top-rated free essay

Conformity to Cult Behavior

By Deborah14 Feb 04, 2013 874 Words
Eliza Janica
Fisher College
Social Psychology
May 26, 2012
Conformity To Cult Behavior

 
In the early 1960s, psychologists in the United States interviewed several U.S. soldiers and American Prisoners of War returning home from combat against North Korea. Their main focus in particular were on those who had suffered an extreme change in their personality. These young soldiers had experienced being brainwashed under the communists. Psychologist have later realized that people involved in cults may have experienced similar psychological changes. Cult leaders use the same structure known as, mind control or mind reform. The book "Combating Cult Mind Control", by Steven Hassen explains that mind control is more refined than brainwashing. Cult members are considered to be a good friend and righteous people. As a result, the person being indoctrinated offers less defiance and contention than if they being forcefully coerced. Through compliance with the process of mind reform, the victim slowly begins to surrender over his personality and accept the doctrines of the cult as biblical truth. Mind control does not involve physical abuse but it is limited to certain hypnotic processes to create a compelling effect of precepts (Cephas, 2010). Many of the individuals who are deceived are not just naive people, but they are often successful educated people.   

There are several methods of mind control which are not considered harmless. People who find themselves getting deep into cults need to be aware of this. There are a variety of religious groups who employ mind control strategies which are kept unrevealed. Most cult leaders earnestly believe they possess the answers to the obstacles of life. Rulers of the religious groups require loyalty and obedience from their followers in order to keep them under their control. Obedience is the act of following instructions given from a legitimate authority without question or hesitation. There are many authority figures that a person may look up to such as parents, pastors, older siblings, and spiritual leaders. From a very young age we are taught to respect these authority figures and obey their commands. There is a strong sense of security and dedication that people may have towards their leaders. Devoted members receive limited amount of information. Most groups will not allow their members to watch television, read magazines or any other books contrary to their teachings. This type of practice is used to keep the members under complete submission and to also keep them from straying back into the mainstream society. Several religious groups deliberately adopt harsh work regimes to break down individual will. One former member from the "Nation of Yahweh" reported having to work 14 to 16 hours each day. His life consisted of working at the Nation of Yahweh's print shop and going to services to listen to lectures (I Survived- Cult, 2010). This type of technique prevents member from having any freedom of thought or personality. Members are not allowed to remain in contact with those have been expelled from the religious group. This method is often used in order to keep current cult members from knowing why the person left (Cephas, 2010).  

Environmental Control- Cult leaders can control a person's environment by approving what a person wears and what they are allowed to eat. For example, some Pentecostals do not allow women to wear pants, jewelry, or make-up. Mormons are forbidden to drink coffee, tea or any beverage that contains alcohol or caffeine. Most members follow these religious practices to avoid being chastised or rebuked by their leaders. There are many tactics formed to create feelings of fear and shame (Cephas, 2010). A former member from the "Zionist Society" was taught that if she leaves the church her soul would be condemned to hell (I Survived- Cult, 2010). This type of teaching makes people afraid to leave the religious sector. Members may also fear losing contact with relatives and close friends. A young woman named Elishah made a difficult decision to leave her parents and friends behind to escape the abuse she endured in the "Alamo Christian Foundation" (I Survived- Cult, 2010). This young woman left the only home she ever knew and she had to accept being an outcast from this group. In addition to being afraid of leaving the cult, most people will continue in the religious practice for the hopes of being rewarded with the gift of eternal life in the future. Making the choice to leave a cult may not be an easy decision but its its important to find people who can bring forth support. If an ex member receives any threats from the cult, they should call the police. Before joining a religion, its important to do research on it first and check to find out if the religion is legal. Make sure the religious group does not condone violence or discrimination against others.  

References
Cephas-Library. (2010). Mind control in the cults. Retrieved from- "http://www.cephas-library.com/mind_control.html". Rodney Stark. (1983). Religion and conformity- reaffirming a sociology of religion. Vol. 45, No. 4 (Winter, 1984). pp. 273-282.  David Bromley. (1981). Strange gods: the great american cult scare. Retieved from- "http://mail.csj.org/infoserv_bookreview/bkrev_strangegods_schuller.htm".

Jonathan, Luftman. (2010). Bill Morris, "Director" Alan Hall, "Producer". I survived- cult.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Cults

    ... Cults Today The word cult is often thrown around in today’s society as a derogatory term towards religions that are not well known or have aspects that are contrary to mainstream religions. According to mainstream media, cults have been responsible for massive pact suicides, and their followers are incestual and polygamous. The mass medi...

    Read More
  • Brainwashing and Cult Like Behaviors

    ...Jarrod Felty January 10, 2006 Psychology Report I will be discussing with you the topics of brainwashing and cult-like behaviors. I'll be explaining the effects of brainwashing on the human mind and how it appeals other into it's dark and unknown world of misbeliefs. Brainwashing has played a major role in cult-like behaviors, everything...

    Read More
  • Cults

    ...thoughts, behaviors and emotions will be manipulated once they have joined a cult; the dangers of cults have become severe over the past years and have caused thousands of deaths due to the influence of cults members and leaders. Cults are able to gain members, due the fact that people in actuality do not know it is a cult they are joining. Afte...

    Read More
  • Cults

    ... There are currently 2,000 to 5,000 cults active in the United States and about 10 to 20 million Americans have been or are currently involved in cults today (Clark 1 of 20). The word cult is defined as follows: “faddish devotion; a group of persons showing such devotion” (Webster Dictionary, 192). Although some believe that cults were...

    Read More
  • Cults

    ...The word cult is defined as an alternative religion. Most cults are started because someone doesn't like the way the world is, and feels that his/her church isn't doing anything to make it better, so they leave and create what they believe to be the perfect religion. Then this person strives to make others believe as they do so they will join ...

    Read More
  • Conformity

    ... Conformity Brandon Cannon ORG 300- Principles of Management Colorado State University – Global Campus Ms. Marie Halvorsen – Ganepola September 20, 2014 Conformity If we think back I am sure we can all remember a time when we were sitting in class and the teacher asked a question; we knew in our minds tha...

    Read More
  • Conformity

    ...Jordan Stauffer Social Psych Project April 26, 2012 Conformity Peter Ustinov once said, “In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from.” This is unbelievably true as much as we try not to admit it. Society has made it where we really don’t have a choice when it comes to certai...

    Read More
  • Conformity

    ...Conformity By definition conformity is a change in behaviour or belief as a result of real or imagined group; it is synonymous to agreement. It is not just acting as other people act, but it is also being affected by how they act. It means that you might even think differently from the way you would, if you were alone. Conformity could be bo...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.