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This thread may be long but it's very important. I got this through a message from a indirect buddy:
What is a Cult?
Every cult can be defined as a group having all of the following five characteristics:
1. It uses psychological coercion to recruit, indoctrinate and retain its members
2. It forms an elitist totalitarian society.
3. Its founder leader is self-appointed, dogmatic, messianic, not accountable and has charisma.
4. It believes 'the end justifies the means' in order to solicit funds [and] recruit people.
5. Its wealth does not benefit its members or society.
Categories of Cults
*Religious Cults* / *Therapy Cults*
Communal living common. / Communal Living rare.
Members may leave or not join society's workforce. / Members usually stay in society's workforce.
Average age at the point of recruitment is in the 20's / Average age at the point of recruitment is in the mid 30's
Registered as religious groups. / Registered as 'non profit making' groups.
Appear to offer association with a group interested in making the world a better place via political, spiritual or other means. / Appear to offer association with a group giving courses in some kind of self improvement or self help technique or therapy.
Are Cults Harmful?
To remain within the strict mental and social confines of a cult for even a short time can have the following disastrous effects:
* Loss of choice and free will.
* Diminished intellectual ability, vocabulary and sense of humour.
* Reduced use of irony, abstractions and metaphors.
* Reduced capacity to form flexible and intimate relationships.
* Poor judgement.
* Physical deterioration.
* Hallucinations, panic, dissociation, guilt, identity diffusion and paranoia.
* Neurotic, psychotic or suicidal tendencies.
"When you meet the friendliest people you have ever known, who introduce you to the most loving group of people you've ever encountered, and you find the leader to be the most inspired, caring, compassionate and understanding person you've ever met, and then you learn the cause of the group is something you never dared hope could be accomplished, and all of this sounds too good to be true-it probably is too good to be true! Don't give up your education, your hopes and ambitions to follow a rainbow."
Ex - member of The People's Temple, later found murdered.
Caring, loving, wholesome individuals and groups do exist. The call, however, is for discernment and a need to fully question all interesting groups before becoming involved and/or a member.
What is Mind Control?
Mind Control techniques include:
Inducing a state of high suggestibility by hypnosis, often thinly disguised as relaxation or meditation.
Peer Group Pressure
Suppressing doubt and resistance to new ideas by exploiting the need to belong.
Creating a sense of family and belonging through hugging, kissing, touching and flattery.
Rejection of Old Values
Accelerating acceptance of new life style by constantly denouncing former values and beliefs.
Encouraging blind acceptance and rejection of logic through complex lectures on an incomprehensible doctrine.
Implanting subliminal messages by stressing certain key words or phrases in long, confusing lectures.
Removal of Privacy
Achieving loss of ability to evaluate logically by preventing private contemplation.
Time Sense Deprivation
Destroying ability to evaluate information, personal reactions, and body functions in relation to passage of time by removing all clocks and watches.
Encouraging child-like obedience by orchestrating child-like behaviour.
Inducing regression and disorientation by soliciting agreement to seemingly simple rules which regulate mealtimes, bathroom breaks and use of medications.
Desensitizing through bombardment with foul and abusive language.
Sleep Deprivation and Fatigue
Creating disorientation and vulnerability by prolonging mental an physical activity and withholding adequate rest and sleep.
Removing individuality by demanding conformity to the group dress code.
Chanting and Singing
Eliminanting non-cult ideas through group repetition of mind-narrowing chants or phrases.
Encouraging the destruction of individual ego through confession of personal weaknesses and innermost feelings of doubt.
Achieving increased dependence on the group by 'burning bridges' to the past, through the donation of assets.
Creating a false sense of righteousness by pointing to the shortcomings of the outside world and other cults.
Promoting acceptance of cult authority by promising advancement, power and salvation.
Inducing loss of reality by physical separation from family, friends, society and rational references.
Maintaining vulnerability and confusion by alternately rewarding and punishing similar actions.
Change of Diet
Creating disorientation and increased susceptibility to emotional arousal by depriving the nervous system of necessary nutrients through the use of special diets and/or fasting.
Inducing dependence on the group by introducing games with obscure rules.
Accomplishing automatic acceptance of beliefs by discouraging questions.
Reinforcing the need for 'salvation' by exaggerating the sins of the former lifestyles.
Maintaining loyalty and obedience to the group by threatening soul, life or limb for the slightest 'negative' thought, word or deed.
Replacement of Relationships
Destroying pre-cult families by arranging cult marriages and 'families'.
Who Do Cults Recruit?
Cults want people who are:
* Well educated.
* Economically advantaged.
* Intellectually or Spiritually curious.
* Any age.
How Do I Avoid The Cults?
Cults use sophisticated mind control techniques that will work on anyone, given the right circumstances. Those who think they are immune are only making themselves more vulnerable. Remember the assult is on your emotions, not on your intellect.
The two basic principles of psychological coercion are:
1. If you can make a person BEHAVE the way you want, you can make that person BELIEVE the way you want.
2. Sudden, drastic changes in environment lead to heightened suggestibility and to drastic changes in attitudes and beliefs.
Protect yourself! Why go away for a weekend or longer with a stranger or a strange group unless:
* You know the name of the sponsoring group.
* You know its ideas, beliefs and affiliations.
* You know what is going to happen at the gathering.
* You know what will be expected of you.
* You know that you will be free and able to leave at any time.
How Do I Help a Cult Member? - The Do's and Don'ts
* DO try to keep in regular contact via mail or telephone even if there is little response.
* DO express sincere love for the cult member at every available opportunity.
* DO keep a diary of comments, attitudes and events associated with his/her life in the cult.
* DO always welcome the cult member back into the family home no matter what is said.
* DO keep copies of all written correspondence from you and the individual.
* DO record all the names, addresses and phone numbers of people linked with the cult.
* DO try to bite your tongue if the cult member makes unkind comments.
* DO read all of the recommended books relating to cults and mind control, as well as reading other information on the cult in question.
* DO seek help and information from organisations specialising in counter-cult work. We care about you and your individual situation.
* DO NOT rush into adopting a potential solution before carefully researching the cult problem.
* DO NOT say: "You are in a cult; you are brainwashed".
* DO NOT give money to the member of the group.
* DO NOT feel guilty. This is not a problem caused by families.
* DO NOT act in an angry or hostile manner towards the cult member.
* DO NOT feel alone. It happens to thousands of families every year.
* DO NOT underestimate the control the cult has over a member.
* DO NOT antagonise the cult member by ridiculing his/her beliefs.
* DO NOT be judgemental or confrontational towards the cult member.
* DO NOT antagonise any of the cult's leadership or members.
* DO NOT be persuaded by a cult 'specialist' to pay large sums of money without verifying his/her qualifications.
* DO NOT give up hope of success in helping your family member to leave the group no matter how long the involvement has already been
* DO NOT neglect yourself or other family members.