Most parents worry when they send their kids off to college, but not (yet) about things as deeply weird as this:
A mom in Arizona was so upset about the radical change in her son’s behavior after a couple of years at the University of Arizona that she asked the Arizona Daily Star for help extricating him from a cult’s clutches, according to an investigation by the paper. Twenty-one former members and staffers told the Daily Star that the Faith Christian Church, which has been on campus for 25 years, was operating as a cult.
Chris Sigurdson, a spokesman for the university, said they haven’t received any complaints from current students, but they are concerned and will look into it. They made sure students know how to make an official complaint with the university, and what resources such as counseling are available to help. If someone had a bad experience at the school, they want to know about it, he said.
The Daily Star reports: “Their stories include reports of hitting infants with cardboard tubes to encourage submission, financial coercion, alienation from parents, public shaming of members and shunning of those who leave the church or question its leaders. Some say that since leaving, they’ve spent years in therapy for panic attacks, depression, flashbacks and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Some former members described being “love-bombed” with attention when they arrived on campus as freshmen, according to the Daily Star, with ministers sometimes standing outside dorms offering to lend a hand on move-in day.
There are lots of scary details in the Daily Star report … and one example that sounds not atypical of student life: “Puente says he survived on a diet of ramen noodles, boxed macaroni and cheese and cheap chicken quarters.”