Reehil is the founder of the National Coalition Against Cults and other groups that work with victims of such groups.
“We think that it is extremely important that we not get carried away and believe that the good ones [good] will triumph over evil. It is an old theme that has been used by religious, mystical groups. But in reality good and evil isn’t there to be ruled, it is there to be conquered,” Reehil told me from his office. “We believe that the good ones must beat the evil ones through the power of prayer and persuasion. We urge everyone to think through the details of how some of these religious groups behave.” So what does this look like to me? This isn’t some new religious doctrine. It’s called psychological control through an old trick. It goes by many names, but it has basically the same kind of thing.
First, the victim hears the sermon or read a book or talk at a community meeting that tells them a different kind of message. Then the group meets in secret places where they discuss it. Then they try to manipulate the victim through talking about its benefits and its weaknesses. They try to keep the information secret so that the victim is not prepared when confronted with their lies, their manipulation of the emotions and thoughts of the group members. For example, one religious group told its volunteers that people who leave the group had a tendency to commit adultery. In turn, people who join the group would have a tendency to commit adultery.
And it never gets any better than this. The survivor receives the bad advice from other members, and they try to push the survivor to leave. The survivors in the group learn to believe it is true from the outside, from a different source, and from their own imagination. A group that does this is not interested in working with its members. If it doesn’t have a leader, it will be run by a weak, scared person who is easily influenced.
And then there’s the other side. The members of the group go to a public meeting where they tell their lies. The perpetrator gets another chance then. They try to sway the group with their influence. That’s where all the real manipulation is, and where the real attacks occur. This is not a new problem. It’s not about the occult. It is a problem rooted in our own history.
According to Reehil, one of the first instances of psychological torture in history emerged from the secret religious groups. They were originally an important part of some mystical, spiritual society. In the 1940s, there was a great spiritual debate between theologians and church members. This debate led to a breakdown in the religious community. Because there was no single clear definition of what was legitimate religion, it all just kind of drifted around. The question was about what would be the church. In our modern society, everything would be deemed illegitimate and must be rejected. But that is not what actually happened.
By the time the groups went public, religious ideas were still being discussed with one another. People were being led astray by the false teachings of this spiritual grouping. And people started feeling very alienated by the groups. Now the idea is that these groups were used as an escape or scapegoat by someone who was trying to keep control of the members - in fact, they were very useful to the abusers.
Over time, those groups turned into cults. This led to the creation of the government. Now those cults are now the primary organizations of the government. They are very powerful, and they are very successful in the control of the masses.
The issue we must avoid is the false dichotomy. How should we categorize those who practice good and those who practice evil? Is there an evil side to the world? In fact the only evil side that I hear about in my daily life is from bad-minded people who practice witchcraft and magic.
“The spiritual world and the humanistic world are really intertwined,” Reehil said. He is convinced that modern humanism is one of the greatest frauds ever to exist. But it doesn’t matter to the bad people that we are all together. What does matter is how we will move forward.
“When we have a truly open and honest society, we will have better outcomes for everyone and we will all come out the other side more free.”