Things are seldom what they seem.

Do not be fooled by the smooth talk and beautiful descriptions of Community life.


What the Watchman Fellowship Has to Say

The Watchman Fellowship was founded by David Henke in Columbus, Georgia in 1979. It now has several offices in the United States. They track and list many cults, religions, and counterfeit groups they feel use deception, control, cover up, and dishonesty with their own members.

Its web site states:

Watchman Fellowship is an independent, nondenominational Christian research and apologetics ministry focusing on new religious movements, cults, the occult and the New Age.

One group they list is the Community of Jesus.

If you go to the Index of Cults and Religions, listings under “C”, then scroll down, it includes:

"Community of Jesus, Orleans, MA: Thought to be involved in shepherding[1] and mind control[2]."

The other definitions that relate to each other are copied below for easy reference.

  • Christian growth is allegedly facilitated by yielding personal freedoms to a discipler or “shepherd” who controls virtually every aspect of an individual’s life. This is a form of spiritual abuse[3], a manipulative distortion of true biblical discipleship that can ultimately rob individuals of their liberty and autonomy that is to be found in Christ. Used by many traditional cults, as well as by some religious organizations that are not cultic in their basic doctrine.

  • (Thought Reform, brainwashing) While evangelicals are lack consensus on the nature, extent or, in some cases, even existence of Mind Control, the Bible does warns against seducers, deceivers, and exploiters who employ methods that can bring about spiritual harm and/or personal abuse. The Mind Control or Thought Reform model, as for instance developed by Robert Lifton[5], suggests that there are specific methods of deception that can be employed by abusive spiritual leaders that may result in a diminished capacity for critical thinking and suppression of autonomy in their followers.

    These methods are believed to involve an intense social influence conditioning program which may include a closed system of authoritarian control, manipulative, group dynamics, a system of punishment and rewards, induced dissociation or trance induction, information control, fraud, coercion, and double binds[6]. Depending on the number and intensity of undue influence elements, and a person’s own unique susceptibilities, one may experience a pseudo personality change and marked debilitation, compliance, and servitude. The Mind Control model should not be interpreted to mean that the subject is not responsible for the consequences of his or her decisions and actions. The Mind Control theory is not justification for holding individuals against their will or for conducting forcible, involuntary deprogramming.

  • The damage or mistreatment of someone seeking spiritual or religious help or guidance. This injury can occur when someone uses a spiritual position or office to exercise an improper and unhealthy domination or control over followers. Legalism[4] can be a form of spiritual abuse[3].

  • The belief that spirituality or salvation is dependent upon strict observance of laws and/or rituals, implying salvation by works. Or, a system of religious rules must be kept to please God or religious leaders, sometimes resulting in a kind of spiritual abuse.

  • Dr. Lifton studied Mao Tse-Tung’s programs of “Thought Reform” or Chinese brainwashing while doing research for military intelligence. His study focused on radical change in personality and belief systems of certain prisoners-of-war who were held and tortured in Chinese camps. This research was later expanded in his 1961 work, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, in which he theorized that subtle elements of these brainwashing techniques could also be found in other environments.

    He outlined eight criteria for “thought reform,” which he called: Milieu Control, Mystical Manipulation, Loading the Language, Doctrine over Person, Sacred Science, Cult of Confession, Demand for Purity, and Dispensing of Existence. While some elements of these criteria could be found in virtually any group, Lifton warned that an environment of mind control or thought reform exists when all eight are found implemented in the extreme.

  • A mental or psychological dilemma caused when a person receives from a single leader or teacher conflicting messages or “truths” resulting in no appropriate response or answer.

    See Cognitive Dissonance[7].

  • A mental, emotional, or psychological state which results from attempting to hold two totally incompatible beliefs or opposing attitudes at the same time.

    See Double Bind[6].

  • Forced indoctrination using various techniques to cause a subject to abandon basic political, social, or religious ideas or beliefs and replace those ideals with a contrasting belief system. A translation of a Chinese word xinao, “brainwashing” became a popular term to describe the phenomena of radical change in behavior and core beliefs that took place in some prisoners of war held in Chinese camps in the mid-twentieth century. In a more general sense, the word is sometimes used to describe any form of persuasion perceived to be unethical that results in a radical and negative change in personality.

    See Lifton, Robert[5], Mind Control[2].

Think about it; not every point has to be an exact match. Ask yourself, Does any of this sound familiar?