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Posted by: rodolfo ( )
Date: February 15, 2012 04:35PM

Beware of Love Bombing

Leonard Brenner

Love-bombing is characteristic of most cults. Prospects, recruits and members are drowned in a sea of love and caring.

Recently in an evangelical church I heard the pastor describe his visit to two cultic groups in which he praised their love-bombing and urged that his church adopt the same loving attitude towards visitors and members.

Should the evangelical church practice love-bombing? Is this what Christ meant when he said, "By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another," (John 13:35)?

I've heard cult members say, "Of course we practice love-bombing: Who'd want to be in a group or church that practiced hate-bombing?" This attitude highlights a common misconception. Hate-bombing is not the opposite of love-bombing.

The opposite of love-bombing is unconditional love. Love-bombing is highly conditional.

The cults will love you to death while you represent a prospective convert to their group. As a member a tight family love will surround you as you faithfully promote their cause.

However, when it is clear that a prospect will not join the group or a member voices doubts, create waves, or leaves the group, all love ceases.

Indeed scorn is immediately heaped on these individuals and remaining members are told not to have any contact with them.

All time, effort and love-bombing is then directed towards new prospects and the faithful members. Is this the love evangelical churches should practice?

Unconditional love is what God practiced when he sent his Son to die for us "while we were yet sinners," (Romans 5:8).

He doesn't love us because we might become or are his faithful servants. He simply loves us. He will disapprove of our sin and approve of our faith but He will always love us.

Churches need to love visitors because they are humans created in God's image and not because they are prospective members. The love needs to continue if the visitor chooses to associate with another group of believers.

Problem members need to be loved even if they create problems or leave in a huff. Christians need to practice God's kind of love.

Beware of the love-bomb.

Love Bombing

The term "Love Bombing" originated with the Moonies to describe a step in their process of conversion. New members are sought out, friendshipped, and invited to group events. Potential recruits are overwhelmed with attention which makes them feel special, loved, and an important part of the new group.

Aspects of this technique include, but are not limited to flattery, verbal seduction, affectionate but usually non-sexual touching, and lots of attention. (Singer, p 114)

Geri-Ann Galanti, a cult researcher, experienced love bombing at a Moonie recruitment camp. Regarding a very personal compliment she received, she stated, "Even though I knew it was a manipulative technique, I wanted to believe she meant it, and I decided that she really did. After all, it matched my own perception of myself." Recovery from Cults, p 98.

Love-bombing instills trust. It is impossible to think of the new group as harmful, because everyone is so friendly. Everyone seems so happy and nice; how could the group be wrong? Love-bombing can produce a social high. Recruits can come to feel dependent on this feeling and the safety net of belonging to a close-knit group of people. It also makes them feel loyal and dedicated, as they now may feel they owe the group some attention in return.

Sometimes love-bombing involves sexual attraction. Many cults send males to recruit lone females, and females to recruit lone males. In the case of Mormonism, many young women become attracted to young, polished male missionaries. I don't believe this behavior is intentional, but it works quite often, sometimes resulting in a post-mission marriage.

Other times, member-missionaries (not on formal missions) use sexual attraction to convert members of the opposite sex, which may or may not result in marriage.

Mormons frequently use all kinds of friendshipping techniques to find new and retain existing members. Sometimes this friendship is sincere, but more often than not, it is superficial. As soon as the LDS member realizes their fellowshipping efforts are not paying off, they often shift their attentions elsewhere. They are not interested in someone as a person who they would honestly like to get to know -- they are interested in them as a potential convert.

Members of all ages are encouraged to provide service projects, and frequently target "less-active" members or non-members. Home and Visiting Teachers and missionaries are encouraged to provide service especially to those families struggling with Church attendance.

This topic is so frequently expressed in Church lesson manuals, magazines, and Conference talks, that there is little room in this forum to quote examples. For a complete list of examples for your own personal research, visit,5523,165,00.html and search on "Fellowship".

Here is an example from the "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlet given to all Mormon teenagers:

"... Invite your nonmember friends to Church activities where they can learn about your standards and the principles of the gospel. Include them in your midweek activities and your Sunday meetings. Help them feel welcome and wanted. Many nonmembers have come into the Church through friends who have involved them in Church activities."

Here are a few excerpts from the Priesthood manual, Lesson 10, Fellowshipping: A Priesthood Responsibility:

"Although we should be friendly and neighborly and try to show our love to all people, giving help and friendship to new and less-active members is a basic priesthood responsibility..."

"...[Fellowshipping] helps new converts and other Church members feel wanted and needed and motivates them to participate in the Church."

Here is an example of love bombing from the same priesthood lesson, about Jack, who's wife is a member:

"Jack, initially reluctant to come [to a block party staged to fellowship him], was surprised and delighted with the easy, natural friendliness of the group. By the evening’s end, he enthusiastically supported the idea of a second party, a picnic in two weeks. No one said anything about going to church [emphasis added], but Allen Westover, who had discussed Jack’s house-painting project at the party, showed up on Saturday with his own ladder—and came back evenings after work. [Two other men] also helped several times...

“Later that month when the elders quorum had a project, Jack was anxious to help them... As the summer progressed, Jack spent more and more time with Church members. There were chats about fishing rods and politics and raising children, about gardening, working out marital difficulties, and handling job pressures. Jack was talking as well as listening. Social evenings with different families included family home evenings and spiritual discussions. To [his wife's] great joy, Jack told her one evening that he was ready to take the next step of being taught by the missionaries and … joining the Church.”

