Characteristics of cult members
Posted by: richardmgreen ()
Date: July 24, 2003 11:28PM

I think I wrote about this before, but it seems to me that cult members usually have problems in their families that other people don't have. Many cult victims I know are from broken homes where their parents are divorced. Some have job issues.
Others had problems with drugs and alcohol and looked to God for a solution to their problems.
The bad thing is that many times when people test out new waters, thier are sharks swimming there. Some times people go from the frying pan into the fire.

Characteristics of cult members
Posted by: LET31257 ()
Date: August 05, 2003 09:45AM

I think there is a lot of truth in what you say. I came from a disfunctional home and upon refection I believe I was looking for a father figure and a stable family structure that I could be part of when I joined the church. Unfortunately, due to being naive and immature, I put my faith in the pastor, who saw himself as above the rest when it came to holyiness. I think this had something to do with the authority he wielded. I was told often that the church knew me better than I knew myself and once was accused (by the pastor) of not submitting to the church, which I felt was the same as submitting to the pastor since he had so much power. I was not allowed to develop as a person, having my own thoughts and opinions. Instead I was molded into the church's view of what a Christian aught to be. I was indoctrinated into a system of beliefs and told that my church family were my only friends I have or ever will have. I was warned about the world and it's wicked ways and to cling to the church. This prolonged my leaving and made my exit difficult since I knew of no other way of thinking but that of the church. I don't think I am alone in falling into this trap. I find lots of people who believe whatever because that is what they were taught. Asserting and thinking for myself helps build my character which I take much pleasure in. It's so much easier to give in to peer pressure and be a robot or a talking parrot repeating everything the pastor taught me. It's also scary, in the sense that, I'm responsable for steering my own life instead of letting the church do it for me.


Characteristics of cult members
Posted by: Raina ()
Date: May 29, 2004 11:14AM

Richard, since i notice you are still here, I was born into the cult I left after 50 years there. My parents remained together until the death of Father at the age of 86 or so, but i will never forget the first time I heard of divorce, when I was about seven. I thought it was a fabulous invention, and I hoped Father would get one, taking us with him.

I have had job issues, because I have a history of having no faith in myself. Although the schools told me differently, I have always thought of myself as stupid -- and also quite ugly, both things I learned from Mother. I really am overweight and very clumsy, so this does not help. These things have always hindered me in my jobs.

I have never had drug or alcohol issues, mainly because I cannot stand the taste of anything with alcohol in it. I have never been able to get enough down to even get a buzz.

I have turned to God because I believe Him, and for no other reason. I enjoy Bible study and I enjoy the services where I attend.

It would be interesting to see others reply to your query. I wonder what the statistics would be.

Characteristics of cult members
Posted by: patl ()
Date: July 07, 2004 08:57AM

My cult experience was very similar to LET31257's. I came from a divorced family, and had a crazy step father. I wanted a family structure and a father figure and all that. I was really immature and after a few years I had swallowed so much fear about the "outside" world I found it a very daunting task to leave the group, even though I wanted to. But I don't feel comfortable blaming it totally on a broken family... I think it also has to do with not being taught how to make my own decisions and discriminate between fantasy and illusion with in my self (if that makes any sense). I want to teach my kids the critical thinking skills to be able to make proper descisions in life and to be able to be introspective about their motives, something I had to learn the hard way. But maybe for some people it really does take learning the hard way?

Characteristics of cult members
Posted by: sonflower ()
Date: July 10, 2004 01:56AM

I think family background and upbringing can have alot to do with someone's getting involved in a cult situation. If the parents do not create a secure, loving atmosphere with open communication, the child is probably going to feel insecure, unloved, and used to a "no talk" rule. So when the child is older and unknowingly comes upon a cult situation, where the recruiters or group seem that they will accept and love them, the now adult child may cling to the group more easily than a secure, emotionally healthy person would. Also, if a child comes from an authoritarian background, where questioning wasn't allowed and only strict obedience was allowed, then it won't seem abnormal to them to have a cult leader who exhibits the same kind of rigid authoritarian control, and they won't see it as odd for a "no talk" rule to be in place.

Characteristics of cult members
Posted by: cozyquiltz ()
Date: July 15, 2004 05:42AM

I think it all boils down to one sentence, regardless of family issues, upbringing or whatever, we end up in cults because we want to belong!

Characteristics of cult members
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: July 15, 2004 06:05AM

A desire to belong is not the only reason and often not the reason at all.

It often all boils down to deception, cults running a con and "brainwashing."

See the following links:



Characteristics of cult members
Posted by: Waysplusmeans ()
Date: September 01, 2005 06:50PM

(IMO) I agree that deception is at the root of the majority of recruting methods. Cults use any and all circumstances of the potential victim (convert) and if you don't have any issues of immediate concern the cult will create issues for you and tie those issues into scripture to justify why you need to be a member (believer) in their doctrine and group.

A desire to belong is not the only reason and often not the reason at all.

[b:39886c9fab]It often all boils down to deception, cults running a con and "brainwashing."[/b:39886c9fab]

See the following links:



Characteristics of cult members
Date: September 12, 2005 06:52PM

Cults manipulate and coerce victims into membership. In most cases it has nothing to do with a need to belong.

Characteristics of cult members
Posted by: bonnie ()
Date: September 13, 2005 10:12AM

Cults use coercion and deception to lure us/you in,as do con artists, or salespeople for that matter.
IMO, however, it's up to the individual to educate himself to avoid these kind of heartaches.
[b:45f158827d]I'm not victim bashing[/b:45f158827d]- just want to make that clear right from the start- but we do have some responsibility when we are taken in.
If I am lonely, I might be captured by the promise of companionship.
If I am hungry, food might be a good lure.
And yes, a need to belong CAN be the bait; not that there's anything sick or abnormal about a need to belong, most people want to.

I have been exposed to a variety of different "recovery" programs and techniques.
Some encouraged the victim to be just that; you were rewarded with sympathy and praise if you took the victim stance.
How does that teach a person to avoid being victimized again?

Some recovery programs tried to teach me that I was always 100% responsible for whatever happened.
That's bologna; sometimes we're just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I prefer the middle path, by which I mean this:

[b:45f158827d]How was I vulnerable to whatever sales pitch was delivered to me?
Did I ignore warning signs when I went after the bait?
How can I wise up without closing myself off from humanity?[/b:45f158827d]

I personally have been almost-trapped by a desire for companionship, (translate: [b:45f158827d]need to belong[/b:45f158827d]), promises of the "too good to be true" variety, and wishful thinking.
I've heard it said that a con artist traps you by appealing to your greed, the [b:45f158827d]"too good to be true"[/b:45f158827d] lure.
Threats of hell and divine punishment seem to me to be one of the more effective ways to coerce people into cults- the [b:45f158827d]fear[/b:45f158827d] lure.
[b:45f158827d]Pleasure[/b:45f158827d] is also very effective as bait. The last cult I was involved with nearly hooked me through my love of musical harmony- I never experienced singing like that, and it was hard to let go of it.

Having an extremely willful nature , (for which I have been criticised severely most of my life), has saved me at the last moment from falling into most of the traps people have for me. I didn't enjoy the shaming I recieved when I went my own way, and it has been hard at times to walk away from toxic groups. but so far I've lived through any resulting lowering of my self-esteem.

I was taught at that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. I consider myself lucky to have been taught that.

I think it's a good idea to [b:45f158827d]take responsibility[/b:45f158827d], look at ourselves, and not see ourselves too much as victims. That's the only way we can learn from our experiences.

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