CULTS: A Practical Guide - Chapters 1 + 2 + 3

Discussion of cults generally - not specifically related to the SES or its related organisations.
Justice
Posts: 223
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2006 11:13 pm

CULTS: A Practical Guide - Chapters 1 + 2 + 3

Postby Justice » Wed Feb 15, 2006 3:20 pm

The Author and Publishers of:

'CULTS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE'

have given special permission for the first 3 Chapters of the booklet to be posted on this Bulletin Board.

Complete copies of the booklet may be obtained from:

The Cult Information Centre
BCM CULTS
London WC1N 3XX
Telephone: 0870 777 3800
http://www.cultinformation.co.uk/cic_book.html


Members of the School of Economic Science and Families with loved ones who are members will benefit from reading this booklet. I have found it very useful, and a source of further practical help.

CULTS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE

By Ian Haworth Cult Information Centre (UK)
FOREWORD: BY CHAD VARAH, FOUNDER OF THE SAMARITANS

As founder of the Samaritans and of Befrienders International, I encountered every depressing situation which could lead to despair and even suicide. It wasn?t long before the devastating effects of the activities of Cults had to be added to other horrors, and ignorance about their nature and methods was almost universal. Since 1977 the deaths they have caused have been widely reported in the media, and since 1993 hardly a year has passed without its newsworthy horror.

Anyone touched by this insidious phenomenon needs information and guidance, and I know of no more reliable book than Cults: A Practical Guide by Ian Haworth. I am proud to have been a Patron since the Cult Information Centre started.

Prebendary Dr. Chad Varah, CH, CBE, MA, DSc.
FOUNDER OF THE SAMARITANS


CHAPTER 1

EXPLODING THE MYTHS

?An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

WHY WE NEED THIS BOOKLET

Cults. For most of us, our only contact with them is the occasional brush in the street, with a member, or else a tragedy reported on the news. Most people assume that the problem is small, isolated, and on the decrease. Contrary to what many imagine, however, cults are alive and well in the UK and on the increase: and both the membership and numbers of cult groups are growing. It is safe to say that there are well over 500 different cults operating in the UK today.

At least one of these groups has over 700 different corporate names which some people describe as ?Front Names?. Consequently, this makes the problem of discernment a major one.

Unless people understand the methodology of a typical cult, it is only too easy to be drawn into their sphere of influence. In addition, if counsellors, educators and others in positions in responsibility in the UK are not aware of what constitutes a cult and how cults operate, then they will be ill-equipped to help people confronted by cult-related issues.

The purpose of the booklet is to provide an easy to read, condensed overview of the key issues surrounding cults. It will focus on giving sound, practical help to those personally affected by cults as well as to those who wish to get a clearer picture, for research purposes, of how cults operate.

WHO IS IT FOR?

The booklet is written for a wide variety of readers as follows:

? For students and staff in schools: a. To warn them of the dangers of cults. b. To assist them in their research of the general cult phenomenon.

? For families and friends of cult members to enable them to understand quickly the basics of cultism to: a. Help them avoid making unnecessary mistakes in their communications with the cult member. b. Help them to take the initiative in trying to neutralise the influence of the cult.

? For families and friends of ex-cult members to help them understand: a. What they are likely to encounter in their own emotions. b. What the ex-cult member will be experiencing so that they can better assist in his/her recovery.

? For ex-cult members to help them understand what has happened to them and to understand and accelerate the recovery period.

? For counsellors, clergy, medical and mental health professionals to assist them in understanding the sometimes complex issues surrounding cult involvement so they are better equipped to: a. Warn those with whom they are in touch. b. Offer better help to grieving families that have lost a loved one to a cult. c. Offer better support for ex-cult members experiencing withdrawal after leaving a cult.

? For executives and personnel managers in the corporate world to assist in warning their staff or in assisting those already damaged by cults.

WARNING!

With the best of intentions, some people try to infiltrate a cult in order to learn more about it for academic or other personal reasons. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS COURSE OF ACTION.

Nobody is immune to the influence of the mind-control techniques used by cults. These techniques of psychological coercion can work, whether or not an individual is forewarned of the use of such methods. Since cult mind control practices result in an impairment of one?s ability to think and critically evaluate, the last person to recognise that harm is being done to him or her is the victim.

It is with this in mind that we give this warning and in the interests of public health and safety. Hopefully, if this warning is not fully appreciated by the reader at this stage, it will be, once you have read what follows.

