Category: DTS


Groupthink

8 main symptoms of groupthink:

1. Illusion of Invulnerability: Members ignore obvious danger, take extreme risk, and are overly optimistic.

2. Collective Rationalization: Members discredit and explain away warning contrary to group thinking.

3. Illusion of Morality: Members believe their decisions are morally correct, ignoring the ethical consequences of their decisions.

4. Excessive Stereotyping:The group constructs negative sterotypes of rivals outside the group.

5. Pressure for Conformity: Members pressure any in the group who express arguments against the group’s stereotypes, illusions, or commitments, viewing such opposition as disloyalty.

6. Self-Censorship: Members withhold their dissenting views and counter-arguments.

7. Illusion of Unanimity: Members perceive falsely that everyone agrees with the group’s decision; silence is seen as consent.

8. Mindguards: Some members appoint themselves to the role of protecting the group from adverse information that might threaten group complacency.

 

In my time within YWAM and a spiritually abusive church, I encountered all of these put forth by Irving Janis in  Decision making: A psychological analysis of conflict, choice, and commitment.

Any thoughts?

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Shunned

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Have you ever been shunned?

In my earlier posts, I related some of the spiritual abuse my family and I received in YWAM and I would like to use some other incidents in YWAM on the subject of shunning. (If you have not read my previous posts, I suggest you read them here and here to catch up.)

Within a few weeks of my husband’s DTS, it became apparent that the base leaders considered us ‘troublemakers’ because we questioned unbiblical teachings. My husband was counseled to be more “teachable” and to not voice his opinions and for the most part, he tried to respect the leaders of the base by keeping quiet.

After our outreach was completed, the love feast was over, and the screaming from the female base leader subsided, my husband and I decided that we wanted to remain in Hong Kong and make a home for our family there. My husband is very well educated and had job leads from a V.P. of a major US company in Hong Kong, so he decided it was time to go to a tailor and have a suit made for future interviews. All this time we were still living at the base and my husband worked every day, all day doing hard physical labor so that we could stay at the base for just a short while after his DTS. (This was on top of the astronomical fees we were paying to stay there)

On a Saturday, his day off, we made our way to a tailor for my husband to be fitted for a business suit. A few days later, my husband was to pick up his suit after his work duties were finished. When the base leaders found out that my husband planned on getting a job in Hong Kong, they flew off the handle and forbid him to do so. They said they heard from G-d and that it wasn’t His will “thus saith the L-rd”. Just a few days later, we were told to vacate the apartment we had been paying for and my husband had been slaving for with only 2 days to get out.

We were terrified, yet we knew G-d would take care of us and our two small children. We asked a YWAM staff member who was a native Hong Konger if she would translate for us when we enquired about an apartment one evening. We made sure our meeting with a local landlady would not infringe on our YWAMer friend’s ‘duties’, and it was to take place on her own free time.

Our meeting time came and went and there was no sign of our Cantonese-speaking YWAM friend. We then went to the base to find here and we were met by the male base leader. He stopped us from going further into the base and he said that he would not allow our translator friend to help us because she did not ask the leadership’s permission! We both defended her and said she was helping us as a friend on her own personal time, but he would not listen. He said that he did not want us living in the same village as them because we “would give them a bad name”. The base leader looked at us with a wild, paranoid look in his eyes and threw us out of the base. The YWAM leadership told their staff to shun us, because we were ‘evil’.

We cried, we were freaked out by the encounter with the base leader who not only treated us badly, but caused our Chinese YWAMer friend to lose face. We DID find a translator, and the very next day, met with the local landlady. The local landlady asked if we were with the YWAM base, because she did not want to have anything to do with the YWAMers in the village. She thought they were strange, rude and not to be trusted because of her own dealings with YWAM in the village.

