"The Cult Test" - fantastic for people trying to recover from a cult

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by redplaidsofa, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. redplaidsofa Member

    "The Cult Test" - fantastic for people trying to recover from a cult

    This is a FANTASTIC website for people trying to get their mind back from ANY cult. Fantastic brain food!

    I find it wonderful that even though this guy is talking about cults in general, he does target scientology in particular. EPIC!

    ALSO... it's also an excellent checklist to if make sure anything we get involved will not unintentionally end up up with cult-like tendencies... good inoculation for any Anon - or anyone else for that matter.

    I find it's perfect for people trying to survive any kind of abuse... after all, an abusive relationship is simply a cult of two - with or without the religious aspect. (!!!)

    Here ya go... The Cult Test, Questions 0

  2. webkilla Member

    Re: "The Cult Test" - fantastic for people trying to recover from a cult

    good reading
  3. gizmogirl Member

    Re: "The Cult Test" - fantastic for people trying to recover from a cult

    What a brilliant (and scary) list of questions. Thank you for posting it.
  4. snakeyes Member

    Re: "The Cult Test" - fantastic for people trying to recover from a cult

    You might want to add to that irrational belief list for scientology:

    1) they believe if you lie you will get sick.
    2) They believe the that a "niacin flush", what happens when you take a lot of niacin, is produced by radiation leaving your body.

    Now, I'm not quite sure how they define radiation, but radiation is always leaving your body if the surroundings are cooler. Radiation is one of the ways in which heat is transferred. duh!
  5. Lorelei Member

    Re: "The Cult Test" - fantastic for people trying to recover from a cult

    One of the problems with cults is that even if someone proves the cult is wrong about something, a cultist will be forced to either realize they were wrong and made a hideous mistake joining and enabling a cult, or they have to make the cognitive dissonance go away by finding a workable explanation that justifies their participation in a cult.

    Such realizations do not take hold and affect change unless the cultist comes to these conclusions independently (perhaps while hearing about abuses of another cult and realizing the same things apply to THEIR cult) and is able to be removed from the hive long enough that they can't get re-stimulated, re-indoctrinated, and manipulated and soothed by other cultists.

    See: "Marian Keech" and her UFO cult. Keech, a pseudonym for a cult leader, persuaded followers that UFO bretheren were going to whisk them away at midnight on a specific day, following a global flood. Midnight came and went, no UFOs appeared, and the cultists went into meltdown. A few hours later, Keech received an "automatic writing" message from the UFOs that reassured them that their devotion and sacrifice had PREVENTED calamity. Rather than pointing to the obvious and accepting they'd been duped into giving up all their worldly possessions and disconnecting from family, the cultists that remained became witnesses for the cult, and all the more convinced they were right and had the answers. The cognitive dissonance brought on by the realization that they had been foolish and wrong was relieved when they came up with a good enough excuse for their failure and could remain enlightened saviors and faithful cult members. They clung to the identity they had gradually convinced themselves to adopt; abandoning it and facing the wreck they'd made of their lives was too painful, in comparison.

    Convincing a cultist to imagine a positive life outside the cult where they could resume previous passions and interests often breaks through this issue. Asking them to "blow" or leave, without showing a potential positive outcome, only increases resistance.

    The eight primary methods of indoctrination / mind control:

    1. Milieu control
    This is the control of communication within an environment. If it is intense, it becomes an individual's internal control. A conviction that reality is the cult's sole possession. Autonomy / individuality is threatening to milieu control. Often imposed via a series of events, lectures, classes, retreats, etc.

    Example: These use a form of influence and social pressure initially. A nice person invites you to a seminar or to take a stress test. If you agree, you socially obligate yourself in a number of ways, including the "law of reciprocation" (used by Krishnas in airports to solicit donations: they give you a flower, you feel socially obligated to repay them for the unwanted flower with a donation). When the nice cultist offers you fellowship or a free test and their personal attention and time, your social conditioning kicks in and you feel motivated to level the playing field by seeking to repay the perceived favor. Some buy books, some agree to attend future social events, some hand over their names and addresses and phone numbers, some donate. The more you are given, wanted or unwanted, the more your sense of reciprocity kicks in. The longer you linger, the more vulnerable you are to increased social pressure and disorientation and the more open you are to accept the cult's messages.

