Now Sharlet has followed up with an article on Westmont College, the top recruiting field for the Fellowship, published at Killing the Buddha (which Sharlet co-founded). I have some personal resonance with this story. For one, I started college in 1986, the same year as one of the subjects of the story, Ben Daniel, enrolled at Westmont. That means I got to Fuller Seminary four years later, where I matriculated with some of Ben’s classmates from Westmont — the first time I’d ever heard of The Fellowship was when one of my Fuller classmates, a Westmont grad, told me how heavily he was recruited while an undergrad. He referred to it as “The Fellowshit.”
Ten years later, when I was a youth pastor, a few graduates of my church went off to Westmont College, and at least two of them were recruited into the Fellowship and lived in the Fellowship’s notorious Washington, D.C. houses.
Sharlet writes about Ron Enroth, a prof at Westmont who’s studied cults for years. Enroth has sneaking suspicions that The Fellowship falls into that category, but he also hedges his bets: