The Cult Test|
Questions 81 to 90
by A. Orange
(To go back and forth between the questions and the answers for
Alcoholics Anonymous, click on the numbers of the questions and
The cult doesn't practice what it preaches. The cult leader and high-ranking members break their own rules.
Cult members, including the leader, hypocritically project their own sins and crimes
onto people outside of the cult:
- "They are dishonest."
- "They are unspiritual."
- "They have a hidden agenda."
- "They are narrow-minded and intolerant."
- "They are a bunch of bigots."
- "They don't care about the future of the world."
- "They are incompetent."
- "They are trying to eliminate the competition."
- "They are only in it for the money."
- "They have an evil leader."
- "They are immoral."
- "They are ambitious and greedy."
- "They are not doing the Will of God."
- "They are not real Christians."
- "They do not have a reasonable interpretation of the Bible."
- "They lie."
- "They are in denial."
- "They have strange, illogical beliefs."
- "They are acting crazy."
- "Their lives don't make any sense."
- "They are hypocritical."
- And above all: "We are not a cult — all of those
other groups are. We work very hard to make sure that our group doesn't turn into
a cult like them."
One Oxford Group member,
T. Willard Hunter, did
quite a twisty song and dance
as he tried to explain away Frank Buchman's habit of grossly exaggerating his successes,
and even outright lying:
I expect also that Frank was confident the Almighty
would not be too severe if he should occasionally exercise a salesman's
license for enthusiasm and stretch a point.
Surely he would be forgiven under the rubric of the Congressional cloak
rooms where gentlemen agree there are times when one must "rise above
World Changing Through Life Changing: The Story of Frank Buchman and
Moral Re-Armament; A Thesis for the Degree of Master of Sacred Theology
at Andover Newton Theological School,
T. Willard Hunter, 1977, page 172.
Rise above principle?
Since when are ordained ministers supposed to "rise above principle" and not be truthful?
It looks more like "sink into dishonesty".
Lying. Denial of the truth. Reversal of reality. Rationalization and Denial.
A cult is an assemblage of people who don't want to know the truth.
They often claim that they do; they may talk about "Seeking the Truth",
or "Seeking to Understand the Word of the Lord",
or even "having the Truth",
but they actually do not want to hear the truth. They just want their own
beliefs and superstitions confirmed.
- reject the truth,
- deny the truth,
- won't hear the truth,
- don't tell the truth,
- ignore the truth,
- dislike the truth,
- abhor the truth,
- avoid honest, intelligent discussions of the truth,
- and even lie about telling the truth.
Men, in order to do evil, must first believe that what they are doing is good.|
== Alexander Solzhenitsyn
NIDA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse,
declares in an article on treating drug addiction:
"Importantly, addiction causes distortions in thinking such as
denial, minimization, and projection."
The funny thing is, so does membership in a cult, even a "recovery" cult.
If a group is classified as a religion, then leaders of that group have considerable freedom, within the group at least, to set their own moral codes and to adjudicate between right and wrong. Potentially, any methods of persuasion, short of those which involve actual, legally provable physical coercion, may be considered reasonable within the ethical codes of a self-originated belief system. A sincere believer may feel that, in religious matters, the end justifies the means, and therefore various deceptive and devious practices may, in the mind of a believer, be justified as skillful means, crazy wisdom, or heavenly deception.|
The Culture of Cults.htm
is the term that Moonies use for lying to non-members and deceiving them.
The Moonies believe that they are justified in lying to people because all of those non-members are
evil and serving Satan anyway. So deception, in order to fool people into serving the Lord, is okay.
When the actor Paul Haggis quit Scientology, citing the San Diego chapter's support of
the anti-homosexual California Proposition 8, a defender of Scientology commented:
I am always stunned in view of the obvious brainwashing that must have
happened to some internet posters (or rather the traveling circus of
"commenters" when it comes to stirring up anti-Scientology
resentment). Scientology has never been and is not against homosexuals
and supports their rights just as anyone else's. Given that, the big
question is: why did Haggis bother to make such show-down out of his
choice to sever his ties to the Church of Scientology (after several
years of inactivity, as he admits)? Guesses, anyone?
