Category Archives: Cult

What Is Going On?

This will be my most hastily written post ever because it is a current event update!  I feel like a news reporter.  I know what the headline should be.

GCM Shuts Down

Of course, it is not the professional news reporter who would then state, “woo hoo, woo hoo, happy dance, woo hoo.”  Unfortunately, it is a temporary shut down though.  So what happened, what is happening?  I will probably ask more questions than answer, but here we go.

It all started last week.  The site administrator and moderators decided it was time for a break.  In order to take a step back from the site, they would shut down all non-parenting related forums through lent.  From what a moderator had said I can gather that no prior notice was given even though they knew about the partial shut down for a week.  They got too busy to notify the GCMers.  So one day thousands of GCMers woke up without their community, it had been snatched like “a rug pulled out from under” them.  Keep in mind, not all of GCM was shut down.  But when a web site has an unhealthy control over you, well your world shuts down!

Let me digress here and aid my fellow reader in the structure of GCM.  First there are the few public posts where you and I can go and read.  Once someone becomes a member they then can start posting in these public forums.  When 10 posts have been reached a door reveals the next layer of GCM.  They are now privy to more forums.  Once 40 posts are reached more doors open.  The same with 80, 125, 25o, 500 and possibly even 1000 posts.  There are at least 28 private forums, two of which include “solo parenting within marriage” for those women who have beastly husbands who don’t know how to be gentle (bit of sarcasm there, yes) and “breaking the chains (abuse and addiction)” where I can only imagine a great deal of damage to families is done.  So these are probably two of the many shut down.  To that I would say, “May they never come back!”

Some GCMers thought there was more to the story than what meets the eye.  Was there some conspiracy going on?  Is that why they were really shut down?  From the public forum, I found no evidence of this -it was alluded to that there are online chat areas where people were talking one on one with moderators and then leaving.  But I did find that the administrator was called a liar and all sorts of names.  I know how this feels.  Since the beginning of this site, I have been called many nasty things by GCMers, egotistical, sad, pathetic, a miserable excuse for a person, rude,  I have been told I need a kick in the pants (thought they didn’t believe in violence?), I should be in a straight jacket and the list goes on and on.  So I know how nasty these woman can be.  But now they have turned on themselves!  Division in the ranks.  At first it was everyone else that was abusive.  A former GCMer once told me that, “I have frequently seen members encourage other members to end contact with family and friends over simple arguments. At GCM there is no such thing as an argument, there is only “abuse”.”   Now GCMers are calling each other abusive!  Here are some of the comments that have been made.  (By the way, many members have quit since this all occurred.)  Emphasis added by me.

I can’t function in a place that has become so toxic. I can’t function in a place where a few people are held to a different standard of conduct for how they treat others. I can’t function in a place where we are reminded to extend grace to our children, and yet that same grace is not shown to members, over and over again. GCM has encouraged me to be brave. To speak up. To draw boundaries.  To take a stand against abuse in my life. Unfortunately today that means I have to take a stand against GCM. I cannot stay.” – posted March 10, 2014 Out of the desert and into the sun

