Religious cults stalk college campuses; I was in one

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When I attended UC Santa Cruz after transferring from CSM, the last thing I expected was to become involved in a religious cult called the International Christian Church (ICC). Upon finally researching the group, I realized that it is a pyramid scheme that uses mind-control and weaponizes the Bible to indoctrinate its members into unrealistic obedience. All the red-flags I had turned a blind eye to were later confirmed. Although I only stayed in the group for one month, the traumatic experience made me want to share my story to warn students who are transferring to a four-year college. Being in a faith-based community during college can be powerful and beneficial for many students. There is nothing wrong with wanting to explore different religions. After all, college is where many people ‘find themselves’ and try new things. Unfortunately, this is why the ICC cult likes to recruit new members on college campuses. Students away from home at college can experience loneliness and the desire to find belonging in a social group. Additionally, being at college can make it easier for toxic groups to recruit you since you are not as influenced by your parents or friends from back home. Although there are many registered religious organizations on college campuses that treat their members with fairness and respect, there can be some groups that cherry-pick from religious texts in order to manipulate members. No one willingly joins a cult. If they are in one, they do not view it as a cult. Through grooming techniques, these groups can get to the hearts and minds of anyone in a vulnerable position.

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