Post details: From Deception Into Strong Delusion


Permalink 10:19:56 pm, Categories: By Pam, 1088 words   English (US)

From Deception Into Strong Delusion

There is an experience of my life that I have written often of here and have covered it from many different angles. I have called it legalism, religion, and even spiritual abuse. This experience is a few years behind me now but I am still processing and coming to understand what happened to me there. From where I sit now, looking back, I would bring that time in my life into sharper focus by honestly saying that I was once a member of a cult.

Cult is a scary word that defies solid definition. Wikipedia offers up 26 pages in an attempt to nail down the meaning of the word cult. Usually, a group is not definitively labeled as cult until there is a mass death of some sort. However, there are many cults that never reach this extreme and most of them maintain an image that gives them somewhat of an acceptable image in the larger community. The cult that I belonged to still maintains this image and many would say that I am being much to extreme but I know what I live through and thanks to God, managed to escape.

Cults come in many forms. Some are religious and some non-religious. Some are Bible based and some are not. The cult I belonged to was and is Bible based and this is what gives it strength; enabling it to maintain a strangle-hold over those who are trapped within.

To be taken into a cult one must first be deceived and then when one gives their selves over to the group deception is given the power of strong delusion. It is a delusion of goodness, unity, and safety. A delusion of right doctrine and practice. A delusion of doing what is right when all the rest of the world is doing wrong. This delusion may take hold as a clique within a church or it may engulf the entire church and the larger denominational organization. The cult I once belonged to has its own parochial schools and colleges and they are in their strictness unsurpassed. I was deceived into believing that this was the place where I could bring up my children and protect them from the crumbling popular culture. Their methods of mind control and discipline giving the illusion of young people devoted to and living their lives for God.

My desire to raise my children for God and protect them from the world was so great that I accepted many personal restrictions in order to become a part of this group. I dressed as I was told and I only listened to what I was told was acceptable. I did not go to movies. I went to church at least, three times a week. I tithed and I gave to faith promise. I gave a great deal of my money and my time. My husband and I worked in the ministry of this church nearly as much as in our jobs. We had no time for friends or family and we lost touch with many. Our life was this small church. Guilt was the bolt on the door that kept us from leaving. Guilt so heavy that in all the years that I spent there, I never once told of how Jesus saved me. It was deemed inappropriate to even discuss what I had been before. The pastor became the Lord of my Life and also the Lord of my family and Jesus was given the second seat. All of our family problems were taken to the Pastor and when my son had problems at Bible College the Pastor and the Pastor who had been there previously were called before we were. Every part of our lives was subject to their control.

It embarrasses me now to admit that I was once the member of a cult. When I look back on it, I am amazed at how easily I was drawn in and how easily I gave myself completely to the control of others. I know though that this is a common occurrence and we are living in times that the Bible teaches are of very strong delusion. Delusion so strong that if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived. There are many like me with new cults being formed every day. In churches and outside of them. Their leaders first being deceived themselves as they deceive others leading them together into strong delusion. Jesus says that we will know these false prophets by their fruit. I know the wisdom of this now for false prophets are very good at using words that sound right, even the very words of the Bible. What they can't do is produce the fruits of the Spirit for they are of God and not of the prophet himself. I know now that I must listen to the words of who-ever's teaching I am listening to but keep my eyes open to what is being produced in the lives of the listeners as well as my own heart to know the truth of them. The Word devoid of the Spirit is reduced to only words and they will not produce what only the Spirit can produce. If there is not love where there should be love and no joy where their should be joy, then the Spirit is absent and what should be a church is only a cult. If in the place of Jesus a man and his teachings are lifted up, this too is a cult. If in the place of hearing of what God can do in my life and the life of others, I am heaped with guilt and forced to strive for what Jesus offers freely through the keeping of rules and rituals, this too is a cult. If taken out of the world and kept separate through the piling on of guilt and fear when Jesus teaches that I am to be in the world but not of it, this too is a cult. Any religious leader who would replace Jesus in my life and my Heavenly Father as the ruler of my life, is a false prophet. Any leader who would lead me away from other brothers and sisters in Christ who might not agree with him, is also a false prophet. These are the fruits of a false prophet: fear,isolation,other-control,the division of families (even between man and wife), guilt, hopelessness, darkness, and even death. Know them by their fruit, not by their form, and avoid them.