EXPLODING THE MYTHS

In this booklet we have tried to suggest that cults represent a serious threat to the mental health and welfare of the individual and the family. Unfortunately, in Britain there is a great deal of confusion and misinformation surrounding this issue and myths abound. Many of these myths are the result of cult propaganda. Some are a result of the work of pro-cult activists. Others exist merely because the average person prefers to be in denial and say, ?it could never happen to me.?

It is hoped that by reading this booklet most of the myths surrounding the cult issue will be exploded. We would like to underline the following:

1. People don?t join cults. They are recruited.
2. People are recruited by a method not a message.
3. People do not stay in cults because they have nothing better to do with their lives, but because psychological coercion holds them there.
4. Cults intend to retain a hold on people for life, or for as long as they are valuable to the cult. It is not a fad or a phase.
5. Normal people from normal families are recruited into cults.
6. Cults should be blamed for the problems caused, not the individual members, ex-members or their families (blame the victim syndrome). IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE.
7. Cult members are sincere. (Sincere victims, but sincere.)
8. Cult members are victims and need to be treated with love. They are people who need help, not hostility.
9. Cults recruit people of all ages. Not just young people.
10. Cult recruiters are rarely visually identifiable. They usually look like quite normal people who appear to be very friendly.
11. Anyone can become a victim of cult techniques of psychological coercion. However, the safest people are those who know how to recognise a cult.
12. Accurate information on cults is not best obtained by trying to infiltrate a cult. THIS IS FAR TOO DANGEROUS.


CHAPTER 2

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CULTS

?Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere? ? Martin Luther King Jr

There have clearly been periods in history when a variety of new groups with new philosophies have arisen. These groups may have been spin-offs from main line religions or quite individual and independent of any other worldview. However, these groups can best be described as sects and are quite different from what are described as cults (see definition in chapter 3) today.

Cults are essentially a post-war phenomenon. Most cults have arisen since the late 1960?s and new groups are continually being formed. Initially most people recognised cults as ?religious?, which did and still do form the majority of cults in contemporary society. However, the other main category of cults ?therapy cults?, have flourished since the early 1970?s and continue to do so today. These cults do not present themselves as religious in any way, but rather as a whole variety of ?personal improvement? organisations. Their essence, however, remains the same.

Society responded, and in the late 1970?s onwards small grass roots ?counter cult? organisations formed around the world. They monitored cult activity, counselled families that had lost loved ones to cults and exposed the damaging and deceptive recruitment techniques employed by cults.

The importance of the work of the earliest counter cult groups was underlined by the ?Jonestown? tragedy on 18th November 1978, when 913 members of the People?s Temple group died in Guyana after obeying the order of their cult leader, Jim Jones, to drink Kool-Aid grape juice laced with cyanide. That one event probably did more to highlight the dangers of cults and help cult critics than any other.

The cults quickly responded to the growing number of counter cult groups by trying to smear and intimidate their critics. Many cults vigorously attack through the law courts anyone who attempts to expose them. This is one of the reasons why we have avoided mentioning specific contemporary cults in this booklet.

The 1970?s also saw the emergence of small ?counter counter cult? organisations mainly comprising a handful of pro-cult academics that were encouraged and sometimes financially aided by the cults. These groups have tried to muddy the water and suggest, with differing degrees of success, that cults were relatively harmless.

However, more and more people joined the ranks of the cult critics including some scholars in the scientific community. They recognised the methods of cults and compared them with brainwashing techniques previously used against prisoners of war in Indo-China and Korea. Terms like ?psychological coercion?, ?thought reform? and ?mind control? were being used to describe typical cult methods of recruitment.

Some were seeing the work of psychologist Dr. William Sargent in his books ?Battle for the Mind? and ?The Mind Possessed? in a new and even more relevant light. The work of Dr. Robert Lifton in his book ?Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism? soon became recognised as a classic work for aiding people to understand the methods and growth of cults. Academic papers and books written by Dr. Margaret T. Singer, University of California, the late Dr. John G. Clarke Jnr., Harvard University, Dr. Andrew Malcolm (Toronto) and the researchers Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman (New York) added further weight to increasing concerns about the destructive nature of cult methods.

As the war of information between the cults, the counter cult groups and the counter counter cult groups continued, the cults grew, but perhaps less quickly than would have been the case if unchallenged. Along with the growth in numbers and membership of cults came the inevitable growth in income of the individual cults.

