Quote of the day

"You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts."

From On Children by Khalil Gibran


  1. The opposite of what CDs do. Can anybody assist with understanding the following, please? CDs know that they won't give their children unconditional love; it's against the rules. What kind of person has children knowing that they're in an organization that requires them to damage their children? What kind of person puts an organization ahead of the needs of their spouse and children? Thanks.

    1. David, I honestly don't think that a convinced CD parent will see any contradiction here. If they genuinely believe the CD way is the best way of living, then they will not expect it to damage their children, and they will not see teaching it as putting the organization ahead of the needs of spouse and children.

      However, what I would say is that when it becomes clear these teachings do cause problems for their children, different parents will respond differently. Some will decide it's the child's problem, maybe even cut them off. Some will start to see the problems themselves and become a little more liberal. And some will try and do both: think it's the child's problem, but still love them and accept the gospel isn't quite as perfect as they originally thought.

  2. Thank you, Jon. You've fleshed out the problem but not given any answers, unfortunately.

    Yes! I agree. They don't, won't, or aren't allowed to, see any contradiction here. That's the big problem. Why not? That's what I'm asking.

    Nobody can spend so much time on child abuse and restricting and stifling their children's lives and education without knowing that it's at least suspect. They know very well what they're doing. They're part of a cult that is a "danger" because of "mind control" and a "strong tendency to damage members/followers" (this is quoted from The Government of New Zealand's list of cults, of which CDs are fully aware).

    "It's the child's problem"! Why is it? How is it?

    "Cut them off"! Why? For what reason? How do they sort that out in their heads?

    I specified "unconditional" love, which is very different from the super-conditional CD "love" that isn't love that you identify.

    1. Ah, well, if those are your questions I can't answer them. The thrust of the question seems to be "How do people justify to themselves actions that seem wrong to an outsider? (and perhaps often seems wrong to some part of them as well)" That's a problem that stretches far beyond the Christadelphians, and I believe it has been extensively studied, but I don't know the answers. Presumably as I stated it starts with an unwavering belief that they are right, but what gives some that belief (and ability to rationalise away opposition) more than others I don't know.

      As for me, sure, I don't have children, and so didn't consider it from that perspective. But I do not recall hearing any references to religious education / indoctrination being child abuse until after I quit. And yes, I'm not in NZ, but I don't recall ever having heard of that NZ list of cults either. I have no idea how representative my experience is, but I suspect you over-estimate how much disconfirming information the average member is actually aware of (as opposed to being theoretically able to discover it).

      For the record, my parents doubtless believe I'm wrong, but they have not shunned me in any way.

    2. David,
      Is that quote actually from "The Government of New Zealand's" list of cults? It looks like a quote from www.cults.co.nz I do note though that the wiki article has the number of CD's in NZ at 1700, same as the 1996 census, however the later ones make no mention of them, so the data appears to be 22 years out of date at best...
      Other than to broadly agree with Jon's comment above, I would add:
      Christadelphian love is never unconditional. It's always dependent on you agreeing with them over what John Thomas taught, or their local interpretation of it. Move away from that and the love stops. As a child they cut you some slack, and send you to Sunday School so that you learn the right stuff. If you disagree,then you leave. Simple.
      Why cut them off? Same reason really. Difference of opinion on fundamentals is not tolerated, just because they are your children makes no difference. They are terrified of contamination.
      It might be worth remembering that cutting off from people who don't agree with you is what John Thomas taught, and is STILL taught from the platform. (specifically by Jonathan Bowen and his followers, most recently at the Rugby prophecy day)

    3. Thank you, Joseph. Yes, the info is at that NZ cult site; which is up to date (copyright 1999 to March 2018 currently). I don't know how I made an attribution error. Sorry about that. I haven't found the Wiki article that you refer to.

      I too broadly agree with most of what Jon said (and you) but I'm trying to understand the mentality of CDs. For example, if I try to imagine expecting my children to think like me because I tell them exactly what to think, it's impossible. Also, I understand from the hate preacher that my parents may be looking forward to killing me in a bloodbath with all other non-believers. To put myself into those shoes is impossible. Somewhere on here at some time I read of a woman whose son hadn't joined and, as she couldn't bear the thought of the bloodbath, she decided to leave. That's what you'd expect to be a normal reaction from a mother.

      "If you disagree,then you leave. Simple." Leaving is simple, but the spin-offs aren't simple, as related elsewhere on this site. "Leave" is their back to front way of looking at it. The children are never asked if they want any part of it. It's a case of not joining something, not a case of leaving it.

      Not giving unconditional love is unspeakable, in my view, and making their conditions is plain and simple child abuse.

