Cult gripes spark poster campaign

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By Maureen Rice

RyeSAC is boosting its cult education effort, following recent complaints about The Toronto Church of Christ from students, staff and faculty.

Before the Christmas break, two-feet tall yellow posters were plastered across campus, warning students to be leery of recruiters from the organization, which is part of one of the world’s fastest growing missionary groups.

Later this term, RyeSAC plans to distribute 1,000 pamphlets, telling students how to recognize and seek refuge from a cult.

“It’s easy for a student to be confused when they’re approached, thinking it’s a recognized group, when of course it isn’t,” said campus groups administrator Leatrice Spevack. “And then it’s too late.”

Differences between the Church of Christ, who was denied student group status in 1997, and RyeSAC-approved Christian groups are significant but not always clear, Spevack said.

She said looking at the Church of Christ’s recruitment methods is one way to distinguish it from the other groups, who don’t’ actively recruit members, demanding they come to meetings. With the campus groups, members can come and go as they like. But once a member joins the Church of Christ it isn’t always easy to leave, Spevack said.

“We can try to educate people,” said Spevack, “but … the people who get involved in such groups (as the Toronto Church of Christ) have some sort of need that’s not being met in their lives. That’s where the university and RyeSAC have to provide some alternatives.”

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