“It’s like a painting, see? From far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.  Please deactivate my membership.” -posted on March 7, 2014 A full-on Monet
“In the past few days, I’ve seen behavior that breaks my heart. I’m not talking about personality clashes or differences in communication styles. I’m talking about dishonesty, emotional manipulation, and just plain nastiness. Some of the most vocal detractors of GCM are demanding something from the GCM leadership — an ethical stance, a compassionate approach to listening, a tolerance for differences in perspective — that they themselves are unwilling to provide. To support and encourage this kind of breach of trust makes those of us who have given of our time and energies (and I have given perhaps the least of all) here as mods and admins feel as though we have shared our hearts, our vulnerabilities, and our inner thoughts with people who are judging us and finding us wanting (best case scenario) or who will later use those vulnerabilities to hurt us (worst case scenario). I’ve seen mods and admins called liars in the past few days. It’s been implied to me and other mods that we are in the dark and GCM would be better off without us. I’ve watched people cheer on those who are saying the most hurtful, unkind, and negative things about Jeri and her board when all she has ever done is make this amazing space available to any mother who needed it. I have watched people spread half-truths and gossip and then turn around and accuse the leadership team here of the same actions with absolutely no evidence.”  -posted on March 10, 2014 I’m Probably Going to Look Back on This as One of My Crazy Episodes
“However, as a member of this community, I am now choosing to walk away from an environment that has become toxic. Where there’s little, if any, accountability for the leadership, where certain members of the community seem to be given a free pass to act in ways that many other members of the community are not, where grace is no longer shown to the members the way it used to be. I am standing up, using my voice that I found through GCM, to say that I can’t stay here and watch this happen anymore. I can’t stay and watch the abuse continue unchecked anymore.Last I counted, at least 15 members, most of them long-time members who had been here for years and had accumulated tens of thousands of posts, had deactivated. That didn’t happen for no reason or because a few people got in a snit. I can’t speak specifically for anyone else, but I would hope that when that many long-time members, with that many posts, leave within the space of a few days, it would be a huge red flag to the leadership here that something isn’t right, that something isn’t working.” – posted on March 10, 2014 Peace out
“And therein lies why it’s going to continue to be hard to understand. There are privacy rules in place where you can’t even point out when a post is indicative of a pattern of behavior because you might be mentioning something that happened in another thread, or you might be told it’s something you should handle in another venue, etc., which is very effective at keeping issues quiet even when they are not effectively addressed. If someone asks me what’s going on, all I can tell them is that they’ll have to discover it for themselves because the privacy rules keep it shrouded. There may be changes brewing, but only certain changes would mean that the same thing’s not going to continue as a pattern until the next generation of 10,000+ posters discover it for themselves.”  -posted  on March 10, 2014 Re: i don’t understand why people keep leaving
So will there be any lasting change?  Does the leadership finally see what I have been saying all along?  Will they get back to their roots: Jesus of the Bible?  Will GCMers repent?  Will they see the abuse they themselves have caused while accusing others of abuse?  Will their eyes be opened to their hypocrisy?  I can only hope and pray for the best.  My prayer is that with the entire site being shut down for 5 or 6 days, that many GCMers will now focus on their families and realize they don’t need GCM.  I pray that the leadership will see what I have seen and just shut the whole site down because of the vast array of problems.  If it does come back, I pray that they will stick with their initial objectives and give up all else (i.e. bad theology, everyone is abusive but me mentality,  everyone but GCM is evil mentality, etc.).  But from what I understand nothing will be deleted during this time, most unfortunately.
So we wait and we pray.
 
Advertisements

Cult-like Mentality

God’s word contains many warnings about false prophets and teachers.  They take people captive by philosophy and empty deceit (Col 2:8), they are wolves who don’t spare the flock (Acts 20:29), they will come out of churches (2 Peter 2:1-3), there will be an increase in the last days (Matthew 24:23-26).  While the Bible calls them false prophets or teachers, some today call them cult leaders.  Whatever you choose to call them, it starts with bad theology.  The leadership on GCM is so poor that it allows bad theology to run amok (more on their bad theology in later posts) …And bad theology can lend to the genesis of a cult very easily.

According to the Cult Clinic website, one-on-one cults do exist where there is one leader for just a handful of followers.  It doesn’t have to be many people.  Also, Cultwatch recognizes that some groups may have a “positive influence in general, but there are some rogue leaders, or cult-like practices.”  This is why I think there is a cult within the GCM forums.  So as you are reading, keep in mind, I do not know if all of GCM is a cult or just a portion or if there is just a cult-like mentality.  All I know is there is a problem.

Here is a definition of what a cult is from Cultwatch.  They are a Christian based organization.   (Emphasis added.)

“First, a group that uses manipulative psychological “mind control” techniques to recruit and control their members. These techniques might be “love bombing”, instant friends or emotional blackmail. At extremes it might include keeping people away from their friends and family and isolating them both physically and emotionally.

