We were often told that if we were all connected to God, and listening to the Holy Spirit, that we would all think the same. Being a good follower of Jesus, and being filled with the Holy Spirit meant that we would all hear the same message from him. If there was disagreement or dissension within a group, then it meant some one, or more, were “out of the Spirit” and it was the responsibility of the group to find out who that was. They were in sin, and it was our duty to ferret out that sin.
I think it is obvious that in such a situation the most vocal and angry people are the ones who will rise to leadership. Those who are feeling vulnerable, unsure of themselves, afraid, will be the quickest to deny their own individuality in order to survive. Being singled out as the one who was “out of the Spirit” was an extremely threatening situation.
There were times that I saw the leaders tell someone they had not heard the Lord properly and to go back and pray again. This was repeated until the person came up with the answer that the leaders wanted to hear. It happened to me many times, from minor things like whether I should volunteer to help in some clean-up, to whether I should visit family or not, to which groups I should be a part of.
The result was to take my power of critical thinking away from me, to numb my brain, to suppress my emotions, to make a dependent follower of me.