Here’s an excellent read from Psych Central. SPOT ON! Thank you Christine Hammond.
Following is a list of social, psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns that are common within cult settings. I adapted them from a check list developed by Michael Landgone, Ph.D., a counseling psychologist, and ICSA’s Executive Director.
1. The cultic group displays an excessive, zealous, unquestioning commitment to its leader, and regards his or her beliefs and practices to be the truth, the law, the way.
2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged, and sometimes punished.
3. Mind-altering practices (e.g., meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
4. The leader(s) dictate, sometimes to great detail, what and how members should think, act and feel.
5. The group is elitist, claiming a special, superior, or exalted status. They’re on a mission to save something, the world maybe.
6. Cultic groups have an “us-vs-them” mentality.
7. The leader is accountable to no one, to no human, to no governing authority.
8. The leaders teach—or imply by their actions—that the “noble end” justifies the means—whatever it takes for their truth to prevail (e.g. falsifying, lying, deceit).
9. The leadership creates feelings of shame and guilt in its members in order to manipulate and control them.
10. Subservience to the leader(s) often leads to cutting family ties, ties with friends, teachers, and to putting personal dreams or goals aside to become one of them, one of the elite.
11. The group is preoccupied with recruiting new members, or making more money.
12. Members give inordinate amounts of time to serving the group, the group’s god, or attending group-activities.
13. Members are encouraged or required to live with or to socialize with only group members. A lot of group members believe that there is no other way, there is no life outside the group. Mostly they’re afraid for themselves or for others on the inside if they should leave, or even think of leaving.
As said earlier, it’s not altogether accurate, but it’s spot on for creating the essence of my experience. The Director—Russell Eatough—totally got it. He knew how to dig down to get the essence. What I most appreciate about this filming experience over some of the others is that no one rushed me, and I always felt valued.
Anyhow, this blog pretty much materialized out of 2014, the year of this film, the year I put my mind to digging into my past—a year of a lot of reflecting, remembering, feeling, and writing.
I was there during ACMTC’s foundational years, when they were building themselves up, when they began casting out demons, and got kicked off of Christian Radio for heretical teaching. I watched as they drove themselves off the deep end, and I saw the paranoia splash in their face, the fiercness set in their eyes, and I heard their voices turn to self-defense.