== From Louanne
There, Louanne also resorts to
attacking the critic
and casting aspersions on his motives,
which is yet another standard cult characteristic.
And notice Louanne's declaration that critics of Scientology are all "brainwashed".
That is projection.
Cult leaders often practice what psychologists call
— just accuse 'the enemy' of committing whatever crimes and sins the
cult leader is actually committing.
That's another aspect of reversal of reality.
Another Scientology reversal of reality is, their "Road to Total Freedom" is really a route to total slavery,
where you have given Scientology all of your money, your house, your credit cards, your life savings, your
bank account, and everything that you can borrow, and now you work for Scientology for free. (Ostensibly, in
trade for more "auditing".)
Cults are quick to deny the truth whenever they are the subject of valid criticism.
Deborah (Linda Berg) Davis, the daughter of cult leader David Berg and
authoress of "The Children of God: The
Inside Story", gave us a good example of such denial and reversal of reality.
She talked about the time that Bob Rogers, a
news producer for the NBC television network, wanted to expose
the extremely loose sexual practices of The Children of God
which included "Flirty Fishing" prostitution
to get the cult more money and members:
When asked if there was immorality going on within the COG,
Hosea [David Berg's son and Deborah's brother]
flatly denied it. Rogers countered Hosea's statements with interviews
he had filmed in America of female ex-members who gave eyewitness
accounts. The stark contrast between Hosea's denial and the witnesses'
testimony was incredible. But why would Hosea lie? To him it was not
lying. All cult members are taught instinctively to lie; the COG
is not unlike other cults in that matter. One is taught that it is
okay to "cover" the truth because "other people wouldn't
understand our beliefs." Therefore, when Mr. Rogers asked
Hosea about immorality, Hosea flatly denied it. Hosea did not believe
it was "immorality." Hosea's thoughts: "To the public
it may appear as immorality, but to us it is the freedom of God's
spirit, which they know nothing of."
The final documentary for "Chronolog" showed Hosea to be an
outright, bold-faced liar. And he was.
The Children of God; The Inside Story,
Deborah (Linda Berg) Davis, page 113.
Synanon gave us a good example of the reversal of reality:
the cult-owned businesses had the Synanon members
working 12 to 16 hours per day, seven days a week, for
wages that ranged from $2 to $25 per week, while the cult leader
Chuck Dederich, who lived in idle luxury at their expense,
complained that he had to support all of their lazy
The ideals publicly espoused by the cult are often the exact opposite of
the real practices of the cult in private.
Daniel Shaw wrote of his
experiences in SYDA — "Siddha Yoga", the cult of Swami Muktananda:
Social workers are taught early ...
the clients' right to self-determination, respect and dignity
for all, the innate worth of a human being, respect for uniqueness, and
the facilitation of the realization of potential.
Religious cults are skillful in advertising the promotion of these values
as the core of their philosophy. ...
The bait of these messages is used to attract members.
Once membership is established, the messages are switched to ever-increasing
demands for obedience, submission and dependence. The actual value system
of a cult is often the antithesis of the system it advertises.
Traumatic Abuse in Cults; An Exploration of an Unfamiliar
Daniel Shaw, CSW.
Seeing Through Tinted Lenses
Like someone who sees the world through rose-colored glasses, cult
members see everything through the filter of the cult's viewpoint.
Jesus freaks judge people on the basis of whether they are seekers,
trying to get closer to the Lord. Communists see everything in terms
of economics and class struggle. Recovery cults judge people on the
basis of their drug and alcohol consumption or abstention. Most all
cults judge people on how well they parrot the cult's favorite dogma and slogans.
After Patty Hearst, the daughter of the Hearst
Publishing heir, William Randolph Hearst III, was kidnapped,
tortured, and brain-washed by the terrorist Symbionese Liberation
Army, she saw her own father as just another rich Capitalist
creep who had never cared about the poor people.
She saw everything in terms of a revolutionary class struggle, and then she
acted on those beliefs, and went out and robbed banks to get the SLA more guns and money.
Similarly, the Moonies see everything in terms of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and the Unification
Church fighting against Satan, to reclaim the world for God.
