Word of Caution
Some students in past years have had painful experiences with certain destructive religious groups -- groups not affiliated with University Interfaith Association or with the University in any way, and not subject to the constitution and code of ethics on which the University Interfaith Association is founded. These groups have tended to be less than candid about what they are and what their agenda is, as they contact, and in some cases harass students, particularly newcomers to the University. They tend to be characterized by some of the following:
- a leader who claims divinity or a special relationship to God
- a leader who is sole judge of a member's actions of faith
- aspirations to total control over a member's life
- development of unhealthy emotional dependence on the group or leader
- prohibition of critical analysis or independent thinking
- exploitation of a member's finances
- ego destruction, mind control, manipulation of a member's relationships with family and friends.
You are especially vulnerable to destructive religious groups if you feel:
- lonely, isolated or alone
- overwhelmed by a decision you need to make and find yourself wishing that
someone would just tell you what to do
- like the world used to make sense and now everything is falling apart around you.
If you believe that you are being recruited or harassed by such a group, please contact a family member or friend whose judgment you trust, your personal spiritual leader, the chair of the University Interfaith Association, Counseling and Psychological Services or the Office of the Dean of Students. You can find additional information about such groups at these Web sites:
The information herein was adapted from information developed by the United Ministry of Harvard University.