TEN WAYS IN WHICH IAA AND OTHER CULTS USE COERCIVE PERSUASION

Mind Control 002Unhealthy churches, abusive churches, cults, etc., all use similar methods of indoctrination designed to eliminate individual thinking and foster dependence on the group or its leaders. Martin De Haan II, in How to Identify a Dangerous Religious Group, enumerates some of these coercive persuasion techniques:

  1. ISOLATION: Members are isolated from family and friends. Information, via the print and electronic media, is screened in order to filter out any opposing points of view.

At I.A.A. any family or friends that are not part of the church are strictly taboo. In the wake of some bad publicity in one of the local papers, there had been some relaxing of this particular prohibition. However, there is still little contact between church and non-church family members, and what contact exists is only superficial. Often times, a church member who visits a non-church family member will be accompanied by another member of the church to act as a “body guard”.

Families have been destroyed by this isolationism. In some cases, family outside of the church have not seen their sons or daughters, parents, siblings or grandchildren for months, or even years.

I.A.A. members are told which books and magazines to read, which movies or videos to watch, what type of music to listen to, and what radio stations are all right to tune into (Christian broadcasting is especially forbidden).

  1. PEER GROUP PRESSURE: Members are subject to intense persuasion by group members.

At I.A.A., much of this pressure to conform in thought or behavior takes place in the context of a group setting. Anytime that an individual expresses a thought that is contrary to what is being taught by church leaders, or asks a question that would tend to throw doubt on those teachings, he is confronted in front of his whole group, and must endure a barrage of verbal abuse. Sometimes private meetings are held with the church leaders and the “offender”. These meetings get particularly verbal, and may even include a phone call from Deb Hovland or Ruth Kellogg. These are extremely intimidating, and always result in the ultimatum of getting your act together and conforming or leaving (turning your back on God) and suffering the eternal consequences.

  1. REMOVAL OF PRIVACY: Members are allowed very little time alone to collect and discover their own thoughts.

At I.A.A., virtually every waking moment that is not spent at work (or school) is spent either at the church, with other group members, or on some type of church outing or activity. Any thoughts that you do have, you are encouraged to put down in a journal. At one time, journals were mandatory and had to be turned in weekly to the group leaders.

  1. SLEEP DEPRIVATION AND FATIGUE: A person’s resistance is broken down by long meetings and extended work hours.

This is extremely evident at I.A.A. where, as I mentioned earlier, virtually every waking hour is spent in group activities or in “volunteering” to help with something out at the church. Sundays, which God has ordained to be a day of worship and rest, are among the busiest days at I.A.A. Sundays are packed with activities and meetings that often go late into the night. Failure to be involved in these activities and meetings would be indicative of “self”, not Jesus, being in control.

  1. MIND CONTROL: Members are conditioned to stop thinking and to accept without question the revelations and doctrines of their leaders.

Take, for example, Ruth’s’ letter dated May, 1992. This was three months after the church split, relatively early in the “new walk”. This 14 page letter was written to address a number of complaints that church members had about the answers that they were receiving to their questions. (By this point in the walk, petitioning God directly with our needs had been replaced by writing our questions down and turning them into our group leaders who would funnel them to Ruth Kellogg and Deb Hovland, who in turn would receive the answers from God for us. Ruth had this to say to those who were complaining about “the privilege of being enabled in this special way”:

“I am sick of it – truly sick of it. I have had it all the way to the very tip of my head with all of you who question His every move.”

She continues:

“So I am saying this with the full authority of the Lord – if you choose to believe it is Him who leads this path – make the choice, once and for all. Are you coming or not? This is not a game. The door is closing.”

  1. CONFESSION: The self respect of the members is broken down through persuading them to share their innermost secrets with the group.

