Us gay folk...

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
See you in court
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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby See you in court » Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:27 pm

See also

ICSA E-Newsletter, Vol. 4, No. 3, September 2005

Born or Raised in High-Demand Groups: Developmental Considerations

Leona Furnari, L.C.S.W.

at http://www.icsahome.com/infoserv_articl ... en0403.htm

See you in court
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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby See you in court » Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:22 pm

Last but not least

Reflections on Post-Cult Recovery


Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.

On July 22-24, 1994 AFF conducted an "After the Cult" workshop at the St. Malo Retreat Center in Estes Park, Colorado. Carol Giambalvo, Nancy Miquelon, Hal Mansfield, Roseanne Henry, and I organized the workshop and served as presenters, as did David Clark and Bob Penny. It was the first in the Denver area and was extremely well received by the participants. The insightful and moving discussions inspired me to write down some of the reflections inspired by the workshop. I wish to share these with you.

As the workshop participants made very clear, the subjective essence of the cult experience is psychological abuse, and betrayal in particular. Cults ostensibly offer to fulfill commonly experienced human needs for understanding, certainty, and self-esteem. They provide an absolutist triad of black-and-white answers to life's problems, a refusal to entertain doubt about those answers, and a promise of being superior to everyone outside the group. Youth and individuals experiencing stress (which includes nearly everyone at some point in their lives) are most likely to be attracted to groups offering this triad. If vulnerable persons encounter a sufficiently persuasive or seductive cultic group at the right time in their lives, they may indeed join. (I presume that there is a range of groups varying from mildly to extremely persuasive and that people will differ in their susceptibility to particular group "pitches.") When they join, the members expect benevolence, respect, love, help, etc. What they receive is very different.

The reason is twofold. First, the absolutist triad is an illusion. It moves people away from reality and genuine human connections. It is the opposite of what one could call the adaptive triad: a questioning mind possessed of a healthy measure of doubt (discernment), tolerance of ambiguity (no black-and-white answers), and a humble yet critical openness to the meaning systems of other people. Thus, to the extent cults try to deliver the absolutist triad (and they try very hard), they come into conflict with the inexorable demands of the human condition.

The second reason cults don't deliver the benevolent results they promise is their tendency to manipulate and exploit their members (groups that aren't manipulatively exploitative are not cults). Cults employ subtle processes of thought reform (also called coercive persuasion and mind control) to recruit members and to maintain them in systems that exploit members' needs while promising to fulfill those needs. Thought reform is not all-powerful, as some sensationalized media accounts imply. Nor do all groups employ it to the same extent. But it can be remarkably successful in causing large numbers of persons to spend years in social systems that are harmful and sometimes extremely abusive. (1)

Most persons ultimately leave cults, or are ejected from their groups. (2) Research suggests that members leave when they become disenchanted with the group's inability to deliver on its promises, become disillusioned with the hypocrisy or fraudulent practices of the group's leadership, are separated from the group for a period of time, or are able to discuss doubts and concerns with an intimate. A majority appears to be troubled by the experience, while some are devastated. (3) We can only speculate on how many are troubled but unable to acknowledge or recognize their pain.

The core of this distress is the sense of having been abused by persons thought to be benevolent, that is, of having been betrayed. When they leave their groups many members feel "spiritually raped," violated at the core of their beings. As with physical rape, this violation is traumatic and, as with rape, it severely damages the capacity to trust -- oneself, others, and God. Ironically, ex-cultists find themselves most in need of the illusory comfort of the absolutist triad when they realize that they have been betrayed by those promising this triad (that is why, perhaps, so many persons will join a cultic group after leaving another). If they have insight sufficient to resist the allure of the absolutist triad, they will understandably feel empty, depressed, guilty, and painfully unsure of what or who is real and trustworthy and even how to discover what or who is real and trustworthy. In the most extreme cases they are in a state of psychological bankruptcy in which all feelings are tinged by the sourness of betrayal. They must begin anew when they have nothing to grab hold of and no idea about where to turn for help.

