MOVE And The Psychological Destruction Of Their Children
The more I learn about cults the more I learn just how un-exceptional MOVE is. Remove the group's overwrought rhetoric and "revolutionary" posturing and all that remains is a retrograde authoritarian cult. Pure and simple.
The methodology of control that MOVE's leaders employ in order to control members of the sect are no different than any other group of it's kind.
And the treatment of children in such fascistic groups is as typical as it is vulgarly criminal.
MOVE's children are older MOVE members slaves. Pure and simple. These children exist to serve and obey. Deprived of education and deprived of all ability to live separately from the cult, these children's existence is something akin to life on cotton plantation circa 1830.
I have offered, on this website, and in other places, a series of anecdotes and observations about the treatment of children raised in the MOVE cult. What I have not done until now is introduce professional insights into the abuse of these children.
As it turns out, there is a wealth of knowledge out there concerning the effects of cult-life on children's development. What follows is a partial explanation of cults and their mechanism of control with regards to children.
"Mystical Manipulation—“divine authority” mandates dysfunctional and/or abusive parenting. This authority allows any means toward a “higher end” or goal. Verbal and non-verbal messages are given to infants that interfere with the development of trust.
Demand for Purity—absolute separation of good and evil within self and within the environment. Good children behave in proscribed ways and do not “act” like children. Children are often forced to participate in rituals that are not age-appropriate. Shame and doubt interfere with development of autonomy or the belief that it’s okay to think and feel for oneself.
The Cult of Confession—one-on-one or group confession (by child or on behalf of child) for the purpose of humiliating the confessor and creating dependency upon the leader for one’s definition of goodness. Humiliation discourages risk-taking; the child develops a sense of guilt and is fearful of exhibiting initiative.
Sacred Science and Doctrine over Person—the teachings of the CHDG and/or leader is the Ultimate Truth that allows for no questioning. The individual is always inferior to the Ultimate Truth of the group or leader(s). This necessitates denial of self and self-perception. When parents or caretakers encourage a child to become self-directed the child develops a sense of competence. The inability to question or to value one’s own ideas lead to the development of inferiority. The child is always secondary to the doctrine or leader(s).
Dispensing of Existence—anyone not in the group or not embracing the “truth” is insignificant, not “saved,” or “unconscious”; the outside world or members who leave the group are rejected. The developmental tasks of adolescents are to separate from their caretakers and create their own identity. This cannot be done without thinking for oneself and adopting one’s own set of values. Yet to do so in a cultic environment is tantamount to rejecting “Truth”. The only way to survive is to dispense of self.
Loading of the Language—use of terms, jargon that have group-specific meaning; phrases that will keep one in, or bring one back into, the cult mindset. In the case of a child growing up in a thought reform environment theses meanings are the only ones the child will learn. The loaded language is the child’s first language. Upon leaving the group an adolescent or adult questions his or her competence at understanding the language, behaviors, and customs of the culture.
Judith Herman, in her widely respected book Trauma and Recovery (1992) states that
(r)epeated trauma in adult life erodes the structure of the personality already formed, but repeated trauma in childhood forms and deforms the personality. The child trapped in an abusive environment is faced with formidable tasks of adaptation. She must find a way to preserve a sense of trust in people who are untrustworthy, safety in a situation that is unsafe, control in a situation that is terrifyingly unpredictable, power in a situation of helplessness. Unable to care for or protect herself, she must compensate for the failures of adult care and protection with the only means at her disposal, an immature system of psychological defenses (p. 96)."
Born or Raised in High-Demand Groups: Developmental Considerations Leona Furnari, L.C.S.W.
The exactitude of the above words in explaining MOVE's intensive and unhealthy control of the children in their midst is simply chilling.
Chances are though, that the author may have never even heard of MOVE, or if they were aware of MOVE, their knowledge is likely only superficial.
The tactics and methods employed by MOVE and other groups of its kind are such that an intimate knowledge of day to day operations of a particular sect is no longer necessary.
Jim Jones, Charles Manson, John Africa,...it is all the same.