Joining the Cult Club -- How People Get Sucked In
by Randall Watters for: Cult Awareness & Information Center
[The following features the Jehovah's Witnesses, but you could substitute a number of other names - such as COG-PKG for example - 'Que']
Q. What do you feel is the most common barrier a person faces in communicating with [Jehovah's Witnesses]?
A. Understanding the whole cult phenomena. The main problem is not that they are 'brainwashed' -- they don't [appear to have the so-called 'brainwashed'] demons.
Generally speaking, they have, in effect, joined an exclusive club that has, as part of its initiation, the adoption of a peculiar world view, a set of glasses through which they look at life. In order to be a part of that club, they are forced to abandon any previous model of reality they may have entertained.
Q. Can you give an example?
A. A woman notices her new neighbor leaving the house all dressed up and her kids obediently going with her. It's [Saturday]/[Sunday] and they're going somewhere, presumably to church. She later talks to this new [Jehovah's Witness] neighbor, begins a friendship and finds out that [Jehovah's Witnesses] appear to be the friendliest people she has ever met. She has recently gone through a divorce and its subsequent loneliness, has two kids of her own and she has no direction to turn to. She feels helpless and vulnerable. She contrasts her life with that of her new neighbor who is confident about the future, has many pleasant friends, well-behaved children and seemingly all the answers to life's problems. Who wouldn't find it an appealing contrast, finding themselves in a similar situation?
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Other questions in the article are :-
Q. But, it's not real ... I mean, it's a cult, and they're really under mind control!
Q. Are you saying that joining a cult is like getting addicted to a drug?
Q. Wow! So the reason a person often joins a cult against all sound advice from others is because of its seemingly miraculous ability to change their life for the better, and fairly quickly. It's a new social setting that works for them as well, a new family, if you will, whereas the old family, the old social life has failed. It has not made them happy.
Q. And the book is free, too?
Q. Wait a minute, though ... Don't Christians sometimes use that technique to gain converts?
Q. So during this critical period of their indoctrination, where they are being coerced into attending all the meetings ... as well as to continue their "home Bible study," isn't that the most important time to present them with evidence of the dishonesty and faulty reasoning of the [magazine]?
Q. A number of active [Witnesses] that I've talked to say that they really DID check things out before they decided to join the [Witnesses]. They say they investigated the [Watchtower] fully before making a commitment. But what you're saying is that they really come under some kind of a spell, some kind of mind control that is not their fault, some greater power or irresistible force.
Q. What about those who are born into the religion?
Q. What you say sounds true, but I don't see a big difference between their kind of coercive persuasion and that used by many Christians within their own families.
extract from the book 'When Prophecy Fails' by Leon Festinger, et al :-
(quoting Jeanne Mills - a former member of the People's Temple)
"When you meet the friendliest people you have ever known, who introduce you to the most loving group of people you've ever encountered, and you find the leader to be the most inspired, caring, compassionate and understanding person you've ever met, and then you learn that the cause of the group is something you never dared hope could be accomplished, and all of this sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true! Don't give up your education, your hopes and ambitions to follow a rainbow."
[emphasis by 'Que']
If you are thinking about being *recruited* by a religious group please go here :-
Armstrongism/Church of God/Ronald Weinland
Also, you can print this page for future reference :-
Mind Control by Cults
Professional help from Christian counselors is available through this site :- http://christiantherapist.com/
(If possible, it would be wise to check if counselors have relevant qualifications. Recommendations from previous patients would also be very valuable.)