In our current political climate everyone is urged to wear a mask.
In authoritarian, high-demand "churches" masks have always been worn, although you don't always see them. It seems, on the surface, that the members are happy, and at peace with themselves, at peace with God, and at peace with one another.
This is only surface level.
There is usually a tremendous amount of in-fighting, and cliques develop along lines of mutual interest. It all appears to be such a happy place, but you will see that when members decide to leave just how unhappy of a place it really is. You will also see that they love to tout the company line. If at a conference it sounds as if this place is the best place on earth, 'yet wisdom is justified by all her children' (Luke 7:35), and when you have mass exodus' you come to see that it's not always as it appears.
Listen to what Ronald Enroth writes in his book, Churches that Abuse:
Community Chapel's Pastor Barnett regularly reminded his followers that their church was special. 'We've got to go on into a new thing that God has promised in his Word that no church has ever come into yet.... Do you know of any other church in which people are loving each other with that same kind of unconditional love? I don't'
The unconditional love Barnett speaks of usually involves the process of knowing everyone's business, and taking them to task on every little thing that doesn't conform to group standards. "Did I see your wife wearing jeans the other day?" "Brother, I would have you consider that she shouldn't be doing that...." And, God forbid, she wasn't in complete and total domination, er, submission to every whim of the husband.
The reality is that the surface happiness is masked. There is lack of joy, there is misery for many, and the poor children. The children will hate this all when they come of age to realize there is more out there than this rule driven life. This is nothing but a form of gaslighting.
Mike Reid will come back from a trip and tell them how much he missed them, and how his heart longs for them when he has been away. It's a lie. Don't be fooled, watch the people's faces, watch them when they interact with others, and especially notice when conflict arises. Certain individuals will always win the day. This is not true Christian living, this is masked slavery to a domineering group leader.
If we can ever help you, if you find yourself in this place, please reach out. We can help.