Numerous references are made in Ruth’s writings about everything being brought into the open; no stone being left un-turned; all being naked and bare before the eyes of all to see. Everyone makes confessions of one sort or another. Some are more public than others. The group leaders especially, having a fiduciary relationship with their group members, are entrusted with quite a few confidential confessions. This may or may not be a good thing. In James 5:16 we are admonished to “confess your faults one to another.” The point is, when someone makes a confession to you, what do you do with the information? James 5:16 continues, “…pray one for another, that you may be healed.” Confession should lead you to pray for the healing and deliverance of the one who made the confession. Not so at I.A.A.! They have no compunction against using confidential information against someone, should they decide to leave the church. Information is power. This is true in business, in politics, and in spiritually abusive churches.

  1. CHANGE OF DIET: Members are provided inadequate nutrition, which breaks down the resistance and makes them vulnerable to suggestion.

At I.A.A. the diets and eating habits are, like everything else, controlled by the church. While I was a member, everyone submitted a weekly or monthly menu which had to be approved. Items on the grocery list also had to be approved. Shopping was done as a group activity. All of the women in the group would get together to do their shopping, with the group leaders’ wife in control of the expedition. That way she could keep an eye on the ladies in the group and make sure that they did not cheat on their budgets or buy something that was not approved. Pizza was a required meal at least once a week (and we were strongly encouraged to buy the pizzas from the church). We were also required to eat several meals each week at the church food counter. One church member, who wound up leaving I.A.A. after I did, was a science teacher at the church school. He approached church leaders to express concerns about the lack of nutrition in the foods we were required to purchase at the food counter.

  1. FEAR: Negative thoughts or doubts about the group or its leader are said to be soul threatening. Anyone leaving the group is warned about harsh consequences.

Fear is a major factor why some people who would like to leave I.A.A. are still there. Fear is what kept me there for several months after I knew that I had to leave. This fear, which can be debilitating, manifests itself in several ways:

FEAR OF CONFRONTATION AND VERBAL ABUSE. Although in some of Ruth’s’ letters she practically begs people to leave if they cannot get with the program, leaving is actually very difficult to do, especially if you are in a leadership role. After making my decision to leave, I had to endure numerous visitations and phone calls as well as confrontations at work. II Tim. 2:24-26 talks about the gentleness and humility a church leader should manifest when trying to persuade someone of error. This is not the style at I.A.A. Instead, they manifest anger and contempt and persuade through fear and intimidation, yelling, screaming, and even cursing and profanity. One of the couples who left the church was so harassed by church leaders that they had to threaten them with a restraining order.

FEAR OF LOOSING FAMILY AND FRIENDS.  They will tolerate a husband or wife who is a non-member, but a spouse who is an ex-member is a different story. They are considered traitors. They use the name “Judas” for ex-members, and rather than working to reconcile the relationships of family members involved, they encourage family members who wish to remain in the church to estrange themselves from family members who leave. They will provide shelter and transportation, thus facilitating the breakup of families and homes.

FEAR OF THE LOSS OF SECURITY.  This is another of the agonizing fears that those contemplating leaving have to deal with. Many of the members at I.A.A. are employed either at the church/school, or at a private business owned by a church member, but controlled by the church. Fear of losing your job is a tough one to overcome. When I left I.A.A., I had five different church leaders tell me that I would lose my job. Loss of security means more than just the loss of a job. Many Member of I.A.A. have received special gifts and perks from the church, including televisions, jewelry, trips, and cash. Many who leave I.A.A. would find themselves in a position of not having a place to live, a car to drive, or even a job to drive to.

FEAR OF THE LOSS OF YOUR SALVATION. This is probably the greatest fear that anyone who is contemplating walking out from under Ruth’s control must face. They are taught that they are the “elite”, the “chosen ones.” To walk away from the church is equivalent to turning your back on God.

