The World Awareness LTE is a weekend of simulated persecution. In the past, staff and graduate interns would roleplay as an anti-Christian government while interns would attempt to escape or hide from them throughout the weekend. If caught, interns were sent to jail and interrogated about their faith, forced to do physical activities and in some cases left alone in a small “cell” for hours at a time. One could argue that this was a helpful exercise for people going onto the mission field, though I certainly wouldn’t.
However, things changed a bit this year. Instead of acting like a closed country, the government was “pursuing absolute tolerance at any cost.” (According to the video below). This would indicate to me a fear of persecution not just abroad in a closed country, but a fear of persecution led by the government here in America.
We’ve talked before about Teen Mania’s imaginary persecution complex, but simulating the persecution in this manner took it to a whole other level.
According to Rick Ross, an Expert Consultant and Intervention Specialist, one of the top ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader is:
4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
For a long time, I thought this was one of the few critera that Teen Mania did not meet. But unfortunately, I keep hearing stories about how this type of attitude is nurtured at Teen Mania. Both the concept and execution of this retreat as well as the call to martyrdom fosters this type of fear of the government and persecution.
Sadly, a current intern had this to say after the retreat:
On a side note: I remember being on the “run” and seeing the masses of people running because we knew we were being chased. I felt like the holy spirit was really just telling me that we are really going to be living like this in a couple of years that while we might have been role playing for the weekend that one day we are going to look back and realize that it was almost like foreshadowing..
Keeping interns in fear and out of touch with the outside world makes them compliant and easier to control. Its very sad.