Young Life Tactics-Cultic or Legit ?

16 Apr

Eric asked a good question that I didn’t want to get lost in the comments of Is Young Life a Cult .

He asked

“does Young Life employ cultic tactics, or do cults and cultish organizations instead use legitimate techniques and manipulate them to accomplish what they want to do?”

The short answer, is that Young Life employs tactics common to cults in many (not all ) instances.  Of course, this is just my own opinion. But it is how I see the issue.

Befriending a vulnerable demographic (teens who are minors) without consent and without being up front about motive is cultic. It’s similar to the tactics of the Boston Church of Christ and Amway.

Friendship, enmeshment, and then indoctrination.

It’s a cultic tactic no matter how you slice it. It doesn’t mean that you or other leaders are not good people or that you don’t really love teens (I’m sure you do).

But, it is dishonest if you are not upfront with someone about your motives for befriending them (in Young Life’s case-to share Christ’s love and present the Gospel from an Evangelical/Fundamentalist perspective).

5 Responses to “Young Life Tactics-Cultic or Legit ?”

  1. christianagnostic at 4:01 pm #

    Reblogged this on Young Life Watch.

  2. Natalie at 9:00 pm #

    I grew up in a small town in Washington state. I was fortunate to go to a school that was well influenced by religion. Not just non- denominational Christians, but Catholics, Mormons and even Buddhists. We grew up together with respect for each others beliefs or non beliefs. We were fortunate because there was a sense of compassion for each other and drinking, drugs and sex were for the most part frowned upon. I was not at all pressured to do these things I high school looking back I am grateful for that.
    Now in regards to Young Life this is my experience. My parents were believers in the holy bible, but we hardly ever attended church. They taught us Christian morals and beliefs but always wanted us to decided on these things for our self. My sister and I started attending YL club in high school, I wasn’t recruited by adults but just heard kids at school talking about how much fun it was, living out in the middle of nowhere I could use a little fun! I knew it was a Christian ministry before I attend. I had the option of attending the early time called Campaigners which was your average bible studies, we talked about things good/bad going on at school, and prayed. After that was club where much more kids attended we would eat, sing, play fun games, and at the end have a brief Christ centered discussion. At no point were any I or any kids ever pressured into anything. It was a place of respect and acceptance. I know for a fact young life believes in fostering a slow relationship with Christ, and being a positive influence for kids.
    Young life encourages kids to be kids to be kids, not to grow up to fast, and to do the right thing. Yes, they are a Christian organization and they hope kids one day in their own time find Christ. But a cult? No! If young life is a cult then so is every church out there. But don’t take my word for it or this websites, go to a club yourself. In fact I challenge the person who wrote the article to check it out as well. It’s not as scary as they make it seem!

  3. ... Zoe ~ at 10:17 am #

    Hi Natalie,

    I was wonder, while “fostering a slow relationship with Christ” did your Young Life leaders teach you about hell as a place you are sent to if you don’t eventually accept a relationship with Christ?

  4. Travis at 2:36 am #

    I like that question, Zoe!

    • ... Zoe ~ at 12:24 pm #

      Thanks Travis. I wonder if Natalie will respond?

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