  1. DRESS: Conformity of dress is encouraged to suppress individuality.

I believe that at I.A.A., conformity of dress is designed to enhance feelings of unity. We should remember, however, that uniformity is not the same as Biblical unity. Consider the following:

-My last Christmas at I.A.A. was the Christmas of 1993. At that time we were told that it was God’s perfect will for Ruth Kellogg and Deb Hovland to do our Christmas shopping for us, because they alone knew what the perfect choices would be in gift selection. The Sunday after Christmas I counted the number of men in the church who were wearing the same style of shirt (that they just received for Christmas). There were no less than sixteen of them. That represented the vast majority of the men in the church.

-Many of the women in the church have started wearing their hair in the same style.

-Members of I.A.A. are now wearing distinctive church rings (along the same order as class rings). This is a development that happened after I left, so I am not sure how they justified it among themselves, but I believe that it is meant to be a means of identifying them as the “chosen few”; the pioneers of the “new walk”; a constant reminder to them that they are the elite, much like a football player who possesses a coveted Superbowl ring.

The early church did not have to wear rings or shirts to show their unity or to identify themselves as believers. Their identity was in Jesus Christ and their unity was in their singleness of heart to worship and follow Jesus (Acts 2:46).

10. ELITISM: People who are outside of the group do not possess the degree of truth or the depth of understanding that the group possesses.

Ruth is very judgmental of traditional Christianity as you can see from the following excerpt from an undated letter:

“…I open the doors of my house to all who would come and see. They will not all be pretty to look upon and many shall be outcasts from this very society, especially ‘Christian’ society which counts itself perfect in all ways having arrived at last to perfection and can now go about pointing out other imperfections. I say Mine and My people shall be different for they shall open their doors to those who hurt, are cast-offs and those who all others have forgotten and left behind as of no account.”

IN Ruth’s May, 1992 letter cited earlier, she refers to I.A.A. members as a “special group”, a “special few”, a privileged people – chosen to be blessed in this special way.”

This list is not an all-inclusive one. There are other techniques that cults use to control their members. Here are links to three good articles on the subject:

THE CULTURE OF CULTS 

EIGHT WAYS TO IDENTIFY RELIGIOUS BRAINWASHING

COERCIVE MIND CONTROL TACTICS

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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RUTH VS. TRUTH #3

Ruth Kellogg vs the word of God

Ruth Kellogg vs the word of God

In this RvT, we learn about Ruth Kellogg’s claims to be the actual, physical bride of Christ. She is royalty, and will reign as Queen over the Kingdom of God.

 

 

RVT 003

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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HOW TO DISCERN A FALSE PROPHET

Copy-of-Bible-StudyJesus warned his disciples that many false Christ’s and false prophets would arise and would deceive many. We see the truth of this today with the proliferation of cults, the New Age, eastern religions, and even psychology, self-help, and some quasi-political groups. With so many different messages and messengers out there, how is a Christian supposed to discern the truth from the error?

Click on the link below to download a copy of our False Prophets Bible study, which looks at four different tests that the Bible gives which must be applied to any teaching or to any prophet claiming to be divinely inspired. Failing any one of these tests would invalidate the teaching and prove the prophet to be false.

You can also go to “Links and Resources” on the menu tab above and click on “Downloads” to download a copy.

False Prophets Bible Study – Teachers Guide

False Prophets Bible Study – Students Guide

Soli Deo Gloria

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CULT MATH – IT DOESN’T ADD UP

Math 001There are over two hundred different religious denominations in the United States, with almost half a million churches. In addition, there are estimated to be between 3,000 – 5,000 religious cults in the United States, ranging in size from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) with over six million members, to small “cottage cults” with a hand full of members, like the followers of Ruth Kellogg of Immanuel Apostolic Assembly in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. With this many different groups, both legitimate Christian organizations and dangerous counterfeit cults, clamoring for our attention, how do we tell the difference? Is there anything that cults have in common that distinguishes them from the genuine body of Christ? The answer to these questions is, “Yes,” and to understand the answer, you will need a little lesson in “cult math,” which involves addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

ADDITION: Addition happens whenever the group or its leaders try to add anything to the word of God. Cults generally take one of two positions with regard to the Bible: the first is that the Bible is not the word of God. The second position is that the Bible “contains” the word of God, but it is not the total written revelation of his will for us. The Mormons add the Book of Mormon, the Doctrines and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great PriceAll of which hold supreme authority over the Bible, but none of which carries the same weight in authority as the words of the President of the church, known as the “living Prophet.” Brigham Young once stated that when compared with the living Prophet, the Bible, the Book of Mormon and other standard works of the church are nothing to him. They do not convey the word of God as does the Prophet.