As the years passed some cults realised the opportunity to start business enterprises. The pool of ready and willing cult members who would work long hours for little reward made the organisations very wealthy. With a large investment of accumulated cash, they were able to diversify and operate far less labour-intensive financial concerns than had originally been the case. Most of the money in the early days had been generated by deceptive begging on city streets.

Cults also operated in the business world on another front. By the late 1980?s the therapy cults had recruited sufficient numbers of professional people to have begun to have some influence in a few large corporations. By the late 1990?s the problem seemed to be increasing at an alarming rate, so much so that cults seem likely to pose a significant and increasing threat to employees in the corporate world in the early 21st century.

CULT TRAGEDIES IN RECENT HISTORY:

1969: Manson Family ? Actress Sharon Tate and her guests killed by followers of Charles Manson
1977: Simbionese Liberation Army, USA ? (Recruited Patty Hearst). Members died after siege and fire
1978: People?s Temple ? Jonestown, Guyana ? 18th November (913 died)
1984: The Move ? Philadelphia, USA (Members died after siege and fire)
1993: Branch Davidians ? Waco, Texas, USA ? April (83 Members died after siege and fire)
1994: Solar Temple, Switzerland and Canada ? September (53 died)
1995: Aum Shinrikyo ? Japan ? March (Over 5,000 injured, 16 died)
1995: Solar Temple ? France ? December (16 died)
1997: Solar Temple ? Canada ? March (5 died)
1997: Heaven?s Gate ? California ? March (39 died)
2000: The Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God ? Uganda (1,000+ believd to have died)

CULTS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE

CHAPTER 3

UNDERSTANDING THE ISSUES

?People are enticed by a message but controlled by a method?


THE EXTENT OF THE PROBLEM

It is conservatively estimated that there are well over 500 cults that are currently active in the UK. This means that on a per capita basis the UK has a similar problem to that facing people in the USA, where there are 5 times as many cults and 5 times as many people.

Many cults referred to as ?Religious Cults? register as religious institutions and are able to realise the tax benefits associated with that status. In addition, when they are criticised for inappropriate behaviour, they often suggest they are being persecuted. They seem to use the laws of religious liberty in the UK as a licence to do anything in the name of a faith.

Other cults register as non-religious institutions and tend to offer very intense courses, often over a long weekend claiming to assist people via a new therapy or self help programme. These cults are described as ?Therapy Cults?.

The majority of cults fit into one of the above described categories. However, it is not illegal to form a cult and vast sums of money can be generated for their leaders. The wealth they soon generate allows them to initiate lawsuits against their critics for alleged libel or slander.

Whether or not a case has merit, unless the defendant fights the case at great cost, the case will be lost. Few people have the resources to oppose such an action, which can bankrupt the defendants and ?gag? them in the process. As a consequence freedom to speak about the cults is severely limited and less information than is appropriate is available to an unsuspecting public.

With the above in mind it is perhaps not surprising that cults in the UK are flourishing. They are recruiting from the religious and non-religious community, the corporate world, educational institutions, clubs, societies and from within the family.

The main concern about cult activity from the author?s perspective, is that of the psychologically coercive methods that cults, by definition, use to recruit.
However, it is not illegal to use these methods and thus there is no protection for society except by educating people so that they are equipped with the tools that help people to determine what may be a cult prior to becoming involved with it. It is my hope that this booklet will be a part of that educational process.

DEFINITION OF A CULT:

Every cult can be defined as a group having all of the following 5 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, non accountable and has charisma.
4. It believes ?the end justifies the means? in order to solicit funds or recruit people. (Called ?Heavenly Deception? in one group)
5. Its wealth does not benefit members or society.

Certain groups may exhibit some or many of these characteristics, but you should not assume a group is a cult just because it exhibits one or two of the above features.

CATEGORIES OF CULTS

1. RELIGIOUS CULTS

Communal living is common

Members do not usually join the general workforce

Average age at the point of recruitment is in the low 20s

Registered as religious groups

Appear to offer association with a group making the world a better place via political, spiritual or other means.

2. THERAPY CULTS

Communal living is rare

Members keep their ordinary job

Average age at the point of recruitment is in the mid 30s

Registered as ?non profit making?

Appear to offer association with a group giving courses in some kind of therapy or self improvement technique.

