"I was astounded at the group's control"

October 2001
By the sister of an ICC member

My sister was a member of the San Diego Church of Christ (International Church of Christ) for several years. I was astounded at the group's control over her. When she first announced that she was entering the church, two members of the group met with me at a restaurant. They succeeded in convincing me that something was very wrong, though their purpose was to convince me and the family, that my sister was in a wonderful church. I later realized that my sister had already been "brainwashed" and that this was why our communication seemed so strange.

I believe the members of this cult learn a different way of communication that is confusing to outsiders. I felt that I could not have a real conversation with her or other cult members. Their methods make it difficult to have rational discussions.

Over time, my sister's behavior became more bizarre, leading to conversations that did not make sense to family members. She mentioned financial "advisors" and the fact that she was moved around a good bit. It appeared that the group kept her personal life under pressure, through constant moves and new roommates. Her time was heavily scheduled by the church. I don't think she was allowed to get enough sleep.

She would invite us to her church and would then not want to leave after the service was over, though she had promised us that she would. The church announced special meetings at the services, which my sister felt she must attend. We asked her to make very specific commitments, because she was difficult to count on for family dinners and events. This seemed to be due to the church's iron grip and control over her life. After family events, she would have totally different memories than anyone else, which would depict our family in a very negative way. It appeared she was being brainwashed to view our family negatively. In effect, the group undermined her trust in us and made us out to be evil. To this day, I feel that I lost a sister when she joined that cult.

Financially, the group damaged her life too, by coercing large sums of money from her. They also dramatically slowed the progress of her career, and appear to have permanently damaged her family relationships. She now has on-going psychological disorders.

I do not view the leaders of this cult as "Christian" and I pity the poor souls that they exploit. I do believe, based upon my observations, that this group emotionally extorts an enormous amount of money out of its victims. Any "church" that can gain a ten percent tithe from its members is usually quite wealthy. But my family estimates that this group squeezed more than twenty percent of my sister's gross income, based on her own comments. Since the church doesn't own property, as most churches do, and rents its meetings halls, I believe it may have an enormous cash reserve.

The International Church of Christ and its actions are not only not Christian, they are immoral and it seems to me criminal [sic]. The ICC preys on the young, naive and lonely.

Copyright © 2001 Rick Ross.

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