      Thanks for the Bowen info. Illuminating.

    4. Joseph. I mailed the Government Of New Zealand (whose census figures cults.nz uses). The numbers of CDs are 1996 - 1743. 2001 - 1686. 2006 - 1785. 2013 - 1686. It's interesting to compare the numbers with other denominations. Go to http://archive.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census/data-tables/total-by-topic.aspx then scroll down to religious affiliations.

    5. David,
      Thanks for that information. I did look directly at the census site, but found it very difficult to abstract the figures from what was presented. That link and spreadsheet solve the problem. What should worry these jokers is not that they have only declined a bit from 1996, but how few they are compared to all the other loony fake Christian groups. 3 times as many (Plymouth) Brethren, 14k SDA's, 18k Jay-Dubs, etc etc.

  3. Joseph, I think when a child is born of CD parents and is sent to Sunday School from age four or five (having previously been taken to CD meetings, and CD friends and family homes, almost from birth), it is normal in CD families that the child is unable to reason after a while, is unable to even consider disagreeing, doesn`t leave, gets baptised. Because of their indoctrination they "know" they have been taught the truth. The difference between a community and a cult is that in a community members can come and go. A cult is closed. It shuts people off from the greater community. Rigid. It demands conformity to the beliefs. I believe that disabling a child`s mind from the culture and normalcy of the world around that child, denying choice, the result of indoctrination, is a form of abuse.

    1. Mancott. "Disabling a child's mind". A superb choice of words.

  4. To continue this thread about children, if I may. Take a standard CD scenario from an imaginary committed CD's point of view -
    I abuse my parental position of trust daily and indoctrinate my child for fifteen years and more into the view that every person in the world apart from me and my CD "friends" is bad/evil. However, psychological abuse, emotional neglect, isolation etc. fail to force it to think exactly as instructed. So I, and my CD "friends" cut it off i.e. cast it adrift in a world that it believes to be bad/evil, with no parents, no friends, no experience. As a parent, I know exactly what I am doing and that this isn't in any way normal or acceptable behaviour in general society. It's sociopathic as per this definition - "patterns of attitudes and behaviours that are considered antisocial by society at large, but are seen as normal or necessary by the subculture or social environment in which they developed. Sociopaths may have a well-developed conscience and a normal capacity for empathy, guilt, and loyalty, but their sense of right and wrong is based on the norms and expectations of their subculture or group."

    This raises several questions.

    Q1. Are all CDs unfit to be parents?

    Q2. Are words such as "devout", "committed Christadelphian" etc. obfuscatory and excuse/justify what is, in fact, evil behaviour?

    Q3. Is evil the right word? If not, what words are appropriate, taking into account that they need to cover the pre-meditated, calculated and co-ordinated nature of the behaviour.

    Q4. Similarly, are "sick, deluded, brainwashed" words that, even unwittingly, minimise the behaviour to some extent?

    Q5. Under law, parents have a duty to act in the best interests of the child. CDs clearly don't act in that way. Why are they getting away with it?

    1. Well, to be fair, there are many CD parents (my own included) who do not cut their kids off for disbelief etc.

      There are some who fit the description you gave though. I don't know how representative they are of CDs as a whole. I've met many diverse CDs and everyone's experience seems to be a little different.

      While I found it quite traumatic and difficult to discover my beliefs didn't match reality, and subsequently leave the only community I had ever known, I've heard from others who have managed to leave with much greater ease, although the thinking and behavioural patterns will always leave their mark.

      There have been cases where the authorities will step in to save children from abusive parents. The difficulty is that psychological abuse is much more difficult to prove - especially if it is religiously motivated. Our society still holds religion on a pedestal and people tend to naively assume that religious people are more moral, and that religions themselves are relatively harmless. Little do they know.

      People associate religion with things like charities and giving (and there are many religious people who are genuinely trying to make the world a better place) but they are blind to the other reality where religions cause harm, often psychologically but sometimes physically as well.

      Many/most of the Christadelphians I knew who perpetuated the psychological harm were simply well-meaning but misguided. If their religion was demonstrably correct, then doing whatever it takes to get people into the afterlife might actually be morally good, depending on whether you view salvation as a higher priority than personal autonomy etc.

      The behaviour I think is inexcusable (which I think is exactly what you were saying) is where parents know they are bringing their kids up in a way that will make it extremely difficult for them to get by in the real world, all because they want their kids to remain Christadelphians. This is not ok.

      "Train up a child..." etc. That verse still gives me shivers. If one's childhood indoctrination is known to have such a great influence over behaviour later in life, isn't that evidence that the beliefs aren't rational? Aren't they just admitting that no sane person would believe it unless they were taught it as children?


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