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Comment from: lenbenhear [Member] ·
Thanks for sharing this, Pam. It is a very useful and helpful insight into how religion and *over-stepping authority* can be used to control people in a very subtle way that can quickly become "legalistic" and tend to negate both grace and liberty IN CHRIST.

Love, Peace, and Grace
Permalink 02/09/08 @ 03:54
Comment from: Pam [Visitor]
Hi Len,

I think all of us can be prone to developing a cult mindset. Though some leaders are purposeful in misleading and controling those who follow their teaching, I think many more are simply as delusional as those they are responsible for. We all need to be mindful to cling to Jesus and not to physical unity with others.

Permalink 02/09/08 @ 06:34
Comment from: lenbenhear [Member] ·
The THREE LEADERS we need to learn to trust most are (of course) THE FATHER, THE SON, AND the leading of THE HOLY SPIRIT. ... everybody else has to have that "grain of salt" that is a healthy skepticism that no man is infallible or to be totally trusted like Jesus.

STAYING with the simple truths of The Gospel is the safest and best way to avoid the pitfalls. ... but (having said that) ... yes, - I certainly *do* believe there are those called as prophets and leaders in the Body of Christ. - but one must be careful and somewhat cautious of the overly authoritarian leader or spokesman. (!)
Permalink 02/09/08 @ 08:56
Comment from: Pam [Visitor]

Permalink 02/09/08 @ 11:48
Comment from: Dad [Visitor]
Pam, This is well spoken. Even Paul and John did not claim the high title of "prophet."

One needs only a brief review of history to see many that have claimed that name but have been decievers. A higher calling than "prophet" is "servant."

Among those I have seen few decievers. Would you put Billy Graham in the category of prophet or servant? James Dobson? Mother Theresa?

Lifting up is a fruit of the spirit. Condemnation is not.

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."
Permalink 02/10/08 @ 06:23
Comment from: Pam [Visitor]
Hi Dad, :0)

I'm attempting to look beyond titles because a deceiver will use any title that enables him to cause another to bite into his own affliction, his delusion, his illusion of granduer. To be successful in deception one must first be fully enveloped in that deception and often, the most common and readily acceptable titles aid them in infecting others. Of course, grand titles with a certain sound may be more effective in another scenario. That is why Jesus in all His Wisdom says that we know them by their fruit, by what they produce.

The best thing to do is to pray for God's Will in the lives of all parties involved. Truly, it is the Spirit of Truth, the Truth that is Jesus, that has the power to rescue His ellect from the power of strong delusion.

Thanks for the encouragement and I hope my words have also been an encouragement to you.

Permalink 02/10/08 @ 07:57
Comment from: Dad [Visitor]
Your words are and encouragement and spoken with a quiet spirit. Thanks.

You are right that strong delusion is at work. Condemnation drips from the words of at least one that posts here

Condemnation is not a fruit of the spirit but is the focus of many false prophets. They must condemn to build themselves up and feed their self delusion.

Another sign is verbosity. Many words are used to attack those with whom they do not agree. Another sign of weekness.

Your prayers in this matter are the right response. Perhaps the best and only effective response.

Permalink 02/10/08 @ 20:25
Comment from: lenbenhear [Member] ·
The difference between *conviction* and condemnation is not always obvious: sometimes it is subtle; sometimes it is blaring and glaring.

The important thing is to avoid ALL self-exaltation, avoid authority-ridden 'titles' like, "prophet," "reverand," etc. ... Servant and ambassador for Christ is good enough.

