|Title||Larry Herlong Ministries|
Matt and Leah Swogger had a ministry that used to be called Flaming Eagle Ministry but fell apart
A bible based Christian group that takes scripture out of context for self-serving purposes. Larry claims to be a prophet but when his prophesies don't come to pass, as none of them have, he blames members for "not being right with God" or God can't bless that kind of attitude etc.
He also has a married couple, Matt and Leah Swogger, directly under him who mimic his "style". They said they were Christian ministers and operated directly under a prophet and great man of God named, Larry Herlong. They don't work, have 4 kids and say they are called to "live by faith" and were always broke and endlessly pressuring us for more money. Matt and Leah would do one-on one ministering and hold bimonthly bible studies in their home. Used to be based in the Southern California area but have since scattered.
Larry is currently in Minnesota. Unclear what has happened to the Swoggers. This group is small with small following so are kind of "off the radar" but are just as harmful and destructive as the larger, more well known cults. They distort and manipulate scripture for their own self-serving purposes. They claim to have a 200 fold covenant with God and every dollar we gave them would come back to us 200 times.
This group encourages a lot of money donations to keep the members safe and in God's good graces. Exclamations such as "you are robbing God" and "obey without question" were often used to enforce the need to "plant a seed" (give money).
One ex-member stated that Herlong had told him and his wife they would become pregnant (even though the man and wife knew that she was no longer able to conceive). When she didn't become pregnant the husband was told by Leah Swogger that the Holy Spirit told her that the reason the man's wife was still not pregnant was that she had not planted her seed with Larry. It was insinuated that she give a larger donation from her 401K.
Behavior1. Regulation of individual's physical reality
a. Where, how and with whom the member lives and associates with
b. What clothes, colors, hairstyles the person wears
c. What food the person eats, drinks, adopts, and rejects
d. How much sleep the person is able to have
e. Financial dependence
f. Little or no time spent on leisure, entertainment, vacations
2. Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals
3. Need to ask permission for major decisions
4. Need to report thoughts, feelings and activities to superiors
5. Rewards and punishments (behavior modification techniques- positive and negative).
6. Individualism discouraged; group think prevails
7. Rigid rules and regulations
8. Need for obedience and dependency.
-Regulate individual's physical reality:
-Instill obedience and dependency
Information1. Use of deception
a. Deliberately holding back information
b. Distorting information to make it acceptable
c. Outright lying
2. Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged
a. Books, articles, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio
b. Critical information
c. Former members
d. Keep members so busy they don’t have time to think
3. Compartmentalization of information; Outsider vs. Insider doctrines
a. Information is not freely accessible
b. Information varies at different levels and missions within pyramid
c. Leadership decides who “needs to know” what
4. Spying on other members is encouraged
a. Pairing up with “buddy” system to monitor and control
b. Reporting deviant thoughts, feelings, and actions to leadership
5. Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda
a. Newsletters, magazines, journals, audio tapes, videotapes, etc.
b. Misquotations, statements taken out of context from non-cult sources
6. Unethical use of confession
a. Information about “sins” used to abolish identity boundaries
b. Past “sins” used to manipulate and control; no forgiveness or absolution
-Deliberately withhold information
-Insider vs. Outsider
Thought1. Need to internalize the group's doctrine as "Truth"
a. Map = Reality
b. Black and White thinking
c. Good vs. evil
d. Us vs. them (inside vs. outside)
2. Adopt "loaded" language (characterized by "thought-terminating clichés"). Words are the tools we use to think with. These "special" words constrict rather than expand understanding. They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite, platitudinous "buzz words".
3. Only "good" and "proper" thoughts are encouraged.
4. Thought-stopping techniques (to shut down "reality testing" by stopping "negative" thoughts and allowing only "good" thoughts); rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism.
a. Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking
e. Speaking in "tongues"
f. Singing or humming
5. No critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy seen as legitimate
6. No alternative belief systems viewed as legitimate, good, or useful
-No critical questions
Emotional1. Manipulate and narrow the range of a person's feelings.
2. Make the person feel like if there are ever any problems it is always their fault, never the leader's or the group's.
3. Feeling-stopping. Like thought-stopping, this is the automatic suppression or blocking of feelings that are not acceptable by the cult identity- such as feeling "homesick" or feeling "depressed" or feeling "resentful".
4. Excessive use of guilt
a. Identity guilt
1. Who you are (not living up to your potential)
2. Your family
3. Your past
4. Your affiliations
5. Your thoughts, feelings, actions
6. Social guilt
7. Historical guilt
5. Excessive use of fear
a. Fear of thinking independently
b. Fear of the "outside" world
c. Fear of enemies
d. Fear of losing one's "salvation"
e. Fear of leaving the group or being shunned by group
f. Fear of disapproval
6. Extremes of emotional highs and lows.
7. Ritual and often public confession of "sins".
8. Phobia indoctrination: programming of irrational fears of ever leaving the group or even questioning the leader's authority. The person under mind control cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without being in the group.
a. No happiness or fulfillment "outside"of the group
b. Terrible consequences will take place if you leave: "hell"; "demon possession"; "incurable diseases"; "accidents"; "suicide"; "insanity"; "10,000 reincarnations"; etc.
c. Shunning of leave takers. Fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family.
d. Never a legitimate reason to leave. From the group's perspective, people who leave are: "weak"; "undisciplined"; "unspiritual"; "worldly"; "brainwashed by family, counselors"; seduced by money, sex, rock and roll.
-Manipulate feelings (guilt, fear)
Help a Loved One
716 Beacon Street
Newton, MA 02459
Phone: 617 396-4638
Fax: (617) 628-8153
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