Navigators: They scope out people to recruit and groom you to ask for money

“Notice about halfway through the video where the man in the uniform refers to his “recruitment” into the Navigators. That’s how they operated. They would literally go scope out people in public and recruit more and more… eventually asking for money once you became more involved. It was a definite grooming process.

Those two couples are considered the highest-ranked in the group, essentially. The man in normal clothing is the leader of the group who claims to live a moderate life, but we never really knew where our money went. We just “obeyed” God in our tithing and went about our lives.

By the way, I’d never met anyone as delusional as the man sharing his “testimony”. I still get angry thinking about all the arguments he would start and trump people because he was a higher-ranked disciple. It’s sick.”

Excerpt from: https://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/8d1y4f/any_previous_navigators_out_there/dxkzut0/

Navigators: Pervasive Negativity and Pyramid Scheme Concerns

… Even as a fundamentalist Christian, I thought they were pretty creepy and I had stopped going to meetings before they left. It was not any one specific thing that bothered me; they just had a pervasive negativity, even by Calvinist standards.

The tithe was given fully to the leader over all the groups.

This is interesting. I know for a fact that some other para-church groups were pyramid schemes, because they tried to recruit me as staff. Each staff member had to raise their own salary, plus a hefty extra amount, which was taken off the top for “headquarters expenses”. Actually, though, a big chunk of the “headquarters expense” went to their boss, and another big chunk went to the bosses’ boss, etc. By the time you were 2-3 levels up, you were personally getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars every year (in 1970’s dollars).

I never found out very much about how Navs was funded or paid their staffs. …”

Excerpt from: https://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/8d1y4f/any_previous_navigators_out_there/

Navigators: Facade, Ranking Systems, Oppression of Women, Taking Advantage of Military Couples

The Navigators operates out of the facade of being extremely welcoming and inviting. 

 A few things this group did were:

Ranking systems (disciples/discipleship)

Oppression of women. We were not to speak up, teach, or challenge our husbands decisions. Our modesty was a fundamental aspect of our acceptance in the group… Most of the wives stayed home and if a few did work or were single they were essentially treated as outsiders. I remember one time a particular young lady began to question the group on their theology – and my husband at the time was encouraged to have me, his wife, never talk to her again because she was a bad example to me. Because of her questioning, she was suddenly considered an enemy.

-Generous tithing was expected and pushed heavily. The tithe was given [edited] to the leader over all the groups, from what I believe. We were never given an exact answer as to where our money was going. We had about 5-10 sects, if you will. They were spread out by location, although most of us lived in the same neighborhood. So you could imagine, a lot of money was being poured in. I remember the first time the leader sat my husband down and drew a childish illustration showing “why” he should give money. Of course, he agreed and gave a monthly set amount that came out of our bank account automatically.

-Legalism was HUGE but they would preach grace. There were unspoken rules, and even spoken ones. They were experts at guilt trips. We were expected to memorize scripture every week and were quizzed then shamed if you did not remember. To these people, knowledge was everything to combat the outside world and gain recruit$.

-You were discouraged from visiting local churches. The Navigators believed themselves to be the real image of how a church should be. The only church you could attend on Sunday was the chapel that supported them.

The hierarchy was the biggest way in which they took advantage of young military men and their wives, and I believe now looking back the motivator was money and power.”

Excerpts from: https://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/8d1y4f/any_previous_navigators_out_there/

Navigators: Costly Programs, Social Hierarchy, Dating Restrictions

A first-hand experience account of Navigators:

Navigators: Stay or be screwed.

“Bible study was of the utmost importance. Incoming freshmen joined a Bible Study that they were expected to stay with until the end of their college career. If you transferred colleges your sophomore year and didn’t know anyone in the group, you were screwed.”

Navigators: Never Daters

“Not dating was stressed. The alternative was something akin to “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” in which God will drop your spouse into your lap if you’re only patient enough, and pray really hard. “Navigators, never daters; when they date, they date Crusaders,” was a common mantra on campus.”

-Every summer, Navs hosted STPs (Summer Training Programs.) Students go all over the country, and usually work in a venue already set up by Navigators. Depending on where you went, it could be anywhere from YMCA of the Rockies to the local McDonald’s. During this time, students are mentored/discipled by their leaders, and expected to “be a light” to their co-workers. Generally speaking, it costs almost as much to go on most of these programs as you would make at the job. Students are encouraged to “fundraise” by sending out support letters to everyone you know. If no one sends you money, then God doesn’t want you to go, but you still need to pay your deposit.

-Hierarchy. The only people who could have an audience, that lasted longer than 10 minutes, with the leaders were the students who were heavily involved: ran Bible studies, lead worship, organized social activities, etc. Below them were their friends. Below them were the peons who ran the sound system, greeted at the door, and did other trivial tasks. Below them were the students in an established Bible study. Below them were the newcomers, occasional drop-ins, and transfer students (see first.)

I suppose it could look a little intense and in-grown (one of my friends called the Christian organizations on campus “incestuous” which seems apt,) but I don’t think it was anything like the excessively controlling, don’t-hang-out-with-your-friends-outside-of-Navs-and-Satan-lives-in-your-Cheerios, emotional breakdown that is a true cult. The hierarchy, distant leaders, and lack of interest in new students who weren’t freshmen annoyed me more than anything else.