Scientologists see everything in terms of mental malfunctions — they consider anyone
who isn't performing up to their standards to be brain-damaged and insane (and in need
of expensive Scientology therapy to restore their full potentiality).
And if you dare to criticize Scientology, they see that as proof that you are
mentally defective, and an "unethical" Suppressive Person, too.
Also see this discussion of the phenomenon of "apophenia", which is closely
related to this issue:
a letter with the question here,
and the Wikipedia page with the answer here:
You can't make it without the group.
Many cults use the Heaven's Gate rap: "You can't get into
Heaven without us. Only our group is going to Heaven."
The Jehovah's Witnesses believe that only 144,000 people — all of them Witnesses
— are going to get into Heaven. Members of other religions just won't make the cut.
Many cults say: "You can't achieve purity, spirituality, or salvation
without our group or church."
Or, "You won't be taken up in The Rapture if you don't belong to our
Or, "You won't survive Armageddon if you aren't in our group."
Or, "You will never learn the Secrets of the Universe without our Master."
Or, "You won't be able to attain mental clarity without our meditation,
or our chanting program."
Or, "You won't ever be able to become a 'Clear' or an 'Operating Thetan'
without $100,000 worth of Scientology 'auditing'."
Or, "You won't be able to defeat the Devil without our help."
Or, "You won't be able to achieve sanity without our psychotherapy."
Or, "You won't be able to stay clean and sober without us."
Enemy-making and Devaluing the Outsider
This is the other side of the coin,
"We are special".
Cult members love other cult members, just because they are fellow cult members, and hate critics
of the cult. Cult members are supposedly wonderful, moral, intelligent, and enlightened, while non-members
are stupid, ignorant, immoral, and disgusting.
Amway very much devalues the outsiders.
Amway promoters love to brag that the Diamonds (rich, high-ranking Amway members)
vacation in Switzerland and go on buying trips — not shopping
trips, buying trips — where they go to buy diamonds and jewelry,
while the poor non-Amway people have to vacation in America and "squat in the woods".
A council of the Church of England wrote:
Freud has noticed another very important principle in the nature of the love energies
in the crowd. In a very significant saying he suggests that in any crowd hate tends to heap
up round the circumference.
The love energies are focussed inward within the group itself; the forces of hatred are
focussed outward toward those who do not belong to the group. We do not necessarily mean by
this hatred in the ordinary literal sense; we can however notice this trait in an
attitude of exclusiveness in the close-knit group towards those beyond its ranks.
Religious groups of many kinds adopt the attitude towards those outside their ranks:
"Either you are all out with us, or you are the outcast, the sinner, the person
needing conversion, the person with whom we can have no co-operation, unless and until
you change and become one of us."
The closer the emotional bond within the group, the more this attitude of exclusiveness
and non-co-operation develop toward other rival groups.
Moral Re-Armament: A study of the movement; Prepared by the Social and Industrial
Council of the Church Assembly, C.A.1129,
Church of England, National Assembly, Social and Industrial Council, 1955, pages 24-25.
Those who oppose the cult's program are labeled The Enemies Of The Good.
An "Us Versus Them" mindset pervades the cult.
There is always a difference,
usually aggrieved, between "us" and "them".
- "They" don't understand.
- "They" don't know.
- "They" are losers.
- "They" are poor.
- "They" are stupid.
- "They" don't have our guru's revelations.
- "They" don't have our Holy Teachings.
- "They" don't have our doctrines or our wisdom.
- "They" don't have our knowledge, science, or technology.
- "They" don't know what they are talking about.
- "They" have bad motives.
- "They" are not on God's side.
- "They" are all against us.
- "They" are secretly working for the forces of evil.
- "They" are unfair to us.
- "They" tell lies about us.
- "They" have robbed us and cheated us.
- "They" have oppressed us.
- "They" have hurt us and done all kinds of terrible things to us.
- "They" have ulterior motives.
- "They" are opposed to our good works.
- "They" have a hidden agenda.
- "They" are trying to poison people's minds with lies about us and turn people against us.
- "They" have always been trying to stop us from doing good things.
- "They" are evil.
- "They" are on Satan's side.
