Would you recognize a cult if you saw one?
How could you find fault with the People's Temple, it was a CHURCH, after all. It couldn't be bad. People who tried to get the word out met with this and other obstacles.
Many people questioning "Teen Challenge" are meeting with similar messages. But, as has been pointed out, there is alot to question here.
Larry Glass and the other City Council members already voted on the issue, so Larry may have been a little too late looking into the place, as detailed in today's Times Standard. Teen Challenge debate reveals a neighborhood in crisis
But, I think he is right - this bears further looking into. Really serious looking into.
There are some real questions about the methods used by the curiously named "Teen Challenge" - and not least among them are the cult aspects of their program.
Not being allowed to talk to family members for months, the breakdown of the individual, threats to convert or else - too many of the key cult warning signs are there, if you believe the testimonials at teenchallengeexposed.com.
A few examples: "...she felt like she was living in a prison camp, rather than a loving nurturing Christian environment. If they saw her looking out the window in her room at how pretty the sky looked that day, they accused her of "thinking about worldly things" and drilled her about what she was thinking as she looked out the window. They accused her of "plotting" to leave or run away. And even the slightest sign of objection to their methods brought on further "punishment" and admonishment."
"Teen Challenge is just like a “cult” operation, training its participants to perform tasks mindlessly without question for the staff authority. I had a bunk mate next to me that was pscytsophrenic and was constantly under pressure to be “prayed over” to be healed so he would not have to take his medication that helped to stop the voices."
"My 24 year old son was just granted a program change from Teen Challenge. I had to hire an attorney, as they do NOT believe in any other rehabs. (NOR do they believe in 12 step programs) Once they got wind that he had requested me to ask probation for a change, they told him "Pack your bags, I'm sending you to prison". How Christian of them, huh?
They primarily teach healing by Jesus Christ, pressure you to speak in tongues, pressure to recruit you to be "trained" by THEIR religious program (TCMI) to be a staff member. It is NOT a drug/alcohol rehab, as all they offer is hyper-religiosity to replace drug addiction. The residents and interns work and make them money. My observation from my son's ordeal is that if you don't succumb to the brain-washing, you will be ostracized and mentally tormented. Those that have a prison/jail sentence looming, (if you "fail" your program) empowers them. It is IMMORAL how they give probation "bad reports" for those that don't sign up for the "speaking in tongues", and these poor souls who suffer from addiction end up in prison. Residents are told that they need to be "broken" some more in jail, and that they will return.
I feel that Christians that donate and support Teen Challenge are not aware of the abuse that goes on. For those who can't sign up for their "truths", the retaliation is scary. Because the courts refer to this program for alternative sentencing, it is an issue that needs to be looked at very closely. I am appalled by the whole organization. I don't believe that some of the "nice" directors at the top of the food chain are completely oblivious to what is happening in there. When they hear untruths being spoken about a resident, instead of investigating the situation, I've seen them back up their staff and chastise the resident that is being abused. If you stick up for yourself, you will be severely punished. I never knew something like this could grow and exist in America. Teen Challenge had my son sign a waiver to give up all of his rights. Also the waiver stated that he could not sue them. Isn't THAT interesting? Now I understand and appreciate organizations that oppose faith-initiative money being handed over to these types of abusive cult"
There's more. And I'd say at the very least, Eureka should make very sure that anyone who comes to someone in a position of authority seeking help to get out (or to get someone out) should be taken very seriously, not brushed off and sent away and NOT returned to the facility. And, don't discount the people who are raising questions.
And that "open door policy" the City Council specified - that needs to include family members.
Times Standard articles on the Teen Challenge issue
Eureka Reporter articles on the Teen Challenge issue
RickRoss on Teen Challenge
A law that suits or a lawsuit?
and a letter from a former participant. Again, don't automatically dismiss people who are trying to tell you something.
Former member talks about 'abusive ministry'
The Eureka City Council refused to listen to the warnings from Sue Brandenburg and Wendy Brown about Teen Challenge. Therefore, Eureka residents will just have to find out the hard way what this abusive ministry is all about.
I completed the one-year Teen Challenge program at the Shafter and Riverside locations. Their main focus is on breaking the “student’s” will and making him or her feel so inferior that they cannot imagine life away from Teen Challenge.
Those who choose to leave are told that “seven times the demons of addiction” will be set upon them and they will burn in hell for all eternity. Sounds like a nice place, doesn’t it?
This is a ministry whose No. 1 purpose is to increase its assets, because at Teen Challenge, Almighty God runs a distant second to the almighty dollar. If you become sick or injured and cannot make money for the ministry, you are unceremoniously dumped at the bus station, regardless of whether you have any money. The bottom line is that you are there to make money for that ministry. If you can’t, then you’re gone.
I’ll look forward to reading your online edition in the coming months because this should get quite interesting once the residents of Eureka realize just what they’ve allowed to exist in their town. Quite interesting, indeed.
(Editor’s note: Concerning Kincheloe’s statement about Teen Challenge expelling people who cannot work because of injury or sickness, Redwood Teen Challenge Director Fred Lamberson III said Teen Challenge’s policy is that the organization will allow participants to take a rest and then determine whether the situation is an ongoing medical crisis and, if it is, then will that prevent the individual from continuing to be and work in the program.)
Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved.
If you know someone who belongs to a group that demonstrates a significant number of these warning signs and you would like more information on how to deal with destructive cults or mind control, go to www.factnet.org.
Warning signs of a destructive cult
INVESTIGATING TEEN CHALLENGE - Why Does Teen Challenge Need to Be Investigated?
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