Customize

HOW TO BECOME A CULT LEADER - Article

Discussion in 'Education, Research and Inside Reports' started by theprofitlrh, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. theprofitlrh Member

    HOW TO BECOME A CULT LEADER - Article

    Thought id post this, its good for an insight into the psychology of how cults operate on the individual.
    It takes about 15 minutes to read. If your pushed for time go straight to the numbered paragraphs.
    The similarities to Scientology will be apparent.
    ------------------------

    AGE OF PROPAGANDA (The Everyday use and Abuse of Persuasion)
    by Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aaronson(1992)
    Chapter 35, pages 240-249


    HOW TO BECOME A CULT LEADER

    On November 18, 1978, not many people knew much about the small
    South American country of Guyana. Even fewer outside of the San
    Francisco Bay area knew that a group of followers of the Reverend Jim
    Jones had set up a "model" community of believers in the jungles of
    Guyana. However, on that day 914 members of Jones's People's Temple
    committed mass suicide. A tub of fruit punch laced with cyanide and
    sedatives was brought out. Jones ordered his people to drink, informing
    them that they would soon be attacked by the CIA and that it would be
    better to die a revolutionary's death. Adult members induced their
    children to drink first and then drank the mixture themselves.

    The behavior of cult members is as mysterious as it is frightening.
    Members of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church periodically
    engage in a mass marriage, being randomly assigned by Moon and his
    associates to mates whom they have never previously met. Members of
    David Berg's Children of God willingly give all they own to the church.
    The backyard of one Children of God commune was filled with
    automobiles, buses, jeeps, and motorcycles that members, mostly
    teenagers and young adults, had donated to Berg. The followers of
    Swami Rajneesh turned over all of their worldly posessions to their
    leader and smiled benignly as he accumulated eighteen Rolls Royces
    for his personal use. One member of the Church of Armageddon
    jumped from a tree to his death believing that, because he had purified
    himself, he could fly. Other members of the cult sit hand in hand in a
    circle and connect themselves to electrical devices to see how much

    page 241

    electricity their bodies can stand because "all substances are from
    God."

    Many claim that cult members are "brainwashed." This rather
    frightening term was originally used to describe the persuasion tactics
    used on American prisoners in Communist Chinese prison camps
    during the Korean War. These camps were totalitarian environments in
    which the captors came to control the thoughts of the POWs by
    controlling all sources of information and by systematically rewarding
    and punishing appropriate and inappropriate thought. Since then, the
    term brainwashing has been used rather loosely and has taken on a
    meaning surrounded by mystery. It has come to refer to exotic (and
    often undescribed) persuasion tactics that are practically irresistible.
    Victims of brainwashing are depicted on television and in the movies
    as if they are in a hypnotic trance. This representation is extremely
    misleading.

    Although they may seem mysterious, the persuasion tactics of
    cults are nothing more or less than the same basic propaganda tactics
    that we have seen throughout this book. Cults simply use these techni-
    ques in a much more systematic and complete manner than we are
    accustomed to. Simply because the end result is dramatic and bizarre
    does not require that the means to get there be mystifying. Indeed, in
    case any of you would like to be a cult leader, we can list seven
    mundane but nonetheless "proven-effective" tactics for creating and
    maintaining a "cult".

    1. Create your own social reality. The first step in creating a cult is
    to construct your own social reality by eliminating all sources of
    information other than that provided by the cult. Cult headquarters
    should be isolated from the rest of the world-a farm in Oregon, a
    secluded house on the outskirts of town, a jungle in Guyana. Members'
    mail should be censored. Family should be prevented from visiting
    members. Strict boundaries between "believers" and the "unredeemed"
    must be maintained. Such censorship can be physical, that
    is, forcibly excluding outsiders and physically restraining wayward
    members. However, it is much more practical to teach members self-
    censorship by labeling everything that is not "of the cult" as "of the
    devil."