We must be careful NOT to condemn those who hear from God and/or declare His word, ... but at the same time we must be VERY careful not to be snared by those who take too much authority unto themselves and who may use that 'authority' to control and/or condemn others. - this is why Holy Spirit discernment and knowing the written Word of GOD is so important.

The sum of the matter? ... NEVER put too much faith in ANY man or woman. ... ONLY The Three in ONE.
Permalink 02/10/08 @ 20:59
Comment from: Pam [Visitor]
Hi Dad,

Prayer should always be our first response and generally, we keep it until last. I don't know all that is going on here but you are on my heart, Dad and have been in my prayers all day. Never give up. Today I had a blessing, a wonderful gift, in answer to something I've been asking of God for many years. I still prayed out of habit but after a decade...but today the answer came with a blessing from out of the blue and God is so good! I am filled to the brim with joy. It will come to you too Dad. In Jesus Name, Satan can't have our children. Never underestimate the power of that Name and when it hurts so bad that you don't know what to say or you feel so heavy with discouragement that you can't think Godly thoughts, just begin to whisper that Name and feel the air around you clear and as you repeat the Holy Name of Jesus, louder each time, feel the power of the Holy Spirit fill you and rest in the Father's Will. None who belong to Him will be lost. Not even one.

Love In Christ,
Permalink 02/10/08 @ 21:39
Comment from: Pam [Visitor]
Hi Len,

I almost missed your post and I agree and what you've said brings tears to my eyes because when we make too much of a brother or sister in Christ, we share in their sin. When we begin to cling to any leader in the place of Jesus we enable them to think more of themselves than they ought. None of us are above admonishment and if any of us should place ourselves there beyond sound correction, we are in trouble.

Keep praying, Len.

Permalink 02/10/08 @ 21:45
Comment from: Len [Visitor] ·
Pam, I certainly agree with your insights and admonitions regarding placing *too much* trust or reliance upon someone making extravagant claims or making much claims to 'spiritual authority.' I'm really with you on that, ... but here is the flip side of this issue:

Caution should not necessarily give-way to suspicion, ... or worse: condemnation. EXAMINE EVERYTHING based upon THE FOUNDATIONAL TRUTHS OF SALVATION, THE IDENTITY OF CHRIST, AND THE GOSPEL OF FAITH AND GRACE. Wisely, leave room for interpolation and extrapolation FROM SCRIPTURE, - such that there is no clear violation of known Biblical truths.

GOD IS speaking thru many of His prophetic-servants: the message is always very clear here: REPENT and be ready. - everything else is (essentially)details that need to be examined beyond the basic message.

Shalom & GOD bless.
Permalink 02/11/08 @ 03:17
Comment from: Timothy [Member] ·
Here are the Scriptures that we need to discern between the true and false servants:

Test them against the Word of God in the Scriptures of Truth by
Clicking here--> Discernment of True and False Prophets/Teachers/Preachers]

Permalink 02/11/08 @ 07:54
Comment from: Pam [Visitor]

I agree and honestly, I think the important fact we should all keep in our minds is that we are all only human beings no matter what title we carry. Also, none of our titles or lack of them is really important but God's Will carried out through each of us is what we should desire for ourselves and for each other. There is an old saying, "Keep me hidden behind the cross". Ministry should never be about a personality or something that we set our cap to perform. Ministry is simply ministering Jesus to all who are set by God in our path each day. That is everyone folks.

Permalink 02/11/08 @ 23:47
Comment from: Pam [Visitor]
Thanks for the link, Timothy.

Permalink 02/11/08 @ 23:48
Comment from: Timothy [Member] ·
Your Welcome Pam... but to God be all the glory, as He was the One who gave Amy and I all those Scriptures and gave us understanding to organize them in a way that would be easily understood.

"I think the important fact we should all keep in our minds is that we are all only human beings no matter what title we carry." ~ Pam

Amen. The Lord is indeed no respecter of persons(Acts 10:34)... always beholding our hearts and also knowing our innermost thoughts and intentions. Servant is the only title we can have in His body. All else is a word describing His work in us and through us - a gift of the Spirit(1 Cor. 12). This however does not change anything... a servant we remain.