Those who leave a cult usually immediately become enemies and
scapegoats and ostracised pariahs, and contact with them is usually forbidden.
Defectors from the cult are viewed as very dangerous enemies because they may
encourage more members to leave (by saying true and sensible things about the cult).
Those who quit the cult become the ultimate outsiders.
The "Hari Krishna" (ISKCON) cult founder and leader gave us this example:
The conviction that Krshna is all in all is established when one hears the
transcendental message from the undisturbed acarya with faith and love.
One who has no faith in or love for Lord Krshna cannot be convinced of this
simple truth. Those who are faithless are described in the Bhagavad-gita
as mudhas — fools or asses. It is said that the mudhas
deride the Personality of Godhead
because they do not have complete knowledge
from the undisturbed acarya. One who is disturbed by the whirlpool of
material energy is not qualified to become an acarya.
Sri Isopanisad, "His Divine Grace" A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,
There we see many cult characteristics and propaganda tricks packed into just one
- Devaluing the Outsider: People who don't join Prabhupada's religion are fools and asses.
- And those fools do not have complete knowledge of some esoteric other-worldly
undisturbed state of mind. Implication: Prabhupada and his followers do have the
We Have The Panacea, and also
the claim that the cult has special secret knowledge.
- And such fools are not qualified to become spiritually elevated beings —
Implication: those who follow Prabhupada are qualified.
The Cult And Its Members Are Special.
- People who don't believe in the teachings of Prabhupada are "faithless",
as if they couldn't have love for and faith in some other deity or religion.
That is the propaganda trick of The Either/Or Technique
— Bifurcation — the Excluded Middle, as in,
"Either you believe in my religion, or else you are an atheist."
- Prabhupada used the tricks of
too: People who won't
believe in what he is selling are "fools", "asses", and
"mudhas" who allegedly "deride the Personality of Godhead".
- Also notice the switcheroo there: When people criticized Prabhupada
for being a phony guru with false teachings, he said that they were attacking God —
"deriding the Personality of Godhead". That's
Framing The Argument
in false terms.
- Notice the propaganda trick of
Use of the Passive Voice:
"It is said that the mudhas..."
It is said by whom? And what does that unnamed person know?
- And then we have plenty of grandiose language and vague, flowery phrases
that leave the mind reeling and wishing for something solid to grab ahold of:
- "The conviction that Krshna is all in all..."
- "...the transcendental message..."
- "...from the undisturbed acarya with faith and love."
- "...this simple truth."
- "...complete knowledge from the undisturbed acarya."
And that paragraph was just the first paragraph that caught my eye. That book is loaded with
crazy illogical statements like,
All the material planets — upper, lower, and intermediate,
including the sun, moon, and Venus — are
scattered throughout the universe. These planets exist only during the lifetime
of Brahma. ...
As you might have guessed, the sun and moon are not planets, and they aren't exactly
"scattered throughout the universe". And nobody but Prabhupada has found
living beings on the sun or moon. But those are minor details
compared to the rest of Prabhupada's goofy cosmology — Prabhupada
was the cult leader who taught his followers that the Earth is flat, and astronauts
never went to the moon, and Prabhupada is the Earth's guru for the next 10,000 years.
Those living beings who reside on higher planets like the sun and the moon, as
well as those on Martyaloka, this earth planet, and also those who live on lower
planets — all are merged into the waters of devastation during the night
Sri Isopanisad, "His Divine Grace" A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,
Name-calling is one common way to devalue the outsider.
Theosophists call outsiders "O.P.'s" — Ordinary
Likewise, in an interview, ex-Scientologist Jesse Prince said,
... the world of Scientology itself is a world of hatred. Um, from my
very beginning experience in Scientology, I — we learned to refer to people
that were not Scientologists as being "raw meat", "wogs",
which is a term that means "Worthy Oriental Gentleman"
who doesn't have a clue about himself, spirituality or anything like
that. So from the very inception, through association with Scientology,
you start to learn to put other people down.
Interview with Jesse Prince, on the Rick Ross website
In Dr. Frank Buchman's cult, "The Oxford Group Movement",
non-members were called "pagans"
and they were considered to be "unguided" — not controlled by God.