That so many do indeed recover is a testament to their courage and enduring capacity to love. Although some manage to pull themselves together without substantial outside assistance, the sharing at the after-the-cult workshops highlights the value of knowledgeable support. The ex-members who have made it out of psychological bankruptcy say to those still suffering: "There is a way out. You can trust again. Hold my hand." Instead of the absolutist triad of black-and-white answers, certainty, and hollow superiority, they offer the adaptive triad of discernment, tolerance, and humility. Instead of giving abuse and humiliation, they give respect and love. Instead of advocating unrealistic standards that guarantee failure, they advocate and model a humble, step-by-step approach to solving problems. This step-by-step approach is the pathway out of distrust and paralyzing doubt.

Ex-members' first step on this pathway is often to reconnect to their pasts by reflecting upon those times when they did trust in themselves and others. If they can also watch, record, and review their progress, and especially if they hold on to loving, understanding hands, ex-members can over time come to believe in the predictability of their self-respect (i.e., the tendency to treat oneself as deserving of kindness instead of guilty recriminations) and competence (including their imperfect capacity to judge what is real and good) -- they will come to trust themselves.

Increased trust in oneself makes it easier to trust others because the latter requires discernment, and discernment presupposes confidence in (trust in) one's own cognitive competence. But developing trust in others is also vital to increasing trust in oneself, for the affirmation of respected others is the most effective antidote to the sometimes crippling self-doubt ex-cultists often experience. That is why many ex-members need to lean on others (e.g., family) for a period before they can begin to show signs of independence.

Developing trust in others may be viewed metaphorically as developing a well-differentiated array of concentric circles representing the varying levels of closeness into which a discerning self allows others. These circles express the psychological boundaries that distinguish a person from others. In a cult these boundaries are dissolved as the individual is pressured to identify with and merge into the group persona. Once out of the cult, ex-cultists must learn not only how to reestablish boundaries, but how to reestablish (or for some people, establish for the first time) appropriate boundaries. Who should be allowed into the inner circle? Who into the mid-range? Who should be kept at the periphery? Who should be excluded? These decisions require discernment and the courage to experiment in a social world that, though not nearly as abusive as the cult, contains abuse as well as respect and love. Having the help of caring and knowledgeable people who model discernment and courage and offer understanding and a helping hand can be invaluable to ex-cultists hesitatingly trying to reach out to others.

Reestablishing trust in God can be even more difficult than reestablishing trust in oneself and others. (The following reflections may not apply to those persons who feel no need for a relationship with God, for example, because they do not believe in God or are agnostic. However, at AFF workshops many, if not most, ex-cultists consider spiritual issues to be the most pressing of all.) First of all, God is often associated with religion, and most ex-members who have approached clergy or religious institutions for help have been deeply disappointed. Secondly, ex-cultists have had a compelling personal experience of evil, and they angrily ask how a loving God could have permitted their spiritual rape while they sought Him so fervently. Religions do not convincingly answer the problem of evil, of which the ex-cultist's experience is a special case, mainly because the explanations they offer tend to presume a faith in the God whose existence the experience of evil calls into question. The explanations may satisfy believers, but they offer little consolation to those whose contact with evil has left them doubting God's existence.

Thus, ex-cultists frequently feel abandoned by God or turn away from Him when they most need Him. Their tendency is to place their suffering before the "God who might be there" and say: "If you exist, and if you are indeed a loving and merciful God, you'll understand why I cannot trust you now. I have been savaged by lies, and more than anything I need truth, even if only one crumb at a time. As much as I would like to believe and trust in you, I will not allow myself to be deceived again. So please give me time. If you can't respect this, then you don't exist." It appears that as their trust in themselves and others increases most ex-cultists eventually reconcile with God, although nearly half, according to a survey I conducted, still tend not to identify with any religious denomination.

Those ex-cultists who do not lose their faith in God have a divine hand to hold during their struggle to rebuild trust in themselves and others. The "God who is there" is there for the psychologically bankrupt as well as the psychologically affluent. Thus, ex-members tortured by free-falling self-doubt can humbly turn to God and pray for the courage and discernment to reach out to those whom they hope genuinely care without strings attached.

