Friday, October 06, 2006
How to Spot a Cult Leader
Cults can be formulated within religion, political ideologies, weight loss clinics, gardening clubs, military moms organizations, philosophy, mathematics, science, you name it.
What is a cult leader?
A person who bullies others into following him, obeying his whims, and committing to his agendas, without any questioning or dissent.
What is a cult?
A group with an unchallengeable leadership, usually a single central personality, that entices members to join under false hopes and pretences, claims to be specially appointed by some higher power, enforces its opinions and lifestyles on others, with an Us vs. Them mentality, and a strong negative reaction to questioning, criticism, and departure from the group.
Perfect example: Billy Graham being told by Bob Jones that "if you leave us, you'll never amount to anything".
Horrible consequence: my friend who ran into some cult members, and suddenly decides he needs to stop existing.
My friend encounters cult members, they give him "distressed looks", and he equates that with being a worthless person. I suspect that they used small group dynamics, peer disapproval, and post-hypnotic suggestology to influence him to commit suicide. I'm going to try to prevent this.
I said to him, "If you're a serial killer or child molestor, I'll help you kill yourself. But I seriously doubt that you're a fiendish misanthropic scumbag. Since you're not a monster or a politician, you deserve to continue living."
I have been involved in, or investigated, cultish churches, cultish companies, and cultish philosophical groups. Cults have invaded many, perhaps most, of the churches. Pastors go for bizarre esoteric training, and come back with a program for the elite inner circle, who start trancing, acting weird, and using special terminology.
In the case of my friend, his mystical path cult was into Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti, perhaps some Sufi and other influences. He's addicted to a type of Middle Eastern music that he listens to constantly, and cannot listen to or enjoy any other kind of music. That's cultish.
Never allow any group or belief system to over-ride your personal sense of ethics, accountability, and rationality. Faith may have its reasons that reason can never know, but true positive faith will never be stupidly, psychotically, destructively unreasonable.
My friend keeps talking about his having "no real value". If you mention how you love his company and his profound discussion of serious topics, he'll say that is "just ordinary world value". Friends, there is no other value in spirituality.
Spirituality is how you treat others, people of different faiths, different economic status, different political ideology. How you treat your spouse, your children, your neighbor, your pets, the ants and squirrels and birds, the soil itself.
The Good Samaritan is the highest spirituality.
To help a suffering person or creature is the highest act of goodness, faith, and mysticism. Buddha went around teaching people how to dissolve craving, inordinate affection, excessive and self-destructive lusts. Jesus went around healing the sick and protecting children from adult insanity.
But my friend thinks he has "no real value" unless he's dutifully pursuing some bullshit "transcendent state of consciousness" where he is "dead to self" and is something "other". But selflessness spiritually means you're generous and compassionate. It does NOT mean you have no inner identity, no separate intact reality of your own.
Our souls need to be crystallized like a diamond, for effective penetration of falsehood and for the destruction of evil. Crystallized and energized, and not dissolved like a lump of sugar in hot coffee.
You must discern between passionate striving for excellance and unhealthy self-destructive attachment to a cultish agenda and vision.
I had a cultish pastor once.
Baptist. Reminded me of Jim Jones in every way. Bragged about being "a very sexual person". He was unquestionable. You could not even ask why certain things were done, or not done.
He bragged about abusing drugs, saying: "I was popping handfuls of pills after the pastors conference training sessions, they were so intense." He preferred "young marrieds with good jobs, nice homes, and children".
He tried to bully everyone in his congregation to go see Mel Gibson's The Passion movie, full of unbiblical nonsense sadomasochistic excess.
He was obsessed with gay marriage and preached overly explicit sermons, with lurid details of various perverted acts. He's a domineering, arrogant cult leader, not a normal, legitimate pastor. But my wife and I are the only ones who rebelled and challenged his authority. We left in a blaze of controversy and anger.
See if you can detect what's wrong with the dangerous cult leader presented in this short video.
Gurdjieff, The Fourth Way (2:53)
"truth dancing" i.e., controlling the bodily motions of others via psychic manipulation programs...
Posted by steven edward streight at 10/06/2006 11:09:00 AM