Circling the Inner Wagons

It’s that time again…

Jim is feeling insecure, and needs to circle the wagons around him. There is dissension in the ranks… and that cannot be tolerated.

What to do? Why, divide and conquer, of course! And here’s a glimpse into Reverend Jim’s playbook (it always follow the same pattern):

Step 1

Form a secret group, and invite only those whose loyalty is unquestioned (i.e., those who have completely lost – or never had – the will to think for themselves).

Step 2

Hint around to the general congregation that a new secret group has formed (or will form shortly, even if it’s already been formed), but that only those who “qualify” will be invited.

Step 3

Ramp up the rhetoric about “Doing it God’s (read: ‘Jim’s') way.” Repeat and emphasize phrases such as:

  • “Strict obedience”
  • “Approaching the finish line”
  • “Storming the throne room”
  • “Being faith-FULL instead of faith-LESS”
  • “Refuse to coddle you any more”
  • “Bring all those who WILL come”
  • “Or it will be everlastingly too late”
  • “Carrying you on my back / backload”
  • “Or you will be DEAD in eternity”
  • “Getting out of the LDS mentality”
  • “Provoking God to anger”
  • “Teaching heavy doctrine”
  • “The final ordinance before translation” (the really, really final ordinance!)
  • “Giving up traditions / Coming out of Babylon”

And so on ad nauseum. You know the song & dance by now…

Step 4

Deepen the divide by making those included to feel very special, and those excluded to feel very… excluded. Common tactics:

  • Repeatedly tell the chosen ones that they were specifically selected because of their obedience to Jim
  • Claim that they are learning the “deep things of the kingdom” that the others “just can’t handle”
  • Swear them to strict secrecy, even especially with family members
  • During the secret meetings, gossip about those who aren’t included. (This sends a subtle, but clear message: “If you weren’t here, we would be talking about you like this”
  • Throw out some bits of “new doctrine” so the new clique believes it has received some sacred knowledge that is being withheld from their peers
  • Keep the membership a secret, both in terms of names and numbers of those involved. This gives the impression “everyone else” is being invited, when in reality the number is very small

Step 5

Use the secret group to spy on the others, report back, and bring in a few individuals who will agree / recommit to do as they’re told.

Step 6

Promulgate new doctrines & practices (such as “special marriages“) that have been (or obviously would be) ill-received by the general membership. Those “in the know” will not fight against it lest they lose their special and exalted status. The new doctrines get hinted at and passed around the church in whispers and one-on-one meetings. Once there is a perception that “enough of the right people” agree with the doctrine, it gets declared openly, relying on the conformity-inducing principle of social proof (aka “Herd behavior”) to silence any remaining dissent.

Step 7

Continue to use the “secret group” (now more of an “open secret”) as a leverage point to modify behavior. Those inside want desperately to remain so; those outside (looking in) want desperately to be accepted and included. (Think high school, except that the football players & cheerleaders now claim that they the only ones that God likes!) Reward those that comply; continue to punish and exclude those who will not.

Step 8

As the secret group grows larger, dissent inevitably begins to creep in again. If the dissent grows quickly enough or is influential enough, the group is disbanded. If not – and this seems to be more common these days – Jim simply begins to participate less and less and eventually completely withdraws. The group’s form, format, leadership and function may change, all to the effect of having its influence destroyed and its importance downplayed.

Eventually, a new secret group is formed, and we go back to Step 1.

Examples

Without going into excruciating detail, here are some examples of the above pattern from your own history. I’m sure many of you will recognize the “types and shadows” of this melodrama being played out:

  • “The Council”
  • Endowments
  • Unche Nadehi Nanak
  • TLC membership
  • TLC leadership (Q12, 70s, High Priests, Elders, etc.)
  • School of the Prophets
  • Church of the Firstborn
  • Council of 50
  • Advanced Endowment Lessons
  • Calling and Election “Made Sure”
  • Order of Daughters
  • Women’s Society
  • Reading of the 3 Nephite revelations (approaching March 25th 2000)
  • Expanded Plan doctrine & associated ordinances

And now… a new secret group has been formed.

If you’re not already attending the new meetings, you’d better decide right quick to:

  • Take your medicine
  • Eat humble pie (vegan, of course!)
  • Swallow your pride
  • Start toeing the line
  • Quit thinking with your “logical” mind
  • Stop questioning and just do
  • Accept that when Jim speaks, the thinking has been done

… in short, you’d better “knuckle down to Jim’s authority”, and do it now…

… or feel the bitter sting of being left out, talked about and laughed at.

At least, that’s the plan.

10 thoughts on “Circling the Inner Wagons

  1. this is the first time I have ever gone to this web site – it is awesome- I am getting the hell out of here. I am a visual person and reading all this is scary , I cannot believe I have been here since the beginning. thank you for waking me up, but I am scared to leave, where do I go, what do I do, What can I say, How will I live?????

    • If you have friends or family outside the TLC there’s probably someone who would let you stay with them until you get back on your feet. You can look around online for help and if you’re someone’s polygamist wife you might be able to get help from Tapestry. Search your heart and maybe you’ll remember someone in your past that would help you, just approach it with confidence and you’ll figure out a way to get out and somewhere to go.

    • I can help if you want.

      Get out. Jim is nothing but a false prophet.

      God is much bigger than Jim

      I can help you get out.

  2. Pingback: “TLC Cult Breaking up from the Inside” (Guest Post) | The Truth About the True & Living Church (TLC) in Manti, UT

  3. Come and talk with me. I am sure we can find some way to help you get on your feet outside the church. I have a lot of friends and resources available. I can help you through the changes and the paradigm shifts you will go through. Overall the freedom is so sweet, there is nothing like it.

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  5. The things talked about here, I have observed for years…Jim Harmston is such a hateful man, espouses hate and I have never understood how so many could be douped into thinking that he is anything other than a man, and a really wacked out man who does everything he hated about the Mormon Church. I have a hard time seeing how anybody could be so deceived… except through Jim’s special brand of brain washing and mind control… He never did fool me, even before he became a self proclaimed prophet and all his reincarnations… I really feel sorry for those that are now awakening to their aweful situations and perversions coming from a man that should be put back in an institution in Weber County, where it is reported he once resided….

  6. Wow!! I was poking around on the net and stumbled across this site!! I was wrapped up in the beginning of this this mess in the early ninety’s and was an original “council member”. I eventually realized how deceived I was and “flew the coop” so to speak. It’s hard to fathom that it continues, and hasn’t really changed all that much. I went through a ton of emotional turmoil and felt like a complete idiot having bought into this crap, but all these years later I’m “A-OK”. Lesson learned. Life is just fine. It could have been much, much worse. I really dodged a bullet..

  7. Pingback: March 25th (Again) | The Truth About the True & Living Church (TLC) in Manti, UT

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