Moving On | Choose your lifeMoving On | Choose your life
Safe Passage Foundation - Support to youth raised in high demand organizations

Saturday, January 31, 2009    

Home | New Content | Statistics | Games | FAQs

Getting On : Education

Economics of the Cult

from Phoenixkidd - Tuesday, May 23, 2006
accessed 1541 times

Economics of the cult:

It would be interesting if anyone in their essays or studies could put together a piece on the economics of the cult.

For example, I made the decision in 1996 to move to Indonesia, a 3rd world decrepit nation, but with my previous knowledge that economically, the cult was a lot better off in that country, than in a rich country such as Japan or the US. I made the assumption that if the socio-economic climate was anything like it was in the early 80's with rich tycoons willing to drop a few measly crumbs to "interesting foreigners" I would be fine--and I was. I was sick of eeking out a living doing car washes, tapenessing for hours on the streets of LA and Tokyo and just fed up with the way of making a living in Japan and eating rotten food practically all the time.

Can anyone else relate? It seemed in Japan the Yen had gotten so strong that any help from the outside as far as donations in Dollars were "no good or of little use"> However in an impoverished nation, those dollars went far and we benefited.

It would also be interesting to note that the more children a home had, the "poorer" off it seemed to be. In the late 70's early 80's the Family basically prostituted it's members, who had very few children, and made enough money to live comfortably. Basically the area behind the two intersecting lines of Income and children meant very difficult and socio-problems within a cult unit.

Ok I am a bit of a geek, but I always tried to look practically at the cult's financial problem and considered Japan the worst sinkhole for cult funds, basically too many children, too many homes generating no income but taking all overhead costs.

Anyone else agree?

Reader's comments on this article

Add a new comment on this article

from steam
Friday, May 26, 2006 - 14:54

Someone commented about some homes that "had it together" financially. I think back at all the petty ridiculousness that would come of homes fighting over "contacts" etc. Someone would move homes, and everyone would fight over whether they brought "their contacts" with them, or if the home they left got to keep them. It was some pretty funny funny shit if it weren't so sad. This is crap like some "contact" at McDonald for a free meal every few months. Well that's what I call being a "financial power" like all the prophecies said they would be. But that leadership double standard it pissed me off so bad even though I never had trouble making money. I would go on "fundraising trips" to west Europe and bring in $400-$800 cash a day, and I would just get donations (begging/fraud in our current terms) I never sold any CD's or crap (I worked my friggin ass of from 8 AM to 7 PM). But every "summit meeting" all the leadership would come back all "upgraded" to the latest laptops etc. The only legitimate claim they could have to need laptops was to run word and hook up a modem, basically a 200mghz processor and black and white screen would have worked just as well, (it did back in '92) but they went and spent all that dough every year for the latest upgrades. Thieves!!
(reply to this comment)
From Big Sister
Friday, May 26, 2006, 17:38

If you check out the site, look at the photos of wordstock from 2005 compared to this year. They had a nice location and lots of very nice equipment - professional video cameras, lots of computers, etc.:

I noticed by comparison that this year the location seemed like a run down place and I didn't see any video equipment at all. Since Wordstock is an significant indoctrination event directed to the all important teen demographic in TF, I think the amount of money that the leadership has to put into the event is a sign of economic health (or lack of health). That, plus the numbers of attendees (270 vs 200 this year).(reply to this comment
From Big Sister
Friday, May 26, 2006, 17:46

Oh yeah, they did have video equipment this year: to this comment
From Phoenixkidd
Tuesday, May 30, 2006, 16:07

Shidaba Honda bajuka!!! Those pics were amazing, So many things we (us older 2nd Gen) Didn't have! I can see why some kids would want to stay and just start a band and veg out. My My Niki has her own band named after her, and Godfrey of course has his groupies! Geesh(reply to this comment
Saturday, May 27, 2006, 03:14

You can hire video equipment!(reply to this comment
from Big Sister
Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 20:31

I am particularly interested in the economics of the cult. What you are talking about here is also about the social stratification of TF. I was surprised at first to see what appeared to be higher and lower classes of membership. But the more I look, the more it seems like this is the case. And just like in the system (oddly enough) the higher classes are richer and lower, poorer. Would you guys say that is an accurate, if oversimplified, description?

This makes me wonder if there is any correlation between who stays and who leaves. I could speculate that the more comfortable your class or position is in the cult, the more likely you stay on. I think that one of my nieces in TF has moved from lower to a higher leadership class. All her brothers and sisters stayed lower, and left (yay!). Or maybe it works the other way, senior leadership identifies people they want and rewards them with comfort and power to keep them around. If they don't much like you or don't find you useful, they just take your tithe money and ignore you.