A bit of trust in God can lead to a bit of trust in oneself, which in turn can lead to a bit of trust in others. But the growth of trust is not unidirectional. Trust, whether in God, oneself, or others, breeds further trust -- provided that the ex-cultist has the courage and wisdom to move one step at a time and the good fortune to move toward people who behave respectfully and with understanding. That first, vital spark of courage must come from the mysterious depths of the ex-cultist's soul. But after that first, lonely courageous step, caring, knowledgeable others can give the encouragement that motivates ex-cultists to quicken their pace and move forward more and more confidently.
Notes

(1) For a description of thought reform and the psychiatric casualties associated with it, see Margaret T. Singer and Richard Ofshe (April, 1990), Thought reform programs and the production of psychiatric casualties, Psychiatric Annals, 20, 188-193.

(2) Ejecting dissident members is one of the methods used to keep the less rebellious in line -- see Jerry MacDonald (1988), "Reject the wicked man" -- Coercive persuasion and deviance production: A study of conflict management, Cultic Studies Journal, 5(1), 59-121.

(3) For a summary of the scientific evidence pertinent to these points, see Michael Langone (Ed.) (1993), Recovery from cults, New York: Norton.
Acknowledgement

I am deeply grateful to all of the participants at the St. Malo "After the Cult" workshop. Their eloquent testimonies, questions, and affirmations of what is good in life were enlightening and moving. I wish them my very best.

Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.
Executive Director, AFF

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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby woodgreen » Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:56 pm

Bonsai wrote "I disagree woodgreen. Personally I am as suspicious any faith based schools and think that your good experiences at a Catholic school are down to good fortune rather than any major differences in Catholicism and the SES."

I think my good fortune was in not being sent to an SES School. I don't want to debate the rights and wrongs of faith based education but
in any mainstream religious upbringing, the key stages in childrens' integration with the spiritual ethos of their faith is done openly. Baptism, communion, and confirmation are carried out with families and communities present. They are fully aware of the beliefs and traditions behind their religion. In the SES the initiation is carried out in secret, and the Foundation seems like something that usurps a Christian Confirmation. ( I'm surprised the SES hasn't invented a substitute baptism - anyone had some ganges water poured over them in secret?!!!). With all respect I don't think SES parents were all fully aware of what was behind the Foundation and Initiation, or the SES itself.

I was baptised a (Catholic) Christian; I was recieved into Holy Communion in the (Catholic) Christian Church and I was confirmed in the (Catholic) Christian Church. I was even married in it, but that's a different story! As an ADULT I had no reason to change these events, even if I did not agree with all that the Church expounded. The SES attempted to alter/ develop me(?) (?) my spiritual beliefs (?), by subtle mind control and coercion and welding on McLaren's version of Advaita and by putting me through a "ceremony" in which I later discovered I had paid homage to a "Guru" from a different religion/faith/tradition (pure semantics). It is well established in mainstream religions that if a person wants to join for the first time or convert from another faith they are properly instructed about the faith and what it entails. This is not the case in the SES - the process involves obsfucation, secrecy and subtle force. Against Article 9 of the Human Rights Act IMO. ( Freedom of thought, belief, and religion.). Maybe this is how we can get them to court. I'll think on it!
Not sure if Daffy might want to move this to a different thread as we have strayed from the Us Gay Folk theme. No matter though....
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby Free Thinker » Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:39 pm

Jo-Anne Morgan wrote:I guess early conditioning is hard to overcome. I don't really know, I never really had any. Or none that I couldn't fairly easily overturn. I have some gay friends who are currently having the time of their lives travelling. They gave up their jobs (almost on the spur of the moment), rented out their flat and are currently having the time of their lives in Vietnam. I have a couple of work colleagues who are lesbians. They are on career breaks and travelling in New Zealand. The point I'm trying to make is that gay people have more fun. They don't have the drag of wives/husbands and children to hold them back.


Hi Jo-Anne,

I think your encouragement is great but I do have to take issue with what you are saying here. Gay people are just people. Some are single and some are married. Some are childless and some have children. Some are happy and some are not.

It sounds like some of your gay friends are having more fun than your straight ones but plenty of gay people have spouses just like straight people do, and don't think of those people as a drag. In fact, many gay people here in the US would love to have the drag of a wife or husband but aren't allowed to legally marry, and are fighting that battle legally. Many have children they love dearly, and many would love to but have a much harder time than straight people.

