Tuesday, 1 February 2011

margaret singer - on cults

cults: dr. margaret singer speaks at a conference
11:56 cultic relationships are those relationships in which a person intentionally induces others to become totally or nearly totally dependent on him or her for almost all major life decisions and inculcates in these followers a belief that he or she has some special talent, gift or knowledge.

boy that sure fits joseph smith and the mormon church to the T!

13:15 the term cult refers to the political and power structure

13:28 our first amendment absolutely protects freedom of belief. our first amendment does not say that, in the pursuit of that, you can go do any old conduct. the law that applies to each of us applies to cult leaders and cult followers as far as conduct goes.

14:16 cult leaders are self-appointed persons who claim to have a special mission or special knowledge in life

14:36 cult leaders tend to be charismatic. if you aren't a little bit charismatic, it's awfully hard to get a following... it helps to be determined and it helps to be domineering...and [have] a low conscience level.

15:58 cults in the modern day sense basically have two purposes: recruiting new members and fundraising

17:04 cults are elitist organizations. all of the cults that i've studied of the modern day ones have the attitude that once you join you're one of the elite.

19:30 cults are authoritarian in their power structure, they tend to be totalitarian and totalistic in the control of the behavior of their members.

20:38 their way is the only way

22:15 most of us in psychology and psychiatry are not interested very much at all in the content of the belief systems. what we're interested in is the packaging of the influence techniques, in what we're coming to call "coordinated programs of coercive influence and behavior control"

29:51 6 conditions, if you have them present, you have a good chance of being able to conduct a thought reform program.

the first thing you need to do is get control of the person's time. you don't have to have them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but try to get control over their time.

two, create a sense of powerlessness in them, so that when they're at your group, they hear people talking in certain ways and they don't know what the words mean, but most of the people present seem to. so that the new persons into the group want to become like the rest of the group. those of us that are social creatures really want to have group connections. we want to get some warmth and acceptance from other human beings. so if you're at a meeting like this you hear new terms and you ask what they are because you want to be able to go home and read and understand more and follow what's going on.

so if you're going to do the standard conditions, first, get control over the person's time. two, create a sense of powerlessness in the person. then by manipulating, rewards, punishments and experiences, you start inhibiting and suppressing the old social behavior that the person brought with them and you start by eliciting the new behavior that you want the people to show. you have to do it in a closed system of logic where there are no complaints from the underlings; it's all from the top down; and the final critical thing is: people must be unaware that they're being moved through a program whose goal it is to make them deployable agents of management. that means in the end you'll buy courses, you'll sign up for the duration with the cult leader. you don't know it at the beginning. there has to be this special uninformed state.

people are always saying to me "well, isn't that how it is when you go off to be a jesuit? isn't that how it is when you go off to join the marine corp?" and the answer is "no". you know when you go to the marine corp, you may not know how muddy it's going to be and exactly what drill seargents are going to be like. and when you join the jesuits you don't know how hard it may be in the end to wrestle with your own human conscience and your own human mind, but you know ahead of time and they have a long period and i swear, somebody should make me an honorary jesuit or an honorary marine corp person because every time i testify in court i have to defend these organizations as not being mind controlling and thought reform organizations and i have a great long list of how they differ and especially i have to have a great long list for the marine corp because there are always a bunch of people present that have not been in the military and think that it's a horrible place that brainwashes people. no, it's an indoctrination program for the military and you know what it is when you're going. the recruiting officer doesn't have on a dress and pretend he's a sister of mercy. you know what you're joining and that it's rough

1) the lds church sure has control of their members' time:
meetings during the week
meetings on sunday
home teaching/visiting teaching
cleaning the church
going to the temple
morning/afternoon seminary
events, activities
service projects
missionary work, members on splits with missionaries
open houses
devotionals, firesides (evenings in someone's home or at the church where a guest speaker speaks about a particular topic)
ward, stake and general conferences
leadership training meetings
scripture reading every day
family home evening
various callings like working in the geneological center or serving at the temple as a veil worker or patron/helper

2) the lds church has so many new vocabulary words and concepts that non/new-members have never heard before--their own religious language really

3) the church totally suppresses old social behavior and is VERY conformist! there are dress codes, ways of speaking and ways NOT to speak

43:03 the discrepency between the followers' standard of living and that of the cult leader. remember these programs change an individual a step at a time. and the leaders have ways of rationalizing and usually the way they rationalize that they live in such style and glory is because they've gotten the followers to believe that the outside world and their parents and their old life is a corrupt and venal and evil group. they say that the leader has to deal with these bad and evil people in the outside world who only respect money and jewels and silk clothing, so that at a step at a time people have become made dependent on the leader, they come to accept a step at a time his or her philosophy and then a step at a time they come to literally push their old conscience--and because they're so dependent upon the organization, that they're taught that negativity is wrong. you can't run a cult and let people complain to management, it's just very difficult... the cult leader, in order to deal with these outside people has to look like a successful and powerful person.

the church leaders in their nice suits, throwing huge banquets for other leaders on the outside, inviting them to their huge, spacious, expensive buildings. their church office building offices and bathrooms are decked out with expensive woods and marble, etc.

46:09 i've interviewed a large number of people who have left some of the major cults as well as small cults. some of them were totally aware that it was a corrupt leader. they knew he was having sexual hanky panky with the teenage children of the followers, they knew a lot of the underside and the shady side of the cult leader, but at that point, usually they were so dependent that they stayed even though they knew it. some of them, when they discovered it and their old conscience flashed back to the center of their thinking, they left.... the people at the top are really a mixed bag.... it's like any great big business enterprise: some are going to know and some aren't.

the reason that those in the lds church don't quit: they're too dependent, they're locked in, their social/family life would be deeply affected

53:16 those are called a hook. those of you who are in sales know you have to have a hook to get a person to look at the merchandise. sometimes the hook is taking yoga lessons, sometimes it's a free meditation lesson, sometimes a free massage lesson, health food lectures, any kind of an introductory thing and then the group tries to recruit out of those who do show an interest.

like the lds church missionaries offering english classes or playing sports (teaching american sports, etc) or doing service or young adult programs where they ask the youth to bring a friend.

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