Other groups add their own writings. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own version of the Bible called, the New World Translation, but even this poorly translated insult to the word of God takes a back seat to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, headquartered in New York. Jehovah’s Witnesses rely on the “divinely inspired” teaching aids published by the Watchtower to properly interpret and understand what they read in The New World Translation.

The members of Immanuel Apostolic Assembly (IAA) – a small charismatic church located in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin – turn to the writings of Ruth Kellogg, also known as the “bride of Christ,” who has written (probably) hundreds of “epistles” dealing with matters ranging from masturbation to menu tips.  Bible study at IAA has been replaced with small group study of Ruth’s letters, and whenever anyone is dealing with a particular issue in their lives, they are encouraged to get their guidance from the appropriate letter from Ruth that deals with that issue. Although they pay lip service to the Bible as the word of God, they will readily admit that it is not the only written word of God, and that Ruth Kellogg’s epistles are on an equal par.

SUBTRACTION: Subtraction refers to the practice among cults of taking away from the person and work of Jesus Christ so that he is no longer the same Jesus that we read about in the pages of the New Testament. Ruth Kellogg and her followers have taken away the sacrificial Lamb of God, and replaced him with a barbaric, deceitful Jesus who looks like Kevin Costner, and is so in love with Ruth that he broke up her marriage to her husband so that he could have her to himself. This topic has been dealt with elsewhere on this site (Dearest Darling Letters, Ruth vs Truth) to which I refer the reader.

Members of the Unification Church (Moonies) teach that Jesus was a perfect man, but they deny the virgin birth, his resurrection, and they deny his deity. They teach that part of Jesus’ mission on earth was to find the perfect bride and start a perfect family – both of which he failed to do.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventist both identify Jesus with Michael the Archangel. Other groups, such as Christian Science, believe that Jesus was only a man, and still others, like Scientology, rarely mention Jesus at all.

MULTIPLICATION: Multiplication takes place when a church or group multiplies the requirements that must be met for salvation. This is what the apostle Paul wrote about in the first chapter of his letter to the Galatians, where he says in the sixth verse, “      I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel…” In Galatia, the “cult” was the Judaisers, who insisted that in order to be saved, believers needed to incorporate elements of Jewish ritual worship, circumcision, etc… into their faith. Paul argued that the grace of God was all sufficient and that nothing should…or could be added to it.

According to Mormon theology, salvation is equivalent to being exalted to Godhood, and is only possible through Mormon membership, which is maintained through practicing good works, including baptism, tithing, secret temple rituals, and marriage. “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we do.” – 2 Nephi 25:23 Book of Mormon.)

Jehovah’s Witnesses are required to spend many hours in door-to-door proselytizing in order to earn everlasting life on earth. According to their website http://www.jw.org, JW’s spend over 1.6 billion hours annually, world wide, in their door-to-door proselytizing and distribution of Watchtower publications.

Ruth Kellogg of Immanuel Apostolic Assembly says that she hates the word “unsaved”. She prefers instead to use the phrase “not involved.” Conversely, to be saved means to be “involved.” What is it that her followers must be involved in, in order to be saved? According to Ruth, it is the continual death to self. In her May, 1992 letter, Ruth says this about the continual death to self, “I say it is the only price that will admit man in to know me as I truly am – and to walk with me to his very place.”