Months ago I wanted to test my speculation. I posted to the blog of two SGAs in TF. One was a single woman, and one was a couple. They were describing how great their life is in TF, so I wrote to realistically, not hysterically, describe my sister's hand-to-mouth poverty/chaos existence in TF. I asked for their comments or reactions. No one responded. My posts were both deleted after about 24 hours.

I figured that a more compassionate cult might have members who would express surprise, concern, something. I thought perhaps I had touched a raw nerve. But there are other possible explanations. I am still very curious about the social strata within TF and the economic structure that supports the strata.

(reply to this comment)
From cheeks
Saturday, May 27, 2006, 18:08

I would have to agree the higher up you are the less likely you are to leave. If you had kids they would have all their needs provinded for. You wouldn't really lack for much in the physical needs department. I mean how many years did some of us go with out undergarments because the home we were living in was more desperate to provision tires or something. It is also about Power so many people love power and all that it implies. Who is really going to turn down more power over people? The ability to control peoples lives is really a big thing.(reply to this comment
From afflick
Friday, May 26, 2006, 15:21


Big Sister, I would have been very surprised if you received an answer from your post on the SGAs blogs. Especially if they have children, a lot of these SGAs feel that any criticism of their leadership or lifestyle is a threat to take away their children. Also, debate skill are not a strong suit in The Family, since critical thinking is considered doubting and not encouraged. That is why most Family rebuttals published online and in periodicals are written in a very stilted manner. It is probably not the case that they do not have empathy for your sister's situation but that they assume because you have a viewpoint different from their's, you are lying.

Interestingly, recent The Family has come out with New Wine promoting the idea that God is against democracy and openness; that God is a god of censorship. The GNs were specifically addressing blogs and blogging as more and more young people in TFI are starting to express themselves in ways the leadership cannot strickly control.(reply to this comment

From Phoenixkidd
Friday, May 26, 2006, 08:53

In a way, life was much better in a "service" home. You didn't have to go bang the pavements for a buck and you could get your "needs" met. I remember there were extreme differences even between our home and our sister home, "Greenfields" in Japan. Our home make up was not the kind that could make money! No adults, no jobs, no "contacts" so leadership thought the money problem could be solved by having a "sister home" that was provided for by WS. Anyways those long hard years are long gone now, but I still remember how stressful it was to be in charge of the cash at 16 years of age. There were many decisions that I simply did not agree with regarding finances but couldn't do anything about! I remember once I used my own money to buy dishwashing materials and vegetables once when we had guests over, I still can't get over how "shocked" everyone was that these vegetables had suddenly appeared! ---HA(reply to this comment
From farmer
Friday, May 26, 2006, 05:11

Other than TF claims & to many FGA's surprise, funds were & are quite an essential part of the group.Homes were closed for lack of funds etc.But you know how they put it, either you're "blessed" or you aren't, so you're suffering by your own lack of "going & getting/deserving it"...hence the richer homes had the tendency of thinking "well, we got it right", no matter whether the income came by literal prostituition, squeezing it out of "kings"/contacts or through their welfare-front.

It's odd for me to see how TF embraces since longer the goodies of the "system", which was once frowned upon in the very early days.That's their way also of becoming one with the affluent, whose friendship, favour & protection they seek.Reminds me a bit of Opus Dei, only their members seem to be quite a bit more educated.Well, the older the FGAs get, the more they need some financial anchor, which Zerby & Co. won't or can't provide, they just think of saving themselves (When you're young, you don't worry so much about the future & your pension etc.)In the meantime they provide them all they can with that oh so fantastic material, so that they can hoof it ...raising funds...remember: no excuse for anyone to be so poor, especially for not being able to pay the tithe.
As a fairly poor litnesser in TF I used to be bothered by the show off affluence of some leaders or unit homes.
Quite a contrast, because I got a taste of both.As for the theory of some benefit for westeners in 3rd world countries
I'd say for my time in India....we lived far better than the very poor by living off the middle-class.I'd say, some of the Indian cooks we had were doing fantastic with the shopping money they had.Cracked wheat is not really my favourite, but there's worse to eat.And yes, any dollar from abroad goes much further still in those countries.