Dr. Buchman even declared that those people who would not support his goal of
having a world run by fascist theocracies
were "public enemies":
The true patriot gives his life to bring his nation
under God's control.
Those who oppose that control are public enemies. ...
World peace will only come through nations which have achieved God-control.
Frank Buchman, speaking at Ollerup, Denmark, Easter 1936,
Remaking the World: The Speeches of Frank Buchman, Frank Buchman, page 60.
A corollary to Devaluing the Outsider is the demonization of critics and opponents
of the cult, and the rationalization of attacks on the cult's enemies.
Allegedly, "they" are such terrible people that it is okay to do bad things to them.
"After all, they did it to us first, didn't they?"
Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler actually rationalized the mass murder
of the Jews on the grounds that
"the Jews" had attacked Germany first.
Scientology says that it is okay to attack those who oppose Scientology.
Scientology declares that enemies of Scientology are "fair game",
and that it is "ethical" to commit "overts" against them
and "violate their dynamics".
In practice this has led to everything from malicious litigation intended to
bankrupt the target, to
framing Paulette Cooper for making bomb threats,
to burglarizing U.S. Government offices and stealing thousands of government files
on people who criticized Scientology or who might do so in the future.
Another important corollary to Devaluing the Outsider is the devaluation of any information
that comes from people outside of the cult. Cult members often refuse to listen to or even consider any
independent sources of information that criticize the cult or its leader or its doctrines or practices.
The information is automatically considered invalid just because it comes from someone outside of the
The group wants to own you.
The cult wants your life.
Some cults want all of your money; some want all of your time;
most all of them want all of your heart, mind, and soul.
One of the most obvious and visible problems here is "too many meetings".
They want to occupy too much of your spare time — like all of it.
They have meetings,
and then they have classes or "Bible study" or "training",
and perhaps also lots of prayer sessions or chanting or meditation sessions,
and then they have assemblies and conventions,
and then some more meetings, in an endless cycle.
And somewhere in the midst of all of that you are also supposed to go out recruiting
The cult also wants to control you. First, they want to control all of your time,
and then they will try to control more and more parts of your life: your sex life, your diet,
your choice of reading materials, your choice of jobs,
your consumption of drugs and alcohol (both legal and illegal),
and sometimes even what doctor-prescribed medications you may take.
Channelling or other occult, unchallengeable, sources of information.
The cult teaches that members should meditate or pray or hold séances in order to
receive messages, information, and teachings from The Beyond, or from
a higher plane, or from an Ascended Master, or
even from Jesus Christ or
A corollary to this is that the cult claims that only it and its practices
can give you access that Higher Reality.
Another corollary is that the Guru and his inner circle are allegedly
far better at making contact with "The Beyond" than you are.
They can more clearly communicate with
"The Higher Planes", or
"The Ascended Masters" (or whatever)
than you can,
because they have supposedly purified the Doors of Perception, and you
So, whenever their received messages differ from yours,
they are always right
you are always wrong.
Channelled information creates a closed system that is entirely
self-referential. You can't argue with an Angel, or an Ascended Master,
or a Saintly Spirit who isn't there. All criticism can be deflected
by saying that you aren't pure enough, and you haven't done the
exercises or practices long enough
to have the visions, or hear the voices, and learn the
"Cosmic Truths" for yourself.
That's a standard cult ploy. They say:|
"You can't judge our program until you've tried it.
Just do our practices for a year, and you
will see that it is all true."
If you do their program for a year, you will be so brainwashed that
you will believe whatever they say.
See the web page on
The Heresy of the 12 Steps
for a longer discussion of channelling.
They Make You Dependent On The Group.
They make you dependent on the group, financially, emotionally, or socially
(or in all of those ways).
- They tell you that you cannot make any major life decisions without
- Or, they take all of your money, and your checkbook and credit cards.
That makes you financially dependent on the cult for food, clothing,
medical care, everything, and makes leaving very difficult because you
have no personal resources at all remaining.
- Or, they tell you that you cannot live outside of the group.
- Or, they teach you that you are not capable of managing your own
life without their guidance.
- Or, they teach you that you cannot get to Heaven without their
religion, or their Master, or their teachings.