    How to combat this: Always ask yourself if you would have given what you are being asked to give BEFORE being influenced. In other words, if a Krishna offers you a flower and you WANTED a flower, pay for it. If not, recognize you are being set up, drop the flower, and give nothing. If you aren't allowed to decide later, recognize this as social pressure and a sales technique and say "no, I do not make on-the-spot decisions about my finances or how I spend my free time" and move on.

    2. Mystical manipulation / planned spontaneity
    Fasting, chanting, singing, auditing on an e-Meter, rote prayer, meditation are all ways people are programmed to shut off their questioning mind and to stop thinking critically. Often, there is a revered figurehead, seen as a Messiah or enlightened person (or "Source") who is presumed to have all the answers. Other techniques and enforced beliefs are more subtle.

    Examples: Jim Jones (People's Temple / Guyana) used to pretend he had psychic powers. Other cultists, when visiting a recruit's home, or merely chatting with them, would report details to Jones. Jones would then "psychically" reveal these details as proof of his spiritual giftedness, and gullible recruits would be sucked in after seeing this "proof." Elron would attribute known involuntary bodily responses to stimulae and restriction of sensory input, or the flush one gets from an overdose on niacin, or minor successes based on other people's work that he had incorporated into his own, as "proof" that his teachings were valid. Mystical manipulation also includes "heavenly deception" and "ends justify the means" behaviors. In other words, it is okay to lie to people if they aren't fellow cultists, because the cult is following the "one true way" or "clearing the planet" or "trying to do good," so a minor lie is nothing compared to the projected ends: salvation, peace, "a world without disease or war."

    How to combat this: If you catch a cult recruiter in a lie, CALL THEM ON IT. The ends do not justify the means. Ask yourself if the information you have been given could have been acquired in a non-magical manner. Note that paid tarot card readers, mediums, channelers, psychics, and other charlatans are skilled at reading body language and assessing information from things such as the mark's clothing, hairstyle, slang, grammar, concerns, etc. to make their guesses appear more accurate. When that fails, they scattershot open-ended guesses, knowing that, in a group setting, it is likely that someone who wants to believe and is open to belief will apply the generality to themselves and think the charlatan is wise or spiritually gifted or profound. (Note that it is equally likely that two people in a smallish group will share the same birthday.)

    3. Demand for purity
    Idealogical movements strive to control an individual's guilt and shame via a radical separation between good / evil; enlightened / unenlightened. (Wogs / Scilons.) When you follow the cult's prescriptions, you are "good." When you fall short, or the tech fails or doesn't work, you are "evil" and/or need to "do better" or "work harder."

    4. Confessions
    Confessions contain varying degrees of revelation and concealment. What you choose to admit as well as what you conceal are significant. Often leads to a mindset Albert Camus defined as "the more I accuse myself, the more I have a right to judge you." Confessions also set up a cycle of criticism and self-criticism, and "faults" found are something the cult can supposedly "help you with."

    Examples: Rather obvious. CoS adds another layer to these tactics: snitching on others / confessing FOR others. Knowledge Reports.

    Combating: Never willingly tell anyone blackmail material. Get yourself right, privately, with yourself or your personal Higher Power, but no other human being is qualified to tell you how you should personally interact with your concept of God. Beware the tendency to use self-criticism to forestall external criticism you might actually have earned due to your behaviors. Be aware that confession does not relieve you of the need to alter your actions in order not to repeat the same mistakes and bad behavior.

    5. Sacred science
    The need to combine a set of dogmatic principles and pseudoscientific "proof." Sacred science simplifies the world and offers answers to some of the big questions in life. That these answers are goofy or provably false doesn't matter, especially if you can hold off on revealing The Real Truth for a while...preferably until after the target has been thoroughly indoctrinated.

