Cults

Cults Each year, hundreds of North Americans join one of the increasing, estimated 3000 unorthodox religions that exist across North America. The increasing number of cults, to date in North America, is due to the fact that cults are a social movement that attempts to help people cope with their perceived problems with social interaction. Cult recruiters target those who perceive themselves as different from the rest of society, and give these individuals the sense of belonging that they crave. Cult literature lures potential cult members by appealing to their desperate need to socially fit in. Cults provide a controlled family environment that appeals to potential cult members because it is a removal from the exterior society. Cult recruiters prey on those who see themselves as alienated from the rest of society, and give these people the sense of conformity that they desire. A common method of recruiters, to obtain new members, is through chat lines on the internet. A recorded conversation between a member of the Divine Light Mission, Fire-Shade, and an 18-year old boy, Jay 18, was obtained off of the site, IRC Teen Chat. Jay18: I am a really great poet, but all of the kids in my class are pretty warped about it. I basically hide it from them because I don\'t need that hassle. Fire-Shade: My family has a great respect for the artist inside us all. I know you live in Michigan, and our family could always use new operatives all over the world. You have to understand what our family is about, it is about always fitting in and never hiding the truth to be liked or cool. Are you interested? Jay18: Well maybe Fire-Shade: Give me your phone number we really shouldn\'t talk about this here. Jay18: I would rather not give my phone number out. You give me yours, I won\'t be able to talk for long though. Fire-Shade: Trust is very important in our group. Do you trust me? You can\'t call us, unfortunately because we are not in a position to be accepting phone calls. Jay18: Well then you can just e-mail me. OK. Fire-Shade: [disconnects]1 The cult member makes the young boy feel as though he does care about his problems, and wants to make this boy\'s life better. Fire-Shade conveys his family as an entity not as many different individuals. After feeling alone for many years the only persuasion some individuals need is the assurance that they will be part of a society and accepted unconditionally. Cult members know what type of individuals feel most alienated and alone, says Dr. Lorna Goldberg, a New Jersey psychoanalyst. No one plans to join a cult unless they see that cult as a possibility for a family, or a better society. Cults target people in transition-- college students away from home for the first time, people who have moved to new cities for jobs, those who have just been divorced or widowed. Usually individuals 16 to 25 or 35 to 40. The vast majority of members are merely looking for a sense of community and belonging, during a difficult time in their lives.2 Cults provide an ersatz social unit, which takes them in, nurtures them and reinforces the cult\'s worldview. By the time that most cult members realize that this cult isn\'t what they had expected, it is too late, because they are already too afraid to leave. Recruiters are not the only way that potential members are enticed into cults, often their literature is powerful enough. Cult novels, pamphlets and websites draw in potential cult members by appealing to their desperate need to socially fit in. Often if a piece of cult literature is written correctly it convinces the most logical mind of the most absurd reasoning, like this pamphlet by the Heavens Gate cult. The generally accepted "norms" of today\'s societies - world over - are designed, established, and maintained by the individuals who were at one time "students" of the Kingdom of Heaven- "angels" in the making- who flunked out" of the classroom. Legends and scriptures refer to them as fallen angels. The current civilization\'s records use the name Satan or Lucifer to describe a single fallen angel and also to