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This inventory is a list of religious or spiritual teachings that are common in high-control groups. They reinforce conformity, submission, inter-reliance, and fear of outsiders as means of control. Notice any similarities with your current or former group that might indicate its' control level. Individually, these teachings may not qualify as religious abuse, but if multiple statements align with a group’s doctrine, it would likely be considered a high-control religious group.

Take note of the statements below that reflect what your group teaches, demonstrates, or implies.

  • Our teachings are the ultimate truth.

  • Our teachings are the only path to true happiness.

  • Our group is a utopian community.

  • Our sacred texts are perfect and indisputable.

  • Our leader(s) have special spiritual authority.

  • Our rules are a higher authority than secular laws.

  • Those who reject our teachings or leave our group will face judgment.

  • Those who accept our teachings will be eternally rewarded.

  • We have a special purpose from a higher power.

  • Our group can achieve things that defy science.

  • Humans are fundamentally broken/inadequate without our teachings.

  • Human instincts are evil and can’t be trusted.

  • We must enforce our rules on nonbelievers for their good.

  • We have special rules regarding sex that nonbelievers don't understand.

  • Those who defy our sex and gender norms are deviant or dangerous.

  • We use special words/language that nonbelievers don't understand.

  • Evil forces and nonbelievers want to corrupt or harm our members.

  • Evil forces and nonbelievers want to corrupt or harm our children.

  • Negative life events are a form of discipline from a higher power.

  • Personal suffering is a sign of spiritual weakness.

  • ​Mental illness is a sign of spiritual weakness.

  • Doubting our teachings is a sign of spiritual weakness.

  • Women in our group must submit to men. 

Our members are expected to:

  • Limit or cut off relationships with nonbelievers.

  • Recruit nonbelievers into the group.

  • Avoid literature/media that contradicts our teachings.

  • Attend group meetings regularly.

  • Make regular financial contributions.

  • Volunteer their time to the group.

  • Confess temptations and failures to the group.

  • Report other group members' disobedience.

  • Submit to the group’s discipline.

  • Forgive and reconcile with other group members.

  • Prioritize the groups’ needs over their own.

For more info, read about the IMPACTS OF RELIGIOUS TRAUMA.

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