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A site for those with an interest in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, past or present, and related subjects.
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 Take Back Your Life

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Posts : 1620
Join date : 2010-11-13
Age : 73
Location : New York, NY

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PostSubject: Take Back Your Life   Take Back Your Life Empty3/22/2011, 2:11 pm

TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich and Madeline Tobias - from Bay Tree Publishing.

I have not read this book, just got it to add to my library. Phil Zimbardo, a leading psychologist from Stanford - who I respect and just talked to at the TED conference - thinks highly of this book. His endorsement:

"TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE is must reading for everyone who wants to understand the powerful appeal that cults have for so many ordinary people, using so many subtle disguises, with so many subtle tactics. This book's wisdom is vital for us all."

People can argue back and forth about Shasta and OBC about whether to officially classify the organization as a "cult." It's history is certainly highly cultic in most respects. And coming out of a repressive authoritarian environment that did not allow any questioning is a psychological and spiritual process that can take time, sometimes years - not unlike getting over any abusive relationship. So perhaps this book might be of help to some people in their journey back to spiritual adulthood.

Also, there are many books out there written by leave-takers from all kinds of spiritual organizations -- and those books can also be very helpful -- since when you read them - you see the similarities with Shasta / Kennett - and then realize that what was happening at Shasta was not Zen/Dharma but much more about how a personality cult functions.

You can find books written by former members of Rajneesh, TM, the Hare Krishna's, Sri Chinmoy, Trungpa, Muktananda / Siddha Yoga, Divine Light Mission, Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientology, the Moonies, and a bunch of others. I am not saying all these groups are the same, but you'd be surprised how the group and guru dynamics of most groups are very close to what went on at Shasta.

When i was running SORTING IT OUT, one book that was useful was THE ROMANCE OF AMERICAN COMMUNISM. That might seem odd, but the author truly captured the experience of being in a cult, the personality worship, the repression of feelings and independent thought, the denial, how the group treated doubters and leave-takers and so on. It was an eye-opener.
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Posts : 144
Join date : 2011-01-30
Age : 71
Location : Pacific Northwest

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PostSubject: Re: Take Back Your Life   Take Back Your Life Empty3/22/2011, 7:38 pm

Thanks for the tip, Josh. I'll try to get a copy soon. Sounds like a good one.
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