1 Cor.7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers...

In all my posting people fail to look past me and see just what and who I exalt... it is never me. We are in subjection to the Word of the Lord and in no wise is it in subjection to us.

Where am I? I am kneeling at the feet of Christ beside you... a servant of the Lord and even of you. And where does His message stand, even His Word... over us all...
He is the Head of all.

And so I pray always that He make us one in Himself and that we ask Him to come live in us and live His life through us and be all things in us and for us....
Lord let us all be united with you... make us one.

In Jesus' name. Amen.
Permalink 02/12/08 @ 11:52
Comment from: Pam [Visitor]

None of us seem to have a problem calling ourselves servants but we all have a problem behaving as such. That's why it is important to hide ourselves behind the cross because self wants so badly to be exalted that the only solution is to hide self beneath the blood of Jesus until we have completely died to self and that won't be until He comes for us.

This same self also demands signs and wonders, things that he/she can see for the flesh can't walk by faith, only by sight. We too when we begin to shape our lives according to the fulfillment of signs or because of a miracle have ceased to walk by faith and have reverted to walking by sight. This also leads us to exalt a brother or sister above ourselves as an example to follow rather than walking by the direction of the Spirit. By this we also play into the exalted one's own vanity and lift them with our sin to a place of great temptation for that leader and most fall to it. This is the way in which cults are born, when we stop walking by faith and begin to walk by sight according to the flesh. Satan loves it when we do this because it gives him opportunity to drag us so far out in left field that we are of no Godly use.

If each of us are in Christ, we are unified and that unity is lived out when each of us are walking according to His direction and not according to one another. When we begin to live in a way that pleases one another, we have ceased to please God and have returned to pleasing other men.

I have many concerns, Timothy and only time as God's Will is worked out will reveal the truth of them. My prayer is that God would keep us all humble before Him and loving toward all who come our way and that we would not lift ourselves or each other to a height above correction. Encouragement is wonderful but it has to be tempered with admonishment to be truly edifying. It would be wonderful if this could be accomplished with a little less drama!;0) We are all just a tad arrogant!

Permalink 02/12/08 @ 12:22
Comment from: lenbenhear [Member] ·
Pam is right in her wise and cautious admonishment: I say this to myself, ... even as I say it to one and all: beware of exalted titles and of authority that can so easily tweak the ego and pride. Beware of thinking of yourself as anything other than *an unworthy servant* of the Lord Jesus Christ and a vessel that HE CAN USE *if* we remain humble.
Now please let me be very honest here: I know two people on the internet that I have a lot of respect for: Timothy, who often refers to himself as "God's prophet," and adelpit, who refers to himself as "the surprise third witness" and "the feet of Yeshua," (being the earthly similitude of the archangel, Michael) ! ... Now: seriously: many people think they are simply "off their rocker." - I say they BOTH have important things to say, ... and I believe they are BOTH brothers in Christ, ... but consider carefully: If they were both found in the same room: would they consider each other *as competitors* and with great suspicion? ... or would they relate to each other as loving brethren in Christ. ? You decide. I think I already know.

THE PROBLEM is that they both see themselves as 'having a testimony and a calling' ... and that THAT calling may well bring them into immediate conflict with anyone who 'threatens' or 'challenges' their authority and position. - So what to do? ... REST IN THE LORD and LET HIM defend His own Truth and who is who and what is what. - "prove all things, hold fast to that which is Good." ... and (whatever you do) do not put too much confidence *in men* nor in their claims or declarations. CLING TO CHRIST, and HIM alone. - there is no other REAL place of safety ... or wisdom.

At least that is my counsel, and I believe it is from the Holy Spirit.

Shalom, in Sar Shalom Yeshua

Permalink 02/14/08 @ 23:36
Comment from: The Burning Bush [Visitor] ·
Hi Pam,

Although I don't think I know many who have suffered in the way you have with a cult, I can definitely say there have been time(s) in my life where I was far more interested in the praises from men instead of the praise that comes from God only. It sounds like your scars have given you insight into the fakeness which we no longer need to carry as believers in addition to the freedom that comes from Christ alone.

