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Cults and Psychospiritual Manipulation

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posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 07:18 AM
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Some years ago I was dedicated to researching the dynamics of cults, closed social organisms, sects and belief-systems. During this time I realized there are things you will neither learn from the cult, nor from the public anti-cult media.

Some points for consideration:

1. Cults have to offer something really good in order to get people hooked

When mass-media critisizes and debunks a cult in indignation and outrage they often conviniently ignore any mention of what gets so many people involved in and hooked to the Cult in the first place.

Nobody is going to join any cult if there is not some promise and (to an extent) experience of liberation, heightened awareness or improved well-being or sense of community.

MSM tries to paint cults as "utterly and totally evil" and its followers as "inherently stupid", but the truth is that many well-known sects and cults would have fallen a long time ago if they had absolutely nothing to offer.


2. Authoritarian Cults are sculpted using the example of the big religions

The methods of recruitment are not much different than those of the big religions. Its always the same psychological methods used and always the same suckers falling for it. And if you have very skeptical and inteligent people, you can still use the same methods on a higher and more subtle level.

You basically say to someone: You are lacking something. I have the answers. I can offer relief.

Anyone in a state of fear or unfullfilled desire can fall prey to this good old tactic.

However, the most outspoken critics of various cults are the big religions themselves. These are hypocrites who, because of the size of their religion, do not acknowledge it to be a cult too, just a bigger one.


3. Polarization is Mandatory


Of course its amazing how people still fall for the idea of My way is the only right way, other paths are wrong .

But this type of polarization is needed when attempting to mind-control ones followers.

If it is not said in this blatant manner, its done more subtly by pointing out why anything other than the methods of ones own cult is ineffective, weird, dangerous, stupid or whatever else.

Many people who join cults have an "anti-system" attitude to begin with. There is nothing bad about being "anti-system". But just because some cult is also "anti-system" does not mean they are your friends.

4. Follow The Leader instead of Yourself

For proper mind-control to take place, the follower must be taken away from himself and his own mastery within, and his mind and heart directed towards some Guru or Leader.

Ever notice how the leaders and gurus of cults are all very interesting, charismatic, intelligent people...but their followers are not?

Following anothers path one doesnt become oneself, but the other.


5. Advanced Mind Control Techniques

There are some Cults which go way beyond the usual tactics and actually use hardcore-mind-control tools to make their followers docile, submissive and giving up their own identity.

Here´s only one of many methods:

You strip someone of his identity and replace it with the cult-identity. This includes creating psychological breakdowns and then giving the person a new name, new vocabulary that is only known and used within the cult, "love-bombing" by the community, giving up family and friends and moving to remote areas, etc.

Of course each of these steps is done with "spiritual liberation" in mind.

Example: While it can be somewhat liberating for some people to distance themselves from their family and move to another location, a cult uses this for their own purposes: To give them a new family, a new attachement.

Another example: While stripping away ones "old self" in order to exerpience a renewal can be a healthy psychological process, cults use this not so that someone can renew himself but in order to replace that old self with the cult-self.


You know you are the member of a cult if you:

a) Antagonize against non-believers

b) Use vocabulary which nobody outside the cult can relate to

c) Had expected more from the cult but keep postponing some type of relief or liberation to the Future

d) Had some kind of relief or liberation at the beginning of your membership but not much more since then.

e) Believe the whole world is wrong except your group.

f) Believe you and your group are superiour to the rest of the world

g) You find it difficult to ask tough questions towards the cult leader

h) The cult leader and group members lack sense of humor and irony.

i) Free flow of information is restricted

j) You are expected to recruit others

....and many, many other telltale signs.

One more thing: Cults work best if you dont even know you´re in a cult or wouldnt even call it a cult. Thats why its a bit tough to tell someone "You are in a cult!" or "You´ve been brainwashed!".

"De-Programming" cultists works much less if you try to do it the way cult-hunters do: By labelling the followers as "stupid" and the cult as "evil".

If you want to get someone out of the cult, you have to learn the benefits that got him into the cult (instead of only pointing out how evil the cult is).

