In the past, students have had bad experiences with destructive religious groups that aren't affiliated with UMass Lowell or the Campus Ministry Association, and not subject to the collaborative code of non-proselytization and mutual respect on which the Campus Ministry Association is founded.
These groups often distort who they are and what their agenda is, as they contact students, particularly newcomers, at the university.
They tend to be characterized by the following:
- a leader who claims divinity, or a special relationship to God
- a leader who is sole judge of a member's actions or 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
- exclusivity and isolation
- ego destruction, mind control, manipulation of a member's relationships with family and friends
You're especially vulnerable to destructive religious groups if you're lonely, feel overwhelmed by decisions or responsibilities or find yourself wishing for someone else to organize your life or your priorities.
All the members of the Campus Ministry Association are committed to mutual respect and non-proselytization. We oppose religious harassment and manipulation, and we affirm the roles of personal freedom, doubt and open critical reflection in healthy spiritual growth.