Cults are groups in society that are seen as authoritarian, exploitive and sometimes, dangerous. Cults recruit their members by luring individuals who are at a vulnerable point in their life. Cult leaders look for smart, spiritual and idealistic people who can be easily convinced to join them using mind control, manipulation and deception to persuade them. A successful initiation of an individual into a reckless cult displaces one’s former self and replaces it with a new one. There are many key aspects to a cult: mind-control, exclusivism, intimidation and censorship. Effectively using these techniques to control their members will successfully re-socialize an individual.
The main way that a cult manipulates its members is through mind-control, built around a strong authoritarian leader who gives their members unconditional love, acceptance and attention. Controlling information they feel the members should know, and more importantly, not know. If the members really knew what was going on, then they wouldn’t be members, they would be fleeing. Cult leaders make their members feel as though they are a part of an exclusive club. Leaders tell followers that they are the lucky ones who will be “saved” through membership in the organization. Character assassination is used to make the individual feel belittled instilling guilty and false reasoning for their past choices and looking towards the leader for support. Belittlement allows leaders to advance their mind control tricks since the members are so beaten down to a vulnerable state. Controlling a person’s identity allows leaders to gain full access to member’s minds, making the process of re-socialization a lot easier and quite effective.
Cults break down the members minds, making them easier to control. Once a cult has fully brainwashed a member’s mind, the process of re-socialization becomes easier, and consequently quite difficult to reverse. Members will be brainwashed to the point where they believe leaving the cult will result in something horrible happening to them. At this point a cult will invoke fear into members, telling them that bad things will happen to them if they have impure thoughts towards the cult, question their beliefs or consider leaving. The re-socialization process is critical to the effectiveness of the cult. By re-socializing cult members they become mere pawns at the leader’s disposal. A cult must re-socialize properly or they risk losing followers and, consequently, baring the truth of the cult’s manipulation. Shortly after entering a cult the re-socializing process begins and bringing someone back from re-socialization is nearly impossible.
It is obvious that the sole purpose of a cult is to manipulate its members’ minds. The only motive that a cult truly has is to brainwash its members and to use them in harmful ways. Cults effectively control the minds of their members and by doing so, they re-socialize them.
Langone, Michael D. “Cults: Questions and Answers.” 15 October 2011
Hexham. “General Information.” 15 October 2011
“Who Joins Cults?” 15 October 2011