I think TF may be has it as a policy, to not to reply to disgruntled exmembers or they can't handle justified criticism from outside...but strange enough they take the "spiritual spankings"/tonguelashing of their leaders.If you were more spiritual, may be they'd answer you
; )(reply to this comment
from venus_fly_trap
Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 15:53

ok weird. posted half a comment, twice. anyhow, leadership homes were very different than field homes. on the field, used clothes including bras and panties. in leadership homes we were being supported by the field force through tithing. i remember at a few leadership hubs, such as the HSC and Greenfields, there was a "needs list" that i filled stating what i needed. lo and behold days later, a new hair brush or micro recorder or panties and bras, face scrubs, hair ties, even a new pair of shoes and a coat too. i was shocked at getting brand new things but very happy. i remember i didn't really realise the difference in the quality of life until i returned to visit my mother and brothers and sisters to discover they didn't have nice things like i did. that is when i saw the double standard and decided that if i was going to be in the group, then i needed to be in leadership homes because of the standards. but the guilt i felt in seeing my little siblings in clothes worn with holes and returning to care for leaderships kids who were warm with new clothes and heaters in every room of the house. it was tough.
(reply to this comment)
from TP
Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 07:39


I wonder if it has less to do with the economics of the country that you're in, and more to do with each individual home.

I remember some homes had their shit together when it came to fund raising. They had at least one or two uncles who had been in the area for years, and knew a lot of people. They would come home from fund raising after like a weekend, and have a month's rent. They also had good restaurant contacts and places like that for the teens and kids to go fund raising.

Most homes I lived in however were extremely disorganized. They had no clear plan for paying the bills and feeding the kids. I mean, if you're going to to make your kids pound-the-pavements, at least be organized about it.

(reply to this comment)

from Rain Child
Thursday, May 25, 2006 - 03:37


I can't really relate to that at all.

I grew up in Australia, and all I'd ever had to wear was clothes from second-hand shops or the forsake all, with one or two new things from Target per year, when our relatives gave my motherr Christmas or birthday money for us.

I went to Japan at age 14, and all the other teens were wearing GAP and Guess, and Levis, with CK1 perfume, and Calvin Klein underwear. They had all these rap or street brands too, things I'd never heard of. (Some kind of shorts called...Wiggers?) I never could figure out where they got all those cool things, they all had cd walkmans (We're talking mid-nineties) and heaps of music (I remember MC Hammer was big at the time.) They also had lots of BB guns with real metal pellets. I couldn't believe how 'rich' they were compared to what we'd grown up with in Australia. (It's true, the food was shit though.)

When I was nineteen, I went to India, and I'd never lived in such poverty. In the mornings they'd put the breakfast on the table, and everyone would dive for it, because there was enough to feed approximately half the home. (I normally gave it a miss.) If you had a bar of chocolate it was wealth beyond compare, and the girls would sit around fondly reminiscing about luxuries from home like conditioner, skin cream, tampons, and razors. Of course, I never really felt like complaining, because all you had to do was look out the window and see children starving or mothers doing construction work with their bare hands, and you knew you had it pretty good.

So, I think I've always felt that the wealth of the home reflected the country I was in at the time.
(reply to this comment)

from venus_fly_trap
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 18:51


don't forget there were different kinds of homes:

leadership homes got
(reply to this comment)

from venus_fly_trap
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 18:51


don't forget there were different kinds of homes:

leadership homes
(reply to this comment)

from Sharon
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 11:11

It's interesting that you say that because when I lived in Indonesia we were always dirt poor and just struggling to get by. I moved to Taiwan from Indonesia (I think it was 1995) and was just amazed at the amount of good food, clothes, etc. that the home had. It seemed the homes in Taiwan were much better off financially.
(reply to this comment)
From Phoenixkidd
Wednesday, May 24, 2006, 13:49

Really? It just seemed it was easier in the home and other homes I was in due to Big Help from Rich folks, but I guess everyone has their take on things. (reply to this comment

My Stuff

log in here
to post or update your articles


45 user/s currently online

Web Site User Directory
5047 registered users

log out of chatroom

Happy Birthday to demerit   Benz   tammysoprano  

Weekly Poll

What should the weekly poll be changed to?

 The every so often poll.

 The semi-anual poll.

 Whenever the editor gets to it poll.

 The poll you never heard about because you have never looked at previous polls which really means the polls that never got posted.

 The out dated poll.

 The who really gives a crap poll.

View Poll Results

Poll Submitted by cheeks,
September 16, 2008

See Previous Polls

Online Stores

I think, therefore I left

Check out the Official
Moving On Merchandise
. Send in your product ideas

Free Poster: 100 Reasons Why It's Great to be a Systemite

copyright © 2001 - 2009

[terms of use] [privacy policy] [disclaimer] [The Family / Children of God] [contact:] [free speech on the Internet blue ribbon] [About the Trailer Park] [Who Links Here]