I got an email from a girlfriend who was in a cult for many years. She tagged a site which talked about the cult she was in. I knew some about the cult from talking to her. But it was scary to read what was written in this article.
I have another friend who's still in a cult. He's in the International Church of Christ. I always thought that when the church hurt his family, he would leave. But his marriage was disentigrating under the stress of time he was put under and when he tried to step back, the church fired him. He immediately found work as a VP for a paint company, making good money, and able to spend time with his family. The church saw that he was making it without them and stepped in. “We're your family. We're your only friends. Don't lose your salvation.”
It is scary what people do in the name of Jesus. It's not what Jesus asked for, it's what the leaders want. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference when you are in the middle of the group.
UPDATE: In February 2004 the International Church of Christ’s leaders made a public confession of sin and repentence and said that they are attempting to undo the harm they have done. I have no idea what that means for my friend since he is in Brazil and I don’t know whether what the leaders (who are in the US) do will impact his congregation. I certainly hope so. I have trouble imagining it, but I pray so.