    page 242

    The second step in constructing a social reality is to provide a
    cult's-eye view of the world. This picture of the world is then used by
    members to interpret all events and happenings. For example, Jim
    Jones taught that there is a constant threat of nuclear war and that the
    world is full of racism. To be prepared to live in this evil world, one
    must be readly to die. Suicide practice drills were conducted to prepare
    members for the inevitable attack on the Temple by this evil world.
    The Unification Church teaches the Divine Principle, a doctrine
    claiming that humanity must be restored to God's grace through pay-
    ment of indemnity (penance) and the advent of a new messiah (the
    Reverend Moon). The believer is thus prepared to atone for sins
    through service to the church and to accept the leaders word as truth.
    David Berg, known as Moses to his followers, creates social reality for
    his Children of God through a series of "Mo Letters." These letters
    purport to be revelations from God and describe the cult's theology as
    well as providing guidance on how to interpret world events. For
    example, his letters advise cult members that they are special and thus
    above the law, that the world is rotten and thus it is acceptable to lie
    and steal for the church, and that sex with Berg is a good idea.

    To get a real feel for the full power of a cult, imagine adopting their
    beliefs for just a moment. Try seeing the world as if you were a cult
    member. In a bizarre way, the world makes sense, perhaps for the first
    time in a cult member's life.

    One useful technique for constructing social reality is to create
    your own language and jargon. For example, Divine Light Mission
    members call their services "satsang" and "darshan." The Unification
    Church refers to lying to the unredeemed as "heavenly deception."
    Scientology teaches that the "thetan" (soul) is impeded in its many
    lives by "engrams" (aberrations) that result from wrongdoing. A good
    vocabulary is useful for putting the "right" spin on things. By teaching
    a battery of cliches such as "bourgeois mentality," "Krishna con-
    sciousness," "of the world," and "in the Lord" any event is quicklv
    defined as good or evil and critical thinking is abruptly terminated.

    When it comes to teaching your social reality, here is one addi-
    tional point to keep in mind: Repeat your message over and over and
    over again. Repetition makes the heart grow fonder, and fiction, if
    heard frequently enough, can come to sound like fact.


    page 243

    2. Create a granfalloon. The granfalloon technique requires the
    creation of an in-group of followers and an out-group of the un-
    redeemed. The technique allows you to control members by constantly
    reminding them: "If you want to be a chosen, then you must act like a
    chosen one. If you are not chosen, then you are wicked and un-
    redeemed. To be saved, you must act like you are supposed to act."

    Love Israel, head of the Church of Armageddon, teaches his
    followers that he is the "king" and "Christ's go-between connecting
    the members with heaven." He tells his followers, "Don't use your
    little mind inside. Use your big mind, the collective family's mind.
    We're your mind." Love Israel understands the granfalloon technique.
    The essential ingredient in establishing an in-group of believers is
    the creation of a social identity-an image of who "we" are. Joining a
    cult represents a break from the "other" world and the acceptance of
    this new identity. Many cults require a "baptism" or other initiation to
    indicate acceptance of the new identity. A new name can be given; all
    the members of the Philadelphia-based group MOVE took as their last
    name "Africa;" the members of the Church of Armageddon use the
    last name "Israel." Hare Krishnas adopt distinctive orange robes and
    eat a special vegetarian diet. Moonies do not possess their own
    clothes, but share among themselves; when their clothes get dirty, they
    turn them in to be washed and take another set from the commune's
    supply. Thus a simple indicator of one' personal identity--what one
    wears--belongs to the group. The Divine Light Mission "satsang," or
    religious sermon, is designed to encourage new members to start
    answering the question: "What is a premie [the term for a member]?"
    Church of God followers adopt new biblical names. To further increase
    the cohesion of the group, all new recruits must learn three Bible
    verses in the morning before any of the new recruits can eat breakfast.
    The outward trappings of the believer-the new name, distinctive
    garb, a special diet-all confirm that the member is indeed a chosen one.
    To retain this valued membership, all one needs to do is continue to grow
    in this newfound life and, of course, continue to obey.

    The reverse side of the granfalloon tactic is the creation of an
    out-group to hate. The Children of God teach members to hate their
    parents. One Mo letter states that parents are evil; they are not your
    true family; we are your family now. Chinese prison wardens taught


    page 244

    Americans POWs that the capitalist system is corrupt. The Unification
    church teaches that only believers will be resurrected at the final
    coming. The Church of Armageddon teaches that the "world" is bad.
    The creation of an evil out-group serves the dual purpose of making
    members feel good about belonging to the group ("I'm glad I'm not
    like them") and increasing their fears about leaving the group ("I don't
    want to be like them").

