Exit and Support Network

Are You Being Recruited into a Totalistic Group?

Twenty-two Differences in Content, Emphasis, Methods,
Church Life and Lifestyle

You are valuable. Many people and groups would like to recruit you for your talents, resources, and the network of friends that you could recruit. Don't be naïve.

Ask questions and get real answers. Don't let them take advantage of you. Don't get sucked in by their friendliness and their "love-bombing." Check it out with the Office of Student Affairs. Check it out with ex-members of the group.

Groups that are cultic never talk about ex-members except to say that they were bad or unspiritual. They never let you talk with ex-members. The ex-members know too much.

Some groups you can only join. You cannot disjoin. The only way out is by their marking you, shunning you, or excommunicating you. And, then, some people are caught for life. They never get free. No one would knowingly join a cultic/totalistic group.

Check with an ex-member before you consent to meeting with them.

Healthy (or grace-orientated) Church

Cultic/Totalistic Group

Content is BIBLICAL
  1. Leads to growth, maturity
  2. Leaders open to any questions
  3. Truth is the bottom line
  4. Teaches whole Bible
  1. Clones/Enslaves/Dependency
  2. Unquestioning obedience
  3. Love and loyalty to the group are the bottom line
  4. Teaches a particular emphasis of the Bible
Emphasis is BIBLICAL
  1. Teaching (Freedom to form your own conclusions)
  2. Emphasis on unity
  3. Denominational1
Emphasis is TOTALISTIC
  1. Indoctrination (You accept their conclusions)
  2. Emphasis on uniformity
  3. Sectarian/Elitist
Methods are BIBLICAL
  1. Open (program)
  2. Influences
  3. Leaders shepherd the flock2
  4. Integration with church universal
  5. Mainstream/traditional
Methods are TOTALISTIC
  1. Hidden (agenda)
  2. Manipulates
  3. Leaders lord it over the flock
  4. Isolationist
  5. New in the last 20+ years
Church life is BIBLICAL
  1. Can join/disjoin
  2. Results in diversity & freedom
  3. Many options in serving the Lord
  4. Accountability of funds3
Church life is TOTALISTIC
  1. Can join/cannot disjoin
  2. Results in conformity & rigidity
  3. One option in serving the Lord
  4. No real accountability. You are guilt tripped into always giving.
Lifestyle is BIBLICAL
  1. You are responsible for your life
  2. God's will is something you individually seek to know and follow
  3. Holy Spirit directed
  4. Critical thinking encouraged
  5. Complex, no simple answers
  6. Reasoned approach based on whole counsel of God, all available information, and seeking God's direction through prayer, circumstances, and counsel.
Lifestyle is TOTALISTIC
  1. You are responsible to your leaders
  2. God's will is something that they are able to tell you
  3. Leaders become the Holy Spirit.
  4. Thinking, especially critical thinking, not allowed
  5. Simplistic approach to life
  6. Find a verse to lead you

~From an article given to Exit & Support Network™

Related Article: Questions to Ask Any Church or Religious Group You Are Planning on Becoming Involved With


1 While this article was written to help others avoid totalistic groups, today many denominations have become apostate, or infiltrated by the church growth movement, and discernment is needed. See our links under Discernment & Research.

2 Read: Identifying a Cultic Church to spot the wrong type of "shepherds."

3 Churches (or religious organizations or ministries) that do not use dictatorial power will provide full disclosure of their finances.

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