I will agree that early conditioning, having had it growing up in the SES until I was 19, is VERY VERY VERY hard to break. I still struggle with it 10+ years later. I never accepted a lot of what they said, particularly about homosexuality and illness, but there were plenty of things I did absorb. And since discussing those issues openly wasn't "allowed", anyone who wanted to was stifled and had to ignore it. Which is very damaging to a child.

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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby Free Thinker » Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:43 pm

Also, See You in Court, I believe you were already asked not to simply post block quotes from other people without engaging in discussion, but I'm going to restate that here. If you want to share something for us to read, please include a short quote and then link to where we can read the rest rather than posting the whole text.

It's simply good internet manners.

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Re: Mrs L

Postby Free Thinker » Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:48 pm

bluemoon wrote:I just wanted to put in a good word for Mrs L. I did not know her personally, just through her being around, although she did come to talk to my group once. I found her to be a delightful creature, gentle and kind and genuinely a lovely lady - hard working too. She was married very young too I think.


I would say the same. Mr. L was the future Mrs. L's teacher when she was in secondary school. That should tell you something about the relationship. I did have the impression of her being very sweet and kind, and quite intelligent, but definitely knew her place up at Mr. L's side. I would have really liked to have spent more time with her on residential.

woodgreen
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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby woodgreen » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:19 pm

Just to add to my previous post. I do not want to offend any people who still have family in the SES. As adults now, the ex - St James pupils have actually long moved on in their lives. Well done - you have been brave in saying thank you, bye bye. Just the same as people outside of the SES do. As teenagers we went thanks Mum, Dad, Church, School, Community, I'm off to live my life now. And we lived. And we often discussed the failings of our upbringing.And we often made mistakes in life - that was how we learned. But I know my family never failed me. Some of you have left parents in the cult and that is not easy. You may think they failed you. Actually sometimes parents do. I can bear witness to it right now. Many of you are concerned about your parents remaining in the SES. That is their choice - let them go.

Back to my earlier post. In the SES there are many ex/lapsed/culted Catholics or (whatever they choose to call themselves) who are actively working in the SES and preying on people's spiritual upbringing- for its cheap labour? I know the Catholics in my bit of the School of SES who took me on. Because they were in a wrong place and they took advantage. I trusted them in some semi-spiritual way, and they LET ME DOWN. I almost carried on their cultism but saw it and got out. The male "Tutor" I am referring to ( I can name him if it matters - he is a Trustee of the Schools), clocked on to me almost straightaway in the pause. After "the pause" he said " what did you hear?" I ( first hand up silly me) said " Your voice". Immediate control/connection for the tutor!I Then the Part 2 Tutor turned up and happened to be of an Irish Catholic family - not sure to this day if she was related to my ex-husband! Small world and all that.

What I am saying is, for the grown up children on this forum, let your parents go for now - if they choose to stay in the SES so be it...for now. Nothing is guaranteed in this life and nothing is guaranteed for the SES. My cousins' recent death and the conrol by her ex- husband are testimony for me at the moment.

And to the "Tutor" that knew me but could not be himself - I have not yet forgiven you but I will try - but I lay warning - never try to control me or mine again through Catholicism. Do not come near me my family or my funeral, you are not welcome.But hey I never die I believe in the Christ. Unlike you.

xxxxxxxxxxxx
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

woodgreen
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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby woodgreen » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:46 pm

[url]=http:www.equalityhumanrights.com/your-rights/religion-and-belief[url]


SES are in breach of the equalities and human rights legislation IMO, in terms of the imposition of their "spiritual beliefs" and in their attitude to people's sexual orientation. The SES is a registered charity providing educational "services" and cannot claim to be a private entity in this respect. I might speak to the Commission to see what they think.
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby joeblogs » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:31 pm

Great idea Woodgreen! I'd love to see Lambie's face as he stands before the court of Human Rights trying to explain what charitable actions his sexist, homophobic and culty organisation have done recently and why they are above the law...

