I was once a member of a cult. It was difficult for me to finally admit, but looking back I now realize that I was a water carrying, pulpit pimp protecting, twisted-scripture repeating drone.
Oh, and don’t laugh and shake your head at me. If your “pastor” wears reptile-skinned shoes, mandates that you call him your “spiritual daddy”, and has you repeating phrases like “money cometh from the four winds”, “sow into this good ground”, “I declare increase over your life”, and “I’ll receive a pressed-down shaken together blessing!”, then you’re likely in a pulpit pimp’s charismatic cult also.
It has come to my attention that this blog is getting lots of publicity in the church club of a certain pimp (and son of Eddie “the Alpha pimp” Long) here in Metro-Atlanta. This pimp is quite concerned that his name is being dragged “all over the internet” – I guess he wanted his heresies to stay within the walls of his club.
Anyway, since many of the club-goers are Googling to see what all the fuss is about, I thought I’d take a moment to share why I believe that they belong to a cult – and to implore them to flee their pimp as soon as possible. Therefore, I present:
Signs Of Cult Behavior:
- Cult members are focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment. The leader is a strong-willed, domineering character who rules the group with tight control. He lets it be known in subtle ways that he is “in charge” of the movement. He makes the plans, he orchestrates the movements of the group or groups (sometimes he exercises his sway over several groups). Frequently, they even begin to imitate his mannerisms in terms of dress, voice inflection, language patterns, aggressive attitudes, etc. They become “clones” of their esteemed leader. It is not uncommon that the leader knows of weaknesses or past problems of people with his group and uses intimidation and fear to keep them under his control.
- Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged, and there can be pressure or social punishment when there is disagreement with the “boss.” Those who disagree are made to feel as though they are stupid or inept. They are brainwashed with the notion that they do not have the knowledge or experience to question the leader. Younger people are particularly vulnerable to the leader’s “anointing.” No matter how radical the leader becomes in his decisions or actions, the cult members will not criticize him. Even if there should be mild disagreement, no specific expressions are voiced. The members feel that although he may be mistaken in some of his judgments, the overall good he accomplishes outweighs any minor flaws. Members are taught to “rationalize” the conduct of the leader.
- The leader is preoccupied with money. There is always a need for increasing finances. New projects are always “in the works.” Members are strongly encouraged to greatly sacrifice for the leader’s pet projects. There is always pressure to give; members of the group must be kept excited on a continual basis. The cult leader always takes the major credit for the movement’s accomplishments. Members become psychologically dependent upon him. “What would we ever do without our spiritual father?,” is the cult mentality.
- The cult leader generates within his members “a polarized” mentality. His people evolve an “us-versus-them” mentality. Little-by-little he criticizes other groups with which his members might tend to associate, undermining confidence in them, attempting to discredit anyone who could have influence over his “flock.” Cult members become suspicious. No one is really as “sound” as “we” are. We are an “elitist” group. And so, seeds of isolationism are sown. The movement leader discourages reading any material, examining any ideas that he does not initiate.
- The cult leader has a clearly defined “anti-authoritarian” disposition. Within the context of the church, for instance, he would have an “anti-elder accountability” attitude. Elders would be recipients of constant critical remarks. No cult leader would affiliate himself with a congregation having elders to whom he must be in submission. “Control” could not be maintained in such an environment, so Elders are rendered impotent. The cult leader would constantly criticize preachers, particularly those whose knowledge of the Scriptures eclipse his own. Members must be made to feel that he is the “chief authority” in spiritual matters.
- Cult members are seen occasionally to take on a new personality. They begin to act differently. They become increasingly antagonistic to family members and long-time friends. They may even boast that, “I am not the old [name] that you used to know; I am a new person now.” And indeed they are. They have become strangers to those who knew them well. They have been transformed into the image of their leader.
So there you have it, potential cult members. Take the time to climb through the Word of God as your pimp is twisting it from the pulpit. Read it in context – don’t just flip to the verses he tells you to read. If you still believe that your pimp descended from the right hand of the Father, then stay.
If you start to realize how far your pimp has wandered from the True and Living God – and how the pimp doesn’t even want to return to God – then run as quickly as you can.
There. That ought to give your pimp something to squeal about for the next few weeks…