Church at Carson City Exposed
The purpose of this website is to provide a safe place where those who have been negatively affected by the Church at Carson City (Shermanites) and its leadership can find resources and information to help them work through their trauma. It’s our hope that this site can help educate and warn people what can happen and what to look for when they encounter controlling and manipulative cult leaders.
Due to the unhealthy leadership, culture, and abusive teachings in place at the Church at Carson City, this site has been created. Until now, it has been nearly impossible for individuals to learn about the hidden life inside this cult. Serious, unbiblical, spiritual and mental abusive practices have been allowed to persist for too long. For decades this has continued without any effective means of informing or warning the current members or the community.
Because of the manipulative and abusive relationship, the leaders have with their members, the truth has been hidden from the authorities and its members, leaving all that have been mistreated isolated from their loved ones with nowhere to turn for help. While a part of this organization, members are taught the leader has ultimate authority and are above the legal system. Members are also taught they are God’s chosen people and those who leave or are kicked out are ungodly and cannot be communicated with, further removing them from any help or learning the truth.
Our hope is to be able to help all who have left come together and heal as well as reach out to our loved ones still trapped in this abusive place and warn others from falling into this cult of abuse.
"The leaders abused each of us and we said nothing, we just took it. But when we saw they were going to abuse another one, we stood together and went public." - Rick M.
What Is A Cult?
A cult is typically defined as a religious sect whose members are "controlled" by a manipulative organization or individual. This kind of cult is usually portrayed as deceptive, requiring absolute loyalty from its followers. Members are often removed from their prior lives altogether, including their jobs, homes and families.
The Leader is Infallible
In many religious cults, followers are told that the leader or founder is always right. Those who ask questions, stir up any potential dissent, or behave in any way that puts their loyalty into question are often punished. Often, even those outside the cult who cause problems for leaders can be victimized, and in some cases, the retribution is deadly.
The cult leader often believes him or herself to be special or even godlike in some way. According to Joe Navarro of Psychology Today, many cult leaders throughout history possess "an over-abundant belief that they and they alone had the answers to problems, and that they had to be revered." (1)
Deceptive Recruitment Tactics
Cult recruitment typically revolves around convincing potential members that they will be offered something they do not have in their current lives. Because leaders often prey upon those who are weak and vulnerable, it's not hard to persuade them that joining the group will somehow make their lives better.
Those who are marginalized by society, have a minimal support network of friends and family, and who feel like they don't belong are prime targets for cult recruiters. By offering potential members a chance to be part of something special — whether spiritual, financial, or social — they are typically able to lure people in.
Typically, recruiters lead with a low-pressure sales pitch. It's kept fairly low key, and recruits aren't told about the true nature of the group immediately. (1)
Intimidation, Fear, and Isolation
Cults typically isolate members from their family, friends, and co-workers outside the group. Members are taught early on that their only true friends — their real family, so to speak — are other cult followers. This allows leaders to isolate participants from those who might try to get them out from under control of the group.
Since a cult can only continue to operate with power and control, leaders do everything they can to keep their members loyal and obedient. When someone begins to make attempts to leave the group, that member often finds themselves on the receiving end of financial, spiritual, or even physical threats. Sometimes, their non-member families will be threatened with harm as well, in order to keep the individual within the group. (1)
Religious cult leaders typically have a strict set of religious principles that members are expected to follow. While there may be a focus on the direct experience of the divine, it is typically done through the leadership of the group. Leaders or founders may claim to be prophets, as David Koresh of the Branch Davidians told his followers.
Some religious cults include Doomsday prophecies and a belief that the End Times are coming. (1)
One of the biggest components to critical thinking is the ability to question. The ability to question helps us to clarify goals, check for accuracy, test assumptions, develop a point of view, and look at solutions to problems. Basically, this helps us with all our decision making whether joining a group, looking at a new job or even buying a car. Imagine going to the grocery store and trying to decide what food you want to get without being able to ask questions to yourself. Not allowing you to ask if an item would taste good to me, what can I mix with it, does it have any nutritional value, how much does it cost, what ingredients are in this product that I may be allergic to. Get the idea? This skill is used every day and having that ability shut down greatly inhibits our thinking. Destructive groups shut down this process by turning the questions back on the individual. The guilt is always turned on the individual doing the questioning, never the group or group leader. (2)
Exclusivity in Faith
Most religious cults demand that their members give them exclusivity. Participants are not permitted to attend other religious services, and are told that they can only find true salvation through the teachings of the cult. (1)
(1) Patty Wigington, 6 signs of a religious cult, (www.thoughtco.com)
(2) Hal Mansfield, M.A.,The Role of Critical Thinking in Recovery for Former Members of Destructive Groups, (www.refocus.org)