Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cult Methodology

I decided to comprise this list for our mutual edification that entails the tactics of cult coercion; that is a cult’s general efforts to bring someone “into their fold.” Not every cult functions or uses every tactic listed below, but some or most appear in their dealings with both those without their sect and (to keep everyone faithful) those within. This list has been compiled by men who study cults and their tactics, and have dedicated their lives to reaching out to those caught in such a sect and extracting them, by the grace of God. It is for those who are part of such a system, and for everyone who ought to be warned about these tactics that I present this list. God bless.

1. Absolute loyalty. Allegiance to the sect is demanded and enforced by actual or veiled threats to one’s body or eternal spiritual condition.

2. Altered diet. Depriving one of essential nutrients and enforcing a low-protein diet can lead to disorientation and emotional susceptibility.

3. Chanting and meditation. Objective intellectual input is avoided by countering anticult questions with repetitious songs and chants.

4. Conformity. Dress, language, names, and interests take on a sameness which erodes individuality.

5. Doctrinal confusion. Incomprehensible “truths” are more readily accepted when presented in a complex fashion which encourages rejection of logical thought.

6. Exclusivity. Those outside the cult are viewed as spiritually inferior, creating an exclusive attitude of self-righteous “we” verses “they” mentality.

7. Financial involvement. All or part of one’s personal assets may be donated to the cult, increasing a vested interest in sticking-with-it and lessening the chance of returning to a former vocation.

8. Hypnotic states. Inducing a highly susceptible state of mind may be accomplished by chanting, repetitious singing, or meditation.

9. Isolation from outside. Diminished perception of reality results when one is physically separated from friends, society, and the rational frame of reference in which one has previously functioned.

10. Lack of privacy. Reflective, critical thinking is impossible in a setting where cult members are seldom left unattended.

11. Love bombing. Physical affection and constant contrived attention can give a false sense of camaraderie.

12. Megacommunication. Long, confusing lectures can be an effective tool if the inductee is bombarded by glib rhetoric and catch phrases.

13. New relationships. Marriage to another cult member and the destruction of past family relationships integrates one fully into the cult “family.”

14. Nonsensical activities. Games and other activities with no apparent purpose leave one dependent upon a group or leader to give direction and order.

15. Pavlovian control. Behavior modification by alternating reward and punishment leads to confusion and dependency.

16. Peer pressure. By exploiting one’s desire for acceptance, doubts about cult practices can be overcome by offering a sense of belonging to an affirming community.

17. Sensory deprivation. Fatigue coupled with prolonged activity can make one vulnerable to otherwise offensive beliefs and suggestions.

18. Surrendered privacy. The ego’s normal emotional defensive mechanisms can easily be stripped away by having the new member share personal secrets which can later be used for intimidation.

19. Unquestioning submission. Acceptance of cult practices is achieved by discouraging any questions or natural curiosity which may challenge what the leaders propagate.

20. Value rejection. As the recruit becomes more integrated into the cult, he is encouraged to denounce the values and beliefs of his former life.

I hope everyone finds this an informative list, and one that can be used to perhaps warn others when they are displaying interest in a cult such as Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witnesses. Cults and leaders come and go, but their methodology is always strikingly similar. Likewise, God’s chosen ministers come and go, but His truth remain because God is eternal. “Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? Yet surely My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers?” Zechariah 1:5-6. In the end the cult leader dies, but God and His eternal word endure forever. Which will you place your faith in: the living God who calls you to be reconciled to Him through the full payment of His Son on the cross? Or a mere man who exalts himself above God and His word, whose sole purpose is to draw away disciples after himself, Acts 20:30? Choose well.


  1. It is shocking how many of these techniques are used in supposedly mainline churches, in the guise of producing spirituality. It's easy to see in the Mormon or Jehovah Witness groups, but is more insidious in a lot of other groups, and thus even more dangerous.

  2. I am saddened to see that even "Christian Churches" in the Philippines practice many of these techniques. :(


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