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A serious problem exists in our society as a result of the emergence of groups, popularly called cults, using mind control (undue influence) and unethical means to recruit and retain followers. Association with these groups can be harmful to followers and disruptive to families, friends and society.
The CULT AWARENESS NETWORK is a national, tax-exempt non-profit educational organization, dedicated to promoting public awareness of the harmful effects of mind control. CAN confines its concerns to unethical or illegal practices and does not judge doctrine or belief.
EVERYONE - often those who believe they are too intelligent or
strongwilled to be recruited!
The friendliest person you have ever met.
A person too interested in what you like to do.
Someone who thinks you are wonderful and knows you have connections, influence, or financial resources.
Someone who has all the answers.
Mind Control (undue influence): Manipulation by
use of coercive persuasion or behavior modification techniques
without informed consent.
Charismatic Leadership: Claiming divinity or special knowledge and demanding unquestioning obedience with power and privilege. Leadership may consist of one individual or a small core of leaders.
Deception: Recruiting and fundraising with hidden objectives and without full disclosure of the use of mind controlling techniques; use of front groups.
Exclusivity: Secretiveness or vagueness by followers regarding activities and beliefs.
Alienation: Separation from family, friends and society, a change in values and substitution of the cult as the new family; evidence of subtle or abrupt personality changes.
Exploitation: Can be financial, physical, or psychological; pressure to give money, to spend a great deal on courses or give excessively to special projects, or to engage in inappropriate sexual activities, even child abuse.
Totalitarian Worldview (we/they syndrome): Effecting dependence, promoting goals of the group over the individual and approving unethical behavior while claiming goodness.
Loss of free will and control over one's life.
Development of dependency and return to child-like behavior.
Loss of spontaneity or sense of humor.
Inability to form intimate friendships outside the cult or enjoy flexible relationships.
Physical deterioration and abuse.
Psychological deterioration (including hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, disorientation, and dissociation).
Involuntary, de facto servitude or exploitation.
Note: Not all of these harmful effects will be experienced by everyone who has a destructive cult experience.
When you meet the friendliest people you have ever known, who introduce you to the most loving group of people you've ever encountered, and you find the leader to be the most inspired, caring, compassionate and understanding person you've ever met, and then you learn that the cause of the group is something you never dared hope could be accomplished, and all of this sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true! Don't give up your education, your hopes and ambitions, to follow a rainbow.Jeanne Mills,
Destructive cults fall into several different categories, including: 1. Religious, 2. Therapy/Self-Awareness, 3. Political, 4. Commercial, 5. New Age, 6. Satanic/Ritual Abuse.
Group pressure and "Love-Bombing"
discourages doubts and reinforces the need to belong through use of
child-like games, singing, hugging, touching, or flattery.
Isolation/Seperation creates inability or lack of desire to verify information provided by the group with reality.
Thought-Stopping Techniques introduce recruit to meditating, chanting, and repetitious activities which, when used excessively, induce a state of high suggestibility.
Fear and Guilt induced by eliciting confessions to produce intimacy and to reveal fears and secrets, to create emotional vulnerability by overt and covert threats, as well as alternation of punishment and reward.
Sleep Deprivation encouraged under the guise of spiritual exercises, necessary training, or ugent projects.
Inadequate Nutrition sometimes disguised as special diet to improve health or advance spirituality, or as rituals requiring fasting.
Sensory Overload forces acceptance of complex new doctrine, goals, and definitions to replace old values by expecting recruit to assimilate masses of information quickly with little opportunity for critical examination.
NOTE: Not all of these features need to be present simultaneously for a mind control regime to be operative.