On the verge of homelessness (we were kicked out on the eve of the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the PRC, with no hotel rooms available), our non-Christian local landlady showed us great kindness. She allowed us to spend the night in our newly acquired apartment even though we were not to begin renting for 2 days, in fact, she did not charge us for the 2 extra days. We quickly moved from the YWAM apartment to our new home-sweet-home. When our landlady saw we had no furniture, she immediately carried up a table with four chairs, and 3 bed mattresses. We were overwhelmed by the kindness of a stranger, when we had been treated so cruelly by a YWAM.

godsend Our “godsend” apartment after being mistreated by YWAM.

I would be very interested to hear from other YWAMers about what they think of the base leadership shunning us. Also, I’d like to hear what people think of the huge control the base leaders have over staff members. I have heard many stories from other YWAMers being micromanaged by their leadership in many bases around the world.


I feel that it is time for me to ask for input from others who have been abused in YWAM and survived. There are so many people coming to my blog because they are walking wounded from their time with YWAM.

If you have come out the other side from YWAM mistreatment, would you be brave enought to tell your story to help another?

If you do not want your name or base printed, that is perfectly fine. I understand firsthand that there can be a great out-lash at those who speak up. You will find this a safe medium to tell your story.

If so, please send your story to:

chasing.truth@yahoo.com

I pray that those who have been abused can find hope through this blog.

Jen

Whether you are leaving YWAM because of a painful experience and seeking a place of refuge on the ‘outside’, or leaving to join the world again, it is a painful transition.

Many of my friends who have left YWAM over the years found the journey back into regular society harder than expected, fraught with false starts and unfinished plans. The sheer culture shock can be overwhelming to the point that many, including myself, find it difficult to find a place in the world sans YWAM.

Discipleship Training school (DTS) is often called a “honeymoon with God” and that YWAMers who complete the DTS are “ruined for the ordinary”. Being ruined for the so-called ordinary can truly ruin what one can and cannot accomplish outside of YWAM. –Over the years, I have kept in contact with my YWAM friends and have been able to see how their YWAM experience affected how they viewed the world and how they made their way into non-communal life. My closest friends in YWAM were so negatively affected by their time in the organization that to this day- nearly 10 years after DTS- they do not know who they are or what they are ‘meant’ to do. College was not attended, plans were not followed through, floundering around was the mainstay. I found this to be true for myself as well.

My time in YWAM permanently burned an image in my mind of who I should be; I was told that the only reason for being was to know God and to make Him known. If I were not involved in missions, my life was worthless, because being a missionary –especially a destitute one- was a holy calling. Leaving YWAM was the most painful emotional time in my life. Although my time in YWAM was filled with tremendous spiritual abuse, I was utterly lost, no direction, no idea of what to do next.

Most YWAM bases have a debriefing at the end of DTS for those going back to their lives, and I went through this debriefing after my DTS as well. When I returned home, I found that I had changes, whereas my friends, church and pastor had remained the same. It was difficult for my friends to adjust to the ‘new’ me and I was on such a spiritual high after DTS, I had problems relating to them. I thought, “Why aren’t they winning souls? Reaching out to the lost?” Remember, my whole reason for being was to be a missionary, so I could not understand why everyone else didn’t drop everything to go.

I did what many after DTS do. I applied to yet another YWAM school, because that was what I was encouraged to do. I applied for a School of Frontier Missions (SOFM) and I was accepted, however, the financial support never came through. People promised money for my career as a destitute, un-college educated missionary, but they never came through. I was absolutely devastated. What was I to do? All my self-worth was in missions.

Eventually I found a job, but I floundered for years, not knowing what to do with my time in YWAM. I worked off and on with short term YWAM projects, but always felt that something was lacking. I attempted college, but failed at that. All I could think of was going back to YWAM – being a missionary.

My friends from YWAM had a similar path over the last 9 years. I’ve talked to many others who served with YWAM who felt lost as well. What does one do after YWAM?

Thankfully, after my latest brush with YWAM, I was able to make a clean break and remove the doctrine I learned in DTS from my mind. Finally, I can separate myself from what I learned in YWAM and find myself, reconnect with family and friends and belong in the ‘real’ world. It took time and a lot of painful growth, relearning of who I am and what I am truly meant to do.

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