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  • It's hard to know how many cults exist out there right now.

  • But Margaret Singer, she estimated about 5,000 in the United States alone.

  • [How easy is it to fall prey to a cult?]

  • A big misconception is that you'll be able to spot a cult and you'll be like, "I'm not going to fall for that."

  • But what's surprising about cults is that they can actually come in many forms.

  • It could be a religion.

  • It could be a business, a motivational seminar.

  • No one's going to walk up to you and be like, "Hey, you want to join my cult?"

  • It's something I think we're still figuring out as a society.

  • "Far Cry 5" takes place in the fictional town of Hope County, Montana.

  • It's about a cult leader, Joseph Seed, who calls himself The Father.

  • He starts a doomsday cult.

  • They're basically taking over the town and forcing people to convert.

  • While this seems like an extreme scenario, this kind of thing has happened before.

  • Dave Koresh convinced his members to form an army of god at the Mt. Carmel compound.

  • He gained a huge arsenal.

  • The ATF was just supposed to go in and put them all under arrest, but Koresh was tipped off.

  • So, it turned into a 51-day standoff.

  • A fire started and then that just burned down the whole compound.

  • It resulted in the deaths of 76 people.

  • People think that only dumb or gullible people fall for a cult, but if it's the right time and place, a charismatic figure can walk into anyone's life.

  • [3 reasons people fall prey to cults]

  • [1. Instability in the world] If the world is in a state of instability, people are looking for assurance.

  • Like, in the '60s, it was a time of new age movements, deconstructing of the nuclear family.

  • And that was just fertile ground for someone to rise up, a charismatic leader, Charles Manson.

  • The type of people he looked for were hitchhikers and people who were part of the "free love" movement.

  • He was definitely not a hippie.

  • He just found what was working at the time and used it to his advantage.

  • Him giving his followers LSD was just a way to perpetuate that otherworldliness.

  • As he built this delusional world, he interpreted The Beatles as singing songs about a certain race war that was about to happen.

  • In order to ignite that race war, he murdered Sharon Tate and her friends in her home.

  • There's also the case of Jim Jones.

  • [2. Financial instability] Someone's financially unstable and let's say a wealthy cult leader comes around.

  • He actually attracted a lot of working class people.

  • He was very much about socialism.

  • He gave everyone that chance to feel equal.

  • He moved his group to Jonestown in South America and he told everyone to give up all their assets to the group.

  • Being poor and being isolated in Jonestown, it made the members vulnerable because, really, they didn't have any other option.

  • If they had their doubts about their beliefs, he would publicly humiliate, sometimes physically beat them, hold a gun to someone's head.

  • It brought about criticism and then, eventually, it turned into tragedy.

  • When he told everyone to kill themselves by drinking a mix of cyanide with Kool-Aid, really they didn't have any other option.

  • So, that's where we get the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid."

  • [Charisma] Cult leaders definitely twist religious beliefs to make it about them.

  • A lot of them claim to be the second coming of Christ.

  • It's harder to disobey the leader because their sense of identity comes directly from the leader.

  • "I'll tell you who I am."

  • "As to whether or not you believe who I am or not is up to you."

  • Marshall Applewhite, he was actually a very charismatic figure.

  • He just seems like a very warm and knowledgeable person.

  • He started Heaven's Gate.

  • He believes that their destiny was to transcend into space.

  • So, they all took this poisonous cocktail in bunk beds and killed themselves.

  • One of the saddest things about cults is that I don't think people fall prey to a cult because they're suckers, as much as they're human.

  • People want to trust people.

  • We're social beings and in a social climate of confusion and divisiveness, people are looking for assurance.

  • When someone comes and pitches this better life, who's going to say no to that unless you already have it pretty well.

  • I think it's important to take a hard look at yourself.

  • Am I easily trusting of new friends?

  • Am I in a financially unstable or vulnerable position?

  • Could you fall prey to a cult?

  • Well, give me that old time religion.♪

  • Give me that old time religion.♪

  • It's good enough for me.♪

It's hard to know how many cults exist out there right now.

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B1 US cult prey people leader instability charismatic

How Do Cults Trap People?

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    Lian posted on 2020/03/06
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