Looking for some help on why cult leaders are successful..
Posted by: tonyo ()
Date: November 28, 2013 02:26AM

I'm writing a novel where one of the antagonists is a TV evangelist in the style of Benny Hinn. I'm looking for some articles or posts that discuss why reasonably intelligent people would start to follow a faith healer and give money, follow orders, kill people or commit suicide based on what the master says..

is it more charisma and confidence of the leader that drives this? I understand the "programming" part of joining a cult, but I'm trying understand what causes people in the first place to be attracted.

Any pointers / guidance would be appreciated.



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Re: Looking for some help on why cult leaders are successful..
Posted by: zeuszor ()
Date: November 28, 2013 08:39AM

Tony, I suggest that you begin by familiarizing yourself with the social-science experiments carried out by Stanley Milgram, Soloman Asch, and Phillip Zimbardo.

Read up on their works pertaining to obedience, conformity, and the power of social role-play (respectively).

This is my two cents' worth of advice to you.

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Re: Looking for some help on why cult leaders are successful..
Posted by: yasmin ()
Date: November 28, 2013 11:27AM

Hi Tony;
was raised in a group; some people are in a group because they are second gen. However, re why people choose to join a group;
the promise of making a major change in life, of doing something of value, of meeting idealistic goals, of working for a better world.
Also it may help you to think of groups ( social, political or religious) that you have joined in your life. Why did you join them? Did you like the people? Did they seem kind and accepting? Were the stated goals things you felt strongly about?
Now what if their leader was someone very special indeed. Someone who you felt you could trust? Who you came to believe had all the answers, and could lead you to God?
Most groups start off easy and benign on new members, often very loving and caring, offering help or a solution to problems and a chance to make a difference.

Then what follows takes time. Slowly more and more is expected, or demanded...

And if you are religious; what would you do if you truly believed God wanted you to do it? And what would you do if you thought God would punish those you loved if you didn't do it?

There are lots of good books out there; Janya Lalich, "Bounded Choice" is good.
And some videos; "Moment of Truth: Cult Rescue" ( also called "moment of truth; a mothers deception") is a movie apparently based on a true story that could be helpful to you.. Think it is on youtube.

You might want to watch some Derren Brown videos; in particular the shopping mall episode where he convinces shoppers to all suddenly raise their right hands without knowing why. He is mainly using NLP type speech patterns and hypnosis.
Many leaders seem to have spiritual insights,and are able to tell people things they thought no one else knew. That can be pretty powerful in its effect on people.

Hope some of this stuff helps, all the best, Yasmin

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/28/2013 11:28AM by yasmin.

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Re: Looking for some help on why cult leaders are successful..
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: November 28, 2013 09:59PM

The Cult Education Institute archvies has quite a few articles about this.

See [www.culteducation.com]

This is a subsection about "brainwashing" with many articles that explain that process.

Also see [www.culteducation.com]

This FAQ page answers some of the basic questions about destructive cults and how they work.

Psychologist Margaret Singer wrote an excellent book "Cults in Our Midst."

See [www.amazon.com]

Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman also wrote a excellent book "Snapping" that has a second edition in print.

See [www.amazon.com]

All of this information can help you to sort through the issues regarding cults, cult leaders and how people are drawn in and manipulted.

Recovery from cults is essentially an educational process. And avoiding cults is likewise based upon an education.

Two books about cult-like destructive church groups written from an evangelical Christian perspective are "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" and "Churches that Abuse."

See [www.amazon.com]

Also see [www.amazon.com]

I hope this is helpful.

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