    If granfalloon techniques are correctly applied, then you should
    be successful in creating fear of the "outside" world and the belief that
    the cult is the only solution to a happy life. Life is thus impossible
    outside the cult - the only solution to life's problems.

    3. Create commitment through dissonance reduction. Cults can
    insure members' obedience by establishing a spiral of escalating
    commitment; the cult member, at first, agrees to simple requests that
    becoming increasingly more demanding. Jim Jones used such a technique,
    extracting great trust from his followers one step at a time. Some
    light can be shed on what led to the final mass suicide if we look at it
    as part of a chain of events.

    Let's start at the beginning. Jim Jones was a dynamic speaker and
    preacher. It is easy to understand how a charismatic leader like Jones
    might extract money from the members of the church. once they had
    committed themselves to donating a small amount of money in
    response to his message of peace and universal brotherhood, he was
    able to request and receive a great deal more. Next he induced people
    to increase their tithes to support the church. Jones would often ask
    his members to perform loyalty tests, such as signing a blank confes-
    sion of "sins" and admitting to feelings of homosexuality or the com-
    mission of aberrant sexual acts. Jones would tell members that "if you
    were really committed you would be willing to do anything for the
    church."

    Next, Jones induced members to sell their homes and turn over
    the proceeds to the church. Soon, at his request, several of his fol-
    lowers pulled up stakes, leaving family and friends, to start life anew
    in Cuyana. There, not only did they work hard (thus increasing their
    commitment), but they also were cut off from potential dissenting
    opinion; they were surrounded by true believers. The chain of events
    continued. Jones took sexual liberties with several married women


    page 245

    among his followers, who acquiesced, if reluctantly; Jones claimed to
    be the father of their children. Finally, as a prelude to the climactic
    event, Jones induced his followers to perform a series of mock ritual
    suicides as a test of loyalty and obedience. Thus, in a step-by-step
    fashion, the commitment to Jim Jones increased. Each step in and of
    itself was not a huge and ludicrous leap from the one preceding it.

    After making an initial commitment one does not feel comfortable
    reneging on the deal. To justify the sensibility of the initial commit-
    ment, the member is often willing to do more and then still more-to
    make increasingly demanding commitments. In this way, the resolu-
    tion of dissonance and maintenance of one's self-image as honoring
    commitments form a powerful rationalization trap.

    Cults employ other rationalization traps as well. The guilt of a
    sinner can be reduced by a gift of everything one owns to the cult;
    embarrassment over forced sex with a leader can be relieved by
    thinking that one needed such self-sacrificing "discipline;" cruelty to
    outsiders such as parents can be justified by seeing the need for even
    more cruelty; a feeling of stupidity for giving all to the cult can be
    overcome by rationalizing it as devotion to a noble cause. Note also
    that the member, after having done all these things, is faced with a
    dilemma: "How can I explain all that I have done to those outside the
    group?" This requires the creation of a sensible, coherent justification
    that is not easily forthcoming. The rationalization trap is sprung.

    4. Establish the leader's credibility and attractiveness. Most cults
    have leader myths-stories and legends passed from member to member
    concerning the life and times of the cult leader. Unification
    Church biographers compare Moon's birth in Pyung-buk, North Korea,
    with Jesus' birth in Bethlehem - both were at night, both were in small
    unknown villages, and both marked the dawn of a cosmic transition.
    When Moon was 16 years old, Jesus appeared and told him, "You will
    be the completer of man's salvation by being the second coming of
    Christ." According to Divine Light legend, Maharaj Ji, as a young
    child, was already a great spiritual leader and teacher and was thus
    appointed to head a holy family in India. In answer to the question,
    "Just who is the Guru Maharaj Ji?" premies will often answer, "The
    Guru Maharaj Ji is God." After an initial period of indoctrination,
    wardens in Communist Chinese prison camps strove to maintain an


    page 246

    image as wise and caring teachers whose job it was to instruct the
    wayward prisoner in the ways of the truth. Children of God leader
    David Berg, blessed in his mother's womb so he would be like Moses,
    Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and his namesake David, is the fulfillment
    of many biblical prophesies. David Berg's powers, described in his
    pamphlet "The True Story of Moses and the Children of God," are so
    great that, "You can even rebuke the devil in the name of David and he
    will flee. No porter in the world can stand against the power of David."

