Cults What distinguishes a harmful cult from a relatively harmless new religious movement or self-help group?
1) Characteristics of Cults: A captivating and authoritarian leader who claims to have all the answers to life. His or her beliefs cannot be questioned by group members, and these beliefs replace traditional religious social-political belief systems
2) The group claims that only its members will be saved or given some higher understanding that makes its members superior to all people outside the group. 3) The friendship and “ family love” of the group replaces other relationships, and members are often isolated from old friends and members of their real families.
4) Group members are psychologically manipulated or deceived using mind control, and elaborate frauds are often used to hide the real purpose of the group. 5) Group members are often taken advantage of financially with frequent or inappropriate demands for money or fund-raising, or they may be abused physically or mentally
2) Who is attracted to cults and why? Cults attract almost every group in society: young, old, rich, poor, well adjusted, psychologically needy, crusaders, and cynics Cults exploit the hopes, fears, doubts, and longings of people, and profess to offer them the answers to their dreams. They offer a loving group who seems to offer all of the answers for the future People looking for a feeling of neighbourness that we don’t see today. This is because of technology and such.
3) How Cults recruit and control new members? Some critics of cults call this brainwashing. Typically recruitment programs use a variety of methods that work together to influence the new recruit. 1) Love bombing: recruiters are very warm and loving, person is made to feel special 2) exploitation of personal weaknesses and hopes: under the lie that they are getting to know the person better, recruiters discover the hidden fears and doubts of the person.
3) Group Pressure: surrounded by a group that has been coached to think the same way puts tremendous pressure on the recruit to conform to the group’s thinking. 4) Critical Questions are discouraged: When recruits attempt to ask questions, they are either sidetracked or told to wait till later. 5) Isolation and no privacy: Whenever possible recruits are kept away from family and friends
6) Food and sleep deprivation: Recruits are kept busy with games from the early morning until late at night with little chance to eat or sleep. 7) Guilt, public confession, and group approval: if recruits express doubts about the cults activities or beliefs, they are made to feel selfish or arrogant.