The compelling story of one family’s escape from years of cult-like mind control and spiritual abuse

When you think of cult like mentalities my mind goes to Jim Jones, Heavens Gate, and the various other groups that have committed egregious acts over the years. But as I have discovered that is not always the case. Cult like activity is alive and well, and maybe happening in your neighborhood.

Pigs In The Pulpit is one great example of the neighborhood cult. Michael Wittman has opted to change the names and places, but his story is very, very real.

Michael Wittman discovered religion in his early 20’s, his life prior to this event was, at best chaotic, the lure of drugs and numbness that they brought had his attention. It is often easier to befriend your problem than confront it. Following a serious encounter with Law Enforcement and an unfortunate car wreck he took a different path. Though a chance encounter while watching TV he discovered the ‘700 Club’ and became interested in religion.

It does not take Michael long to find a kindred spirit, a young man about the same age. And a young man driven by the idea of doing good, and believing in his convictions.

This background creates what can only be viewed as the classic setup, mentor and student.

When the mentor moves the student follows. But what ensues is hardly what is written in the bible. Over time the values and focus begins to change. As Michael Wittman observes in the preface:

The leader commands, “submit to me and my authority,” rather than humbly stating, “I will serve you.”

Pastor Jason does not change overnight, it is a gradual and subtle evolution. Tithing which was a seemingly unimportant facet in the beginning becomes a major factor as time goes by. Pastor Jason’s role within his flock also evolves. Gone is advice and guidance, in is an autocratic dictator who wishes to control all aspects of peoples lives. Who you can be friends with, what job you can or can not take, every facet of your personal life is under the magnifying glass.

To incur the wrath of Pastor Jason means public humiliation and disgrace. He commands the power to promote or destroy at will.

I found Pigs In The Pulpit to be a very powerful and disturbing book. I think the most worrisome aspect is that we are not talking about some obscure sect or cult but rather the Pentecostal movement. Now in no way to I want to infer that all Pentecostal pastors have the mind set that Jason has, rather that cult like behavior can happen in regular America.  It could well be happening in your backyard!

The larger question is what can de done to prevent this kind of activity? That is a very  difficult question to answer. If you look at the well known cults of recent time you find a reoccurring theme, the leader is charismatic and the ‘brain washing’ is done in a subtle way over a long period of time. In the case of rogues in mainstream religions clearly the onus must be on the central organization to police and monitor what is happening further down the food chain.

How many Paster Jason’s are there in America today?

You can order your copy of Pigs In The Pulpit From Amazon. Michael Wittman also has a web site supporting the book.

Simon Barrett

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