HOW TO DETERMINE IF A GROUP IS A DESTRUCTIVE CULT
Cómo determinar si un
grupo es un culto destructivo
Q) Anybody can
unfairly attack a group they disagree with by calling it a cult or saying they
are using coercive mind control. How does FACTNet prevent this type of problem
and determine fairly whether or not a group is a cult?
A) FACTNet uses specific criteria to determine if a mind control system has been
used, and does not suggest organizations are destructive or dangerous cults
without careful research and determination that the evidence fits definite
criteria. These criteria are threefold.
The first set of criteria comes from the group' use of a specific set of mind
control tactics. Please see "A technical overview of mind control tactics"
http://www.factnet.org/rancho1.htm for details or see
http://www.factnet.org/coercivemindcontrol.html for a shorter version. These
two documents are derived from the work of Dr.
Margaret Singer professor emeritus at the University of California at
Berkeley the acknowledged leading authority in the world on mind control and
set of criteria has to do with defining other common elements of mind control
as defined by Robert Jay Lifton's eight point model of thought reform. Please
see "Robert Jay Lifton's Eight Point Model of Thought Reform" also at
http://www.factnet.org/rancho1.htm. If most points in this model are being
used in a cultic organization, it is most likely a dangerous and destructive
The third set of criteria has to do with defining common elements of
destructive and dangerous cults. The following section will help clarify
what some of those specific elements and criteria are.
Common Properties of Potentially Destructive and Dangerous Cults
cult is authoritarian in its power structure.
The leader is regarded as the supreme authority. He or she may delegate certain
power to a few subordinates for the purpose of seeing that members adhere to the
leader's wishes and roles. There is no appeal outside of his or her system to
greater systems of justice. For example, if a school teacher feels unjustly
treated by a principal, appeals can be made. In a cult, the leader claims to
have the only and final ruling on all matters.
The cult's leaders tend to be charismatic, determined, and
domineering. They persuade followers to drop their families, jobs, careers,
and friends to follow them. They (not the individual) then take over control of
their followers' possessions, money, and lives.
The cult's leaders are self-appointed, messianic persons who claim to have a
special mission in life. For example, the flying saucer cult leaders claim
that people from outer space have commissioned them to lead people to special
places to await a space ship.
The cult's leaders center the veneration of members upon themselves.
Priests, rabbis, ministers, democratic leaders, and leaders of genuinely
altruistic movements keep the veneration of adherents focused on God, abstract
principles, and group purposes. Cult leaders, in contrast, keep the focus of
love, devotion, and allegiance on themselves.
The cult tends to be totalitarian in its control of the behavior of its
members. Cults are likely to dictate in great detail what members wear, eat,
when and where they work, sleep, and bathe-as well as what to believe, think,
The cult tends to have a double set of ethics. Members are urged to be
open and honest within the group, and confess all to the leaders. On the other
hand, they are encouraged to deceive and manipulate outsiders or nonmembers.
Established religions teach members to be honest and truthful to all, and to
abide by one set of ethics.
The cult has basically only two purposes, recruiting new members and
fund-raising. Established religions and altruistic movements may also
recruit and raise funds. However, their sole purpose is not to grow larger; such
groups have the goals to better the lives of their members
mankind in general. The cults may claim to make social
contributions, but in actuality these remain mere claims, or gestures. Their
focus is always dominated by recruiting new members and fund-raising.
The cult appears to be innovative and exclusive. The leader claims to be
breaking with tradition, offering something novel, and instituting the only
viable system for change that will solve life's problems or the world's ills.
While claiming this, the cult then surreptitiously uses systems of psychological
coercion on its members to inhibit their
ability to examine the actual validity of the claims of the leader and the cult.
Read More about Margaret Thaler Singer
We strongly recommend that you read the
Continuum of Influence
someone trying to unethically
Continuum of Influence
Danger of Cults
is Growing. [September 18, 1998]
Coercive Mind Control tactics, a
does mind control
Q & A
on mind control
of a destructive cult
to determine if a group is a
"Cults in Our Midst," by Dr.
Margaret Singer .
Mind Control Exists
I healed the psychological injuries from my abuse in a cult" by Lawrence
We Strongly recommend that you read the
CODE OF ETHICS FOR SPIRITUAL GUIDES