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Cults - Recruiting

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Tania Young

on 5 February 2013

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Transcript of Cults - Recruiting

Cults live and die by attracting new members to their flock! True or False? Cults are full of the weak, weird, and emotionally unstable..... False! Everyone is vulnerable! Common thread in cult recruits seems to be heightened stress There are a few psychological traits that can make a person more likely to be successfully recruited:
Low tolerance for uncertainty
Disillusionment with the status quo
Naive idealism
Desire for spiritual meaning Common Psychological
Personality Traits College Campuses
Religious gatherings
Self-help and support groups
Seminars related to spirituality
Seminars related to social change
The unemployment office
Professional and trade meetings
Computer Gaming expo's
Publishing exhibitions
Comicon Recruiting Locations Deception Manipulation Potential recruits are not told the true nature or intentions of the group - who would join? Recruiters learn to pick up on a person's fears and vulnerabilities and portray the cult accordingly Who is doing the recruiting? very friendly
often attractive, well dressed, well spoken
someone you already know?
interested in you and all the things you are interested in
they think you are awesome!
they can relate to you - they are going through similar
a recruiter will dress, talk and act in a way that will put you at ease “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.” Point of Recruitment Personal contact
Advertisements on kiosks, in newspapers, magazines, on radio and television
computer bulletin boards
University/College bulletin boards
lectures, classes, clubs
when surveyed, 66% state that their initial contact with the group is thru a friend or relative So what really happens? Cults have been accused of very systematic and sophisticated recruitment activities:
recruiters carefully selected and trained
research and apply social-psychological techniques of influence
prepare responses for many eventualities Recruiters look for evidence that the potential recruit is alone, in a period of transition, or otherwise vulnerable New recruits are rarely told about the true nature of the group and it's objectives - the identity of the group and the demands it places on its members are revealed gradually as the recruit becomes more interested and involved. The Invitation: potential recruits are pressed to attend an event right away...recruiter says the event is perfect for them, gives them no time to reflect on whether they really want to go Anyone who shows interest is pressured into signing up for other activities offered by the group new recruits are never allowed to be alone or to discuss what they are doing with each other all challenging inquiries are directed to senior members no opportunity for doubts or negative feelings to be supported, corroborated , or validated because there is no dissenting view, recruits are left believing that everyone else agrees with what is going on Cult Jargon: Cult members speak in their own language....newcomers feel left out. Recruits quickly realize they need to mirror the behaviour and imitate the language of other members in order to be accepted Love-bombing new recruit is surrounded by praise, compliments, flattery, affection, hugs, reassurance, the offer of instant friendship At retreats and other events are kept abnormally busy - lectures, games, plays, sing-alongs, therapy groups, charity work etc. No opportunity to reflect seriously on the new ideas and practices that they are exposed to! Isolation: control recruits access to information and other people incoming & outgoing correspondence
telephone calls
radio, television, internet access
unauthorized reading material
no visits from outsiders
supervised trips to the outside Contact with friends and family is cut off or strongly discouraged by leaders and peers 4. 2. 1. 3. 5. 6. 7. 8. Confession: info is used to play upon their natural feelings of guilt and anxiety about past experiences and future uncertainties recruit may be deprived of adequate sustenance (often vegetarian diet) and/or sleep so their ability to think clearly or offer emotional resistance is psychologically undermined 9. 10. Induced Dependency: 11. Cult leaders demand absolute, unquestioning devotion, loyalty, and submission. Recruits sense of self is systematically destroyed - member is removed from all decision-making
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