The second definition we use (when saying a group is a cult) is any group which claims to be a Christian group yet teaches something that is not primarily a Christian belief. For example, a group that teaches that Jesus was an alien from another planet but claims to be Christian.”

The following are cult characteristics from Cult Clinic  that reflect my sister.

“ALIENATION: Separation from family, friends and society; a change in values and substitution of the cult as the new “family;” evidence of subtle or abrupt personality changes.”

YES!  This was the first warning sign our family saw.  One day she just decides to cut us off.  Who is her family now?  Her GCM friends who helped change her into what she is today.  She did subtlety change over a few years but we didn’t realize how much so at the time.  I have written about this before in previous posts.  One big change was her becoming more paranoid about people she has known for long periods of time.  Another significant change was in her theology.  Through the years it is normal to understand the Bible better and make corrections to your theology.  But GCMers have a way of twisting the Bible.  Twisting God’s word does not help you grow in your understanding.  One other change I will comment on here is my sister became more controlling (i.e. boundaries are good but GCMers have a bad habit of turning boundaries into a control tactic).  I had a nagging feeling something wasn’t right, but I didn’t know then what I know now.  I just didn’t know enough.  Signs were there, my family and I just didn’t understand them.

“ISOLATION\SEPARATION creates inability or lack of desire to verify information provided by the group with reality.”

YES!  Everything a GCMer (the ones who are abuse experts) told her was right.  Everything people from her past told her was labeled as abusive or toxic by the GCMers.

“SLEEP DEPRIVATION encouraged under the guise of spiritual exercises, necessary training, or urgent projects.”

YES!  Sleep deprivation happened whether it was encouraged or not I do not know.  The poor GCMer was abused and has to deal with the awful abuse.  They get others so worked up over every behavior of their loved ones being abusive, they can’t sleep.

“BLACKS AND WHITE WORLDVIEW (we\they syndrome):  Everything in the group is good while everything outside the group (including individual goals) is evil, bad, or crazy. While claiming goodness, unethical behaviors are used to promote group goals.”

YES!  All family and most old friends are considered bad, crazy, abusive, and toxic.  My sister’s cult group within GCM are, of course, not this way.  Sin is promoted (possibly as a way to heal).

The following warning signs came from freedomofmind.com:

  • “Change in religious beliefs.”  Replacing sound Biblical doctrine for the ideas of men.  Click on the Psychology category for a few examples.
  • “Use of “buzzwords,” canned speeches, “tape-loops”.”  Conversation stoppers and same thoughts repeated over and over.  “I’m having big feelings about this.”  “Toxic.”  “Abusive.”  “Unsafe.” “Boundaries.”  Making issues over things that shouldn’t divide families (i.e. discipline techniques).
  • “Change in appearance”: clothes, piercings, etc.
  • Defensiveness“- “They just don’t like the fact that I don’t spank.”
  • Judgmental attitude towards family members“-  To paraphrase, “I can do anything, but you can’t.”  “You are being judgmental.”
  • Change in level of honesty.”  Lying is encouraged – after all the people aren’t safe so it is okay.
  • “Lack of interest in former hobbies” – life becomes all about the abuse.
  • “Family and friends preached to as though they need to be saved.”  Family preached to as if Graced Based Parenting is the only way to parent.
  • “Decreased sense of humor.”

And still other concerns:

  • Too much personal information shared online.
  • Too little interaction with people outside of GCM (or cult friends).
  • Have to consult with their “friends/support network” before making decisions.
  • Outsiders are considered unsafe.  They don’t understand.
  • They think they are overcomers of abuse but they maintain a victim mentality.
  • They make the women believe they are so powerless that she has to have absolute control over her husband and relatives.

There is an interesting you tube video, Mind Control Cults, on how to become a cult leader.  While the makers obviously aren’t trying to convince people to become cult leaders, it presents very scary stuff.  Some of the “tips” on how to be a cult leader had me thinking of my sister.

