Thank you so much for replying, I just think there is something weird about this organisation because this person I know since joining has left her husband and family and she doesn't say anything about what they are doing. She still has contact with the family but she gets very agressie when her husband tries to talk about it.
Without knowing the circumstances of her marriage and family situation it's difficult to make a determination. However
, on the surface
based on what you said that sounds very much like a cult situation.
There are many incidences involving cults in which people join and abruptly leave their normal life behind, getting extremely hostile when people ask them for reasons or about the group they've joined.
Not too long ago, a guy I worked with invited me to join a "social group" he belong to on a weekend retreat. When I asked him what we'd be doing, he wouldn't say. When I asked him about the group, he also wouldn't say. His argument was: "You don't have to know about the group; all you have to do is trust me. If you can trust me, then you can trust the group." - LOL
Yeah, right. I didn't trust him and I didn't trust the group either and I wasn't about to go off somewhere to a unknown location with a bunch of people who wouldn't even tell me what we were going to be doing.
She went away with them on a trip and the people around her think they did some kind of ritual and that it's since then that she is almost like a different person. There have been a few rumors that it is a brainwashing cult but I think I should find something more robust to understand what they do rather than rely some rumors.
None of this is suprising to me. There are two techniques used by cults on these retreat trips.
1) The "Love Hook" - Basically, everybody
the potential initiate encounters showers them with affection and encouragement. They are told that everyone is delighted to meet them, to know them, and people hang on their every word and tell them they are wise and 'a good person', etc,
No offense to your friend, but for people who are struggling emotionally or are bitter / cynical about life, this psychological false-empowerment floods them with positive emotions, validation, and acceptance.
2) Constant activity - From the moment the potential initiate is present, there are non-stop activities, lectures, singing, group hugs, very little sleep and no alone time. This keeps the person constantly engaged in the group's activites, keeps them in a constant state of emotional flux, and never gives them a chance to stop and think about all of this.
I would go to a few sessions to see for myself what they are about but they dont have a base anywhere near I live...
If you do find a session, bring at least one other person with you and don't allow the group to seperate you. That's another trick that is often used: keeping people isolated from anybody except
other members. Also make sure that several people know where you are going and when you will be back.
I'm not suggesting that they will abduct you, but it's better not to take chance with religious whack-jobs who follow obscure belief systems.