Friday, November 2, 2007

Last Friday I went with the South Bay Young Adults group to St. Catherine de Laboure Church to hear a member of the MI (Militia of the Immaculata) speak about the group. The topic of the night was to be "Why do we love our Lady" but instead seemed to turn into a promotion of th MI. Perhaps that was unintentional; I don't know.

The women who came a spoke were very nice and kind, I do think they were sincere. However, the ways in which they spoke of Mary was toeing the line: suggesting that she was higher or some how more worthy than Christ.

St. Maximilian Kolbe is quoted on the front cover of their pamphlet: To lead every individual with Mary to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I find it very unique that the Saint proposes that we are not lead to Mary, but with Mary to Christ Jesus. This suggests that we all implore and praise God alone.

To directly quote the MI as to their purpose:
[...] is a worldwide evangelizations movement founded by St. Maximillian Kolbe in 1917. It encourages a total consecration to Mary Immaculate as a means of spiritual renewal for individuals and society.
Marian consecration in the MI is a formal act of self-giving that does not stop at Mary, but is Christ-directed. It is really a consecration to Jesus. [...]

The MI employs prayer as the main weapon in the spiritual battle with evil. MIs also immerse themselves in apostolic initiatives throughout society, either individually or in groups, to deepen the knowledge of the Gospel and our Catholic Faith in themselves and others.
By joining the MI, members become willing instruments of Our Lady, the handmaid of the Lord and the immaculate instrument of God. You become a member of an international movement sharing in the maternal mission of Mary, the conversion and sanctification of all souls. The goals of the MI are personal sanctification, the conversion of the world, and ultimately the universal reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The MI is one of the few Vatican-approved public associations whose mission, like that of the Cathlic Church, is universal. Although the MI is open to Catholics only, it encourages all people of good will to develop a trusting relationship with our Lady.

I have an issue with "members become willing instruments of Our Lady." It is St. Francis of Assissi who tells us to be instrument of our Lord, not Mary. Just as we are like clay in the hands of the Lord, so too are we to be used by the Lord for the fulfillment of His will (Jer. 18:6).

I want to make clear that not in any way am I saying that the whole of the MI is wrong, but that some members may enjoin themselves so close to Mary that they don't look beyound her. I know that we need to honor Mary and love her as our Lord's Mother. However I want to caution the thought that without Mary's "yes" there would be no salvation in Christ on the Cross. I think that honor and praise of Mary could literally turn into worship of Mary if one begins to think that Mary is the source of Christ (per His conception and birth) and hence salvation would come from her.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


So, someone told me on a support Yahoo! Group that what I have been experiencing for the last few weeks is called "floating."

The extreme identity confusion caused by membership in a cult can follow an ex-member for years, causing flashbacks in which the person "floats" back to the time of his involvement. In an instant, the cult identity can be triggered by a stimulus, such as an image, sound, or smell, that was instrumental in their manipulation. During my first year ould of the cult (1976), the word "moon" would cause me to thing "Father," see an image of Sun Myung Moon, and begin to think from within my cult identity.

This dissociative state, which is known as "floating," can be a significant obstacle for former cult members. Involuntary episodes are most common among people who were exposed to trance-inducing techniques, such as chanting, meditation, and speaking in tongues. Floating is particularly scary for those who lack an understanding of mind control. People who leave a cult without counseling are often confused and terrified by the experience, and begin to feel irrational guilt and fear over having left the group.

So what has been the last few weeks been like for me? Well, I've found myself automatically entering to prayer just like I used to with the Local Church, wanting to go back when I know that I don't want to, thinking about the people I left behind, fearing God - like He might change His mind about me, the depression, the darkness, the pain, and pain for the people still locked into the Local Church.

It hasn't been a pleasant experience. On Thursday I went to Daily Mass, and I could barely recieve Communion, I thought I was going to drop the chalice. Friday wasn't much better, with a phone call to a priest-friend, which made me late to class (we've a 20 minute break for our 3 hour classes). I return to class, and the professor has just begun our weekly meditation session, which usually lasts for 15 minutes. It's more than I can take, so I walk out again and spend the 15 minutes the class mediates crying in a bathroom stall. Later on Friday I sent an apologetic email to the professor excusing my poor behavior.

I feel pain for the people still in the Local Church, and even more for the knowledge that anyone who leaves will have similar experiences to mine. Not everyone survives the ex-member process. Some people commit suicide. I could still be in there, or I could be dead either by my own hand or by the deteriorating life-style on which I was subsisting. These people are just like me, and they are on the fringe edge of the cult hierarchy, so they're just blindly believing that this is truth. They may not know any better.

It's like being shut in a room at night where there aren't any lights. The darkness seems thick, but with the dilation of the pupils, one can begin to see furniture and other fixtures. If one sticks around in the room long enough, they can mistake the gray formations for actually being in the light. That's what cults are about: mistaking the Darkness for Light. if you offer them the stub of a candle, they refuse it.

Hassan, S. A. (2000) Planning and holding an intervention (pp. 322-323). In Releasing the bonds: Empowering people to think for themselves. Somerville: Freedom of Mind Press