When I attended a ReGAIN conference years ago, we had a couple cult experts address the group, which I found fascinating. I was not yet convinced that the Movement was a cult, but then I had only been out a few years and was still using the "methodology" privately on my own kids (for a good cause, of course -- their souls!) The presentation turned to those who were actually physically "trapped" in groups (on a compound or in a cult home or whatever) and what parents were to do. The old school response was to engage in a a SWAT-like intervention and to kidnap the individual when possible after having studied time-tables and opportunities. (Think Moonies.)
But the newer thinking is that to force such a conversion is to replace one form of control for another. (Remember, after the "kidnapping," the person is held forcibly, subject to deprogramming sessions.) Now instead, one of the key elements in unspinning the cult is to plant seeds (assuming that there is occasional contact with the loved one). "Do you remember when...? Do you still like to...? I remember that you were very good at...?"
Usually the response is leaden and negative. "I don't do that any more; I don't have time for such things." But it plants a little memory, jiggling an old train of thought that lay dormant for too long.*
So along this line, I'd like to ask readers:
[I'm not prying, but trying to see what went missing.] As a convert and homeschooling mother, I was rather busy already. I was an Oblate of Saint Benedict and a member of Legion of Mary. These were not cutting-edge tools of the New Evangelisation but they were solid enough. I loved our door-to-door visits on behalf of the pastor to see what people needed, bringing to his attention the need for sacraments if the people were ready. I've always read voraciously, but there was no internet so I had piles of books and magazines to continue my formation. I had an engrossing apostolate of my own which helped to connect me with people from all over.
The Legion never changed my reading habits, but the Benedictines and Legion of Mary had to go. Eventually home-schooling went away as well, and putting the kids in a Legion school freed up even more time for other apostolates (although I never let go of my own apostolate, which I think kept me from integrating completely).
Thus leaving was rather easy (other than the emotional/spiritual confusion over the Church's approval of the work of a paederast). I've gone back to the Benedictines and the Divine Office, and my other apostolate is there in a different form, but same old work, which I love. BTW, the day I returned home from the conference, I stopped manipulating my kids -- and they noticed immediately. They were transformed. (It didn't guarantee no heart-aches or problems, but we were all free!)
How about you? Where does the Way Back Machine take you?
[Do those pants make me look fat?]
* The very fact that I'm explaining this strategy may undermine it in one sense, but I'm also sensitive to the fact that I wouldn't want to "play" anyone. I'm telling you this upfront for a different reason, and it's actually an interesting tidbit for you to tuck away for later in your life when you may need it. You're welcome.