Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Culture of Cults: 10 Cult Warning Signs in Any Group

In an earlier post, we dealt with the 5 Characteristics of a Cult Leader. In this post, I want to look more specifically at the warning signs within a group.

The gang over at SOS has provided a helpful and interesting list to think about when evaluating a religious group (or even a church) that you - or a loved one - consider joining.

The following characteristics of cults and sects are based upon the cult classification systems of the world’s leading cult experts like, Singer, Langone, Lifton, and Hassan.

  1. Obsession about group or the leader, putting it above most other considerations.

  2. Member’s individual identity becomes increasingly fused with the group, the leader and/or God followed by the group. Cloning of the group members or leader’s personal behaviors.

  3. Emotional overreaction when the group or leader is criticized. Seen as evil persecution.

  4. Belief that the group is "THE WAY" and they have a mission

  5. Increasing dependency upon the group or leader for problem solving, explanations, definitions and analysis, and corresponding decline in real, independent thought.

  6. Excessive hyperactivity and work for the group or leader, at the expense of private or family interests. Drifting away from family and old friends

  7. Preparedness to blindly follow the group or leader and defend actions or statements without seeking independent verification.

  8. Demonization of former members or members of alternative groups.

  9. Desire to be praised for doing the right thing and fear of public rebuke

  10. Unhealthy wish to be seen with or aligned publicly with the leader(s) of the group

The site points out that:

An organization doesn’t have to have all of these characteristics to be a cult, and variations on the characteristics are many, it just has to have a good number of them to be a cult or moving in the direction of becoming one.

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