In "Building Bridges," a Tapestry of Faith program
Participants hear and discuss the story of the Peoples Temple and discuss abuse.
Read the story aloud.
Ask for initial reactions. What did youth think of the story? Had they heard of the tragedy at Jonestown before? Acknowledge that this story is frightening and that the Peoples Temple is an extreme case. It is the largest, though not the only, example of a United States cult resulting in suicides. However, most cult memberships do not end in death.
Continue to discuss the story by asking questions such as these:
Distribute Handout 2, Behavior of Abusers, and give participants time to look it over. Ask:
Let participants know that if they should find themselves in an abusive relationship, there are places and people who can help. On newsprint, post the number for your local abuse hotline. Note that there are also organizations that help people involved with cults. Remind the youth that when they are in an uncomfortable situation—or know someone else who is—there are people they can talk to. As a group, brainstorm a list of such individuals. Make sure that the list includes school guidance counselors, ministers, and religious educators.
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Last updated on Tuesday, November 26, 2013.
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