Navigators: “Brainwashing Cult”, “the same kind of round [about] answers”

I live very close to Glen Eyrie which is on beautiful lands with a breath taking castle. I would so love to just walk around the grounds and see the entire house but you have to stay ob the guided tour if you are not a Navigator. I don’t know much about them even though they are right here but they always give me the heebie jeebies when they talk to me. I feel like they are some kind of brainwashing cult but I can’t find anything to back up gut feelings….

Source: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/freejinger/are-the-navigators-a-cult-t2153.html

They seem very secret here and never gave me round about answers to questions years ago, but they left me feeling like they had something to hide. I have friends also in Navigators but I get the same kind of round around answers and never got full answer. I just wondered why they act this way?

Source: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/freejinger/are-the-navigators-a-cult-t2153.html

Who are the 7 Thunders?

“7 Thunders is the name used by some campus clubs connected to the World Mission Society Church of God, a religious movement that began in South Korea in the 1960s.”

“7 Thunders have several tenets that separate them from other Christianity-based campus organizations. These include the belief that a man named Ahn Sahng-hong was the second coming of Christ. Sahng-hong was a Korean minister who founded Witnesses of Jesus Church of God, a group that split after his death. One half became the World Mission Society Church of God, the church associated with 7 Thunders.”

“Anderson said students should research to determine if a group has beliefs that align with their own. In regards to 7 Thunder’s beliefs, Anderson said that while he respected the organization’s right to a differing opinion, many of their beliefs do not align with traditional Christianity.

“Christianity would disagree; the Bible does not teach that there’s ‘God the mother,’ it does not teach that you are saved by taking covenant Passover. It would disagree that Christ Ahn Sahng-hong is the new savior,” Anderson said. “What has Christianity taught about the same sorts of issues? Just be able to hold those two things up and be able to evaluate, ‘What do I think is actually true? What does the Bible actually teach?’”

According to Anderson, while 7 Thunders might use actual bible verses, the source material could be misinterpreted.

“What I’ve witnessed is, oftentimes, the 7 Thunders Club will take a particular verse and they won’t exactly show how it fits into the whole passage,” Anderson said. “I would just say, read the Bible for yourself and read everything in its full context.” 

Source: https://www.thegriffonnews.com/featured/who-is-the-campus-cult/article_570b2e51-0c6c-580d-9590-e4bc196b65c5.html

CRU’s Negligence Led to Young Missionary’s Death

Usually, we hear from former CRU members’ experiences of discrimination, emotional trauma, and forced evangelism. But today, we want to highlight the unfortunate tragedy of Travis Eiler, who was killed while evangelizing with CRU. Our hearts go out to Travis’ family, and to all other families that lost their loved ones due to the ministry’s negligence to protect its members.

In 2003, a distraught family sued CRU (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ) for negligence that led to their son’s death. Their son, Travis, was sent on a CRU mission trip to Kazakhstan, a country that is extremely restrictive on religious minorities and evangelism work.

The family’s claim is that CRU neglected to register the evangelism / missionary work properly with the local government, and failed to inform their son of the dangers — leading to his death by suffocation.

An article on the court case: https://www.courthousenews.com/campus-crusade-for-christ-blamed-for-death/

Excerpts from the article:

 “A young evangelist was murdered on a mission to Kazakhstan, in which his team had to “speak in code” and “pose” as having other jobs, and the Campus Crusade for Christ failed to warn him of the legal and actual dangers of the work, his parents claim in court.

     Travis Eiler was killed in a hotel room in Kazakhstan in December 2011. He was suffocated with a plastic bag.”

     Campus Crusade for Christ’s mission is to “win, build and send Christ-centered multiplying disciples who launch spiritual movements,” according to its website.
     The group sent Travis Eiler, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., to Shymkent, in southern Kazakhstan, a region that is 70 percent Islamic.

     Eric Eiler claims the Campus Crusade knew Christians were in the minority there and it would be dangerous for crusaders: “Due to the nature of the mission based, in part on the environment, the participants were to speak in code,” the complaint states. “For example, ‘ice cream socials’ were not events where ice cream was served; rather, they were organized events where Christianity was observed. Likewise, the participants posed as English teacher at various universities.'”

 
“Eiler claims the Crusade did not register or make its presence known before or after the laws were passed, nor did it take sufficient measures for the safety of its members already there.
  

 Eiler claims his son was killed as a result of the Crusade’s negligence.
     

The Campus Crusade “intentionally, deliberately and with reckless disregard for his health and safety, sent Travis on the religious mission to Shymkent,” according to the complaint.
    
 Travis’s parents seek damages for wrongful death, negligence, emotional distress and loss of consortium, and funeral expenses.”

Like a crazy ex, CRU does not “like you socializing outside of your group”

I’ve heard they are actually kind of cult-y. Not supposed to socialize outside the group. Start making impossible demands once you’re in. Guilt you into giving them your money. The whole “discipleship” mechanism.

