My professor, Dr. Morgan Peterson wrote our course book, Enforcement Psychology Coping with the Rigors of Policing. The content thus far has been intriguing and informative. He sometimes shares his life experienced stories to lighten the uneasy content that may come with some of the topics presented in class. Today in class we mostly learned about different gangs within the US. The second topic of discussion was defining a Cult. Starting on page 39 in the book, here are their 14 characteristics:
Characteristics of Cults
All of these characteristics may or may not exist in any given group, but there is an excellent chance that at least some of these indicators will be present.
- Group displays zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as truth; as law.
- Any dissent is discouraged and punished
- Mind-altering practices are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s) They do this for homosexuals to help reduce their attraction, but not directly toward any leader
- Leadership dictates how members should think, act, and feel. (Get permission to date or marry; what types of clothes to wear; where to live; where to live; whether to have children; hot to discipline children)
- The group is elitist, claiming exalted status, for its leader(s) and members( leader is considered the Messiah, a special being or the group and/or leader are on a mission to save humanity.)
- The group is polarized and isolated
- The leader answers to no higher authority
- The group teaches that its exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary.
- Leadership induces feelings of shame and guilt in order to influence and control members
- Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.(going on a mission instead of school.
- The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members and making money
- Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to group-related activities.
- Members are encouraged or required to live and /or socialize only with members.
- Loyal members feel there can be no life outside of the group, and often fear the consequences to themselves or others if they leave.