Lifton's Thought Reform Applied to GCI
By Barbara Lloyd
This is a digitized reproduction of the original typed version; spelling, punctuation and typos are as in original.
1. Milieu Control - control of your environment.
a. Only the leaders of GCI spoke on Sundays and at conferences. If there was a guest speaker, it was another GCI pastor from another church.2. Mystical manipulation - making things appear different then what they are, spiritualizing things.
b. We were encouraged to buy the in house book publications on various topics written by various GCI pastors.
c. You were encouraged to live with members of GCI but you couldn't unless you were definitly a committed member. Any other person you lived with was not the best, saved or not.
d. There was no encouragement to go to other churches or groups. They were believed to be lukewarm and compromising implying that GCI wasn't so therefore it was "the church."
e. There is virtually no marriages outside of GCI that are of people who aren't committed - rather you don't see a lot of dating, or people in GCI marrying people who aren't.
a. Using terms that were vague to lead you to believe that the experience was "from God," things are spiritualized or rather implied in that way.3. The Demand For Purity - feeling guilty for "unspiritual" things, striving for a perfection that is unattainable.
b. Events were spiritualized - good things that happened meant that God blessed you and what you're doing was right, bad things happening meant that: 1.you were being persecuted for the sake of the gospel, or 2.God was disciplining you.
c. All the leaders of GCI were raised up through the church, very few have had any specific theological training or counseling training. They were raised up on the basis of their "Godliness" which can be dangerous with no training because some things could be taken out of context without some type of proper training as a checks and balance.
a. You didn't watch much T.V. because it wasn't edifying. You also had to be careful about your choice of movies to see.4. Cult of Confession - feeling like you need to share every single sin or aspect of your thoughts and life to others.
b. You didn't spend much time on outside activities, things not church related because you would feel as though you were wasting your time on wordly things unless you were trying to affect others and "win" others to Christ and ultimately GCI.
c. Everyone in GCI has the committment to reach the world for Christ, if you didn't have this committment you felt out of place and others spent less time with you because you weren't committed.
d. Relationships with the opposite sex were closely watched, we all made sure that no same two people (guy/girl) spent too much time together, if they did they were asked if they had crushes and reproved for not being more careful so as to not cause others to stumble or allow for temptation.
e. Almost no one dates and it is never encouraged. It is not that it isn't allowed but the underlying pressure is not to and if you do you feel out of place or awkward.
a. You're always confessing your sins as though there was a way you could ever stop sinning or even like you hardly sin at all.5. Sacred Science - making the doctrine, unwritten as well as written, the only source of truth and reference for the church.
b. You judge others even though you don't say it but you reason it such that you are judging yourself as well so you can look at someone else and judge them.
c. You always confessed your sins, worries, doubts, dreams, etc. to someone else who .you were being discipled by and in turn they would share your thoughts as well as theirs with the person that was discipling them until ultimately the leaders would know every persons thoughts and problems and so on.
d. Members are encouraged to write a testimony tract of their life and how they were affected by Christ, then they were encouraged to pass them out to people anytime, anywhere as well as church published tracts.
a. Learning to do things spiritually is basically done by doing what GCI says - working closely with someone and following their examples, being around them constantly, being totally and actively involved with them as well as GCI.5. Loaded Language - specific group terms only understandable by members of the group.
b. Everyone has the same goal and also the same means to meet that goal, everyone says the same things, does the same activities,etc.
c. There is to be total submission to the leaders of the church and it is to be wholehearted if you want to grow and be teachable. The more you submitted, the quicker you grew and were "raised up" by God.
d. There is no need for seminary training being such that ICor. 8:1 says "Knowledge make arrogant but love edifies." This is interpreted to mean that training would make you proud.
e. Interpretation of the scriptures - the leaders give one but say to check it out on your own but by being in GCI and around members you seem to take on their view of the scriptures regardless of other interpretation.
This is just a list of some of the terms used, due to the volume of the terms I will not give any specific definitions.5. Doctrine over Person - to put the church's doctrines and beliefs over your own feelings and experiences.
raised up, grow, win, build, initiate, fellowship, knit-in, heart for the Lord, man/woman after God's own heart, stand in the gap, brothers, sisters, trials, Q.T., slanderous, teachable, check the fruit, saints, fired up. tube-out, wordly, material, winsome, counsel, hot, cold, lukewarm, testing, believe the best, compromising, discipling, growing like a weed, Godly, etc.
a. People saying things like "I love so and so but I love the church more!" or "I was running from the church." They should be saying God in both instances. God and the church are almost as one.8. Dispencing of Existence - no life outside of the group.
b. Never talking about anything but spiritual things and your spiritual lives.
c. Interpreting or rather spiritualizing every event and experience as God's leading you to GCI or while in GCI.
d. Conforming other people to a "winsome" image on the outside no matter what their preferences or choices would have been, conforming others to be the same image as others.
e. You begin to forget that you once may have had a Christian life outside of GCI or even if you remember, you look on it as not being as worthwhile.
a. Feeling like your relationship with God is second best if you're not in GCI.
b. No matter what your reason may be for leaving GCI, you are labeled one or more of the following: slanderous, divisive, unteachable, proud, decieved, factious, uncommitted.
c. Anyone outside of GCI is viewed as settling for second best for God.