It’s hard to know whether to be flattered or disgusted.I guess I should take it as a strong measure of my effectiveness. Apparently my work with Black Sun Journal has brought the kooks even further out of the woodwork. Not content with simple troll-dom and harassment, a former CUT member has registered a domain and put together an impostor site at www.seanprophet.info. On it, he re-caps some of my sermons from when I was a minister, holding them up as the “Real Sean C. Prophet.” But those documents no more reflect the truth about who I am today than if he had posted a collection of scribbled drawings I made in kindergarten. Further, his blatant deception and identity theft (he now calls himself ‘webmaster’ of the domain he registered in my name) makes a mockery of his so-called religious morality. Verifiable truth, as he well knows, stands on its own and does not require such underhanded methods.
As I discussed last year in my post on Murdering the Apostate, this is the typical and characteristic response of ‘true believers.’ It’s a pattern which I find all-too-familiar. I’ve watched it since I was a child–it’s part of the memetic “immune system.” Cult members and idolaters have always tried to rhetorically murder and demonize anyone who has spoken out against their idol. For normal believers, this process has usually taken the form of simple argument, and having pursued the argument to their satisfaction, they go about their lives. But for fanatics and extremists such as this one who has placed so much of his life’s essence into his ultimate wish-fulfillment fantasy–the apostate must be neutralized at any cost.
The psychology of “apostate-killing” also brings to bear tools of human manipulation. These include a two-pronged carrot-and-stick approach in which both professed divine love and dominance play important roles:
- The Prodigal Son motif: The apologist asserts that the apostate is misled, and only needs to recognize his or her “true self” and come home to the open arms of a loving god.
- The Dominance motif, which includes an attempt to impose guilt. The apologist in my case made the following claim: “Your entire childhood was supported by the tithes and contributions of the devotees of this organization…every cell of your bodies was built by, and infused with the aspirations of all ascended master students for the victory of the ascended master cause on earth. Their aspirations are in your very blood. It is a scientific fact.”
In other words, don’t mess with our beliefs because “we own your ass.” This is why cults are so destructive–because they are internally self-reinforcing. Since believers rely on each other for epistemological verification, it’s next to impossible to leave unscathed. In my case, nearly 15 years later, some hangers-on still find their beliefs contingent on my agreement. If they were mentally healthy, they would rely on their own powers of observation, and their own evaluation of evidence. They would never give anyone else that kind of power.
But this particular impostor has now stepped up his multi-year campaign, and moved far beyond simple discussion to full-blown attempts at domination, as his quest to discredit reason has become a desperate last-ditch effort. This fanatic (whose actions involve characteristic symptoms of schizophrenia) is doing his damndest to stave off coming to terms with reality, since denial and cognitive-dissonance has become his primary survival mechanism.
From this article:
…schizophrenia begins as a terror syndrome and those with schizophrenia regress when in that state of terror to the point and only to that point where the patient feels the safest and then begins to organize around that area of safety a system of defenses to keep him or her safe from intrusions that they perceive as a threat to their lives.
It’s clear that fanatical believers who fall into this category must actively oppose anyone who challenges the tenets of their chosen belief system. They cannot be content with differences of opinion without perceiving other beliefs as an existential threat. Taking a philosophical page from The Matrix, their imaginary spirit-world has become “the real” and the physical world has been reduced to what they consider a “prison” and an “illusion.” They devalue all earthly pursuits, since they believe they will have an eternity to look forward to after they die. So any threat to their fantasy becomes, like the specter of the “second death,” a threat to their eternal life.
Maintaining this hall of mirrors becomes a lifelong obsession, and no price is too high, no dishonesty too extreme. It’s all justified in the name of their suppressed anxiety and fear of death, which is ironically much stronger than that of atheists. Because of this, they will hang on, white-knuckled, until they expend their lives in pursuit of the afterlife delusion. In Islam, we see the result of this psychology is that any apostate is actually physically hunted down and murdered, or a fatwa is issued to that end.
Fortunately, western society has somewhat tempered the methods of such extremists, if not their zeal.
The impostor is now trying to justify his position: “There is nothing whatsoever in that presentation, or in the related background blogger entry, which attempts to trash Sean’s character.” Nothing except the entire presentation–not trash, but dominate and control. The feigned innocence is wearing thin. He claims to be “respectful,” but his posting is by definition adversarial and hostile–a part of his self-appointed-savior syndrome. I’ve made it clear I’m not interested in that way of life, and have made the decision to leave it behind forever. I’ve also asked him to stop his crusade on numerous occasions over the course of several years. He has refused to take “no” for an answer.
Since he can’t seem to figure this out on his own, let’s review the specific instances of disrespect and ‘trashing’ of my character, which includes at least six separate statements that I’m not in control of my own mind:
April 6, 2007: …to crash and burn if he wants to…the demons dangle them into our minds…threads of the anti-christ…can of worms which the human consciousness has become…while he was in his right mind…forces acting through Sean today, are no part of his real identity…making him dance to such a repugnant tune…
April 19, 2007: …just how far down the mountain of reality he has slid…expression of Sean Prophet when he was in his right mind…Sean has really fallen to a new low, becoming an unrestricted transmission channel for the lowest and most insidious poison of the dark side…The person who has fallen into a pit of such tumultuously seething contempt for God…
Questioning a persons agency and freedom of conscience is pretty much the ultimate in disrespect. It’s clear this impostor won’t be happy until he’s sitting inside my head, and I’m dancing to his tune like a marionette.
Further, by using an impostor domain name, he has now crossed civil and ethical boundaries, (and most likely legal ones as well). The impostor has the goal to impose his designs on my life and reputation, in an effort he has called “the single most important event in the history of the Ascended Master cause since the retirement of Elizabeth Clare Prophet.” Pretty pleased with himself, I’d say.
He continues: “The reference to the concept of murder is way off base, a very extreme and outlandish exaggeration.” My reference to ‘murder’ is philosophical and metaphorical, (as was clearly stated above), and he knows it. Denial of freedom by dogma is a spectrum that begins with the murder of a persons’ free will to express their human desires and drives, and ends with the murder of their body (as in the Islamic world). How else would he describe his attempts to curtail freedom of choice? A freedom he hypocritically claims we all should be willing to fight and die for?
The impostor rambles on: “The Master’s [sic] are throwing him a golden rope, and all he needs to do is take a hold, and they will pull him out. Why would they do that? Because they love him.” Right. As discussed above: Prodigal son metaphor, mixed with dominance, just as I outlined. This is nothing new. The impostor is not only intellectually dishonest, but has exposed himself once again as a shining example of textbook religious extremism.
Update: I haven’t heard from this former religious stalker since the late 2000s, and both his “Homeward Bound Journal” website and the impostor site using my name are long gone. But it’s difficult to overstate the impact that such actions can have, when a believer makes it their singular focus to use coercive tactics and intimidation to change the behavior of a former believer. Many religions use more subtle versions of this tactic: Mormons are well known to continue to send literature and even visit former members homes for many years after that person has declared themselves to be apostate. Belief is far more than an individual matter. It’s an extremely sticky social construct and meme. If you leave, it always tries to get you back. –Sean Prophet, August 2022