Destructive Group Information

Is Your Student Group Destructive?

The University is a world with many decisions, anxieties and emotional pressures. There are times when you may feel homesick, unloved or overwhelmed. You may decide to turn to a religious group for support. You can expect a good experience with most religious groups at JHU. However, at these times of stress, high-pressure religious groups may seek you out and try to recruit you.

Identifying High-Pressure Groups

Observe the group’s responses to you and how you feel. If you can answer ‘yes’ to three or more of these statements, you should seriously reconsider your involvement.

  • The group seems to be perfect. Everyone agrees and follows all orders cheerfully.
  • The group claims to have “all the answers” to your problems.
  • The group offers “instant friendship.” They will not take “no” for an answer; invitations are impossible to refuse without feeling guilty and/or ungrateful.
  • You are asked to recruit new members soon after joining.
  • The group insists on total obedience to their leaders and discourages questions or doubts as signs of weak faith. You may be rejected or shunned if you persist in asking questions.
  • Your parents and friends are described as being “unable to understand or help you” with religious matters.
  • The group encourages you to put their meetings and activities before all other commitments, including studying.
  • The group puts down your past religious, social or political affiliation.

If you can answer “YES” to any three of these questions, you should consider talking to a campus professional about the group. Remember…

  • Your mind is a gift! Don’t waste it, use it!
  • You don’t have to be manipulated!

If you have any questions, please call Religious and Spiritual Life at 410-516-1880.

*Contains information from a brochure distributed by the University of Toronto.