Posted by: shekinahp | February 24, 2010

So, you think only fool people join cults?

I thought this article could help those who have never joined a cult and those of us who left the MST cult to understand the myths about cults.

Myths About Cults*
by Rafael Martinez, Co-Director, Spiritwatch Ministries

Myth #1 – People in cults are mindless fanatics.

Untrue. Virtually every member of every cultic group existing on in our world today began their entry into the group as  generally balanced, thinking people who have great potential, skills and giftings they want to offer to a cause “larger than themselves.”  Cult members are both CEO’s and dishwashers, white-collar and blue-collar, scientists as well as grade-school dropouts. While it is undeniably true that some of them have plunged into extremist forms of behavior, and that all labor under some form of cultic mind control that compels them onward into an apparently zealous activism or passion, all of them retain the capacity for critical thought (their ability to responsibly function in society proves this), but have been taught to suspend their faculties of independent and objective thought when focusing on their involvement with the group.

Holistic practitioners fall naturally in this trap, the Energetix Lyceum and EAV College are great ways to recruit intelligent and honest professionals who want to change the health system in this world.

Myth #2 – People join cults because they really want to.

No one deliberately sets out to join a cult – this needs to be shouted from the rooftops of pundits and skeptics of all shapes when snorting in derision over why an apparently intelligent and promising person joins Cult X or Z. People don’t consciously seek to join a cult: they become involved with what they think are sound churches, research groups, personal development courses, Bible studies, etc. People seek to fulfill very legitimate needs such as the search for meaning, a place in an apparently caring community, an exploration of ultimate life purposes and the meeting of felt needs, not because they really want spiritual deception.

You only realize you are in a cult when you leave. Sadly, some of our friends who were kicked out of the cult, still live in denial.

Myth #3 – Cults live communally, wear robes and live secretively.

Another straw man that reality torches into ashes. While some groups do dress, congregate and live in an unorthodox manner, this is far from the norm. Most cultists are fully integrated in society, hold responsible positions in civic affairs and are virtually indistinguishable from other people. Their interactions with others around them rarely raise the kinds of visible red flags such as those we’ve just mentioned. Apart from their efforts to share their own faith, and their observance of moral imperatives sacred to them that are unique to the group teaching they follow, they often appear quite moral, upright and culture-savvy. Cult members pay taxes, are soccer-moms and watch television just like anyone else. They are your neighbors, family and friends next door or in the next cubicle over.

Just read Gregg Hake’s blog and see his hobbies to know what this means.  He is an avid reader of the classics and he  is embracing Social Media “offering inspiration in trouble times”

Myth #4 – Cultism is no different than Christianity.

At first glance, this appears compellingly true because of the religious nature of both, but this is simply not true as well. Cults demand submission to their authority structure, preach that their revelation or insight is the only Truth that will enlighten or save the world, and develop doctrinal positions completely contradicting historic Christian claims – mainly that one must earn God’s grace by their cult-mandated works.

That’s the excuse, that all religions are cults.  The difference here is that the cult demands complete obedience and does not allow questions.

Myth #5 – Cult leaders are openly worshipped as divine.

Cults stuff this straw man by loudly protesting that they don’t worship their leaders but only give glory to God. But this myth, too, is a disingenuous sham. While the “humble” leaders of a cult give great lip service to worshipping the divine, they readily receive and expect “honor” from followers that actually borders on worship. Such veneration of cult leaders as messengers who speak and act with infallible, unquestionable positions of divine authority or ultimate wisdom is a universal characteristic of cultic authority structure as well as the inevitable declarations that the cult leader is “just a man with a vision,” whose words and teaching are authoritative pronouncements carrying the full weight of absolute power behind them.

Again, just read Gregg Hake’s blog. All of those people who happened to be Energetix employees write comments with the same technique that we were encouraged to write to Grant Clarke after a service. Great people, worshiping Gregg.

Myth #6 – Cult doctrine is easy to spot and recognize.

We WISH. This is probably the slickest myth of all. It just isn’t true. False doctrine is very difficult to discern due to the ability of cult leaders to mingle enough sound doctrine with it to make it appear orthodox and inspiring. The dangerous aberrancy of skewed “knowledge” is very cleverly combined alongside brilliant and sometimes even profound insights into a subject that the cultic teaching’s truth claim presents. It wouldn’t BE deceptive if it was served up to the masses any other way! The doctrinal and practical claims of cultic organizations that clearly set it apart as unorthodox and questionable are also very well hidden beneath engaging deliveries by appealing, charismatic figures that introduce a purely personal and subjective factor into the mix that makes detecting them even more difficult.

Who could believe that that charming, well-dressed person with a room full of starry-eyed people leaning on their every word could possibly be WRONG?

Gregg Hake, Grant Clarke and Chuck Reddick are definitely charming people. They are charming only when it is convenient.  Chuck Reddick definitely has two faces, when you can make money or when you can’t. Once you are useless for their purposes Chuck’s charm and sweetness goes away.

Myth #7 – Members of cults stay in them because they’re weak and unable to cope with life.

