A Note of Caution
Religious exploration and spiritual seeking is a wonderful journey. But as in any adventure, there are dangers. Most spiritual and religious groups are perfectly healthy, but it pays to be aware of how some can be unhealthy. Trust your intuition, and if you have a bad feeling about anyone or any group, remember you're absolutely free to walk away, and you have the right to be left alone. In general, watch out for individuals or groups who:
- Don't give a clear answer about who they are, what their credentials are and what they represent;
- Don't tolerate critical or independent thinking by you or anyone outside the organization;
- Are immediately overwhelmingly friendly;
- Want to isolate you from your friends and family;
- Try to give you gifts or other tokens of friendship "with no strings attached";
- Can't take "no" for an answer and try to prevent you from leaving, or make you feel guilty for rejecting them;
- Immediately involve you in intense recruitment and proselytizing;
- Offer magical solutions to your problems;
- Make unrealistic demands on the use of your time or personal finances;
- Want to control your daily life or way of looking at things;
- Are excessively judgmental about your life or faith.
- Denigrate other religions and faiths
If you feel that you are being pursued aggressively or manipulated by a group or a leader, or if you have any concerns regarding a group with which you've been involved with, please contact one of our chaplains or visit the Campus Ministries office.
(The above has been adapted with permission from the office of the Dean of Religious Life at Princeton University.)