  • Make them have mental breakdowns disguised as spiritual break throughs.
  • Make them paranoid.
  • Encourage separation from family.
  • Encourage dependency and conformity; discourage autonomy and individuality.
  • Demonize their early life and rewrite the past as terrible even if it was great. – YES!  My sister rewrote her past.  She never knew she was abused by her family before meeting her GCM friends.  They enlightened her to her sad, sad state she is currently in.
  • Isolate.  Us vs Them mentality.

Some quotes from the video that also made me think of my sister:

  • “Your family and friends probably won’t understand.”
  • “It doesn’t sound like your family and friends really love you if they can’t support your new decision.”
  • “Maybe you should stay away from them.  It’s unhealthy for you to be around unenlightened people anyway.”
  • “If you can’t recruit your friends, cut off from them.”
  • “Stop wasting time with non believers.”

If you think your loved one is in a cult, please learn all you can about cults.  One thing I have learned through all of this is that you can’t say anything bad about the cult OR its teachings OR its leader(s)/members to your family (friend) or they will just shut you out.  That is a big NO-NO!  Other than that, I am not the one to be asking.  I really don’t know except it takes a lot of patience.  I look back at some of my e-mails to my sister after she wrote us out of her life.  Although they were truthful and blunt (I am a bit too forthright with my family at times.), I can see that in my rashness and haste, my e-mails caused my sister to withdraw further from us.  I am the type of person that tells it like it is.  Unfortunately, someone in a cult can’t handle that.  So watch what you say and be patient (see 1 Peter 3:15 on giving answers with respect and gentleness).

What should you do if you think you are in a cult?  The first and most important thing to do is dig into God’s word.  There you will find absolute truth (John 17:17).  You will find a loving God who forgives sinners through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.  Jesus rose from the dead defeating sin, death and the devil.  He is victorious!  To quote Jesus in John 8:31-32, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Jesus also said in verse 39, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  You can be free from the cult and its lies.  You can be free from your sin through Christ Jesus our Lord!

Three other articles for your perusal:
Character of the Cults: A Christian Perspective by Patrick Zukeran
How Cults Work
The Cult Within by Me

Showing Love

How can you show love to a person that twists everything into being abuse? I have no idea!

My family and I struggle with this.  My mom loves my GCM sister, she is her daughter.  How can she just say good-bye to her?  She sends her gifts at Christmas and on her birthday.  How does my sister respond?  She thinks my mom is trying to pull her back into her “crazy”.  Somehow my sister thinks this is passive aggressive.  I don’t get it.  She will not say any of this to my mom.  She doesn’t even acknowledge my mom at all.  She will just talk to all her new friends about it.  All my mom wants to do is show my sister she loves her by sending her a gift.  She doesn’t want to ignore or treat her differently than her other children.

I too send a gift every once in a while to let her know I love her and am thinking of her.  I also know my sister is not living in reality right now and if she ever comes out of it, I want her to realize I never left her and I am there for her.

So what do you do with someone like this?  Do we just not send gifts or thinking of you cards since she twists it into abuse?  Will she be happy if we ignore her like she ignores us?  Can we in good consciousness ignore my sister?  We would feel like we are turning our backs on her if we never did anything to acknowledge her existence.  It is a terrible situation.  She changed her personality then her name.  It is like the person we know and love doesn’t exist anymore.  Maybe we should just consider her as dead?  My family is so torn.  We don’t know what to do (except we do know we can always pray for her!).

Two Very Different Endings

The following two stories are about the same husband and wife.  For this example, the woman will be a believer and the man will not be.  The first story will go through this fictitious scenario from a biblical perspective.  The latter will be from a GCM perspective.

