The Cults of Frank Buchman 10

A Buchmanite family during Quiet Time, channeling God

Frank Buchman called Oxford Group evangelism “soul surgery” and urged his members to do it at every opportunity. Ever the lover of short numbered lists, he put recruitment into the 6 Basic Assumptions SNF the 5 Procedures of the Sane, as well as crafting the 5 Cs as a recruitment tool. The 5 Cs were:


Confidence. Like a con artist, the Oxford Group recruiter would begin by gaining their mark’s confidence, by pretending to be friends for an ulterior purpose.

Confession. The Groupist would lower their mark’s defenses by confessing to a past sin, while encouraging reciprocation.

Conviction. Once they have tricked the mark into trusting them, that trust is instantly betrayed as the Groupist exaggerates the confessor’s sin to create maximum guilt.

Conversion. While the mark was vulnerable and discomfited by guilt, the Groupist would promise that following Buchmanism would solve that guilt and every other bad feeling.

Conservation. The new Groupist was quickly trained to perform the same manipulation on new marks.

Members were encouraged to form ever more groups, all ultimately under the leadership of Frank Buchman. They were also told to host house parties to convert new members, to bring friends to the daily luncheon meetings, and to spread the gospel of Frank to their friends and family.

They were not trained in theology, or the importance of keeping secret the confessions they extracted. They did not know the true origin of many Buchman ideas, nor care much when informed. They were youthful, attractive, and devoted to Buchman. If his goal was really to save humanity, he might have taken more care not to damage people in the process, but he wanted followers and this worked to get them.

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