Feb 26, 2016

Sects: psychological abuse to recruit followers

LUIS CASTELLÓ
February 26, 2016

Google Translation

After self - help courses or seminars on topics new age , such as miraculous healing, there are sects or groups who exploit their faithful."Cults are complex groups, always with a hierarchical and pyramidal structure, with a charismatic guru who demands a dedication exploitive".

"I was in a destructive cult for 14 years and ended up isolated from my family and friends even had many problems with my partner ".

This is the testimony of Enric Torras, a cultural agent of 38 years of Barcelona. Enric is one of thousands of Spaniards who have been part of a cult but, luckily for him, he managed to leave and thereby regain their life.

But what is a cult? Miguel Perlado is a psychotherapist and president of the American Association for Research on Psychological Abuse (AIIAP): "Cults are groups with a hierarchical structure and pyramidal, with the presence of a charismatic guru who requires dedication and devotion that is of type exploitive and ,ultimately leading to various levels of personal, financial and emotional harm on people. "

Spain does not have an official record of these organizations, but, according to estimates AIIAP based on the assistance provided to affected people, they estimate that in Spanish territory there are currently about 250 active groups, of which they are part around 600,000 people.

Many of these sects detected by the AIIAP are available on www.educasectas.org .

The crisis, a bonanza for sects

According to Pearl, the crisis has been a real gold mine for sectarian organizations due to changing social context that has occurred.

Situations of personal despair that has caused have caused have appeared new types of entities that have joined the traditional religious court .

Thus, there have been two types of groups that have proliferated over the last ten years.

On the one hand, the healing-healing cutting , trying to attract followers through seminars themed new age : "Here fit proposals related to yoga or healing by pseudoterapias in which a terepeuta course or healer transmits a kind of energy that will improve the mental and physical state of people , "he says.

On the other hand, the other major group that has mushroomed what are those related to the allegedtechniques of coaching and self - help , which through a series of courses is promised to interested lead the company or entity to which it belongs and increase your income exponentially.

"Through these courses, you will offer other activities, and gradually introduced to the affected in a framework in which just being exploited and even molested and humiliated at different levels".

Delving into the organization

Enric delved in an organization related to these issues.Specifically, he pointed to the then " center Gnostic studies ", now called "center of studies of self -knowledge."

He explains that at the time he was 17 , an age that arose "philosophical questions about the reason for existence."

Thus, a relative told her about this organization and finally decided to sign up : "At first there were things I did not add much, for example, we met in private apartments, but as deepened in certain areas of anthropology and psychology that provided me a lot and I liked, little by little was getting further and implicándome more ".

So, eventually you were introducing all kinds of ideas that affected him in his behavior and his way of being "in expectation and almost obliged to take to be at a higher level and be better than the rest of us ".

According to Enric to achieve this , mixed philosophical and anthropological theories certain other fabricated and manipulated to give credence to their arguments.

For example, highlights the Control that this organization exercised about the sex lives of his followers: "You can not have relationships outside the group, sex was seen as sin if not in marriage with another member of the group, and that's something I sapped a lot. "

A complex battle

The fight against such entities is complex.

The Second National Meeting on Sects which will take place on 4 and 5 March in Madrid aims to advance in this regard, proposals for action .

At the legal level, Spain is at odds with many countriessuch as France or Belgium. Juantxo Dominguez, anexpert on sectarian groups who chairs Prevention Network Sectarian and Abuse of Weakness (Redune), claims that "in Spain has never been willing to work this issue at the legal level."

In fact, it ensures that when a complaint appears the word sect, "it is normal that not prosper." For this reason, he explains, they prefer to refer to sects as "coercive manipulation groups of people".

Thus, it is Article 515 of the Penal Code which regulates the matter. This article states that "are punishable unlawful associations having such consideration which, while having as its object a lawful purpose, employ violent means or alteration or control of the personality to achieve them ."

However, for Dominguez you have to make a qualitative leap that would pass the Penal Codeintroduced the offense of abuse of weakness as is contained in the above, or even other like Luxembourg countries: " It penalizes the use by entities or individuals of vulnerable people by any means just causing harm ".

In any case, says Dominguez, "the common denominator of all sects is the manipulation of the person and, if not legislating in this direction, there will always be a loophole, that's the key."

On the other hand, alert public health problem that can create "use yoga, personal development topics and healing methods that are not recognized."

