Are you curious about why people you know joined a cult, but, have no idea of where to start to try and understand how cults lured in someone you love?
This post will share with you resources on the characteristics of the lure of cult leaders that I have found particularly helpful to me.
Decades ago I did not realize I was even in a cult. Once I figured it out I needed help to recover from the wounds the cult(s) left me with.
Recently, I have been more openly vocal than ever before about my personal recovery from a cult and a narcissistic psychic – wanna-be cult leader, and an MLM or 2. I have gotten some interesting responses from Christians since the news is full of #metoo stories and preachers and priests being arrested for sex abuse or fraud.
We all believe our group of friends could never fall for a cult leader. Falling into delusional clutches is subtle. Most do not see the leader’s demand for complete submission coming. If they did see any commonalities to those horrible events like those that occurred in Jonestown or Waco Compound they would back away quickly.
I think the very word “cult” is frightening to good people who may fear that reading about a different religious affiliation may cause them to stumble and fall prey to a strange belief system.
- Any organization where the leader crosses the line of ultimate power and with loss of the followers individuality it should be concerning.
- If you throw in the words “sex abuse” or church financial fraud participation in the organization, becomes more chaotic.
I have often heard people reply, ” I don’t want to think about any one’s else’s church problems. I want to focus on only my church. We don’t have any problems in our group.”
Whether or not we want to know about some one else’s “mistakes” there are clear cut warning signs.
- If we know those warning signs we can make informed decisions about the relationship we have in the groups we participate in.
Avoid thinking about uncomfortable things will not make everything perfect…
When studying facts on “strange belief persuasions” I have learned that most cults are not so strange after all…
…OK, some really are bizarre, but not all. Some on the surface may seem pretty normal.
Generally when the word ‘cult’ is used people first think of the Moonies; WACO: Jones Town and Charles Manson.
- There are library shelves full of books on the well publicized cults and their leaders with horrific endings.
- I have also found numerous books and on-line articles that I did not know existed – it never occurred to me to read any of these books until recently. I hope to cut some corner for you with my clickable links to the experts.
I needed to figure out why I, personally, had so much unresolved issues for a fairly well educated women who researches a lot.
Honestly, I thought I was alone in my silent pain with now one to talk to about things that I knew were wrong, but, was always dismissed as being “crazy”. ( Gas lighting)
Exploring the CULT in culture
…normal the people seemed but also by how similar their experiences in cults were to all sorts of every day experiences — in work, politics, psychiatry and traditional religions.
Our parents are our first ‘leaders’.
- We compete with our siblings within the family groups, exhibiting jealousies and rivalries.
- When we grow up, we become independent in some ways… unperceived.
- As adults… we still depend on leaders — parent figures — to look after us and take decisions.
The excuse, “I was only following-orders!” is the adult equivalent of “Mummy told me to do it”. (Social psychologist Stanley Milgram showed in his experiments on obedience … when we obey authority, we do not see ourselves as responsible for our actions…)
A child is more likely to die if it does not obey its parents…
- As people grow up and the society they live in becomes more complex, individuals with expertise had to give direction and be followed and obeyed in certain circumstances.
- That’s how businesses work, military operations run, and schools and countries are governed. A business must have leaders with a plan of action with rules that the employees or soldiers follow.
But cults, because they only serve the leader, exploit and pervert that useful habit and, to establish and maintain itself, does everything possible to destroy family ties, and any other secure and conventional anchor in a person’s life. Click HERE to read the full article
Learning about patterns of behavior of manipulative leaders or groups that control the followers lives may be a real eye opener about your own church, direct sales organizations or even the manipulative tyrant boss where you work who could have traits like a cult leader.
I am not joking.
I have found it quite fascinating to know more about good and bad patterns of behaviors in cult leader may share some of the same mannerisms with our spouses, our parents, our boss, a friend or neighbor and even our pastor at church. ( In an upcoming post I will share shocking details on narcissists – you probably know one.)
Because research is time consuming and even more challenge when one is not familiar with the lingo, I have saved links to articles and resources that I have found extremely helpful. I will be sharing some of my favorite links.
I know that educating ones-self with basics about controlling leaders; safety procedures; and how non-profit organizations are legally expected to be run is a very good knowledge base to have – and, it will not make you fall prey to a cult.
Cults: Public Perceptions vs. Research
July 1998 By John Stacey, Student at Rutgers University
Edited by Rick Ross
There are many articles and media reports about cults and their victims, but how do people become involved with cults?
It seems easy to dismiss this question by simply saying–“only foolish, lonely, or disturbed people join the ranks of destructive cults”. Click HERE to read the full article. https://culteducation.com/brainwashing/8373-cults-public-perceptions-vs-research.html
Definitions of a Cult:
It is easy to click on the blue title links below to read what the best sources have to say. That way I won’t plagiarize 100’s of pages of works that you can pick and chose what you want to read.
- Could you be involved in a cult if you admire someone or something too much?
- Even favorite movies are called Cult Classics with a passionate fan base who watch the films over and over and repeat dialog in their own sub-culture.
- Could your direct sales home business be part of a cult? Ouch! That may have just hit very close to home.
Read what Merriam Webster dictionary has to say.
usually refer to a social group defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or its common interest in a particular personality, object or goal. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult
What is the definition of a cult?
Question: “What is the definition of a cult?”
Answer: When people hear the word cult, they often think of a group that worships Satan, sacrifices animals, or takes part in evil, bizarre, and pagan rituals. However, in reality, a cult rarely involves such things. In fact, a cult, in the broadest sense of the word, is simply a religious system with particular rites and customs.