The above list of cult category characteristics is a generalisation and we understand that there may be exceptions to some of the points


CULT MIND CONTROL TECHNIQUES

Control over the mind of a potential cult recruit can easily be achieved in the average cult in a matter of 3 or 4 days. This is achieved by using a combination of mind control techniques against the unsuspecting individual. These techniques, which are listed below, break people down physically and mentally and remove their ability to think freely and critically for themselves.


MIND-CONTROL TECHNIQUES:

HYPNOSIS
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

LOVE BOMBING
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

CONFUSING DOCTRINE
Encouraging blind acceptance and rejection of logic through complex lectures on an incomprehensible doctrine

METACOMMUNICATION
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.

DISINHIBITION
Encouraging child-like obedience by orchestrating child-like behaviour

UNCOMPROMISING RULES
Inducing regression and disorientation by soliciting agreement to seemingly simple rules which regulate mealtimes, bathroom breaks and use of medications.

VERBAL ABUSE
Desensitizing through bombardment with foul and abusive language.

SLEEP DEPRIVATION AND FATIGUE
Creating disorientation and vulnerability by prolonging mental and physical activity and withholding adequate rest and sleep.

DRESS CODES
Removing individuality by demanding conformity to the group dress code

CHANTING AND SINGING
Eliminating non-cult ideas through group repetition of mind-narrowing chants or phrases.

CONFESSION
Encouraging the destruction of individual ego through confession of personal weaknesses and innermost feelings or doubts.

FINANCIAL COMMITMENT
Achieving increased dependence on the group by ?burning bridges? to the past, through the donation of assets.

FINGER POINTING
Creating a false sense of righteousness by pointing to the shortcomings of the outside world and other cults.

FLAUNTING HIERARCHY
Promoting acceptance of cult authority by promising advancement, power and salvation.

ISOLATION
Inducing loss of reality by physical separation from family, friends, society and rational references.

CONTROLLED APPROVAL
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.

GAMES
Inducing dependence on the group by introducing games with obscure rules

NO QUESTIONS
Accomplishing automatic acceptance of beliefs by discouraging questions.

GUILT
Reinforcing the need for ?salvation? by exaggerating the sins of the former lifestyles.

FEAR
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 THEY RECRUIT?

Too often rational people say, ?It could never happen to me. I could never be recruited into a cult.? They wrongly assume and often suggest about cult members before they were recruited?

? They were inadequate people
? They were obviously people without direction in their lives
? They were probably not very intelligent
? They must come from dysfunctional families
? They must have had no self esteem
? They were probably not well educated
? They probably had no faith
? They were lost souls, searching for something
? They were teenagers who had nothing better to do

It seems that people want to believe there has to be a special something that makes a person ?vulnerable?. They do not realise that people do not ?join? cults, but are instead actively recruited. They have a reluctance to believe that it could happen to them or someone that they know. However, anyone can be recruited by a cult if they are not able to recognise the cult in advance and have the strength to walk away from it.

However, there are some people who are more likely to be recruited. They are of any age and will usually have most of the following characteristics?

THE LIKELY RECRUIT:

1. Upper income family background.
2. Average to above average intelligence.
3. Good education
4. Idealistic.

Except for the last item, most people would find this a surprising list, but the statistics show a clear pattern.

WHAT HARM DO THEY DO?

When the average person is recruited into a cult they undergo a profound personality change. This occurs in most cases at that point when they succumb to the techniques of mind control. At the same time, cult members lose much of their ability to critically evaluate what is happening to them.

The person has become an unwitting member of a psychologically coercive organisation, but is programmed to say and feel that the cult is marvellous, that they are there of their own free will and that the group is definitely not a cult. The new cult member will now do whatever they are programmed to do whether or not it is:

? Against their former moral code
? Against their former religious beliefs
? Against their family?s best interests
? Against their own financial interests
? Against their own physical and mental wellbeing
? Against their employer?s accepted code of practice
? Against the interests of society
? Against the law

In the above mindset, one can see that the cult member is now at serious risk not just from the psychological pressures that have been brought to bear, but also from carrying out whatever instructions the cult leader might give.

Harm comes to the family too. They have seen the problem for themselves and often been faced with hostility when trying to intervene. The heartbreak they suffer is difficult to compare with anything else. In one family one child had died and the other had been recruited into a cult. The parents said that the recruitment of their son into a cult was harder for them to deal with. ?It was a living death. There was nothing final, like a burial. It was like trying to cope with a sort of living death.? Their pain, their heartache and their grief went on and on and on.