If you too are fascinated by the subject, feel free to discuss.




posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 07:31 AM
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This is what makes the persuit of spirituality a difficult task. You feel as if you are missing something and looking for the answers. You are already succeptable to exploitation.

I find it hard to trust anyone that would offer any sort of spiritual guidance. I am reluctant to even try to find anywhere to further my persuit. So, I am forced to post anonymously on a forum and read books by myself.



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 07:46 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
You know you are the member of a cult if you:

a) Antagonize against non-believers

b) Use vocabulary which nobody outside the cult can relate to

c) Had expected more from the cult but keep postponing some type of relief or liberation to the Future

d) Had some kind of relief or liberation at the beginning of your membership but not much more since then.

e) Believe the whole world is wrong except your group.

f) Believe you and your group are superiour to the rest of the world

g) You find it difficult to ask tough questions towards the cult leader

h) The cult leader and group members lack sense of humor and irony.

i) Free flow of information is restricted

j) You are expected to recruit others


Wow. That Scientology down to a tee! They've even been recruiting in my city on a Saturday afternoon. I tried to have a laugh and a joke with them, but they were like robots. They wouldn't discuss anything about their beliefs with me, yet were trying to push me to take one of their personality tests and use the stupid dianetics machine. They're definately classed as a cult to me know after reading this post.

Out of interest Skyfloating:

Do you think Scientology should be classed as a cult?

What do you think is the most difficult cult to escape from you've researched?



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 08:10 AM
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What you describe is religion in general. I have been working on a thesis about faith, more specifically about the psychological mechanisms of faith.
To sum it up shortly :

Faith is a self sustaining system induced by internal psychological regulation. A "believer's mind" automatically labels rational doubt "a lack of faith", to which the only solution can be reinforcement of faith. The brain short-circuits logical deductive thought, replacing it by guilt.
Rationalisation is therefore associated with lack of faith, so the subject enters a loophole in which any attempt to question the validity of faith is impossible.

My uptake on this....



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 08:46 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
a) Antagonize against non-believers
b) Use vocabulary which nobody outside the cult can relate to
c) Had expected more from the cult but keep postponing some type of relief or liberation to the Future
d) Had some kind of relief or liberation at the beginning of your membership but not much more since then.
e) Believe the whole world is wrong except your group.
f) Believe you and your group are superiour to the rest of the world

Uh-oh... This is starting to sound like a certain 'user-driven social content community' that I'm familiar with...


g) You find it difficult to ask tough questions towards the cult leader
h) The cult leader and group members lack sense of humor and irony.

Whew! So, what exactly is your agenda here, oh wonderfully glorious moderator and forum-creator Skyfloating?



[edit on 22-7-2008 by Ian McLean]



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 09:00 AM
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Originally posted by Nammu
Wow. That Scientology down to a tee!


As I was reading the opening post, this is what popped into my head. Well, let me take that back. Tom Cruise and his robo-wife Katie Holmes actually popped into my head. But it was Scientology, nontheless.

I remember a trip to Austin a few years back. My husband and I were approached by a Scientologist trying to offer us a free "profile." When we tried to ask him about Scientology in general, he kind of beat around the bush and tried to paint it as an alternative to psychological therapy. Needless to say, we declined.

Excellent thread!



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 09:39 AM
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Well, people tend to underestimate the power of charisma. Cult leaders such as David Koresh, for example, tend to use their personality to take advantage of people. Charismatic people have a different effect on people than the average person does. Someone who is truly charismatic is like a drug, they energize those around them.

Now, with that being said, I think it is important to emphasize the demonization of these groups. Quite honestly, I think they should be left alone. I spent several years researching the Waco tragedy and I have come to the conclusion that the U.S government overplayed ts hand and should have left well enough a lone. They went in there and killed those people and never proved one single solitary thing against them conclusively, nothing.

To me, it gets back to the same ol' line. If we don't understand it, if its different then that must mean its "eeeevil." I personally think this line of thinking is garbage, but it is the way the typical person thinks about spiritual issues.



