My interest in sociological cults came about because of my younger brother’s involvement and entrapment in the Way International in the early 1980s. Although my brother left the Way in the 1987 it fascinated me how a highly intelligent college student could be drawn into what was clearly an authoritarian group. I watched in horror as he devoted almost seven years of his life to their cause while almost destroying himself both physically and emotionally. He left the cult physically in 1987 but spent years breaking free mentally.
We both determined to understand what had happened to him and, just as importantly, the how and why.
We begin reading all we could about sociological cults including ground breaking books like Steve Hassan’s Combatting Mind Control and Michael Langone’s Recovery From Cults: Help For Victim of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse. I visited websites including Rick Ross’s website and (sadly) the now defunct FACTNET site to help my brother as he struggled for years to put his experience behind him.
I stumbled across Tik Tok’s writings in late 2006 through a link to his website everynationexposed (http://everynationexposed.blogspot.com/) on FACTNET.
I devoured every sentence of Tikie’s account of his involvement in an apparent sociological cult called Maranatha Christian Ministries. I can recall reading his site for almost eight hours straight in a sitting. At the time I thought it one of the best personal accounts of cult membership, not just due to Tikie’s riveting writing and vivid descriptions, but also because of the way he plumbed the both whys and hows of sociological cult membership.
One reader wrote of Tikie’s blog in 2006 that it was the “Magnus Opus of sociological cults” and another that it was “A fantastic novel-like read minus the horrible punctuation”. A former member noted that “A better account of the leadership and their personalities involved [in MCM] could not be written.”
Numerous comments left on his blog testified about how his writing helped readers understand the authoritarian groups and how they, or their loved ones, should respond an authoritarian group. Tikie provided not only clear insight into how a sociological cult uses a person’s own mind to shackle them to the group but, importantly, how one might break free of these mental shackles.
Tikie’s original writings were pasted onto many websites devoted to helping those in such groups. The shuttering of Tikie’s blog in 2010 removed a valuable resource to those who want to understand, and respond to, this phenomena.
Some may readers might ask “how could a story about a college campus ministry that disbanded over twenty-five years ago be relevant today?”
There first answer to this question is that manipulative sociological cults, knowingly, or unknowingly, use the same basic tactics to entrap members and estrange them from their families and loved ones. Thus, this account could be of help for those who are trying to understand this phenomena and take action to help their loved ones or themselves.
The second answer, a troubling one, is that Maranatha Campus Ministries and its associated groups never actually went away. This is one of Tikie’s hypothesis. A quick search on google reveals many churches founded by former MCM pastors who continued the same pattern of abuse that plagued MCM. Faith Christian church, founded by former MCM Pastors, is alleged to engage in the same abusive practices as MCM.
This recent article in the CU independent alleges many of the same abuses Tikie experienced are present at these churches: https://cuindependent.com/2017/04/17/parent-current-resurrection-church-member-speak-accusing-church-abuse-financial-manipulation-grace-faith-christian/
One particular quote in the article above that “We have lost our sons and daughters” is an utterly heartbreaking one. Unfortunately, then, Tikie’s writings are relevant for readers.
Through his blog, in late 2006, Tikie and I began a correspondence about my brother’s experience which developed into a friendship between us that outlasted his now shuttered blog .
After almost six years of pursuing Tikie (via email and Skype) I gained his agreement recently to allow me to edit and repackage his original posts that appeared between 2006 and 2009.
My editing consists of both cleaning up many grammatical errors and of changing the structure of his story. Tikie wrote his original blog from a strictly chronological viewpoint which allowed the reader to move through his journey.
Although there is much power in this approach; my view was that both a chronological and a thematic organization of his writings would serve the reader better. Thus our plan is to begin with a chronological account of Tik’s entrapment in MCM, then follow this account with thematic posts, and finally to end with his dramatic account of how he broke free both physically and mentally from the group and his final conclusions.
I admit it is a bit frightening to try to improve on what I think is a genre masterpiece but I believe it is worth the try.
Tikie provided me with his original MS Word documents and agreed to give me complete editorial freedom as long as I did not alter his observations or conclusions. Therefore any diminution in the power of his story and journey are all mine. But my hope is that this new version of Tikie’s story will affect the new reader as much as it affected me when I came across it some nine years ago.
Note: All materials in this site are copyrite 2006 by Tik Tok and all rights are reserved by him. Tikie’s writings are used here with his permission.