Tag Archives: Campus Ministry

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 “only wanted to take, never to give me time or answers to my questions”

From Redditor pmMeScienceFacts

“My family have worked for Cru. So I grew up in it.

I started college and immediately got involved in Cru. Each Cru movement is different, but mine was pretty bad. They lacked leaders, so there was so much pressure to get involved. It always felt like they were draining me spiritually. They only wanted to take, never to give me time or answers to my questions.

I remember at one of my first Christmas Conferences they made us to Facebook evangelism. They REQUIRED that we contact X number of people and ask them how we could pray for them (to be fair I could have walked out, it was my decision but there was so much pressure and judgement that I just…folded).

I was a freshmen so I didn’t know ANYONE on campus. I did have an old acquaintance from middle school who had recently contacted me and said they went to the same school as me. We hadn’t talked in years, but I HAD to message X people so I messaged them. We had plans to hang out sometime, and I NEVER heard from them again. I lost that friendship. I felt so upset because I didn’t feel like I had a good enough friendship with them to message them, but I was pressured to do so to fill an arbitrary goal of “messaging X people”.

I also was pressured into doing “cold” evangelism where we went up to random people on campus and asked to share the gospel with them. I DRRADED IT every week (yes we did it for 90 min every week). But I chalked up my discomfort to spiritual warfare. I TRICKED people into talking with me by using lies that Cru taught us. I would ask people to play a “game” called Soularium (u/_hooman_ mentions they did this too) when really I was just waiting to tell them about Jesus.

We also had fake “surveys” we gave out to get people talking about religion. We lied and said it was a real survey our organization was taking. But no one ever logged in the responses, it was just a bait and switch. I asked the leaders why we lied about it and didn’t actually log responses. They just made a joke about it saying no one wanted to spend the time to log in responses. I always felt bad about that. I’m sorry to all the random people I tricked into talking about God. I think the loving thing to do would be to hear someone’s story and learn from them, empathize with them, and if I believed God was the answer to help them discover that themselves.

I had some other serious problems with Cru that I don’t want to go into here because they’re super specific and identifiable.

Cru was such a bad experience for me, that when I left college I felt spiritually numb. I felt like I was struggling for air, and grasping to hold onto my faith. They played a small role in my realization that churches are broken, which lead me to question which beliefs I actually held and which I didn’t. That’s where I am now. Trying to figure out what I believe for myself. I still consider myself spiritual, but I want to find the answer whether it’s Christianity or not.”

Link: https://www.reddit.com/r/exchristian/comments/c4tpb5/im_listening_to_born_again_agains_episode_on/

Cru – “attacked and beat up my female friend”, “dents from them bashing her head into it”

Excerpt from: https://www.reddit.com/r/Christianity/comments/desoe/campus_christian_clubs_your_experiences/

“I have had some good experiences and some bad ones.

I have met some good and fun people while going to campus christian groups. However, as in any type of community, there are bad parts as well.

One group in southern california attacked and beat up my female friend who was head of GLBT club on campus. It was 5 men against one meek lesbian. The set upon at her car at night while she was trying to leave. It took 15 minutes for someone to find her lying down in small pool of blood. They were arrested at their next club meeting when she arrived with the police. Her car still had dents from them bashing her head into it. (“This is what an eternity of Hell feels like!”). I think the group was Campus Crusade for Christ.

Another campus christian group at school had a protest at the opening of an interfaith chapel. They strongly believed that the Wican group did not have a place at the interfaith chapel. I guess they focused more and “chapel” than “interfaith.”

Of the times I attended the sessions, they were led by college students. I had the feeling it was much like a practice and testing ground for the leader, which is good. While the polish might not have been high, it was good for what is was.””

Navigators (Navs) – “a bit culty”, “thought it was a cult back then”

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

“Perhaps the Navs are a bit culty, but perhaps not as dangerous as some cults. This is my only experience of them.

A very good high school friend of mine joined the Navigators in college years ago. She and her boyfriend, also a Nav, did the no-touch dating thing but eventually split up when he left the group. She was a highly intelligent (much brighter and more successful academically than me, and I’m no fool), very neurotic young woman, desperately searching for something to make meaning of her life. She went through a very prosyletyzing phase, I went to a couple of meetings, but we drifted apart because I was not responsive. I found it hard to believe she got sucked in because the Bible study seemed so simplistic, and I thought she would be more cynical and need something more intellectually challenging. She seemed to find something in the Bible Study that calmed her and helped her focus. I thought it was a cult back then. Lots of love-bombing, and groups baptising the latest convert in the closest available muddy stream. LOL.

After 30 odd years we are back in contact and no prosyletizing, although she is still in the Navigators and still mentions activities. I think she is fairly high up in the hierarchy. Interestingly, her husband and 3 adult children are not religious and never wanted to join the Navs. She seems happy in her faith and it seems to bring her satisfaction, so who am I to criticize?”