A wife is unhappy in her marriage.  She is getting more and more depressed not understanding what is wrong.  Some people start making comments about the behavior of her husband and how badly he treats her.  She starts to realize that she is being verbally attacked on a day-to-day basis.  The stress is too much for her to handle.  This unhappy wife wants to please God.  She stays.  She tries hard to do what is right.  It is not working.  Finally, she decides to leave.  She wants to reconcile but she also knows she can not continue living with her husband in this way.  During their separation (be it a month or more), the husband calls once a day.  They e-mail regularly.  He comes to see her once a week.  The husband, by this point, has realized all was not well or his wife would not have left.  They discuss the way they fight.  She realizes that she tried to control too much of his life.  He starts to realize he shouldn’t yell.  She decides it is time to move back in and see if things will be different.  Things are different, but by no means ideal.  They have a rough couple of years, but she has a new outlook.  Instead of taking all the abuse or any of the various things she did or did not do in the past, she does things differently.  She stops trying to control every situation.  During the separation, she realized she does truly love this man.  She recognizes that he doesn’t know how to deal with the stresses of his life much like she didn’t know how to deal the stresses of her life (i.e. her husband).  She knows his stress should not be taken out on her and that she is not a doormat.  She doesn’t need to be treated this way.  She also realizes they are both sinners, the only difference is she is a saved sinner.  She does not do things for him out of fear like she used to, but now out of love.  Her compassion for him has grown because she recognizes the undeserved compassion that Jesus has showered on her.  She wants to see him be a better man and husband.  She has patience with him knowing that God has had to have a lot of patience with her over her lifetime.  Slowly through the next couple of years, he starts responding to all that kindness and love showered on him.  Slowly he stops reacting and starts to listen.  Before they know it (but after a lot of hard work) they are enjoying each others company.  They are getting along.  Their disagreements aren’t pleasant, but what disagreements are?  But shouting matches are a thing of the past.  They work alongside each other.  They love each other.  They are patient with each other (for the most part).  They are kind to one another (for the most part – hey, they are two sinners living together).  She forgave and moved on.  She thanks God for her blessings.

A wife is unhappy in her marriage.  She is getting more and more depressed not understanding what is wrong.  Her GCM friends tell her she is being abused.  She believes what they are saying is true.  She takes their advice and leaves her husband to go live safely with another GCMer.  She restricts contact with her husband to only one e-mail once a week.  He thought everything was okay.  Not great, but okay.  He doesn’t understand so he calls to question her so he can understand.  She accuses him of being abusive for not sticking to her boundary of e-mail only communication.  She becomes more controlling and because of the advice from GCMers, she then restricts e-mails to only discussions of bills and children.  Meanwhile, she is attending abuse counseling and reading Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft.  As she reads she gets more depressed.  She now believes she was sexually abused, financially abused, spiritually abused.  Her GCM friends encourage her to drink to ease the pain.  She does.  Her GCM friends encourage her to do body piercings and different body mutilations to help with the healing process.  She does.  Meanwhile, the husband realizes he was not good to her like he should have been.  He attends counseling.  Something doesn’t seem quite right though.  He asks her questions about her friends.  The wife is very unhappy about this.  She can not get away from his questions (in her mind, abuse) so she files for divorce.  Her family start questioning her new behaviors.  She quickly shuts them out of her life.   She now believes her family is abusive and toxic.  The divorce is finalized.  She spends her time trying to heal from all the abuse from childhood she just started remembering.  But her memories by this time are distorted and she thinks any sin against her is/was abusive and unforgivable.  Everyone else is toxic; old friends, the court system, social workers.  Her only friends are GCMers.  They have gone through all of this too.  They know the pain.  Only they understand.  She spends the rest of her life trying to heal from all her abuse.  She is alone.  She is bitter.  Nothing she did to her husband or family were wrong because she was the victim of abuse.  All the men that come into her life turn out to be abusers too because they realize she is controlling and they don’t want to be micro-managed.  She is never truly happy and blames God for all her troubles (as well as her family and ex-husband).

Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft

*Notes: I know this book polarizes people.  If you found this site because you love this book and you hate my critique of it, please don’t comment about how I must be an abusive man myself or that I am a woman who hates women.  There is enough of that on Amazon.com.  If you go there you will find many reviews of the book and in the comment section of the one star reviews is where you will find those kind of responses.  So all readers, if you are interested,  go there because you aren’t going to find that kind of nonsense here.
Second note, I do know there is abuse out there.  I do recommend leaving during physical abuse and even sometimes with verbal abuse (with the hope of reconciliation).  But bad communication skills are not abuse.
Fourth note, I tried not to get too personal.  I didn’t go into great detail because I don’t want to on the world wide web!
Fifth note, I have not read all of the book because…. (Update: by the time I had written this post, I had read most of the book – minus a page here and there.  As I have stated in the comments section, nothing in my review changed.) 

