Living the cult life – is this a risk for children?

Living the cult life – is this a risk for children?

Observations of the Group

  1. In the original Child Inclusive Conference memorandum, family consultant Ms T noted that the father’s descriptions of how he or other group members receive the Word of God indicated a process for group consultation to establish if it was genuinely a message from God and if other group members could confirm hearing the message.
  2. In the family report of Ms V, it was noted by Ms V in paragraph 82:
    “That some decisions are made jointly and members are inclined to act together. In addition, over the past 18 months, (the father) has demonstrated that he will act in accordance (with) the views beliefs and guidance of other group members”.
  3. In this trial, the father gave evidence that the group was able to discern the Will of God. He said that there were never any disagreements amongst the group. What the father describes occurring smacks of “group think”.
  4. In her family report, Ms J describes “group think” at paragraph 94 of her report:-
    “Group think is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group may result in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members are at risk of suppressing dissenting viewpoints in an attempt to minimise conflict. As a result, expressed views may be accepted by the group without any critical analysis or evaluation, and views are unlikely to be challenged.”
  5. When one combines these observations together with the testimony of Mr M, one inexorably comes to the conclusion that the group is extremely controlling. In that respect, the description that many have given to the group is apt; the group is a cult.

Contentions of the Mother

  1. The mother has raised many concerns during the course of this litigation. She still harbours fears as to what this cult is capable of doing. However, much of what the mother contends has no actual basis on the evidence.
  2. The mother originally believed that the father have the capacity to offer the child as a sacrifice to God. This seems to have come from a misapprehension of what the father may have said about the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac. Without belabouring the point, it is obvious, on the evidence, that the father would never do anything that would physically harm the child.
  3. The mother described the beliefs of the father as having crossed the line so as to become dangerous. The mother said to Ms J that she was of the view that the group condemn and discriminate against those with other beliefs and use force to recruit members.
  4. The mother described the behaviour of the father, in attempting to recruit persons or in preaching to the public, as being violent.
  5. I have watched the three YouTube videos (Exhibit 3) that depict the father and/or members of the group preaching to the public. I have also listened to a recording that the mother made of a phone call that she had with the father (Exhibit 4).
  6. The father’s behaviour could never be described as “violent”. He is very passionate but would not resort to physicality to get his point across.
  7. In the phone call that was recorded (Exhibit 4), the father talks of hoping that Jesus “kills” the mother. The way in which the father says this shows that he did not mean a physical killing but rather a metaphorical killing so that the mother could be “reborn”.
  8. While this may have been distressing for the mother, when one looks at the proper context in which the conversation occurred, there is little for the mother to be truly concerned about.

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