    What is the purpose of such myths? It is hard to disobey a person
    believed to be "the son of God" or, at least, blessed by a divine
    purpose. Anybodv in their right mind should seek to identify and be
    like a holy person.

    5. Send members out to proselytize the unredeemed. Witnessing to
    the unconverted has the obvious advantage of bringing in new members.
    Perhaps just as important, proselytizing can ensure that members
    are constantly engaged in self-sell, or self-generated persuasion.
    The act of witnessing requires the member to state anew to many
    different people the positive advantages of being in a cult. In arguing
    to convince others, members convince themselves. Evangelical activity
    also strengthens resolve. Each witness is likely to elicit many
    negative responses or an attack on the cult. In defending their beliefs,
    cult members learn to refute a wide range of attacks, thus inoculating
    themselves against counterarguments and thereby maintaining belief
    in the cult.

    6. Distract members from thinking "undesirable" thoughts. Most
    cult doctrines are hard to take seriously, much less accept. The cult
    member, especially a new recruit, is likely to question and counterargue
    such basic points as the value of giving all one owns, especially a
    new sports car, to the cult and the merits of working sixteen-hour shifts
    and turning over all proceeds to the cult leadership. The old advertising
    saw "If you don't have anything to say, sing it," probably never
    applied more. How, then, does a cult leader distract a member from
    carefully scrutinizing and questioning the cult's doctrine?

    The Children of God use a combination of techniques. First, they
    never leave new recruits alone to think for themselves. Bible verses
    are played continually on a loudspeaker, and a trainer follows the new
    recruit around preaching Bible verses and Mo letters - even as the


    page 247

    new recruit goes to the bathroom. The new recruit is deprived of food,
    water, and sleep. It is difficult to think when you are hungry and thirsty
    and fatigued. Famed deprogrammer Ted Patrick went through this
    indoctrination; having been deprived of sleep for forty-four hours, he
    describes his feelings:

    "At first you are frantic for silence - just five minutes of peace and
    privacy. Then your senses begin to get numb - you grow accustomed
    to the constant noise. You also, as you get tired, stop really
    registering what they tell you. You don't hear individual words
    anymore, just a stream of babbling and shrieking. I guess that's
    when the programming starts becoming effective - when the conscious
    mind stops functioning out of weariness and all that
    propaganda begins to seep into you, unconscious."

    There are other ways to disrupt counterarguing in a cult. Chanting
    and singing prevent thinking about anything else but the chant and the
    song. Meditations such as those performed by the Divine Light Mis-
    sion, in which the premie spends hours trying to visualize light, hear
    music, taste nectar, and speak the primordial vibration of existence,
    prevent the meditator from focusing on other, more worldly concerns.
    Nonstop activities such as proselytizing, working, and cooking and
    cleaning for other members further limit the opportunity for careful
    thought and personal reflection.

    Once the recruit has accepted the cult, the task becomes one of
    preventing further close scrutiny and thought about the merits of
    membership. This can be done by teaching that any "disagreeable
    thought" is evil and from the devil. For example, if a member doubts a
    leader's command or starts to wonder about the merits of a particular
    theological point, he or she is counseled that this is "out of the Lord"
    or "from Satan" and should be rebuked. Hare Krishnas are required to
    take frequent cold showers to eliminate thoughts about sex. Members
    thus become their own mind police. Should this fail, more overt tactics
    may be necessary. For example, Jim Jones required a female member
    of Jonestown to have sex in public with someone she disliked as
    punishment for wrong thoughts. Observers get the message too: Con-
    trol your own thoughts, or at least the expression of those thoughts.


    page 248

    7. Fixate members' vision on a phantom. The successful cult
    leader is always dangling a notion of the promised land and a vision of
    a better world before the faithful. Unification Church members follow
    and attend to the teachings of the "Lord of the Second Advent" so that
    they can be resurrected to the perfection state during the third and
    final testament stage. Jim Jones offered Jonestown to poor residents of
    San Francisco as a place that would, of course, require hard work, but
    would afford members the opportunity to "live comfortably - you'll
    have your own home, get a good school, college, swim, fish." Similarly,
    the nineteenth-century Oneida commune was working to build
    "heaven on earth." Divine Light Mission faithful are striving to see a
    light during their meditation and thus become a premie. It can be
    accomplished by service and devotion to Guru Maharaj Ji. Hare
    Krishnas believe that their chanting and dancing is a way to stave off
    the inevitable decline and downfall of humanity. In L. Ron Hubbard's
    Church of Scientology, members are working for a state of "clear." To
    become a "clear", members pay a high tuition to attend Scientology
    classes; devoted members may spend $10,000 to $15,000 in a matter
    of months.