Head Explosion!!!

That is the way my family members felt when we tried to read, Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft.  This is a book my GCM sister read and loved.   This book was recommended to my sister by people on GCM.  It too has a cult-like following.  If you disagree with it and you are a man, it is because you are an abuser.  If you are a woman and hate the book it is because you have a low view of women (see my notes above about Amazon).

My sister wanted my parents to read it.  They tried.  My mom made the suggestion that all men should put duct tape over their mouths so they wouldn’t be accused of abuse.  My parents, my other sibling and myself, which makes a total of four of us, tried to read it.  None of us could make it the whole way through the book!

First of all, where are the footnotes?  As I was reading I kept wondering where Mr. Bancroft got his information.  Where are the footnotes for the studies he mentioned (page 26 for one example)?  How did he know what was myth and what was reality?  In a book like this you would think there would be footnotes!  Most often he based everything on his experience instead of any scientific study.  So wives who read this please keep in mind this is one man’s opinions and might not reflect reality.

My family got the impression that Mr. Bancroft believes only men are abusers (although he does state that women can be abusers, the reader is still left with that impression nonetheless).  He doesn’t know my sister!  While reading this book, my other family members could see my GCM sister in the abuser role.  We could easily sub he for she and she for he and so much of it fit their situation.  She was manipulative  and very controlling (especially through the separation and divorce).  Neither were very nice to the other during their entire marriage.  I would rather call them both sinners than abusers.  But if she wants to call him an abuser, I would have to call her one too.  She fits Mr. Bancroft’s descriptions of an abuser just as much as my brother-in-law.

The saddest part of this book is that it ruins families (the GCM website is not the only destructive thing in my sister’s life; however, it is where it started).  A Christian knows that salvation is not possible with man, but possible with God.  God works miracles in  the hearts of those who repent and put their trust in Christ.  But according to Bancroft, once an abuser always an abuser (of course his definition of abuse is anything that makes the woman upset! Why do I say this?  Page after page describes the different kinds of abusers.  By the time you get done any man will fit the abuser profile!  Actually, any woman too.  I know my sister fit at least 2 abuser profiles really well).  He will state that a man can change but quickly pulls that hope back from the reader.

Overall the woman is going to be left with little hope after reading this book.  “My experience with abusive men is that small or even medium-level improvements generally slip away over time…”  “Sometimes when a woman reports to me that her abusive partner has been doing better, it turns out that he hasn’t been doing anything at all.  He isn’t swearing at her or scaring her, but he also isn’t spending time with her, talking to her, or showing her any affection. (page 349).”  So not talking to your wife is abuse, gentlemen!  You better always show her affection, but not too much because then she will think all you want is one thing and that is abusive too!  Mr. Bancroft even says that the “abuser” may wait two years before he starts testing you.  So even though he is perfect for two years and starts to act in a way you don’t like after TWO years, it is him clearly being abusive?  It couldn’t possibly be that he is a sinner doing what a sinner does?  Where is the grace?  I can say with 100% confidence that the wife is not perfect either.   How can I say such a thing?  Because ALL humans sin!  We must do what Christ did: FORGIVE!  After two years your spouse does something you don’t like, it is not abuse!  No person can live up to the expectations in this book.  Nobody but Jesus is perfect!

This book should not be treated in high regards by any Christian.  It is dangerous in the wrong hands.  It leads to destruction instead of reconciliation.  It is very possible for a woman who is unhappy in her marriage to come away from this book thinking she is abused when in reality she just isn’t happy with her marriage.  Another reason a Christian should not read this book for marital advice; on page 87 Lundy says, “You may be sorely tempted to have a secret affair, since your partner shows you so little kindness or tenderness.  A positive sexual connection may be especially affirming to you, because of how sexually degrading the Drill Sergeant tends to be.  But cheating on him can be deadly if he catches you.  Consider holding off on seeing other men until you have gotten yourself safe.”  Does that sound like what a Christian should be doing?  If a Christian women is reading this book and already is getting the impression she is abused and she is in a low mental state, she may actually think it is important that she have a positive sexual connection – which of course would be adultery.  Where is the focus for the woman?  On having a satisfying sexual encounter.  Where should a Christian woman’s focus be?  On Christ.  On how to handle trials in a way that will be pleasing to Him amd not necessarily to self.