Brainwashing to portfolio

In the case of Enric, mental manipulation was followed by economic exploitation .

Thus, once inserted fully into the activity, they began to offer books to deepen their knowledge, travel where he met members of this organization in other countries and all kinds of amulets and gold pendants.

She says, indirectly forced him to buy and to participate in travel as a means to complete their training and their transformation into a spiritual being: "Everything I had, I invested in that because I thought it was best for my soul."

Moreover, he adds, "in which travel is really indoctrinate you and frighten you by telling you that what matters is not the physical life, but spiritual, which will come after death."

This is where, according to Enric, coercion appears as threatening that "only reach that full life through the group" because "for them are a chosen and people outside the sect are worthless and they are contaminated because only think about life and earthly pleasures; this need of wanting to be higher and reach the level they ask you is what makes you stay in the sect ".

Despite the improved legal situation, both the Police and the Civil Guard have specialized units to combat these groups, though not always the operations have resulted in convictions for defendants, precisely because of the lack of a clear legal framework .

The last and most media was the dismantling of the so - called sect of Oia in December 2014, which involved entering prison Feliciano Miguel Rosendo de Silva, guru and founder of the Order and Mandate of San Miguel Archangel, as the organization was called , accused of alleged crimes of sexual abuse to their adepts, conspiracy to commit a crime, fraud and laundering of capital.

Another famous case, albeit with a different ending, took place in Valencia, with starring Angel Muñoz, better known as Father Angel.

This assumption priest who claims to speak on behalf of the Virgen del Remedio is the leader of the Board of Slavery of the Sacred Heart of Jesus , which still today maintains its activity.

In October 2010 he was tried, accused of tax evasion, fraud and misappropriation having collected a large fortune thanks to the generous donations of the faithful.

However, two months later he was acquitted, among other things because it could not demonstrate that forced or manipulated the faithful to make donations.

Sects with tragic endings

Other more serious events have shaken many countries in the world and give an idea of how far the manipulation of these groups. For example, Japan commemorated in March last year the twentieth anniversary of the bombing of the sect Aum Shinrikyoin the Tokyo subway sarin gas, which killed 13 peopleand caused injuries to more than 6,000 .

The founder of the sect, Shoko Asahara, nine followers were sentenced to death and four others to life imprisonment.

Also this March will mark 19 years of collective suicide that caused the group Heaven's Gate (Gate of Heaven).

On March 26, 1997, 39 member s (21 women and 18 men) of this sect committed suicide in a rented California mansion mixing alcohol and barbiturates.

Heaven's Gate sect was founded by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles in the mid-seventies.

This couple came to believe they were aliens who had come from heaven to give humans a new opportunity to move to a higher evolutionary level. Applewhite also took his own life.

The world also shivered with the tragedy in Jonestown, Guyana.

There, on 18 November 1978, 914 committed suicide members of a religious sect of American origin, including 300 children .

Called Peoples Temple Church, it was founded by Jim Jones, a man who a mixture of Christ and Lenin believed.

After a series of events and Jones corralled for Justice, he appealed to the "revolutionary suicide", which followed almost 1,000 followers strictly taking his own life by swallowing potassium cyanide.

The media called it the " largest mass suicide in history."

More recent is the case of the Ugandan sect of theRestoration of the Ten Commandments of God .

In March 2000, 800 supporters of the organization led by Joseph Kibweteere locked themselves in their church, boarded up windows and caught fire under the promise that they would appear the Virgin and would take them to heaven.

His spiritual leader was fully convinced that this year was going to produce the end of the world and thatonly one who blew himself be saved .

Fortunately, none of these sects , except Aum,remains active .

Will the key to exit

Perhaps these latter cases are of the most radical, but the truth is that, without such extremes, personal damage that might do each of these groups may seem harmless is brutal .

However, with determination and effort you can get out of them. Enric has there came a time when his frustration was too strong.

He never came to reach the level of spiritual fulfillment that required him and this made ​​him reflect on what he was doing: "The have some discretion saved me , I realized I could not keep avoiding me from reality as well and had to leave ".

However, for it was not easy. So gradually he began tostop going to classes and activities until the end definitively abandoned .

Luckily, he received threats to stop going, but, as hesays, "no need", got him feel "like a traitor to them."

Now, Enric is clear: "Nothing in the world would, it is like being inside a bubble in which suck your blood."


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