My Experience in YWAM: A Personal Account and Critique

Laurie Jacobson

Abstract

While recounting her own experience, the author compares training in Youth With a Mission (YWAM), a Christian missionary group, to what she has heard and read about involvement in religious cults. She finds that her YWAM training, and the philosophy which undergirds it, are similar to that described for cultic groups. Features common to YWAM and controversial religious cults include manipulation of fear. and guilt, authoritarianism, the denigration of critical thinking, social exclusiveness, and suppression of individuality. The YWAM Discipleship Training School, which the author attended in Hawaii, also relied on the leadership's special interpretation of biblical verses and precepts to inculcate attitudes and obtain conformity to the group's ways. The author concludes that while YWAM hopes to create a perfect community, the result is a loss of freedom.

CSJ03-02D