You know what's a little odd is I was just reading in 2 John (which seems to be written to a mature woman) about watching out for those who do not know the true Jesus. John's command is to avoid going 'beyond' the places God wants us to, which is exactly what the cults try to do with all their rules.

Thanks for sharing your story with us. It sounds like it was not easy to tell. Your story is also a good reminder that God cares about people who are in cults, although it may be difficult for us to know which way to show them love. God still cares about them.
Permalink 02/17/08 @ 20:44
Comment from: The Burning Bush [Visitor] ·
Hi Pam,

Although I don't think I know many who have suffered in the way you have with a cult, I can definitely say there have been time(s) in my life where I was far more interested in the praises from men instead of the praise that comes from God only. It sounds like your scars have given you insight into the fakeness which we no longer need to carry as believers in addition to the freedom that comes from Christ alone.

You know what's a little odd is I was just reading in 2 John (which seems to be written to a mature woman) about watching out for those who do not know the true Jesus. John's command is to avoid going 'beyond' the places God wants us to, which is exactly what the cults try to do with all their rules.

Thanks for sharing your story with us. It sounds like it was not easy to tell. Your story is also a good reminder that God cares about people who are in cults, although it may be difficult for us to know which way to show them love. God still cares about them.
Permalink 02/17/08 @ 20:44
Comment from: Dad [Visitor]

Thank you for your prayers. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I, for one, need the support of your prayer and concern.

I do have concerns about some of the posts here. A concern that I think we share. Your admonishments and encouragements to Timothy, Trent and us all, are well spoken and (at the risk of too much praise) wise.

I know that we are held on to by Christ ... not that we hold on to Him. It is his strength upon which we depend ... not our own. None shall be lost.

Thank you for clearly stating your concerns and admonishments. I pray that those with the need to will have ears to hear. If not we can only pray that the Spirit will silence those with a false message. HE builds his church and none shall prevail against it. We may be aware of his doing but to be sure, he is able and does not need our weak efforts to win the battle. May Christ and his glory be lifted up.

May God bless your journey.


Permalink 02/20/08 @ 00:52
Comment from: Timothy [Member] ·

Please read this and pray:

click here--> By what spirit do I do and say these things?

and here--> My This is how I feel about my Lord and my God
Permalink 05/02/08 @ 19:15
Comment from: lenbenhear [Member] ·
Without a doubt: the word "servant" is FAR BETTER than the title, "prophet." - for "MANY shall come in My name and deceive many."

Yet also: a few come in His name and do NOT deceive NOR exalt themselves.

- this is the vital difference: the servant who always points TO THE KING: The Lord Jesus Messiah, Saviour and King. - NEVER to exalt self OR the calling.

After all, do we not all agree? ... IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS, *not* 'our ministry' or 'calling' or whatever.

Love the prophet. pray for him/her. ... it's often a lonely and greatly misunderstood calling. ... the true prophet sheds many a tears over the condition of his generation. ... and he often weeps before THE LORD, ... in silence, ... and with a broken heart.

PRAY for the prophet. his heart is broken today, ... just like the Heart of His Master and LORD.
Permalink 10/28/08 @ 04:40
Comment from: Pam [Visitor] ·
Hi Len,

I almost missed this comment and I'm so glad that I didn't. What you've said is beautiful and true and dipicts the humility of a true prophet of God as well as his/her broken heart. Truly, in this present time, I believe that God may call upon all of us to prophesy at one time or another according to His own purpose. It really is not important if we be known as a prophet or not but the message He gives us to deliver is of upmost importance. Neither is it important that we recognize another as prophet so much as love him/her, pray for him/her, and heed those words that proceed from them as we are able to discern through the Holy Spirit are from God. You are right, it is all about Jesus and not about any of us, prophets included.

Permalink 10/30/08 @ 18:11

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