink, racing and rugby, women, the telly and worry – is neither a healthy nor a rewarding one.  We do not object merely on the grounds of this appeal, that would be unreasonable; what is objectionable is what lies behind the words, the intent behind the pleasing presentation.  We have considerable experience as observers of this phenomenon.

One cult already established on our shores proclaim a Resident Messiah, but this appears to lack local appeal.  More attractive are the growing cults of the Phantom Deity, this Being is apparently, either dead or holed up somewhere in India or Tibet.  His pictured presence is everywhere on their premises and he is quoted incessantly, as is in his own domain, the Resident Messiah.  The disciples of these cults are excessively humble, pliable and obedient, ready to do anything for those they worship except, of course, think for themselves.

The home-grown products exist and display considerable entrepreneurialship and if we search diligently enough, we will find a father-figure, a disciple or a ‘trip’ to suit every disillusioned young person, so abundant are the spiritual hucksters.  As a rule the Eastern philosophies attract the younger people because they present a picture of exotic glamour combined with a discipline and structured lifestyle not present in their own home environment.  Purveyors of peace and passivity from the West are more likely to attract the middle-aged in whom the fires of life are diminishing and while little harm may be done by these, nevertheless in opting for placidity they also accept apathy, thus denying society the active and positive help they might otherwise contribute.

This is the outline of the background to the cults with which this booklet deals.  An explanation is given as to why some young adults are vulnerable to the appeal of cultism, while others are not.  If family life is threatened, if it is falling apart then we must understand why, for it is not sufficient to deal with that which threatens it alone, we must restore stability and resilience to the family unit.  It is a fact that vulnerability to cultism is engendered and cultured within the family, the threat comes from within rather than from without.  We do not have to attack the cults to dismiss their threat, we have to restore health and wholesomeness to the family circle.

The cults flourish in the sub-culture of the New Age Movement, but here we must tread warily for there is much that is good and desirable in this sub-culture; much that should be encouraged to flourish.  The problem is to separate the plants of goodness from the entwining weeds of evil, which unfortunately all too often have the greatest appeal.  It is to be hoped that those seeking to capture reality in its truer, more universal aspect, will be able to avoid the sharks and sea snakes that swim in the waters of New Age inculcation.

So, if you are young and idealistic and find yourself attracted to any particular charismatic personality or to a school or centre, step back and view it in the light of what is said in this publication.  Use the methods for assessment provided and ask yourself whether what is offered embraces a really worthwhile code to live by and whether it supplies a satisfactory and reasonable explanation for life.

If you are an apprehensive parent whose son or daughter is reaching adulthood and dallying with danger in the form of some cult figure, then perhaps this booklet will provide the help you require to understand what is happening.  If you are the parent of younger children this can also be invaluable for you; if ever there was an instance of ‘prevention being better than cure’ it is expressed in this particular area.

We, the Publishers, do not want this booklet to be simply read and put aside; if you really do have a problem relating to this or a similar subject, remember that we are here to help you.  We realise only too well that there is no overall solution, each case must be approached on an individual basis.  Therefore, a publication of this sort can do no more than deal with generalities.  So do not be reluctant to contact us.

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