This continual self death is known as the “death path” or “death walk” at IAA, and is the only way to be saved according to Ruth, who writes in a letter dated 10/28/92, “But I say this alone is the path to everlasting life with Me and Mine (Ruth), thus if a man is to be my disciple he must choose to continue on down the path after Me.” In a letter dated 01/29/93, from “Jesus” to Ruth, it describes in part Ruth’s death path, and even refers to it as the “Good News.”

DIVISION: Finally, division is the practice among many cults of “shunning” members who dare to leave the group. Particularly common among those groups that claim to be the only “true” way to God, this practice rips families apart and devastates relationships between cult members and non-members. To shun or “disfellowship” a believer is to sever all association with the member who leaves. In many cases, they are treated as though they have died. Cult members are encouraged (sometimes required) to avoid any contact with the ex-member, whether they are parent, sibling, spouse or child.

Shunning is based on a faulty interpretation of I Corinthians 5:1-13, in which the apostle Paul gives the Corinthian believers instruction in how to administer church discipline to a believer that was practicing open sin and refused to repent. Many cults refuse to acknowledge that anyone can exercise faith apart from their group, and they believe that their organization is the only way to God. Walking away from the organization, then, is tantamount to turning your back on God.  In this way cults try to justify the practice of shunning.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are probably the best known example of a religious group that practices extreme shunning of former members. Elders in the Watchtower society disfellowship between 50,000 to 60,000 members worldwide every year for such things as, studying or discussing the Bible independently of the oversight of the Watchtower society; eating a meal with a former member; attending a church service of any other religious organization, or authorizing a blood transfusion – even to save the life of your own child.

Division takes place at Immanuel Apostolic Assembly in the form of shunning, where ex-members are referred to as “Judas,” but it also takes place through a policy of isolation that keeps members separated from family and friends who were never members of the cult.

Isolation serves to divide cult members from family and friends, but it also serves a secondary purpose as a form of mind control. By isolating members from any external sources of information, the cult leader can control what information the members do receive, facilitating indoctrination of cult beliefs and eliminating any independent thought or critical thinking.

At IAA, permission is needed in order to contact any family member who is not a part of the group. Information via print or electronic media is screened in order to filter out any opposing points of view. Members are told which books and magazines to read, which movies to watch, what music to listen to, and which radio stations are all right to tune in (Christian radio stations are especially forbidden.)

Whether cults are adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing, cult math is bad for the church; bad for the community; bad for the family; and bad for the individual cult member.

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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RUTH VS. TRUTH #2

RvT

Ruth Kellogg vs the word of God

In this RvT, we glean from Ruth’s writings that the members of IAA are to look to Ruth first and Jesus second, as even Jesus bows to Ruth.

 

 

RVT 002

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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RUTH VS. TRUTH #1…

Ruth Kellogg vs the word of God

Ruth Kellogg vs the word of God

The first in a serious of fact sheets comparing the teachings of IAA’s “Bride of Christ” – Ruth Kellogg, with the teachings of the word of God. In this RvT, we are to bow down to Ruth and worship her just as we would the
Lord Jesus.

 

 

RVT 001

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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AFTER ALL THESE YEARS…WHY?

WhyImmanuel Apostolic Assembly (IAA) began its decent into heresy and apostasy over twenty years ago, so why now? Why start a website after all of this time? One generation has already grown up within the confines of IAA; indoctrinated into the heretical beliefs proffered by the “Bride of Christ” – Ruth Kellogg, and her false prophet, Debbie Hovland (DJ). Many from that first generation were able to make their escape, having their eyes opened and their hearts illuminated and set free by the truth of the living word of God.  Many of these former members have since reconnected via social networking sites on the internet, and a renewed interest in the bizarre teachings of IAA has been rekindled. It is for the next generation that this website is dedicated, in the hope that by exposing the unfruitful works of darkness, and by bringing into the light of public scrutiny, and true Biblical analysis, the false teachings of Hovland, Kellogg and IAA, some of this new generation might tunnel under the wall of lies and deception that has been built around them and effect their own escape.

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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