- And they tell you that you cannot think for yourself.
Cults often encourage their members to regress psychologically — to return to childhood dependency
on parents and unthinking obedience and childlike gullibility.
Many cults call the leader "Father", and the leader calls
his followers "my children".
Cults also make people dependent on the group by taking away all external means of support.
Cults routinely confiscate members' bank accounts, credit cards, and any
other assets which
members may have, thus making leaving the cult very difficult.
Often, members are pressured into quitting outside jobs, and just working for the cult (for very
low wages, or for no wages at all).
The members become dependent on the cult for everything from food and clothing to
Often, the cult then gives members an allowance that is so small that
members simply cannot afford to leave — they don't have enough money for a bus
ticket or a motel room.
Scientology teaches people that they are basically insane — having been
driven insane by memories of past injuries — and that only by getting
a lot of expensive Scientology-style psychotherapy can people be restored
The Moonies teach people that they have been defeated by Satan and his
Evil Ways, and that only the Unification Church can save them from the Devil.
Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult taught people that they had all been
"defeated by sin", and that their thinking was corrupted by
sin, and that only Buchman's religion could "restore people to sanity".
Demands For Compliance With The Group
This item is pretty obvious. It is in the nature of cults to demand
conformity and obedience, and to suppress dissent or independent thinking.
And they are pretty extreme about it.
The early Mormon church demanded "Perfect Obedience" —
meaning that the believers were expected to obey all orders from their
Bishops and higher leaders without question, no matter how extreme the
That even went as far as practicing polygamy on orders from above,
and killing hundreds of innocent men, women, and children at
Mountain Meadows, on orders.
Many other cults make the same demands for total obedience.
Most cults demand the usual list of things:
- You must revere the leader.
- You can't ever leave.
- You must obey all of the rules.
- You may not criticize the group or its leader or its beliefs,
doctrines, policies, or dogma.
- You must agree that the cult is right about everything.
And of course cults have some means or other to enforce compliance:
- Cults often start off with simple public criticism of nonconformists
and other rule breakers.
- Synanon evolved a system of "contracts" where people were sentenced
to any punishment that the group declared.
- And Scientology actually ran fortified and armed prison camps at
Gillman Hot Springs and Hemet, California, where unfortunate
Scientologists were imprisoned and tortured (given R.P.F. —
Rehabilitation Project Force).
- Some cults, like Jim Jones' People's Temple resorted to
public beatings and whippings,
even for the smallest of offenses.
And of course they are infamous for shooting those who tried to leave.
- And the Synanon goon squad, "The Imperial Marines"
degenerated into beating people too, as well as trying to kill splitters
and a lawyer, Paul Morantz, who was suing them for it.
See the item A System
of Rewards and Punishments for more on the subject.
Newcomers Need Fixing.
The cult claims that newcomers are flawed and in need of repair or rebuilding by the
Note that the claim that newcomers need fixing automatically places the old-timers
in a position superior to the newcomers — the old-timers have been fixed, but the
newcomers haven't. So the old-timers are inherently in a position where it is easy
to control and command the newcomers, ostensibly because the old-timers have been
healed, repaired, purified, or enlightened, and know "The Great Truth",
while the newcomers do not.
Continue to questions 91 to 100...
See: William F. Olin, Escape From Utopia, for a very
good, revealing story about the Synanon "recovery" cult.
Richard Mathison, God Is A Millionaire, page 146.
- 1. The Guru is always right.
- 2. You are always wrong.
- 3. No Exit.
- 4. No Graduates.
- 5. Cult-speak.
- 6. Group-think, Suppression of Dissent, and Enforced Conformity in Thinking
- 7. Irrationality.
- 8. Suspension of disbelief.
- 9. Denigration of competing sects, cults, religions, groups, or organizations.
- 10. Personal attacks on critics.
- 11. Insistence that the group is THE ONLY WAY.
- 12. The group and its members are special.
- 13. Induction of guilt, and the use of guilt to manipulate group members.
- 14. Unquestionable Dogma, Sacred Science, and Infallible Ideology.
- 15. Indoctrination of members.
- 16. Appeals to "holy" or "wise" authorities.
