Which is Worse and Why?

    There are many grievous events and happenings in this world. As humans, we tend to rank events by severity and classify them according to which one is worse than another. Now, it is true that in the legal system, certain crimes committed against many by one or by a few are treated differently than a crime of one against one or for a “lesser” crime. For instance, a person stealing a purse from one person may obtain a lesser sentence than a person stealing purses from several women over time. This is part of our system and the result or consequence tends to be that as individuals we rank crimes or “sins” against people in the same manner.

   However, is that they way we should view crimes when considering how one individual would/could control another? Is it a lesser crime or “sin” to control three folks than to control a hundred or a million people?  I am not talking about the true responsibility of parents to guide and control their children during their formative years. In this post we will consider adults controlling other adults for whatever reason, but, especially those controlled for personal gain of the controller.

    Controllers can be found in many areas of society. You could be controlled by a boss on your job. This control is somehow not deemed as a crime or injustice until that control overreaches into one’s personal life. Why? Because there is a certain amount of compliance or obedience expected during working hours while on the job. So, this kind of control is not viewed as a crime per se. You are in essence trading hours of your day for an amount of dollars and thus you are told what to do while on that job.


   What about other areas of one’s life? What about in other social areas? What about in the area of government? Generally, in order to continue as a citizen in a country you live by the laws of that country. If you live in the United States of America, you are expected to live by the laws of America. If you disagree with a law, there are civil ways to voice your complaints or disagreements and possibly change the law. As an American, we often see governments of other nations as oppressive in one way or another because there is no appeal process. These countries may have a dictator or absolute system of some sort that does not consider the opinions or desires of their citizens and worth to be heard. In some countries, the governmental controls are obvious to us as we do not live under the same controls.

     For instance, a few weeks ago, I saw this headline, “China blocks search for Egypt microblogging in the country” found here… http://tinyurl.com/6hvaqak  a quote – “China blocked the word “Egypt” in searches of web pages microblogging, in a sign that the country’s government is concerned about the impact of protests in the Middle East.” Why would the government of China seek to quash news about Egypt? Is it possible that they decided news about Egypt could stir unrest in their country? Yes, no surprise for anyone who knows anything about China, to recognize some of the governmental controls that are exercised there. As of 2009, according to the World Bank, China is reported to have 1,331,460,000 people in their country. So, the government suppresses access to information for over a billion folks.

      If you search for population control, you find that China has a policy not found in America. China’s One Child PolicyChina has proclaimed that it will continue its one child policy, which limits couples to having one child, through the 2006-2010 five year planning period.” More info found here- http://tinyurl.com/kw2rr . The purpose of this of post is not a complete assessment on the Chinese culture. But, would you agree that the government of China exercises control over many more areas of its citizen’s lives than America? We would consider this a crime against the Chinese people, even if it is “accepted” in that country- right? Why? Because in America we believe all men are created equal- right?  

     In smaller countries that have similar controls, is it any less of a crime against those fewer people? Is China worse than say a smaller dictatorship such as Venezuela? There are an estimated 28,384,000 people in that country according to the World Bank. So, the growing government takeover is not as bad as in China- right? Or is it? Are people still being controlled in relation to the freedoms that we experience here in America? Search the phrase “Chavez takes over” and find news of how the government is taking away private ownership of many industries in Venezuela. A partial list would be oil service firms, Federal Reserve, gold mines and iron makers… Do you see the direction that country is headed? Is China worse because more folks are being affected by governmental controls than in Venezuela? Really?

        In America, we have several large religious groups labeled as controlling groups or possibly-cults. There are the Mormons, which reports 13,824,854 members as of 2009- found here- http://tinyurl.com/4s96cvu . That is roughly half the size of the population of Venezuela. So, if we say controlling others is negative, does that make the control reported by survivors of the Mormon Church not as bad as the controls being exercised in Venezuela- because it affects less people? Yes, the controls are not exactly the same, but who could say that controls are not being exercised in each group?

  Then there are the Jehovah Witnesses. Many agree that this group is a controlling religious cult. According to a link here— http://tinyurl.com/4o83ynp  there are a reported 1.914 million of them in America. So, are the controls exercised over their members less offensive since they are less in number than Mormons? Yes, they may not be the exact kinds of controls, but, still controls that some say take away freedoms that others in America enjoy on a daily basis. Have you read “The Spanking Room” by William Coburn? He grew up in that group and has a very interesting story. See the link to his website on our Link List.

    This link http://www.travesser.info/index.html  is to a blog written by a survivor of the cult called “Strong City”. The survivor is Prudence Welch. Wayne Bent- Michael Travesser was sentenced to jail time for his actions in that group. From what I can tell; the group was reported at 56 members, at one time. National Geographic ® did a special on this group, see this video as the leader claims, “I am the embodiment of God, I am Divinity and humanity combined.” See the documentary here..

 Does the small size of that group make the crimes of control against the members any less important?  

     The control I witnessed while inside Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) directly affected about 400 members. The members of WOFF do not have free access the media. Where else in the world is that practiced, China? Jane Whaley has a very heavy hand of control over the businesses owned by church members. Where do we see that happening in the world? Does that seem acceptable here? In comparison, Jane Whaley had/has a larger group that Michael Travesser. Is the control she exhibits over her folks any worse because there are more members? When comparing the religious control within certain groups, does the size of the group really matter?  It is hard to say which ones are worse in absolute terms. Can we just say all religious controlling groups or cults- hurt people in some way form or fashion? Can that ever be good? Can a religious cult leader ever control others for their good? Is any one person that wise? Many have claimed to do just that. Either directly or by inference, “If you listen to me, you will make it with God.”

    Paul Martin was in a position at Wellspring Retreat to see many survivors of many groups. In the documentary, “Join Us”, ( www.joinusthemovie.com ) he mentions he has seen over 300 groups represented by survivors over the years of his work. He also said that WOFF was one of the top five emotionally destructive cults in America. See a post about this here… http://religiouscultsinfo.com/?p=1570

    So, can we say that the size of a group being controlled cannot be the determining factor is saying which one is worse? Control or more specifically, religious control exercised over any size group is in my opinion a crime against the members of that group. At a minimum, can we say that when one religious leader controls his/her followers and robs them of accepted freedoms enjoyed by others in America, it is wrong? Can you agree that when one controls the lives of others in the guise of religion, this indicates deeper issues with that leader? Is that plausible? Did you watch the documentary about “Strong City”?  We will look at characteristics of cult leaders in a future post.

    Thank you, for taking time to visit and read this blog. Please, consume the information on this site responsibly. The author is not a licensed mental health professional and encourages those that need professional help to seek it. The intent of the material is to inform and be a resource. Be sure to tell every member that you know at WOFF about this blog. There are readers at WOFF. Comments are invited from all readers, including present or former members. Polls are not scientific and no private information is gathered.

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    (Please, take time to read the Terms of Use for this personal blog. As mentioned, the information about WOFF is from my memories and recollections as perfect as that may be or not be. ) Scripture references are Amplified Version unless otherwise noted. (Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation ) This is post number 257.

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