The grievous harm that cults do to people and their families is most obvious when we see the headlines about mass deaths. This however, is just the tip of the iceberg. Cult members too often find themselves facing psychiatric breakdowns because of their involvement. Some members fall ill or become physically injured because of the cult regime. Cults are rarely caring towards those who crack under the pressure, and they are often simply pushed out to fend for themselves.

Even those cult members able to escape from the cult usually suffer from symptoms of withdrawal for a year or more. This destructive harvest rarely makes the headlines, but leaves many thousands of people blighted every year, often for life. Families and society as a whole are left to pick up the pieces and pay the financial and emotional bills.

WHY DO THEY DO IT?

Whatever a cult may claim to be motivated by, it is inevitable that 2 common denominators are found. They are the control of people using psychological coercion and the amassing of wealth. With money and people a cult leader has power.

The quest for power is surely a key motivator for many cult leaders. This power over others may be used to try to implement plans of a political nature. It may be used to sexually exploit members of the cult. It may simply be used to satisfy the leader?s inadequacies and their lust for power.

Perhaps some cult leaders are simply motivated by greed and are ruthlessly focused on acquiring as much wealth as possible at the expense of innocent lives.

Some cult leaders may have started their movement with good intentions, but, as the saying goes, ?the power of love has become the love of power?. Before long one finds that ?power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?.

Other cult leaders may be initially motivated by personal financial gain but after a number of months or years start to believe their own propaganda.

There are of course some cult leaders who have delusions of grandeur and believe that they are prophets or gods or have some other unique ability and/or insight into the future.

These cult leaders are probably the ones that are more likely to provoke future acts of violence against their membership and others in society. Their mental health may well be questioned and found lacking. This makes the likelihood of a paranoid reaction against their members and society a more likely prospect than with cult leaders that are, for example, financially motivated.

SO WHAT?S THE DIFFERENCE?

Some people, particularly those outside of the religious community, have difficulty differentiating between a religious cult and a legitimate religious institution. There are on the surface similarities, but in reality major differences. See the table below:

THE DIFFRENCE BETWEEN RELIGIONS AND CULTS

This is not an exhaustive list and note that some religions, churches or groups that are, by and large. Legitimate, can sometimes display some cult-like characteristics. Similarly, cults will try to use the language of genuine religion, and present themselves as legitimate.

RELIGION CULT

Conversion Coercion
Commitment freely chosen Commitment via psychological force
Between individual and God Between individual and group
Empowers members Disempowers members
Increases discernment Decreases discernment
Unconditional love for members Conditional love for members
Recognises and values the family Alienates members from family
Growth & maturing of members Regression & stunting of members
Individual uniqueness Cloned personalities
Happiness and fulfilment Artificial ?high?
Unity Uniformity
Truth leads to Experience Experience becomes ?Truth?
Accountability of leadership No accountability of leadership
Questioning encouraged Questioning discouraged
Honesty prevails The end justifies the means
Does not hide behind fronts Hides behind fronts

ARE YOU A FORMER MEMBER OF A DESTRUCTIVE GROUP SEEKING HELP?

ARE YOU SEEKING HELP FOR A LOVED ONE INVOLVED IN A DESTRUCTIVE GROUP?

THERE ARE VARIOUS ORGANISATIONS THAT YOU CAN APPROACH TO SEEK ADVICE INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING:

CULT INFORMATION CENTRE
BCM CULTS
LONDON WC1N 3XX
TEL: 0870 777 3800
http://www.cultinformation.org.uk


FAIR
FAMILY ACTION INFORMATION & RESOURCE
Tel: 01642 898 412
Fax: 01642 643 707
http://www.fair-cult-concern.co.uk


FREEDOM OF MIND RESOURCE CENTER
P.O. BOX 45233
SOMERVILLE, MA 02145
USA
PHONE: 001 (617) 628 9918
FAX: 001 (617) 628 8153
EMAIL: center@freedomofmind.com
WEB: http://www.freedomofmind.com

Justice
Posts: 223
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2006 11:13 pm

Cults: A Practical Guide - Chapters 1 + 2 + ?

Postby Justice » Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:23 am

Please note that this new thread contains the FIRST THREE CHAPTERS of the book and a lot of important information that wasnt included in the first thread, which many more people have viewed, but which only included the first chapter.

It would also be interesting to know what people think about the booklet and if you can identify with any of the information in it.


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