Note: The purpose of these questions is to show how authoritative leaders of high control religious groups will answer them, or refuse to answer them. Therefore, these questions are one way to understand and beware of such groups. (Don’t expect them to give you a simple “yes” or “no.”)

Questions:

  1. Do you have a financial statement that shows where all the money goes to? Do you have one for third tithe assistance? (they should not hesitate to give you a detailed one)
  2. How much am I expected to give monetarily? Are members expected to pay three tithes and/or give generous offerings regularly and at certain times of the year? Is a third tithe to be paid every 3rd and 6th year? (they should be upfront about all the tithes and offerings members give, not just reply “we believe in tithing”)
  3. Do you believe you are the one true Church with truths (or the Truth) that other churches don’t possess? (if they say yes, take a look at All or Nothing Statements [from those that have “the truth] and ask yourself why certain other groups say the same thing)
  4. Can I disagree with the pastor or minister? What happens if I do? (if they say “the minister speaks for God,” think about whether this would be considered unquestioned obedience to the authority of the group)
  5. Am I expected to show up for services every week, all the Bible studies, and be actively involved in your church programs? (if they say, “if you want to obey God, you will,” think about whether this is subverting your own independent thought and putting excessive demands on you)
  6. Do you observe Sabbaths, holy days, or similar gatherings, during the year that members are commanded to attend? (if they say “we obey the days God commanded,” search out who these days were commanded to and the difference between the nation Israel in the O.T. and the N. T. Church. Also refer to: Why Church Leaders Demand Holy Days for Their Members)
  7. Do you have a headquarters with a general pastor that sets the standard for the belief system, distributing material and information to all congregations, and expecting all to comply without question? (if they say “our standard is the Bible,” be sure to check and see if they are taking scriptures or other quotes out of context in order for you to come to a set conclusion)
  8. Is this leader (Pastor General, Apostle, founder, head minister, etc.) accountable to anyone over him? (if they say “he’s accountable to God and God will take care of any problems,” ask yourself if this would create an exclusive environment with potential for abuse)
  9. Can I find salvation outside your church or organization? (if they say “you need to prove whether or not this is God’s one true Church,” notice how they will refer you to their literature or information)
  10. Can I ask questions concerning the past sins of the founder of the group (or the group they split from), or ask about any past corruption? (if they say “we do not dwell on the past” or “many rumors and lies abound,” ask yourself if it possible that they could be involved in cover-up and revision of their history)
  11. Can I bring up questions that I have about scriptures which disagree with your doctrines? (they should be completely open to it without making you feel guilty or fearful)

Many other questions could be asked, but what you want to think about is would you still have the capacity for independent thought by joining this “special” group? In the process will you lose your own will by giving it to others who decide for you what is truth and what isn’t?

By D. M. Williams
Exit & Support Network™


Related Material:

Spiritual Abuse Questionnaire (Questions To Help Identify Specific Areas of Spiritual Abuse, Deception, and Fraud) [offsite article]

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