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 09:44 AM
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reply to post by SpeakerofTruth
 


David Koresh was sexually abusing young girls and physically abusing children. If memory serves me correctly, that was one of the reasons for the raid.



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 11:43 AM
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Originally posted by Nammu
Do you think Scientology should be classed as a cult?


I personally believe that the Church of Scientology is a mind-control cult.

But there are some buts:

Are they any more a cult than one of the big religions?

Dont consenting and volunteering adults get to choose what they join?

Also, when talking about Scientology...a topic that always comes up in these threads...must people seem to forget the reason people join is because they offer some psychological tools and techniques that are pretty effective.

Nobody goes joining and says "I am becoming a member of Scientology because they are evil and manipulative".

So when discussing the issue, I prefer to take a middle-ground. Scientologists cant take the middle ground because they are brainwashed. Anti-scientologists and mass-media cant take the middle-ground because they mostly have no idea what they are talking about and dont acknowledge that people join for a good reason.

Scientology is somewhat of a special case. They have some good stuff, especially in their lower levels (to get people hooked), but they also use the very same psychological stuff against their members.

If some scientologists would actually use some of the awareness-techniques taught to them by Scientology, they should start becoming aware that they aware prisoner to a cult.

In any case, I have a large database on them, so if you have any more questions I can probably answer them from my archives.



What do you think is the most difficult cult to escape from you've researched?



Scientology must be one of the most difficult to escape from because it offers so many benefits. You get this whole system of thinking and acting and get so used to it that you cant imagine "going back out there" to live among the normal.

Cults that offer a lot of perks are more difficult to get away from than the more obviously evil.



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 12:07 PM
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Originally posted by Ian McLean
Whew! So, what exactly is your agenda here?


Just having a little chat.



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 12:31 PM
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It's the brainwashing techniques that floor me. Back in my college days I was going through a sort o spiritual awakening. I attended several different churches trying to develop my belief system. One of the places I visited for a while was Jehovah's Witnesses.

They would meet a couple of times a week for study from both the Bible and their publications Awake and The Watchtower. When using the publications, we would simply take turns reading each article and then answering a series of questions that appeared at the end of each one. If anyone dared to try to anwser a question in a way that was not taken verbatim from the text, they were gently chastised and asked to find the answer directly from within the article.

In other words, there was no open discussion. It was just repeating their points ad naseum. After a few months, I guess I was deemed a lost, non-conformist cause becaused I was basically shunned by my peer group. I saw the writing on the wall early on, and stayed only to learn more about the group dynamics.

Needless to say, it was disconcerting at best. For the most part, they seem as good, honest people, they are just overly insulated and seem to accept what they are told without question.



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 12:50 PM
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Originally posted by maria_stardust
In other words, there was no open discussion. It was just repeating their points ad naseum. After a few months, I guess I was deemed a lost, non-conformist cause becaused I was basically shunned by my peer group. I saw the writing on the wall early on, and stayed only to learn more about the group dynamics.

Needless to say, it was disconcerting at best. For the most part, they seem as good, honest people, they are just overly insulated and seem to accept what they are told without question.


Thats what originally drew me to look into the subject of cults. Partially a desire to learn if any of them had any truth to offer...but mainly because I could not understand people who unquestioningly simply accepted what they were told.



"This is what to think. This is what to do".


Jehova Witnesses btw, counts as one of the most boring cults out there. Id prefer Scientology over them anyday.

My first girlfriend, when I was a teenager, was JW. She´d take me to services and the boredom is still unsurpassed by anything Ive experienced since.

If you ask a critical question and look into their eyes it just seems to pass right through them, as if it didnt exist.

Oh...and get this: We dont get to go to heaven after death. If Im gonna join a biblical cult, I wanna at least get to go to heaven!



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 01:14 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


I am in complete agreement that religions are all cults. Every single one.