Examples of Cults
- What Are Some Examples Of Religious Cults? | Jack Wellman – Patheos
Cliques, Careers, And Cults: How Groupthink Influences Us Every Day …
“If all of your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?”
I personally know how exciting it is to get a great discount on the make-up I love or the plastic containers, or the natural alternative health products…
Yes, I admit that I have tried my business skills with Multi- Level Marketing ( MLM).
When I got stressed because I failed to meet my up-lines goal for me- the product was no longer exciting. The MLM company was controlling my life.
I confess- I have been guilty of Cult Hopping and did not even realize it.
The Cult Psychology Behind MLMs
The tactics they use to bait and trap enthusiastic young mothers and hopeful freelancers…
Followers feel they can never be “good enough”
Besides financial devastation, MLMs also dabble in psychological abuse … It’s obvious that most participants don’t make money — yet MLMs only advertise the success of rare distributors who do profit.
This tactic makes most retailers feel like failures — surely if they could just work hard enough, they’d get rich, right? Click HERE to read https://medium.com/@pricelindy/the-cult-psychology-behind-mlms-f9426e8601e7
In religious cults after the initial LOVE BOMBING the followers will be psychologically abused – never fully pleasing the master of control. They give all they have -but never attain the goal, either.
Multilevel marketing – RationalWiki
Regulators have characterized MLM as a form of gambling or lottery. Some MLMs resemble cults. The MLM industry denies that MLMs are anything other than normal, legitimate businesses, and unlike pyramid schemes…Click HERE to read
Potentially unsafe groups or leaders “come off very nice at first, they go for vulnerable people who are looking for answers, lonely, what you’d call ‘normal people.’They’re very good at what they do and can get people to believe anything. You might think you’d never get taken in, but don’t bet on it. “
— Margaret Singer, Ph.D.
What Are Cult Leaders Like?
- Would you like to see photographs of the most famous and scariest cult leaders? Click HERE
- Not all cult leaders murder groups of people. Some might do such inspiring things that normal people flock after them willing to sacrifice their income and their families for the leader.
By Rick Ross, Expert Consultant and Intervention Specialist
- Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader. Click HERE to read all 3 points
- Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.
- Ten signs of a safe group/leader.
Wait for it – upcoming post on narcissistic leaders.
Weird Religious Beliefs
I do not suggest you click HERE to read unless you have a barf bucket handy or are researching the really bizarre. I posted this link only because I wanted to show the wide variety – this the extreme list- TRIGGER WARNING!
Almost every religion includes beliefs and practices that can seem weird to outsiders. The examples in the following list come from all over the world and involve many different religions and faiths.
How Do I Know “My Friend” is in a Cult?
Watch out for tell-tale signs
A typical cult has a charismatic, unaccountable leader, persuades by coercion and exploits its members, economically, sexually or in some other way
How Do I Recognize a Cult?
Practically every cult has certain characteristics that can tell the careful observer that something is wrong.
The information in block quotes has been copied and pasted for informational use only. Please click the links to read the entire articles. Disclaimer: this post is not intended to substitue for licenced medical care or therapy. Call 211 for resources in your community. 988 for mental health crisis and 911 for medical emergencies.)
The Cult Education Institute
I saved the best resource for last. Everything you wanted to know about cults can be found on The Cult Education Institute website, in my opinion.
An Internet archive of information about cults, destructive cults, controversial groups and movements. The Cult Education Institute (CEI), formerly known as the Ross Institute of New Jersey, is a nonprofit public resource with a vast archive that contains thousands of individual documents. CEI on-line files include news stories, research papers, reports, court documents, book excerpts, personal testimonies and hundreds of links to additional relevant resources. This Internet archive is well-organized for easy access and reference.
I am grateful to Mr Ross for providing a free forum space for former cults members like my self to have discussions about healing with other former members. https://cultsinsideout.com/
Rick Alan Ross is one of the leading experts on cults in the world today. He has consulted with the FBI, the BATF, and various other law enforcement agencies, as well as the governments of Israel and China, on the topic of cults.
I recommend reading CULTS INSIDE AND OUT and How to Get People Out by Rick Alan Ross.
For more information on the very helpful and insightful book click this link. https://cultsinsideout.com/
Please note: Malika Bourne the No Non-cents Nanna is not affiliated with Rick Allen Ross.
Destructive cults, groups, movements and/or leaders “maintain intense allegiance through the arguments of their ideology, and through social and psychological pressures and practices that, intentionally or not, amount to conditioning techniques that constrict attention, limit personal relationships, and devalue reasoning.” – Margaret Singer, Ph.D
That is term we all throw around…
“Just as most soldiers believe bullets will hit only others, not themselves, most citizens like to think that their own minds and thought processes are invulnerable. ‘Other people can be manipulated, but not me,’ they declare.” — Margaret Singer, Ph.D.
School Turned Nazi-Like in Experiment
St. Petersburg Independent/October 2, 1981
It was just an innocent question from a curious 16-yr old student. How, he asked his history teacher, could Germans claim ignorance of the mass murder of Jews during World War II? But the teacher, Ron Jones, didn’t just thumb through a history book, or refer to scribbled notes on a yellow lesson pad, for the answer. https://culteducation.com/brainwashing/3254-school-turned-nazi-like-in-experiments.html
Watch the movie The Wave on You Tube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICng-KRxXJ8
Administered by: Israeli Educational Television. The Third Wave was the name given by history teacher Ron Jones to an experimental recreation of Nazi Germany which he conducted with high school students.