    By fixating a member's gaze on a future phantom, you provide a
    powerful incentive to maintain service to the group. Believers will be
    afraid to stop working, fearful that they or the world may lose the
    desired prize if they take even just one break. The average Moonie
    puts in an estimated sixty-seven hours a week working for the cause.
    It is also likely that most new recruits will be in a state of despair.
    Phantoms can establish hope - a powerful motivator of human behavior -
    by providing a sense of purpose and mission.

    Our purpose in presenting these seven tactics is, quite obviously,
    not to have readers of this book go out and start their own cults.
    Because "brainwashing" can be viewed as "hocus-pocus", some
    people are apt to deny the very real power of cult tactics. Others are
    likely to attribute all sorts of magical powers to the cults, standing in
    awe and fear of their abilities to control minds. By discussing the
    persuasion tactics utilized by cults, we are attempting to remove some
    of the mystery and ultimately reduce the danger of cults.

    But there is another reason for understanding the persuasion
    tactics of cults. Cults use the same persuasion tactics often used by


    page 249

    other propagandists; cults just use them in a more thorough and
    complete manner. It may be useful to reread this discussion and,
    instead of thinking of cults, consider your everyday social groups such
    as family, church, country or place of work. We bet you'll find that
    there is a touch of cult-like behavior in much of our social lives.

    End.
  2. RightOn Member

    Re: HOW TO BECOME A CULT LEADER - Article

    wow that is long.

    How to become a cult leader.....
    take over and fire everyone else....DM
  3. Anonymous Member

    Re: HOW TO BECOME A CULT LEADER - Article

    There is an entire field of cult apologetics, if that sort of thing interests you.
  4. theprofitlrh Member

    Re: HOW TO BECOME A CULT LEADER - Article

    I don't think its about cult apologetics, more about the psychology of how cults operate on the individual, which is interesting when trying to understand CoS.
  5. tamsonsbairn Member

    Re: HOW TO BECOME A CULT LEADER - Article

    I have been reading a book called Secret Societies (from the ancient and arcane to the modern and clandestine) by David V Barrett. Page 172 reads as follows. This book throughout has shown the close connection between secret societies and esoteric religion. There is also a lot of overlap between small secretive societies and small alternative religious movements, often known as sects or cults,especially some of those with a New Age emphasis. To outsiders their beliefs sometimes seem literally incredible, but it has long been observed that people will believe anything if its marketed in the right way. Some of the stranger movements involve magic, some sex, some drugs. The more outlandish the beliefs, and the more demanding the guru- figure, the more strongly, it seems, the members commit themselves to the movement. Cynics see them all simply as a means of exerting power and making a lot of money. ;)
  6. chrisanon Member

    Re: HOW TO BECOME A CULT LEADER - Article

    Wow, thanks!!
  7. Sacred 1479 Member

    Re: HOW TO BECOME A CULT LEADER - Article

    This is a very interesting article. Thanks, I enjoyed reading it.
  8. Anonymous Member

    OSA and The Children of God.

    Ex Scientologist Message Board - View Single Post - OSA and The Children of God.

  9. Re: HOW TO BECOME A CULT LEADER - Article

    THIS

    Very Exploitable !!!!!!!!!!
  10. Re: HOW TO BECOME A CULT LEADER - Article

    ...the result of viewing women's pictures on the internets?


    Srsly, thank for the thread necro here, I hadn't read that article before
  11. Child Abuse Cult

    What about the bit I posted ? Pedobear cult and Ufo cult getting tax exempt together. TFW

Share This Page

Customize Theme Colors

Close

Choose a color via Color picker or click the predefined style names!

Primary Color :

Secondary Color :
Predefined Skins