    Examples: Couching cultic beliefs in a cloak of pseudoscience appeals to more cynical modern people who reject a purely faith-based belief system as "illogical." Scientific terms give the illusion of respectability and expert agreement, and a cultist can point to studies (either mocked-up or written by co-cultists with real or diploma-mill or actual academic credentials) to "prove" their belief system is scientifically "proven"...and, look, this study (non-existent, statistically manipulated, non-scientifically-rigorous, or non-peer-reviewed) "proves" it works!

    Combating: If someone is telling you something is true, insist on researching it for yourself, and only accepting independent sources from peer-accepted experts in relevant fields of study.

    6. Loading the language
    Scientology has its own language, and redefines standard English terms in its own way. The more you speak in cult-defined terms, the more open you are to cult concepts. If you can reduce complicated ideas to a simple mantra or rule or guidelines, and appear to simplify it, you may come up with an idea that has personal resonance with your target, and they will identify this resonance with the cliche' as truth, or proof, because they FEEL it is truth or proof. Lionel Trilling calls this phenonemon of language "the language of non-thought," because you aren't using critical reasoning. There is a slogan you can reduce complex and profound ideas to, instead. That simplicity, particularly to a spiritual seeker or a vulnerable person, can be very appealing.

    Example: "What's true for you is true," Scienospeak, "one day at a time," ARC and other terms.

    Combating: Refuse to take the easy route when pondering a complex philosophical question or social problem which has eluded scores of brighter sparks over the centuries. Consider the source, when "answers" are offered. If someone has the truth, why haven't outsiders adopted the truth willingly? Could it be that the truth is unprovable? Could it be that it isn't the truth? Could it be that broad questions about spirituality cannot be defined in a way that appeal to and work for every single person on the planet?

    7. Doctrine over person
    A conflict that occurs when the doctrine says a person should be experiencing X or capable of doing Y and the person is not experiencing X or capable of doing Y. Contradicting the tech or doctrines often is accompanied by guilt or the feeling you are "evil" or "wrong": the tech is infallible; Source is infallible...if the tech doesn't work, or Source contradicts himself, it is your fault for not understanding it or applying it correctly.

    Examples: Either you get with the program, or you are an SP. Your personal needs for sleep, nutrition, a good education, social interconnectedness with peers, intellectual curiosity, family bonds, etc. are all considered to be less important than the doctrines or tech, and you may be forced to choose the doctrines over your individual needs and desires, lest you be accused of being "bad" or "suppressive" or "unenlightened."

    Combating: Define your values and beliefs independently, and reject anything that pushes you to separate or disconnect from family and friends if you have always loved your family and friends (as an example). Do a cost/benefits analysis. Is the cost of doing without something you value worth, right now (not at some promised point in the future), what you are being offered in exchange?

    8. Dispensing of evidence
    Elitism at work. If you perceive you are part of the "in crowd," or that you have an absolute / to9talitarian view of the "truth," anyone who does not have access to the same source of "truth" as you have are bad, evil, unenlightened, wrong, blind, tainted...and they have no right to exist. Who needs proof? Who needs evidence? You KNOW you know! YOU have the answer!

    Examples: Fair Game policy--SPs do not have the same rights as Scilons. The Two Percenter Genocide Solution--those who are too low on the tone scale should be "disposed of quietly and without sorrow." R2-45--forcing "exteriorization of the thetan" by shooting them in the head is somehow for the greater good. The Tom Cruise video--only SCILONS can help! It's a PRIVILEGE to be a Scilon!

    Combating: Being willing to examine conflicting points of view. Not associating disagreement with someone with their morality or ethics or worth as a human being. Respecting human rights in all situations. Being comfortable with individuality and intellectual curiosity, in yourself and in others.

    Just some thoughts, some cribbed from Robert J. Lifton / Steven Hassan.
  6. Kilia Member

  7. Anon Char Member

    Re: "The Cult Test" - fantastic for people trying to recover from a cult

    place holder, this seems a rather interesting tidbit.
  8. star eht Member

    Re: "The Cult Test" - fantastic for people trying to recover from a cult

    this is so good it need it'S own sticky
  9. webkilla Member

    Re: "The Cult Test" - fantastic for people trying to recover from a cult

    it makes for good critisims material - points out the things we can see are wrong with the Co$

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