> Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe
> Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful
> gful accountability.
> No tolerance for questions or critical
> ical inquiry.
> No meaningful financial disclosure regarding
> ding budget, expenses such as an independently
> audited financial statement.
> Unreasonable fear about the outside world,
> rld, such as impending catastrophe, evil
> conspiracies and persecutions.
> There is no legitimate reason to leave, former
> rmer followers are always wrong in leaving,
> negative or even evil.
> Former members often relate the same stories
> ries of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of
> There are records, books, news articles, or
> , or television programs that document the abuses
> of the group/leader.
> Followers feel they can never be "good
> good enough".
> The group/leader is always right.
> The group/leader is the exclusive means of
> s of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no
> other process of discovery is really acceptable or
> Ten warning signs regarding people involved
> in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.
> Extreme obsessiveness regarding the
> the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of
> almost every practical consideration.
> Individual identity, the group, the leader
> ader and/or God as distinct and separate
> categories of existence become increasingly
> blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these
> identities become substantially and increasingly
> fused--as that person's involvement with the
> group/leader continues and deepens.
> Whenever the group/leader is criticized or
> d or questioned it is characterized as
> Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly
> ngly programmed conversation and mannerisms,
> cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.
> Dependency upon the group/leader for problem
> blem solving, solutions, and definitions without
> meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability
> to think independently or analyze situations
> without group/leader involvement.
> Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader
> ader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal
> goals or individual interests.
> A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of
> e of humor.
> Increasing isolation from family and old
> old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in
> the group/leader.
> Anything the group/leader does can be
> n be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.
> Former followers are at best-considered
> ered negative or worse evil and under bad
> influences. They can not be trusted and personal
> contact is avoided.
> Ten signs of a safe group/leader.
> A safe group/leader will answer your questions
> ions without becoming judgmental and punitive.
> A safe group/leader will disclose information
> tion such as finances and often offer an
> independently audited financial statement
> regarding budget and expenses. Safe groups and
> leaders will tell you more than you want to know.
> A safe group/leader is often democratic,
> tic, sharing decision making and encouraging
> accountability and oversight.
> A safe group/leader may have disgruntled
> tled former followers, but will not vilify,
> excommunicate and forbid others from associating
> with them.
> A safe group/leader will not have a paper
> aper trail of overwhelmingly negative records,
> books, articles and statements about them.
> A safe group/leader will encourage family
> mily communication, community interaction and
> existing friendships and not feel threatened.
> A safe group/leader will recognize reasonable
> able boundaries and limitations when dealing with
> A safe group/leader will encourage critical
> ical thinking, individual autonomy and feelings of
> A safe group/leader will admit failings and
> and mistakes and accept constructive criticism and
> A safe group/leader will not be the only
> only source of knowledge and learning excluding
> everyone else, but value dialogue and the free
> exchange of ideas.
I wish we all knew these things decades ago. Now we do. We can learn that what happened was not of our own doing and heal in those areas.
So we can perhpas help the next generation stay safe.