Redditor: themsc190

I was with cru from 2011-2013 (most of my undergrad). I can confirm that they do not like you socializing outside of your group and do tell you that non-Christian friends are not “really” friends but should be causes for you to convert. They keep you from mingling with other people by organizing your whole week, like oh homecoming? We have a table where you can tailgate (no alcohol obv)! Then they pressure you to volunteer and do more (fruit of the Spirit). Hell, I left the country, moved abroad for grad school and they contact the Cru abroad at the university to reach out to me! It was terrible! I’ve been avoiding them ever since.

Redditor: hayekenthusiast

Link: https://www.reddit.com/r/exchristian/comments/62xrmd/so_out_of_curiosity_what_exactly_is_cru/

CRU Does “Homemade Conversion Therapy” to Scar Gay Christians: “I go to therapy and cry my eyes out each time over the things Christianity took away from me.”

“I’m a 22 year old gay college student who struggles with extreme anxiety and depression. When I was 17, i came out to my parents. It didn’t end well and I was hospitalized for suicide. My parents didn’t take it seriously enough after I got out and tried to change my sexuality. I became super bitter against them, and eventually became numb. I used sex as my way of feeling for about 3 years. I was sexually assaulted twice in that period. At the time I didn’t know who I was. I was battling myself over who I knew myself to be, and if God was “okay” with it. In my lowest times, campus ministry called Cru, picked me up. They gave the usual “love the sinner hate the sin” spiel, and told me that I couldn’t be gay and god still love me. I gave into those lies, mostly because it was something. It was something to feel. Something to live for. I took everything they said and rolled with it. In the meantime, I made friends with people who I cared for deeply. In the meantime, i was working on becoming a minister myself.

Then depression hit full force again. Cru took advantage of this. They threw everything they had about gay not being okay, and at this time threatened to take away my leadership I had built if I “gave into my sexuality”. And again, I took everything they said, and ran with it. They would say things like my sexuality is why I’m depressed. They’re homemade conversion therapy ruined me without me even realizing it. At the end of the semester, something clicked, and I kept praying for God to tell me why he allowed me to go through depression. Cru said it was my being gay. My heart told me something else. Lo and behold that something else was that shit happens. Depression runs in my family. No nothing about me being has made me depressed. No nothing about anything I’ve done has made me depressed. I left Cru almost immediately after I made this realization.

Meanwhile, my church was making bold statements about how being gay was a sin and how they’re not allowing any gay leadership. I have sat through 2 meetings with 100s of people saying amen to these statements while holding back tears. Because if I had let those tears flow, I would be ousted. I may have even been shot, and I’m not even kidding after hearing many of these “men and women God” say their true thoughts on the issue. I’m in the process of leaving them too.

After almost 2 years since I left Cru, and now leaving the church I grew up in, I’ve realized that I cannot be a Christian. Because Christianity took it all from me. It took away the friendships I thought were so beautiful simply because of who I like to be in bed with. I watch as the people I once called friends forget who I am. My name. My face. It took away a good relationship with my parents, and now I watch from the sidelines as my mom is slowly dying of cancer, and my dad literally losing his mind. All while wondering what could have been if they had just accepted me. It took away a career of helping people to be loved fully. And to be cared for fully. I wanted to feed the homeless. I wanted to help give the abused a place to rest. I wanted to help all the ones who have had nothing. Because I have been through what it’s like to have nothing and no one. But now I have to find a different way to do it. Because I don’t want anything to do with Christians. Churches. None of it.

I’m scarred. I have to take 4 pills a day to survive. I go to therapy and cry my eyes out each time over the things Christianity took away from me. My friends. My family. My passions. I feel lost still, and definitely feel alone. I’m trying to make it, but all I have are me and my boyfriend, and a few old friends here and there. It’s nothing like it used to be. I felt alive when I was a part of Cru. But Christianity has taken away that feeling too. If anybody relates, I would love to talk. Some solidarity would really help me feel better. Sorry for the long post, but I don’t really know where else to turn.”

Link: https://www.reddit.com/r/exchristian/comments/ekm1mb/christianity_took_everything_from_me_long_read/

CRU: “worst 4 years of your spiritual and emotional life”, “more cliquey than a high school teenage drama”

“If you’re looking for the worst 4 years of your spiritual and emotional life.

You will become a lifeless zombie and shout “I love Jesus” from the top of your lungs while slandering others who don’t think like you do. People gather religiously for these meetings and events but they refuse to talk to you outside of fellowship events. It is more cliquey than a high school teenage drama so get ready to feel out of place in ‘brotherhood’ of believers. I think they’re with the Athletes in Action on campus but i heard they are pretty miserable too. Most students are only there once in a while; their ‘fire’ does not last with them for a long time. the leaders there are ridiculous in the fake fervency they want to get from their members. but the rest go out of guilt of what people say when they leave. Just because you are not part of a campus fellowship doesn’t mean that you don’t love Jesus or are less of a believer. There are a lot of fellowships to join if you know which ones to avoid.”

Link: https://www.reddit.com/r/UCDavis/comments/9fqehp/looking_for_a_ministry_christian_freshmen_please/

Testimonies and research on Christian ministries