It's interesting to me that most of the cults that are fresh in our memory are religious in nature. The only ones I can think of that are secular are Kim Jong Il and his followers and the Nazis with Hitler at their helm. I don't think we can count the average North Korean as a cult member though, because I'm pretty sure they are just agreeing with the dogma out of very justified fear. It's unclear to me if the higher ups in the NK communist party actually believe the hype. I suppose Mao Tse Tung could also be included in the list of secular cult leaders as he seems to still have a measure of control over China even in death.

For some people ATS is sort of a cult, but without the centralized leader giving guidance to members. Of course there are the ringleaders among certain groups who post. We all know members who meet all the criteria in Skyfloating's cult list.

Btw, nice list. That was my favorite part.



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 04:04 PM
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Originally posted by Ismail

Faith is a self sustaining system induced by internal psychological regulation. A "believer's mind" automatically labels rational doubt "a lack of faith", to which the only solution can be reinforcement of faith. The brain short-circuits logical deductive thought, replacing it by guilt.
Rationalisation is therefore associated with lack of faith, so the subject enters a loophole in which any attempt to question the validity of faith is impossible.


A great and rewarding topic to write a thesis on.


ATS is a good place to study peoples beliefs and defense-mechanisms as well.



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 06:00 PM
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Originally posted by Karlhungis
This is what makes the persuit of spirituality a difficult task. You feel as if you are missing something and looking for the answers. You are already succeptable to exploitation.


Yes. must rely on ones own spirit.

But spending some time in the "field" you get a seventh sense for what is BS and what seems good.



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 06:26 PM
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To me it would seem to be as if these people have an extended family and a relationship with these others.

It would also seem that they have invested something even more than money that they feel they need in order to survive, especially during rough times as remaining members. Kinda like a 401k or nestegg of sorts?

People who need people? I think it's important to include any new age clubs in this as well. So, does it come down to insecurity and the need to belong and be accepted?

This may also be very true with many people on internet forums.
Something here for (just about) everyone, especially those on the rebound just looking for more answers?

I guess we could say there's an internet (messiah) cult?



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 06:43 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


Great read!


Do you think it is possible for an online community to take on aspects of a 'cult'?

For example, people 'join' a community and over time many develop an altered belief system, one where they tend to accept what is presented by certain prolific members who have a kind of 'cult' following.

I have some theories of my own on this and will present those later in another thread in this forum, but I would really like to read your thoughts on this.



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 06:50 PM
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I lived with a religious group called “Set Free” once. Their ways fit your description of Psycho spiritual Manipulation. You hit the nail on the head.

Luckily I made it out of this supposedly Christian group unscathed, others weren’t so lucky. If anyone has family member involved with this group (largely placed in southern California) be suspicious, and don’t be fooled by the Christian churches they gather at, it is a clever farce to gain followers and workers, who bring in cash and do free labor for this cult.



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 06:59 PM
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so technically, a lot of societies are a cult. More specifically, a "modern" society, where to an indigenous person, terms like 'instant message' 'taxes' 'money' brand names and slang terms are terms only used by the cult members to feel like they are more civilized than a boy who lives in the bush rather than under a Bush. Like when a Bush said "not the law of the jungle" as if any set of laws or rules is better than another.
Based on the presented definition of cult, the term "the american dream" is starting to seem a little fishy, also the fact that we have a "pledge of allegiance" kind of makes it sound like a members only club at the very least, but where is the line drawn for a cult, do not america and many other countries have a guideline for what is considered "sane" or "socially acceptable" ? Do we not find it hard to ask our leader tough questions? hmmmmmm......



posted on Jul, 22 2008 @ 07:24 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


I spent two years of my life at an occult school called, “The universal White Brother Hood” White, as in white light, not color of skin. At the end of the second year, I literally heard a voice in my head saying, get out now your being brainwashed. I left the next day. It took me some years too get back to normal.My question to you, has your research included, an occult that actual has psychics, ( clairvoyants, remote viewer,etc.., working for them. These people new things about me that unless they did an in-depth background check, which after several years I can not still confirm, or they had a psychic plunge into my energy field some how. You done some really good research. Most of what you said is true. It fortunate you did not have to learn the hard way.



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