20 WAYS TO KEEP YOU IN THEIR FOLD
I'm not talking about folding laundry!
Have you ever experienced these things on your journey to discovering truth? Unfortunately pastors, teachers, denominational leaders, family and church members who are living in fear will try to hold you back. Here are 20 ways I thought of that are common ways they will use to keep you in their grip.
1- Family pressure... little spiritual remarks to "witness" to you, threat of not being a part of the family, pulling aside to "talk it out" ie argue not talk, them cutting off communication because unbelievers must be treated as sinners
2- Teaching on hell as a threat to seeking any outside information
3- Taught to never doubt or ask questions, true faith never doubts teaching or to say another way in the face of questions we are to understand "you just have to believe if you don't understand".
4- Denigration of any truth outside the group
5- Expected or demanded loyalty to the leader or denomination as God's anointed. You dare not leave your "covering".
6- Job/work based on being in the fold so that money is threatened
7- Friends won't talk to you and look the other way in the grocery store
8- Teaching the bible has no errors and the word of God is the only truth to cut one off from reading historical context of the bible, or reading the way the Bible was written and gathered, and keeps one from reading or valuing any other spiritual texts
9- Teaching that those who have spiritual gifts in other groups or outside the "fold" are demonic
10- Any question that doesn't line up with the group is demonic and that you are a victim of deception
11- The "poor thing" syndrome toward you
12- Fear of anything spiritual as demonic (Surprising Origin of Demons, Part 1)
13- Bad behavior of any kind risks judgment of God in this life so that if anything is going wrong it must mean that God is punishing us for considering anything other than what we are told, ie difficulties are considered punishments from God. Leaving you with uncertainty as to which sin you are being punished for, therefore dependant on the system to help you discover it.
14- Told you aren't smart enough to understand... you aren't versed in Greek and Hebrew so you can't possibly know what the preacher knows. He is the expert, even though his answers just don't make sense. In other words if it remains puzzling to you, you are the problem, not the preacher.
15- Shame innuendos or pointed guilt from the pulpit
16- Told if someone has love, joy, peace or kindness in other religions or in atheists that it means they are counterfeit, and only the fold has the real thing. Fear of being counterfeit. The belief that the only "true" fruit is in the fold.
18- Personal prophecies that warn of impending doom in the world or in your life so as to create an untestable fear as the navigation tool for the future
19-Taught that LGBT will go to hell along with the subtle lesson that God hates them. Implication is that you will be hated if you express any deviation from their norm. Fear of being hated by people and God. ( The Real Transgender Problem )
20-Taught only perfect people really belong in church but it is too dangerous to be an outsider so one must stay in and work harder... it is the best of the options. So get in an accountability group. Includes guilt for not attending all services. Also may mean you have a demon and need deliverance or you have a generational curse that only they can help you with.
Bonus: You can't be a "true" American otherwise and the end of the world is near so don't get left behind.
So what can you do? Wherever you are hung up simply take the time to explore what the truth is in that area. Have an open mind and open heart. Find friends or groups on Facebook who will support your exploration. Search this website for answers. If you are a parent you understand how you want to help your children understand. You may be confused about who God really is but if this God has any parental qualities then God wants to lead you to the truth. Start your own secret study outside the boundaries of what you have been taught. The only reason it doesn't feel safe is the fear that you were taught. But fear is not the voice you want to listen to. Listen to the voice deeper that yearns for answers.