Students make easy targets for questionable religious groups

Fundamentalist group goes after new students

The Daily Nebraskan (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), September 14, 1992
By Shelley Biggs

The Lincoln Christian CHurch, a fundamentalist religious organization that has been linked to a cult, has increased recruiting efforts on campus this semester, a UNL official said.

The group, which targets new students, has been seen recruiting this year in University of Nebraska-Lincoln residence halls and at campus-supported activities, such as concerts sponsored by the University Program Council, Peg Blake, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, said.

Lincoln Christian, which has also been called the Lincoln Church of Christ, has been linked to the Boston Church of Christ. The Cult Awareness Network of Chicago has identified the Boston church as a cult.

[Webmaster's Note: WARNING! The Cult Awareness Network (CAN) was bankrupted and bought up by Scientology since this article was written] Lincoln Christian is not affiliated with the traditional Churches of Christ in Lincoln.

Larry Doerr, a campus minister for the United Ministries in Higher Education, says Lincoln Christian misused friendship to gain members.

"They deal with people who are vulnerable due to their loneliness," he said.

Because of their new surroundings, new students are considered to be more vulnerable to the group, Blake said.

In the past, group members were reported to be overly friendly and inviting to new students, she said. Once the group convinces a student to join, it reportedly uses alienation tactics and mind control to keep the new member involved.

Students involved in the group do not have time to study and often end up dropping out of college, Blake said.

As well as using techniques such as sleep and food deprivation, the group continually questions its members' beliefs and isolates them from family and friends, she said.

A support group was organized last spring for parents of those involved in Lincoln Christian, Doerr said. The support group, which provides an outlet for parents' frustrations, has between 30 and 35 members, with parents coming from as far as North Platte.

Lincoln Christian is associated with Campus Advance, which tried to become a UNL-recognized student organization last year. The effort failed when the group's faculty advisor, Philip Hugly, chairman of the Philosophy department, withdrew his sponsorship after discovering group members were actively trying to convert students to their beliefs.

A full-page warning about Lincoln Christian appears in today's Daily Nebraskan to warn students of the group's intentions, Blake said.

The advertisement was paid for through private donations, Doerr said.

Blake said she encouraged students to take a serious look at religious groups on campus before joining them.

"Students ought to be good consumers when choosing a religious group," she said, "They need to ask all the questions they have and they need to ask someone who is fully informed."


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