|Contributed by Christian Sparlock Freedom|
Characteristics of a Cult:
1) The group is focused on a living leader (governing body members) to whom members display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.
|Guy Pierce (bottom right) is deceased.|
4) Mind-numbing techniques (for example: way too much studying and meetings, denunciation sessions, or debilitating work routines such as field ministry,) are used to suppress members' doubts.
5) The group's leadership dictates how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, or get married;) leaders may determine types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth.
6) The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, it's leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).
7) The group has a polarized we-they mentality that causes conflict with the wider society.
8) The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).
9) The group teaches or implies that its "superior" ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group (for example: letting children die without a blood transfusion if it could save them, or not reporting child molesters or wife beaters to avoid shaming the congregation).
10) The group's leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.
11) Members' subservience to the group causes them to give up previous personal goals and interests while devoting inordinate amounts of time to the groups.
12) Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.