Apparently not all cults are created equal.  

It's crossed my mind that with the "right stuff" it wouldn't take much to start a cult. The going will be tough.

For those of you that may be wondering why I would write this discussion I should explain that I was being recruited into a cult myself for over a 12 year period.  You can read about that on my blog.  The following items below are things that I experienced from this cult leader. 

A few brief ideas for a recipe to begin a cult are the following ingredients:

  1. Have a purpose, what do you want?  Begin with the end in mind.
  2. Charisma: make others feel important and validated, be sure to be overly interested in who others are
  3. Build your ideas off of established "faith promoting documents" ie, the Bible, Koran, etc -but put a twist on it that "just makes sense"
  4. Gain the trust, respect, and admiration of those you seek to convert, make them feel "special" by calling often and acting inspired by anything they have to say
  5. Introduce new doctrines privately and slowly, to those you make to feel "in the know" because of their "elite spirituality"  that only you can see in them.  Be sure to shroud your doctrines with half truths until they are ready for "the meat" which is best introduced as "too sacred to reveal" until they are ready for it, always give only tidbits
  6. Empower your followers to think that they are chosen by God.  Teach them how to hear Gods voice, for example tell them to ask god a question and then instruct them to use a pen and paper to write every thought down that comes to their minds.  Encourage them to report to you what "god revealed to them" and as they do be sure to link it all back to your spiritual leadership that granted them this amazing experience.  In other words seek to establish yourself as a guru/prophet leader to them. (always move slowly)  Be sure to build on these experiences to move towards revealing new doctrine from God.  If your friend expresses doubt or concern in this thing be willing to back way off, or take the chance to chastise them by telling them that they are rejecting "gods revelations" to them. (a widely used mormon missionary tactic might I add)
  7. Separate people from loved ones (either physically or emotionally) by explaining to them that their family/friends can never understand the "deeper things of god" that they do.  Make them think that any resistance from family is not in their best interest.  Create an "us against them" mentality.
  8. Create situations where you rely on them to give you spiritual insight.  For example you may feel that they are doubting your spiritual advancement, so be willing to call them and act concerned about what you have been doing, this will prompt your friend to try to validate your efforts as just an honest attempt to gain favor with God.  If they do this lavishly praise them for their faithfulness and recommit to the cause you acted like you doubted.
  9. Interject yourself into other peoples spiritual experiences  for example if they share a dream with you say "oh I've had that same dream, but i was on the third floor of that dream..."
  10. Test the persons trust of you occasionally with a minor deviation from what they already believe.  In this way you can gauge their acceptance or hate of it
  11. Lie, and always be able to cover your butt, the best way to do this is by being ambiguously deceptive.  IN other words maintain plausible deniability.
  12. Last thought of the day, be willing to sacrifice the character of your beloved sheeple, if they question you or report your activities to the authorities.  Maintain to the faithful that those who leave the fold will become miserable.
  13. One more, lie to anyone that "wont understand", lying is essential to protect the great things the Lord is doing with you.  

Help me add on to this list....

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Well, I think you covered most of the things I would have thought of. I do thing the biggest and most important ingredient is to find people who have no friends and no family support and give them a new family with strict codes of conduct.  There are a lot of lonely people out there who will give up their common sense in trade for an extended family. 

Devil Bar

you could invent a new twist on psychology like the scientologists

This video pretty much sums it up:

You forgot that you have to bind them in sexually, unless I missed that part. That is how it work with David Koresh, Jim Jones, and the early 'churches' during the Restoration, like the Oneida Colony and stuff.

You have to make people feel very important, give them jobs, and you have to elevate others to do damage control so that they will feel more bonded, and others will fear/respect/follow them as well. Just think of the 70's experiment in the movie The Wave.

Sounds fun, let's go start a 'church'!

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