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We will be the first to admit that we've been saying a fair bit lately about the subject of persecution. While some have said that the whole idea of anyone actually persecuting us is ridiculous, others who are a little more aware have said that the opposition (not persecution, of course) that we are receiving has come about BECAUSE of us saying that we are being persecuted. That part we cannot agree with, and we'll explain why.

I've met a few paranoid schizophrenics in my lifetime, and it's a huge job trying to convince them that they are not being watched by the CIA, etc. But I have never felt inclined to attack them because of it, and I don't know of anyone else who has felt that way. Mostly, we tend to sympathise with the condition that they are suffering from, although we do whatever we can to help them see that there is no objective evidence for their claims of persecution.

But that isn't what is happening with us. An article going the rounds amongst New South Wales Quakers, for example, argues that "narcissistic psychopaths" suffer from a "psychosis replete with persecutory delusions". And the article is attached to other material which is about me personally, including a letter from Kevin (my son) denouncing me as "manipulative and vindictive", having "undermined everything we thought he believed in". So which is it? Am I suffering from a genuine mental health problem? Or am I just plain evil?

The material in that booklet was distributed without us ever being made aware of what was in it. So the goal was to drum up support for their labelling exercise, and not to share information with me that would bring me out of my supposed delusion.

Let's assume that I really do suffer from paranoia. What are these intelligent, sensitive, highly experienced (Quaker) experts on peace and reconciliation trying to do by circulating this material? Are they trying to help me? Or could they be trying to destroy my reputation? Would it be fair for me to feel that the material itself actually reinforces my claim that someone is protesting against us just a little too much? We have objected about that material through official Quaker channels and been soundly rebuffed. We were told, "There's nothing wrong with what appears in those circulars; it all came from the Internet."

And, of course, the complaint continues that if we interpret this, or anything else being done or said against us as being some form of persecution, then it is only happening because of something called a "self-fulfilling prophecy"; we brought it all on ourselves. We are, according to that theory, trying to GET people to persecute us just by saying that they are going to persecute (or already have persecuted) us, and they have no choice but to respond by persecuting us.

We are familiar with the concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy, but we question whether it applies in this situation because of what I have just pointed out. Circulating such material (whether in print or through word of mouth) has never been the prescribed clinical treatment for paranoia. (Though I understand that in countries led by totalitarian regimes, opponents of the government are often accused of being psychopaths and those diagnoses are widely circulated in an effort to warn off others who would dare to befriend the critics or to criticise the government themselves. But from our perspective, outside the totalitarian regime, those governments are clearly persecuting their critics, and they are doing so for selfish reasons.)

But there is another form of self-fulfilling prophecy which we would suggest is at play here, and that is what we will call the "lynch mob syndrome". In one way or another, you throw a stone at someone, and then when they flinch, you accuse them of being paranoid, and you throw another stone. If they start shouting to get the attention of someone else to protect them, or even go so far as to pick up one of the stones to throw it back, then you add to the claims of paranoia the claim that they are dangerous trouble-makers, and you throw even more stones... at the same time that you call out loudly for reinforcements to help you silence and stop the trouble-maker.

As the crowd grows, you will find that you can make more and more ridiculous claims about the person you have set out to lynch, and the mob will not question a word of it. Anyone looking on will, no doubt, question SOME of what is being said; but the mere fact that a mob has formed suggests to them that the target must have done SOMETHING terribly wrong, and so rather than face the anger of the lynch mob, people either join in on the shouts (and maybe add a few claims of their own) or they quietly slip away.

I think that what we are facing at the moment is a lynch mob mentality, and it is only going to get worse as time goes on. It extends a lot farther than just Quakers in New South Wales. In fact, the Quakers are only being sucked into a lynch mob that really got itself started on the Rick Ross anti-cult forum, which specialises in creating lynch mobs against almost anyone almost anywhere in the world. You take any malcontent (usually ex-members) and you bring them together with other malcontents. They exchange stories about how much they have been hurt, how angry they are, and especially how terrible the person or group is that is perceived to have caused all of their troubles.

Now it may be at times that there are some real offences that have occurred; but in the absence of any real evidence, the lynch mob syndrome still works with relative ease. It just has to start with people who WANT to hear something negative about the target group. One of the greatest sources of "evidence" will be the media. The media loves to make scapegoats out of tiny minority groups, the ones who cannot afford legal action against them for slander.

Take ourselves for example, and the material put together by Nick Eyles, the Devonshire Street Friends Meeting House warden. Nick included in his collection of material, an article from a London tabloid which was about Jesus Christians donating organs. I had discussed with the journalist writing the story an idea for embarrassing the London tabloids which had unfairly accused two of our members of kidnapping a year or so earlier, and it became clear that he was not in favour of going along with it (since, after all, he made his living working for tabloids), and so I dropped the idea. But he took that one private exchange and used it (for lack of anything better to hang me on) to make me out to be something despicable.

Later, that same journalist (Jon Ronson) did a TV documentary, where he likened me to a force from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" that could suck the brains out of people, and he asks himself in the documentary: "Why did I start to think like this about Dave?" Then he answers his own question: "Because I really don't like him!" Such amazing honesty! I had accused him of undermining a report which could have gone a long way toward encouraging live organ donations, because he was so obviously looking for something to hang me on, and that was his reaction. So, if you "really don't like" someone, and you're a journalist, you just say that they suck brains out of people! Easy, isn't it?

But back to the Rick Ross anti-cult forum. They take reports like that, and say things like, "Dave has had a lot of negative press; therefore he must be evil." And most so-called anti-cult "experts" actively feed their own hate stuff into the media, often writing and selling stories to the tabloids themselves (as happened with the "kidnapping" lie in England), so that a vicious cycle gets going, where the tabloids quote the cult-busters and the cult-busters quote the tabloids. Neither side needs any other authority apart from themselves.

And when you get someone as mainstream and respectable as the New South Wales Regional Meeting of Friends (Quakers) quoting a disgruntled ex-Jesus Christian, the cult-busters, and the gutter press, then you can be pretty sure that the lynch mob has reached a point where almost nothing is going to stop it. They have started an avalanche moving that is not going to be satisfied until the world has been cleansed of the evil influence of that manipulative, vindictive, narcissistic psychopath who has the audacity to say that he is being persecuted!

Of course, we keep trying to get it back to reason and common sense. We argue that, if we've done something wrong, then there must be more that can be said apart from childish name-calling and demonisation. Exactly WHAT have I done wrong? I've asked it so many time (and received virtually nothing in response) that it is tiresome to keep on asking it. Our critics must find it even more frustrating. David Lowe, a Quaker private investigator, writing over on the Rick Ross forum puts it this way:
"Dave likes the classic, "tell us the worst thing you can think of about us." If he doesn't use that one at a Quaker Forum, I'll be surprised."

So tell us, David, what do YOU suggest? Is it really so wrong to ask you to be precise about what it is that you don't like about us? Or do you think that people should be able to go around whipping up lynch mobs wherever they like, and lynching people WITHOUT having to say what the victim is guilty of, just because you "don't like us"? Sadly, my understanding of Bible prophecy is that the whole world is going to be drawn more and more into this kind of mentality, and it's not going to go well for anyone who takes seriously the teachings of Jesus. Sometimes the hardest thing about martyrdom is just that they say it's all our own fault for pointing out the existence of the lynch mob in the first place.

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