Yesterday, one of my blog posts — published eight months ago — got nearly 13,000 views.
About 20% of that came from this post on Reddit, which showed a list of crazy rules at some church called the Word of Faith Fellowship.
For some reason, it seems to have driven a lot of traffic to one blog post titled “Word of Faith and a Cult Checklist.” It was not about that church in particular. I was involved in a movement called the Word of Faith back in the 1980’s and 90’s. Today, it is more likely to be called the Prosperity Gospel. I have written a lot on my blog about the Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel. My sister once thought it was a cult, and I wanted to know myself. I found a cult checklist in an article called “Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups” from the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). I edited it a little for clarification on some points.
The idea for the post was to go through the checklist and answer according to my experiences with the Word of Faith movement. I cannot comment on the Word of Faith Fellowship, because I have no experience with that particular church. But their “do and don’t” list above sounds very cult-like. Just saying.
Nonetheless, it seems people who are interested in cults or the Word of Faith Fellowship are finding their way to that post. If you are wondering if you or someone you know belongs to a cult, here is the checklist.
Number 1: The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
Number 2: Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
Number 3: Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
Number 4: The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must…