What does this book scream to people who know both the husband and wife well? Women are to be in control of EVERYTHING.  It makes a controlling woman even more controlling and if you don’t like it then you will be labeled as an abuser.  There is very little grace or forgiveness for a husband.

This book makes a woman paranoid.  My sister started to see abuse in everything my brother-in-law did and wrote (of course the GCM people encouraged that because that is what they do.  If you can’t see abuse they will help you find it!  Nice of them isn’t it?).  She would share e-mails with me from him and the only thing I saw is confusion on his part.  She didn’t want to hear that though.  She tried to twist things around.  She wanted to see abuse.  Her GCM friends already told her she was abused so obviously everything he did was abusive.

Again, as I have stated in a previous post, I want to emphasize to all readers: DO NOT GO TO GCM FORUMS WITH YOUR MARITAL PROBLEMS!!!!!  They will tell you, based on Mr. Bancroft’s book, that if you don’t support her 100% (and this means that if you say anything nice about the husband or if you say she has faults too) then she will be unable to talk to you because “you don’t understand” – the book says so (page 369).  You too will be cut out of her life for as long as she is in this cult-like place.

If you are unhappy in your marriage, http://www.rickthomas.net/ would be a great resource to start with.  I have been impressed with the articles I have read on this site.  Mr. Thomas is Christ centered in everything and that is hard to find in counseling!  They do have a recommended book list for marriage here.  I have not read any of them though.  If you think you are abused, they would be a great resource to start with.  They should be able to point you in the right direction.

Online Dangers

We have heard the stories of old men posing as young teenagers to win the confidence of young girls.  It is scary.  The fact of the matter is you just never know if people online are who they say they are until you meet them in person (which can be dangerous if they turn out not to be who they say and even then they might not be who they say they are).  Though this may not be as sinister as that, it can still get you into trouble.

In my last post I talked about what I think is a cult portion of GCM.  If there is a cult within, you usually don’t know that at first do you?  You think you are with like-minded people, but before you know it you don’t have an opinion of your own anymore.  You have become part of the cult and their opinions have become yours.  When/how did this happen?  Ahhhh, the dangers of online friends!  You just never know.

Husbands

A word of warning to husbands of GCMers.  Did you know one of the rules of GCM is that your wife is not supposed to let you read anything posted on the forum pages.  Here is their rule number 14.

14. No letting anyone else, including your husband, read or post to the board with your account or use your account for any reason.

I can only imagine this rule was put there so women will feel safe to talk about anything,  but I hope that GCMers will think about this rule a bit more.  First and foremost, it probably isn’t the best idea to keep things from your husband especially since this forum is often a big part of someone’s life.  I have seen firsthand how one-sided they can be in their response to problems in another person’s life and that causes A LOT of problems!  Do you really want them posting about your marriage on the world wide web?  Your parenting ability?

Second reason to rethink this rule: women tend to have a lot of words they speak each day and not all of them are good and edifying.  Sometimes it is good to have a husband read something to make sure you are being kind and theologically sound and to be sure you are reading something the correct way. Husbands often look at things a different way.  For example, a GCMer might take offense at something that was written.  If she ran it past her husband first, the husband could show her a different viewpoint from how she read it.  The GCM wife would see there is nothing to be offended by, thereby avoiding unnecessarily hurt feelings.

Secrecy

Husbands, did you know that there are layers of secrecy on the GCM forum? I don’t know how many.  There is the public part of the forum where you could get on and read.  Then there is a section that only members can get on.  But there is at least one more private layer you can get on.  I think I only saw stuff (oops, my sister broke rule number 14) from the first private layer.  I can’t imagine what is even on the second layer of privacy.