- 17. Instant Community.
- 18. Instant Intimacy.
- 19. Surrender To The Group.
- 20. Giggly wonderfulness and starry-eyed faith.
- 21. Personal testimonies of earlier converts.
- 22. The group is self-absorbed.
- 23. Dual Purposes, Hidden Agendas, and Ulterior Motives.
- 24. Aggressive Recruiting.
- 25. Deceptive Recruiting.
- 26. No Humor.
- 27. You Can't Tell The Truth.
- 28. Cloning — You become a clone of the group leader or other elder group members.
- 29. You must change your beliefs to conform to the group's beliefs.
- 30. The End Justifies The Means.
- 31. Dishonesty, Deceit, Denial, Falsification, and Rewriting History.
- 32. Different Levels of Truth.
- 33. Newcomers can't think right.
- 34. The Group Implants Phobias.
- 35. The Group is Money-Grubbing.
- 36. Confession Sessions.
- 37. A System of Punishments and Rewards.
- 38. An Impossible Superhuman Model of Perfection.
- 39. Mentoring.
- 40. Intrusiveness.
- 41. Disturbed Guru, Mentally Ill Leader.
- 42. Disturbed Members, Mentally Ill Followers.
- 43. Create a sense of powerlessness, covert fear, guilt, and dependency.
- 44. Dispensed existence
- 45. Ideology Over Experience, Observation, and Logic
- 46. Keep them unaware that there is an agenda to change them
- 47. Thought-Stopping Language. Thought-terminating clichés and slogans.
- 48. Mystical Manipulation
- 49. The guru or the group demands ultra-loyalty and total commitment.
- 50. Demands for Total Faith and Total Trust
- 51. Members Get No Respect. They Get Abused.
- 52. Inconsistency. Contradictory Messages
- 53. Hierarchical, Authoritarian Power Structure, and Social Castes
- 54. Front groups, masquerading recruiters, hidden promoters, and disguised propagandists
- 55. Belief equals truth
- 56. Use of double-binds
- 57. The group leader is not held accountable for his actions.
- 58. Everybody else needs the guru to boss him around, but nobody bosses the guru around.
- 59. The guru criticizes everybody else, but nobody criticizes the guru.
- 60. Dispensed truth and social definition of reality
- 61. The Guru Is Extra-Special.
- 62. Flexible, shifting morality
- 63. Separatism
- 64. Inability to tolerate criticism
- 65. A Charismatic Leader
- 66. Calls to Obliterate Self
- 67. Don't Trust Your Own Mind.
- 68. Don't Feel Your Own Feelings.
- 69. The group takes over the individual's decision-making process.
- 70. You Owe The Group.
- 71. We Have The Panacea.
- 72. Progressive Indoctrination and Progressive Commitments
- 73. Magical, Mystical, Unexplainable Workings
- 74. Trance-Inducing Practices
- 75. New Identity — Redefinition of Self — Revision of Personal History
- 76. Membership Rivalry
- 77. True Believers
- 78. Scapegoating and Excommunication
- 79. Promised Powers or Knowledge
- 80. It's a con. You don't get the promised goodies.
- 81. Hypocrisy
- 82. Lying. Denial of the truth. Reversal of reality. Rationalization and Denial.
- 83. Seeing Through Tinted Lenses
- 84. You can't make it without the group.
- 85. Enemy-making and Devaluing the Outsider
- 86. The group wants to own you.
- 87. Channelling or other occult, unchallengeable, sources of information.
- 88. They Make You Dependent On The Group.
- 89. Demands For Compliance With The Group
- 90. Newcomers Need Fixing.
- 91. Use of the Cognitive Dissonance Technique.
- 92. Grandiose existence. Bombastic, Grandiose Claims.
- 93. Black And White Thinking
- 94. The use of heavy-duty mind control and rapid conversion techniques.
- 95. Threats of bodily harm or death to someone who leaves the group.
- 96. Threats of bodily harm or death to someone who criticizes the group.
- 97. Appropriation of all of the members' worldly wealth.
- 98. Making cult members work long hours for free.
- 99. Total immersion and total isolation.
- 100. Mass suicide.
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Last updated 13 May 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at