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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby woodgreen » Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:30 am

Thanks Joe.I'm a bit knackered tonight, had a long hard week. But I think we are on the right track. I've done some more research and in terms of Human Rights and Equality Legislation, it would take lots of money to take on the SES in the English Courts - because it would be a civil litigation case and "we" would have to pay. Lambie would probably get it for free being a barrister. There are pro bona lawyers here but they do not seem to be volunteering to take on the SES. Perhaps they are afraid they would lose, despite all the evidence on this forum. But lawyers could never accept the electronic age when I was younger. No wonder cults survive.
Anyway I have found another avenue down the Human Rights Act, that does not cost money,I will pursue that for now. Wish me luck!!!!

xxxxx
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

woodgreen
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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby woodgreen » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:40 am

To go back to an earlier post,the catholics in the SES ( or ex catholics as I have defined them in my spirituality) cannot even sustain themselves. They are what we would call "a disgrace". I would love it if Cherie Blair said to this forum - I will represent you against the SES. Pro bono , not quite, but if there were any proceeds from the pay out, we will decide which Charities will benefit. Shall we write to Cherie?

I might as well, nothing to lose.

xxxx
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

joeblogs
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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby joeblogs » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:16 am

Yeah good luck! Why not write to her, you never know your luck...

Jo-Anne Morgan
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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby Jo-Anne Morgan » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:46 pm

Hi Free Thinker,
Well thanks for your very earnest reply! To clear things up, the friends in Vietnam are civil partners (but for the record they're still having more fun than I am).

By 'husband' and 'wife' I meant a spouse of the opposite sex not the same sex. I wanted to portray the very positive side of what is too often viewed as a negative state. Much is made in all cultures of 'family' i.e. the 'holy grail' of spouse of the opposite sex and resulting children. That state isn't always all it's cracked up to be but very often people who can't conform to it are made to feel they're missing out. There are all kinds of other ways to live a life which don't need to involve trying to mimic the pattern of the heterosexual 'ideal' and actually that goes for everybody really, gay or straight. Very often single people are also made to feel somehow odd because they're not interested in the conventional comforts of spouse and family. Of course as we know, the SES sees heterosexuality as the only valid state and that is a cause of much emotional turmoil for many. It also seems to see older man/girl as the only valid pairing and that is something I do object to.

woodgreen
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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby woodgreen » Mon May 03, 2010 3:18 pm

I raised the question of the initiation ceremony being in breach of the Human Rights Act with the Charity Commission who then referred me to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Below is the EHRC's response to me.
It would seem that because the SES is not a public body ( even though it receives public subsidy through its charity status) then it is outside of the Act. I may pursue this further but it's no wonder cults can thrive and get tax breaks when the law is so narrow!


Thank you for contacting the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
Helpline.

The Helpline will give you initial advice and information. Anything we say to
you is not a statement of your legal position. This is because we cannot speak
to the other party involved to get a full picture of the incident. If we think
you will need further assistance, we will advise you on other sources of help.

In order for there to be a breach of human rights it has to be a public
authority involved.

It is unlikely that the Charities Commission would be in breach of human rights
as they are not the ones carrying out the ceremony that you have spoken about.

The charity itself, who does carry out the ceremony, is unlikely to be in breach
of human rights as they are not a public authority.

If a person felt that their human rights had been breached it would need to be
the individual themselves that took action. There are time limits of 12 months
from a specific incident date to take further action.

I hope this information is useful, however, please do not hesitate to contact
the Helpline once again if you have any further questions or queries quoting
your reference number above.

Kind regards
Wendy Hillyerd
Advisor
Equality & Human Rights Commission
englandhelpline@equalityhumanrights.com
Tel: 0845 604 6610
Text: 0845 604 6620
Fax : 0845 604 6630
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

woodgreen
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Re: Us gay folk...

Postby woodgreen » Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:03 pm

Hi All

Just to say since this last post I have further pursued the Human Rights issue.The crucial question, under the HRA, is how far a public body i.e. the Charity Commission,should have regard to Article 9 of the HRA in carrying out its duties. It is quite a big point - and I am awaiting advice. ( It is also wider than Article 9 when the SES teachings and attitudes towards women, gay people, divorcees and single people are concerned, but I am concentrating on Article 9 because there is clear evidence that can be presented to the courts via the evidence available and the initiation ceremony which they cannot deny). Anyway I will let you know what I'm advised. I think the SES are in breach of some human and spiritual principles that are not yet enshrined in statutory law. But there may be a way of taking them on, or at least warning the SES and any new recruits how close they sail to the wind.

take care

xxxx
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).


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