Maybe there shouldn’t be this much secrecy on a website.  You never know who is really on it anyway.  So do you really want just anybody reading what you write about personal matters, GCMers?  Maybe a forum is not the best place to air all your laundry.  Maybe you shouldn’t be posting anything personal on a web forum?  Does your husband know what you are posting about your family online?  If not, I would highly recommend you let him in on your little world.

A last note about online dangers.  Time goes by quickly when you are online!  It can rob us of time actually spent with our spouses and children.  GCMers are you spending too much time online and not enough time with your family?  It is one thing to get on and get ideas about how to do something, quite another to be on and on and on and on and on and on.  Husbands of GCMers, do you feel like your wife is too preoccupied with the forums and not enough time with you and the kids?  GCMers talk to your husband.  Ask him if he thinks you are on too much.  Husbands, if your wife is on too much, tell her.  If you have concerns about the site, talk to your wife about them.  And may your marriages be strengthened in the Lord!

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
(Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV)

“O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
(Psalm 39:4 ESV)

The Cult Within

In my first post I said that one of my reasons for this site was to expose the cult-like mentality within the GCM website.  Why do I think there is something strange going on there?  Below are examples of why I think there is a cult within GCM.  I don’t want to go into too much detail because of how personal it is, but hopefully I will give enough so you will understand. 

1) My sister withdrew from ALL family and most of her old friends (even ones from high school that she still talked to on a regular basis) except for a group of GCMers she surrounded herself with.  If anyone disagreed with her parenting, religious views or marriage they were quickly cast aside.  This is not normal behavior.  This is what members of a cult do. 

2) Her theology kept changing over the years, with drastic changes occurring when she moved to the same area of the people I consider the cult portion of GCM.  This group of women would get together once a week.  My sister considered this her fellowship/church since she stopped going to church for reasons I mentioned under number 1.

3)  My sister started lying to us and she lied about us.

4)  She even started having trouble with people on GCM.  After she explained the reason why she was mad at some of them, I told her they seemed concerned about her (this was obviously before she kicked me out of her life).  I stood up for the GCM people.  They aren’t all cult-like! 

5)  I don’t know how much of it was the Dress Your Truth, but she started to dress like one of the GCMers she lives around.  They also all got body piercings.  She knew her family would think that piercings were odd but from what she told me she wanted the controversy. 

6) There are other reasons, but they are too personal to share on the world wide web.  I hope the above give you a better indication of how the people on this site tore my sister’s family apart.

Either my sister found herself in a cult or these women are very disturbed.  I wrote to the one who took control of my sister’s email (that is another reason…who takes over another person’s email account???) and told her my sister is not acting like her normal self.  I tried to reach out to this woman to encourage her to encourage my sister to get the help she needed (she was experiencing paranoia about so many people in her life – see number 4 for one example).  This woman never replied to me.  These women allowed my sister to go down this destructive path.  They didn’t care about her family and friends from her past.  They didn’t advise her Biblically, but from a worldly standpoint.  They must have encouraged her that everyone in her life that didn’t agree with her were abusive people.  It seems like a cult where abuse is the god.  From what I have been told, everyone in their group has supposedly been abused.

What should the GCM website do about this?  The site is huge with posts.  Some house cleaning needs to be done.  Bad theology is rampant and needs to be done away with.  The old posts that encourage members to lie or do anything else not Christ like should be erased.  They need to put their focus on Christ or maybe they should remove the name Christian from their group so as not to mislead people.

If you are on GCM and you aren’t happy in your marriage, please do not seek help from these people.  Go to your local church and local church members and the Bible.  Don’t let them tell you everything your spouse does is abusive (or other family members for that matter).  Remember: There are women on this site that will tell you EVERYTHING your spouse does is abusive and their advice will only lead to destruction. 

As Paul encourages in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, be watchful, stand firm in the faith and  let all that you do be done in love.

If you have had a similar experience, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail at  exposegcm@yahoo.com.