This story is a perfect demonstration of love bombing. The original goal for planning the block party was to convert Jack. Several Church members became involved, making friends with him and planning further gatherings. They helped him paint his house to help him feel appreciative, and then engaged him in group activities, which made him feel helpful. They discussed non-Church topics with him, circumventing a direct approach that may have turned him off.

Had Jack not been a potential convert, I doubt any of these men would have been bothered to waste their time.

Mormons are encouraged to sincerely and unconditionally love other people, yet this love is not, in reality, unconditional. There are many instances when a Mormon will give the cold shoulder to a fellow member who is not "acting in accordance with the Gospel".

Certainly when members leave, love is withdrawn. If a member writes a controversial paper or associates with controversial people, they may be subject to "disfellowship" and "excommunication". The nature of these words is no mistake -- they both imply a separation from the group. These are the opposite of love bombing, a total withdrawal of love and support as a punishment for going against the group's standards.

Furthermore, love bombing helps silence complaints and criticism, long after conversion:

"The apparently loving unanimity of the group masks, and in some cases bolsters, strict rules against private as well as public dissent. Questions are deflected. Critical comments are met with smiling pleas of 'no negativity'..."

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Posted by: Raptor Jesus ( )
Date: February 15, 2012 04:42PM

All designed to manipulate.

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Posted by: Cheryl ( )
Date: February 15, 2012 05:52PM

What mormons do is despicable when they give fake love and appreciation to those in need of **real** caring and support.

But perhaps it's as bad when they continue to harass and hound decent private people in their homes who have relentlessly told them to stay away. There's something Unamerican about refusing to stay of private property and refusing to stop stalking innocent victims who have done nothing to warrant such assaults.

Mormons think they own the souls of non-mormons when they can't even manage their own lives without the support of an army of mindless cultists.

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Posted by: blueorchid ( )
Date: February 15, 2012 06:21PM

Great Post.

It is just another instance of Mormons taking really beautiful human actions like inclusion, acceptance and support, which are appealing to us all, and adding their special ingredients, insincerity and manipulation to turn them into something disingenuous and ugly.

Why do they try so hard to get you, or get you back? Because misery loves company.

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Posted by: Chicken'n'Backpacks ( )
Date: February 15, 2012 11:07PM

I want to know what happened to Jack after he converted....

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Posted by: Victim of a L.B. ( )
Date: May 21, 2013 03:46PM

Love-Bombing - The battle is always on for the collection of souls to show the world that theirs is the "true" religion.
I would know... I was one for many years.

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Posted by: catnip ( )
Date: February 16, 2012 04:04AM

about how cult members would compliment her by saying something positive that affirmed something she already believed about herself.

This is precisely what the Mormons did to me, after my abusive ex-husband had done just the opposite. For example, once, when we came across a Mexican family that had gotten lost, I used my Spanish to give them directions. My husband sneered, "Isn't that just like you? Always wanting to show off!" I didn't think it was showing off. As it happened, I could speak Spanish and I knew how to get to where those people were going. Helping them was the compassionate thing to do, wasn't it? Why was it wrong?

Another time, I was thrilled to have sold a short story to a national magazine - my first major sale, from which I received enough money to pay two months' worth of rent on our apartment. My husband said, "So what? I wouldn't brag about selling to such a low-class magazine!" What a slap in the face!

But the Mormons did just the opposite. They were thrilled that I was bilingual, and asked me to help Spanish-speaking (prospective) ward members. I felt hugely appreciated and validated. And when they found out that I could write, I was asked to help write and edit the ward newsletter, and people always took the time to tell me that they enjoyed both my stories and the talks I gave. So they praised - and used - talents that I felt proud of. That's a kind of validation. And at that stage of my life, I was in desperate need of it.

But I gradually realized that with some of them, it was genuine. With others, it was shrewd manipulation. THAT was a turn-off.

When a guy from our ward gave a fireside at our house, he told future missionaries to DELIBERATELY seek and then befriend vulnerable people - to watch them to see what they did well, and to praise them for it, and to USE that. Once I understood that this was actually taught as a recruitment technique, it made me feel sick.

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Posted by: forbiddencokedrinker ( )
Date: February 16, 2012 04:54AM

I think the reason it is so heavy right now, is because the members really want more people to split janitorial duties with on Saturdays.

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Posted by: deconverted2010 ( )
Date: February 16, 2012 09:35AM

Great post Rodolfo.

Love-bombing is conditional. That is so true. I was once in a ward counccil meeting where we were reviewing out list of inactives. There was a family we had been working on for several months, maybe over a year. One sister was very interested in this family, she visited the sister, invited the kids to church and kept in touch with her. The missionaries also visited several times, for dinners. This family was happy to receive them all in their home, but they were not interested in coming to church. I knew her relatives outside the church and knew they were happy social people who enjoyed having people over but also enjoyed their own time. They found church boring but I never said this in ward council. One day the sister who was so interested in fellowshipping them asked 'when do we stop fellowshipping', she had realized the family was not coming back. I felt sick, I thought that she genuinely cared when in fact she was doing her duty. I am so glad they never came back, the friends they had outside the church were probably more genuine than any friendships they would find at the lds church.

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