“How do I know the Modern Mystery School is not a cult?”
Once in a while, we hear this question.
Religious and spiritual organizations will often have this label bantered about to describe them. However it is not as simple as that.
The word cult has come to mean something so negative and destructive, as we have seen in recent North American history, because there were indeed some horrible and devastating acts carried out by leaders of fringe religious groups.
The Modern Mystery School is not a cult. It’s a school for individuals seeking to learn about themselves and their divine nature. The Modern Mystery School is an ancient path of metaphysical and spiritual teachings with a mission to bring about World Peace through the empowerment of the individual.
Let’s start at the beginning and look at the definition of the word cult that pops up on the MacBook’s dictionary:
cult | kʌlt | noun1 a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object: the cult of St Olaf. • a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members: a network of Satan-worshipping cults. • a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular thing: the cult of the pursuit of money as an end in itself. 2 a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society: the series has become a bit of a cult in the UK | [as modifier] : a cult film.
I think it’s clear to state the type of “cult” that those will question us being has to do with the relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members not a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society, like a cult film or TV show.
Organizations that get red-flagged as dangerous cults have indicating qualities that the Modern Mystery School does not have and nor do we in anyway approve of such things. What are some of these qualities and how do they differ from the operations of the MMS?
CULTS: Mind control, brainwashing, thought reform, opposition to critical thinking
MMS: A cult has a motivation to brainwash and to apply mind control techniques on their members. At the Modern Mystery School, we want to help you have self-control of your own mind — not tell you what to think! Mindfulness techniques like meditation are practiced and encouraged in the Modern Mystery School. The personal benefits of meditation and learning to control one’s own mind are huge. Life is stressful. The world can be a chaotic place. It can be so easy to spiral into negative thinking — this is the real concern for humanity. Constantly bombarded with incessant societal input and unrealistic expectations can make a person go crazy trying to live up to some standard that doesn’t really equate to true happiness.
A cult with negative intentions will manipulate someone who may be stressed, lost or seeking something in life, then proceed to brainwashing them to believe only their doctrine and philosophy, to the point of not thinking for themselves and losing all anonymity and individuality.
In the Modern Mystery School, we want you to Know Thyself above all else. We provide the tools and knowledge that will support the seeker to discern the symphony through the din. It’s not about telling you what to think, but rather helping you peel back the layers of what others have told you to think, supporting you to truly think for yourself, to operate and live in alignment with your life purpose.
Cults will also discourage members from outside reading material. We have a long recommended book list of ancient mystery teachings, written by various authors and publishers, that would encourage the student to gain more knowledge and increase the opportunity for deeper exploration of concepts, critical thinking and individual judgement.
CULTS: Leader to be revered like a god-like leader, seeking inappropriate loyalty
MMS: The leaders in the MMS do not profess to be infallible or perfect humans. They are indeed humans who have walked this spiritual path of the mystery tradition, and just like in many spiritual and religious traditions, have received certain titles and authorities. They are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, uncles and aunts, doctors, lawyers, scientists, small business owners, dancers, singers, therapists — many people with many different backgrounds and life experiences. Every teacher, instructor, or leader in this mystery school tradition agrees and understands we are no better than anyone else just starting out on their spiritual journey, we just happen to have started on our journey sooner than others. Like a sports coach who trains younger and newer athletes, the knowledge and support is passed down the line. If the student surpasses the master, then the master has done their job right! This is very opposite of guru-worship. We don’t want the student or initiate to turn their power over to their teacher — the teacher wants to foster the individual’s own empowerment.
In the Modern Mystery School we have many areas of leadership, and opportunities for continual growth for people to progress. Three individuals specifically, who hold the esoteric title of Ipsissimus, our Founder Gudni Gudnason, Dave Lanyon and Hideto Nakagome make up what we refer to as the Third Order. The Third Order functions as the holders for the lineage. True lineage is an important factor in what we do.
Lineage does not put one person above others, but rather empowers many to have the same authority and work toward a progression of evolultion themselves. Everyone has the opportunity to grow, transform and move into new places of progression through their training and certification processes. (Check out the list of our Certified Professional Practitioners, Healers, Teachers and Guides!) In the MMS, we are excited that we host six Healers Academy Programs every year in the Western World, creating hundreds of new Life Activation practitioners with new tools and teachings to serve and spiritually support others in their own communities!
CULTS: Separation from family and friends
MMS: Relationships are complicated and fickle things in and of themselves, but one of the reported testimonials from many attendees of the MMS is improved relationships with their family and friends. This includes getting better clarity and boundaries as a result of their spiritual journey — they are healing old emotional wounds, gaining empowerment and no longer projecting on to others. This kind of personal progression results in a more content person who then experiences the benefits of their personal contentment and that flows into their relationships.
The Modern Mystery School also becomes a network of family and friends for many people. Individuals who felt ousted by society or other religions because of their desire for spiritual seeking have found community among other like-minded individuals with similar values and beliefs.
In dangerous cults who have attempted mind-control, there is a propensity to isolate individuals from their families, even going so far as to recruit people who are in depraved or unhealthy circumstances as to create the illusion of family existing within the cult. At the MMS, we encourage family. (We even have a whole category of articles dedicated to family life.) We have many couples and families who attend MMS events together, and even open the opportunity for families to attend our retreats. The instructors and administration of the organization are all very family oriented individuals, with families themselves and encourage and respect the family bond and the joy it can bring to one’s life!
CULTS: Control of sleep patterns, eating and living arrangements
MMS: Everyone sleeps in their own bed (or a hotel’s of their own choosing if they are in attendance to an event out of town). Ample lunch breaks and snack times are factored into all of our seminars and workshops. We have no commune or compound — and no intention to create one.
Those above facets are a major indicator of a brainwashing cult at work. Think of all the cults you hear about in the news or documentaries. They all have some kind of compound with a regimented schedule for sleep and meal times.
This does not exist in the Modern Mystery School – never has and never will. Which leads to the next point…
CULTS: Come and never leave
MMS: Come – but then please go! Please go back home. Please go back into your own families, cities and communities and share what you have learned! Please bring these tools that have helped you in your own life and go live an amazing life! Go do amazing things out there!
If you do come back for more training and experience, we welcome you with open arms and are excited to share the next steps with you.
When someone points the finger at MMS and calls us a cult, it could be for many reasons: They could be angry with us because they came and didn’t get what they expected. They may be our competitors — a spiritual or self-help organization who have a difference of opinion on methodology. They could have issues with spirituality and faith, having had some bad experiences with their religious upbringing. They could be displacing or projecting past traumas or fears outwardly. They could simply be lacking the education and understanding of what a cult truly is. (The latter is usually the most common reason.)
Labelling the Modern Mystery School or any other spiritual organization as a cult without discernment or reflection, is not only incorrect but it is also insensitive to those who have fallen victim to seriously violent and abusive cults.
When someone simply throws that label of cult on the MMS, it is an attempt to cast dispersions and dehumanize us. Calling us a “cult” immediately elicits fear and concern, without considering the human beings that make up the whole of the MMS. Human beings with families, mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters. People who truly mean well and desire to make positive change in the world.
We have found hope, healing and peace in the teachings of the mystery school lineage and we share it because we believe you can, too.
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