The membership of cultic groups maintain their attachments to their groups for a variety of reason, but certainly NOT because they are too fragile and incapable of dealing with life outside it. Remember, these are people who are integrated into society who deal with life on the same level non-members do, albeit with their cultic worldview guiding and shaping their responses to it. It actually takes enormous amounts of personal courage and self-determination to remain committed to a group that often puts them at odds and even opposition to their own non-cult family members and friends. They stay because they are persuaded and conditioned to believe that there are no other meaningful alternative places to go outside the cultic fold. Most cult members have family, friends, business associates and other personal attachments with the group that they won’t break from easily. But they also remain due to the systematically implanted misinformation, controlled behavior and blind trust in their group they’ve been taught to express – but not because they are weak and spineless.

That’s why most of us stayed until we were laid off or demoted and humiliated to the point that we had no other choice than leave, but because of that, some of us are still struggling without the protective umbrella of the cult.

*Source: http://www.spiritwatch.org/cultmyths.htm

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Responses

  1. This is so good, thank you !

  2. Thank you so much for sharing Rafael Martinez’s article! Wow! That is absolutely true.

    Who will be willing to join a cult? Nobody!!

    People are willing to have a better world, to help others, to “serve God,” definitely! Nevertheless, those are not even the main reasons why we went to a Handling Stress Class or to the Holistic Health Lyceums, for instance! Most of us, who joined the Institute of Applied Ontology, did so in order to live better or to have better relationships (ironic!).

    I went to the Handling Stress Class, my first weekend seminar, with one goal in mind: personal development. The class made so much sense that I took the next class- “The Art and Science of Living,” and then the next one, and then the next one. All of the sudden, I was part of the Ministry of the Spirit of Truth, working normal and extra hours and listening to Services every Wednesday and Sunday.

    When you have charismatic, nice and kind teachers, like Gregory Hake, Chuck Reddick and Grant Clarke, you really think you are in good hands, that you are a better person, and that you and this entire wonderful group of people will restore the world. You really think that is the most meaningful thing, and therefore you don’t listen to your family anymore, you reject your religion and you live in this fake community, doing what you are asked to do.

    You can see how hypocrites cult leaders are when they write blogs or articles for a better life and health, after all they’ve done. Nobody willingly signed up for that exploitation, huge amount of heartless lies and spiritual abuse. That is definitely a myth!

    Cult leaders have really evil intentions! How can Gregg Hake sleep at night after all of the damage he has caused? Oh, it must be because he doesn’t believe in God. In fact, he believes that his son is the new Messiah. (One of the main reasons that made me think, “Ok, this is starting to be too weird! I should leave.”)

  3. Wow! You live so close to Hollywood, I have to believe that some screenwriter would love to read this blog and do the next Lifetime movie. As they say, you can’t make this stuff up- truth is stranger than fiction!

    Gregg is clearly a sociopath- no sense of right and wrong. Sociopaths are often charming (remember Ted Bundy)? Charming until they are crossed, then their true selves emerge, and it’s ugly.

    Why not statt exposing this phony to the Dahlonega public? Send a letter to the editor: wknuckles@thedahloneganugget.com (letters to the editor)

  4. Thanks for posting this!!

    EXCELLENT information & so very true.

    April

  5. Speaking as someone who’s been in one, I want to ad a couple thoughts.
    Myth#1
    Something you neglected to mention is that cults, like mental illness, take normal healthy things everone does, like wanting to fit in, and uses those drives to exploit.
    Myth#2
    Some people DO want to join cults. After being asked to leave one, my wife and I considered what happened, and came to accept the fact we had belonged to a cult. We actively another. We planned on pretending like we really cared, to get the constant community and closeness that came with the first cult.
    Myth#4
    Because cults are a twisting of a normal response to a normal stimuli, cults look a like all major religions.

    Myth#6
    To my knowledge there is no such thing as “cult doctrine”. No ammount of truth can prevent a cult, and no lack of it can cause one. Think of how many organizations you have belonged to in your life where things were “because that’s just how we do it around here.” It becomes a cult when the local norms are in open conflict with normal social guidelines. Cults have formed around people like Ayn Rand…who’s personal doctrine should have prevented cultic behavior.
    Myth#7 I think it would be wrong to entirely rule out weak-mindedness as cause for staying. When I was involved with cult, I was, in fact weak minded. Many people emerge from deep cults (like the FLDS) with mind so warped by the cult they have a very difficult time getting back into normal society.

    Finally, responding to both the commments, and something missing. In master and slave relationship (which cults are)the material harm is most graphically seen on the members, while the leader gets fat by exploiting them. However, psychologically, mastership is as destructive as slavery.

    Imagine you are a leader. If the people you lead consistently ‘protect’ you from the truth, you will increasingly live in a dream world…just like your followers. I’m not saying cult leaders are good (they’re not) or that what they do is OK (it’s not) but that it is total possible for a well meaning person to end up in charge of a groups of people, and gradually that group becomes a cult. The unhealthy needs of the leader and the unhealthy needs of the followers create a dynamic. Most often, the leader recognizes this and takes steps to change it. Sometimes they don’t. I don’t think that sometimes is always intentional.

    I personally watched this happen. I watched a good man with a good vision become manipulative but very pleasant, well meaning and charismatic tyrant over a 2 year period.


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