Re: Beware of Cult Leaders By: Brysing Moderator / Adept
Post # 6 Oct 20, 2015
We "check it" by other accounts; by logic; by reasoning.If it "sounds" impossible, it usually is! Common sense is always required!
"Don't believe all you read. Don't believe all you hear. And only believe half of what you see!".
You have an intelligent brain. Use it!
This has been an issue for ages. I do not think that these individuals are the same thing as "fluff" (which refers to belief in fantasy things being real) but it is a good idea to warn others. When online it is hard to say who you can really trust, even more so than in some ones physical presence. Always be careful whom you trust, share info with, allow to "help" you spiritually etc. we live in a messed up world these days.
Re: Beware of Cult Leaders By: Aeons_Wing / Novice
Post # 8 Oct 20, 2015
I think that a mutual respect between people, for personal boundaries, is very important. If somebody believes themselves to be the second coming of King Arthur, or Jesus, or the child of an archduke-ranking demon from so-and-so circle of hell. . . You know what? I think that's actually fine. BUT the moment such a person takes something from YOU personally, just because they believe THEMSELVES so, and you begin to intuit that something is very wrong, that is definitely a good idea to get away from that person. What they take from you can be time, money, or even words that you don't really mean. They can rob internal harmony from you, and not even care.
And if somebody tells you to do something that is harmful or inconvenient to yourself, and the only reason is that they (believe that they) are as mentioned, then the way that they use their beliefs to hurt you means that their beliefs don't deserve to be respected. Because then you aren't respected as a person.
Being able to cite the sources of knowledge can be very useful, instead of just surrendering everything to a ''spiritual mystery''. If the ''citation'' is only what somebody personally experienced, then you can be as supportive and critical as you feel like being. For me, that's part of learning how magic moves in other people's lives.
Just be careful that your supportiveness, openness, and willingness to learn doesn't become a way to manipulate you. It's okay to say, ''That might be how you see the world, that might be what works for you, but I don't want any part in it.'' When it comes to matters of empirical evidence, there are standards that must not be compromised like that -- the scientific method and so on. Even the mundane aspects of society that aren't strictly material science, that ought to be considered.
Re: Beware of Cult Leaders By: prsona / Knowledgeable
Post # 11 Oct 25, 2015
""Don't people have a slight crawing under their skin or almosta hint of this isnt right...""
Actually, no. There are plenty of people who recruit people in vulnerable situations in order to recruit them into different groups. Some of these recruiters are all well and good, while some have other ideas in mind.
One very easy example is young people in their first year attending university, living on campus. For so many young people, it is their first time away from their families, basically living on their own. Everything may seem alright on the surface, but it's also a time of loneliness, being homesick, and situational depression and anxiety may set in -- especially with all the stress of a heavy class load.
So then here come Guru Super and Guru Special and his followers, passing out information about their weekly meetings.
Guru Super reads from old writings, leads meditation, mantras, and there are some interesting people attending the meetings. They may take up some collections to pay for use of the meeting place. And you can volunteer for community outreach -- both charitable work and a bit of recruitment, but remember to love and respect everyone.
Guru Special does mostly the same, and the people seem nice. And then comes the social pressure for missing a week. And shame on you for hanging out with your close group of friends who don't follow this philosophy! They'll do charity work, but only if the people are willing to listen to the message -- otherwise forget it. Recruitment is mandatory; you must all work to enlarge the numbers.
Long story short: Cults will use pressure, guilt, etc., to shame people into staying, and even to inspire bad emotions for which the cult leadership claims to have the answer -- which is always deeper involvement in the group. In many cases, the cult will also mandate either recruiting or separating one's self from friends and family.
And it can be very easy to fall for. There are training systems to teach religious service leaders of many types how to effect emotion with certain things, such as what type of music to play when, how to change speech meter, etc., to induce a mild hypnotic effect on the congregation. Sometimes it is used simply for the sake of the service -- the religious experience. Sometimes it is used to manipulate.
There's a reason for counseling methods to help people recover from predatory religious groups.
There's actual warning signs between cults and religions, but in the moment most people don't see them. Cult leaders are very nice and they usually target people who are lost in life, or new to an area with few friends and family so they feel lonely. They don't come on too strong, just like any other friend. As time goes on they build trust until eventually you're in the 'family' or 'community' or whatever the cult group calls itself.
If you are only allowed to affiliate with people inside the group, cutting off all ties with old friends or family, giving everything you own to the leader/community, the leaders word is absolute and everything is for the benefit of the community never the individual. Also, when people leave they're never spoken about [or if so it's in a negative light] these are common signs of a cult. There's many more and you could argue many religions are cults, but no matter how prepared you are, you could still fall victim to a sweet talker who seems to care for you. Doesn't have to be a cult, con artists work the same way.