April 11th, 2014

Shaman - Horse

The Dark Side of Sacred Sex - Take 2

In a previous blog entry I wrote about the dark side of sacred sex. In this blog I share a tool for determining if a religious or secular group is dangerous.

In review, the dark side of sacred sex appears when authority mixes with sexual desire. The result of authority + sexual desire is the transformation of seduction into coercion. The mutual choice of two becomes the unwanted harassment of one. In the background of this travesty of “spiritual sex” is the drum beat that everything is OK. It is a dangerous combination. The positive message of “Sex positive” is replaced with sex demanded by authority, with the supposed support of higher spiritual powers.

Take 2 of this topic shares the The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (ABCDEF) designed by the late Isaac Bonewits.  More information on this tool can be found at this website

The description of this useful tool follows:

The purpose of this evaluation tool is to help both amateur and professional observers, including current or would-be members, of various organizations (including religious, occult, psychological or political groups) to determine just how dangerous a given group is liable to be, in comparison with other groups, to the physical and mental health of its members and of other people subject to its influence. It cannot speak to the “spiritual dangers,” if any, that might be involved, for the simple reason that one person’s path to enlightenment or “salvation” is often viewed by another as a path to ignorance or “damnation.”

Version 2.6 of ABCDEF has the user rank each item with a value between 1 and 10, with 1 being low and 10 being high.
While only two of the measurements deal with sexuality directly, the dynamics of sexual interactions cover a wider breadth. Many more of the points can relate to leadership's control over the sexual actions of their followers.

  • Internal Control: Amount of internal political and social power exercised by leader(s) over members; lack of clearly defined organizational rights for members.
  • External Control: Amount of external political and social influence desired or obtained; emphasis on directing members’ external political and social behavior.
  • Wisdom/Knowledge Claimed by leader(s); amount of infallibility declared or implied about decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations; number and degree of unverified and/or unverifiable credentials claimed.
  • Wisdom/Knowledge Credited to leader(s) by members; amount of trust in decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations made by leader(s); amount of hostility by members towards internal or external critics and/or towards verification efforts.
  • Dogma: Rigidity of reality concepts taught; amount of doctrinal inflexibility or “fundamentalism;” hostility towards relativism and situationalism.
  • Recruiting: Emphasis put on attracting new members; amount of proselytizing; requirement for all members to bring in new ones.
  • Front Groups: Number of subsidiary groups using different names from that of main group, especially when connections are hidden.
  • Wealth: Amount of money and/or property desired or obtained by group; emphasis on members’ donations; economic lifestyle of leader(s) compared to ordinary members.
  • Sexual Manipulation of members by leader(s) of non-tantric groups; amount of control exercised over sexuality of members in terms of sexual orientation, behavior, and/or choice of partners.
  • Sexual Favoritism: Advancement or preferential treatment dependent upon sexual activity with the leader(s) of non-tantric groups.
  • Censorship: Amount of control over members’ access to outside opinions on group, its doctrines or leader(s).
  • Isolation: Amount of effort to keep members from communicating with non-members, including family, friends and lovers.
  • Dropout Control: Intensity of efforts directed at preventing or returning dropouts.
  • Violence: Amount of approval when used by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s).
  • Paranoia: Amount of fear concerning real or imagined enemies; exaggeration of perceived power of opponents; prevalence of conspiracy theories.
  • Grimness: Amount of disapproval concerning jokes about the group, its doctrines or its leader(s).
  • Surrender of Will: Amount of emphasis on members not having to be responsible for personal decisions; degree of individual disempowerment created by the group, its doctrines or its leader(s).
  • Hypocrisy: amount of approval for actions which the group officially considers immoral or unethical, when done by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s); willingness to violate the group’s declared principles for political, psychological, social, economic, military, or other gain.