|By Clyde Lewis
Beware of cult madness, it will always be a part of our future. There will be many people who will sound the warning about destructive group dynamics and how their purpose is to control your mind. While watchdog groups will warn you of the diabolical ploys that cults use to trap you, you may want to consider that cults have bigger weapons and are getting endorsements from people in high places.
No word in the English language conjures up more disdain than the word cult. It has been used and abused to describe any group that dances to the tune of a different drum. While it is arguable that we have all been a part of cult like behavior from time to time in our lives it seems that there are many jumping on the bandwagon to warn you that these groups lurk in the most unassuming of places.
You will also be surprised to learn that many of you are probably already a part of a group that uses a tactic known as group dynamics to get you to do their bidding. This type of manipulation can get even the smartest of people to do things that most people would consider peculiar.
We have already pointed out in past Ground Zero shows that a pyramid authoritarian rule exists in many companies, religions, and in government. Deceptive groups use this same pyramid of power in order to get the unit to do the will of the dictatorial ruling body. This means that not all destructive cults are religious in nature.
Cult like behavior exists in therapy groups, political groups, and many businesses use group dynamics to instill pride and loyalty.
The confusing thing is that not all cults are bad. If the group is legitimately trying to find the truth and they're purpose is to better mankind then they will stand up to the scrutiny and they will persevere. If they are continually pressuring people to commit before they hear the whole story, or if they lie or use nebulous rewards or undefined fear of an enemy as a tactic to get your servitude then you should realize that this group may be destructive and needs to be avoided.
There are many things that can be used to put fear and paranoia into your mind. We have heard of prophecies, outrageous claims, UFO alien invasion terrors, and possible virtual takeovers. While they are possibilities to consider one must realize that until they transpire they are pure speculation.
Many though, are convinced that their fears will come true and are left in a hellish pit of despair. They tend to look for a protective network. A group that answers their questions or even weirder still continues to fuel their fears.
While a healthy dose of paranoia motivates even the people who dwindle in unbelief, unhealthy fear and manipulation can get you to move away from your family, stockpile weapons, and kill others, even yourself.
It just takes a few triggers and a few key ingredients and soon the whole world comes crashing down around you.
Technological failures, planet alignments, rogue comets, political collapse and bible prophecy. Mix it with science fiction and a dash of paranoia and the future will be over for the estimated 3 million or more people who are members of what are termed dangerous cults. The fear is that if more groups become mainstream they will become more menacing and lure people into acting strangely or even dangerously.
The scary part is that no one is immune to being a part of a group that appears on the surface to have your best interests at heart. It's all a part of the war for your mind and while you think you are safe in your own choices, it can become quite clear that powerful images and trigger words can get you to act out of paranoia and fear.
However, there seems to be an argument as to which is a cult and which isn't a cult. The word cult has been used to define a religion that is unorthodox to mainstream consensus reality. The word cult is catch all for dangerous groups when in reality all religions in essence are cults.
A cult defined is basically any group or organization where dedicated, willing members surrender independent thinking and their lives for an idealistic sounding mission.
This definition literally points to any group that uses peer pressure and group dynamics to further an agenda. Thus creating a mindset where people would rather die or sacrifice those around them than go against the group.
It is a programming mechanism that we are all familiar with. Whether it is a religious influence, a political influence, or patriotism we have allowed ourselves to make the claim that we would be willing to sacrifice our time, our well being, and even our lives for that ideology.
Sometimes however there are things we give up little by little when we are being manipulated.
We lose our integrity, and self-responsibility, little by little and become dependant on those who are controlling us. When they tell us of a threat and urge us to agree upon it, we are willing to give up everything even our lives to eliminate that threat.
No one realizes that this form of mind control is destructive until they reach the edge and by then they realize that they really don't care anymore because they feel trapped. They are damned if they leave and they are damned if they stay. If they leave they do it alone and lose their network of like minded acquaintances. If they stay they must continue the self destructive path.
The only means of escape is literally the laying down of one's life for the cause.
What do destructive groups do in order to have that hold over you? Well the first and foremost thing is to create an evil enemy, those who have an opposing viewpoint to your particular ideology.
We see this happen in government, religion, and in racial hate groups such as the KKK and neo-Nazi groups. It's unavoidable. When you join the "cause" you have people who are constantly telling you that an undefined enemy exists and so you put your trust in the collective because you assume that the group you belong to can't easily be mislead.
There lies a false sense of security, where you assume that your calling and election is made sure either in the present , or in a nebulous future where all things will be made known and the secrets will be revealed. The trigger word here is potential. You feel that losing yourself into this group will give you potential to supercede the indefinable enemy that persecutes you.
After the slow stripping away of your character you fail to realize that you have resolved that the group or ideology is far more important than you are. This is where the danger begins.
You then fail to see the other warning signs that develop. Such as centralized control and policing of others. Making sure that measures to insure control are upheld for the survival of the collective's intentions.
This leads to censorship and secrecy. Flaws of the group are not mentioned, or they are covered up or classified.
There are some however that will be given certain secrets, if they have proven their loyalty to the controllers. They learn their secrets through secret meetings and ceremonies that are not open to all members of the collective.
There will be those within the group that will further the agendas and ideologies by publicly declaring the loyalty through testimonials and endorsements. It is an imperative that no disagreeing oratory be heard amongst the collective. To do so would be considered subversive or insurgent. Maybe in some cases it would be considered blasphemous or heretical.
How many times have we been accused of having a lack of faith, or having our loyalty questioned because we have been critical of a viewpoint or ideology foisted upon us by those who claim that they are above us, or claim to be our leaders?
As you can see no one is immune. Perhaps now we can understand why some people who are members of destructive groups act the way they do. Now perhaps we can look outside ourselves and see why groups go willingly to the slaughter when the day of reckoning takes place.
In March of 2000, the bodies of some 400 people were found locked in a Ugandan church, burned beyond recognition. The group known as the ``Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God'' celebrated the night before they died in the fire. Local officials said the cultists had slaughtered a cow and ordered 70 crates of soda the night before taking their lives. Many news agencies described bodies burned in a kneeling position with arms outstretched. Reporters were assuming that it appeared they were reaching for help.
I say that in all probability they weren't. While I can't honestly say what was going through the minds of every person during the blaze, It has been shown in previous destructive cult cases that many give up their lives willingly because they are of the mindset that they are going to a better place.
The witnesses to the aftermath of self-destruction are stupefied when they count the bodies of those who eventually die for the cause. The irresolution for those who do not understand is why these people willingly lay down their lives.
The first reaction is that they were forced into it, that they had no choice. This is false. It is only a defense mechanism of the living. The loathsome reality is that people will die for causes. If they are convinced that there is a reward waiting for them. Mind control has its way with people.
The Heaven's Gate tragedy shows us that even the most normal of individuals can be convinced into doing something peculiar in order to be saved from peril.
It has been said time and time again by the media and by those who were close the 38 followers of Marshal Applewhite that they packed their luggage willingly and ingested lethal doses of Phenobarbital and Vodka in order to "shed their containers," and rendezvous with a "spaceship" travelling in the tail of comet Hale-Bopp.
The group's suicides were a reflection of the times, a byproduct of a pop culture lost in the throes of comic book philosophy and fear of an apocalypse. In lieu of leaving suicide notes, the group left behind suicide press kits showing followers, who without coercion told us that they were happily going away like an "away team" from Star Trek.
There was a "told you so" attitude that permeated throughout the media. I even witnessed reporters who would challenge the friends and families of the victims when they claimed that the members were normal people. They were pointing out constantly that a UFO cult was not a Christian faith and that is why it was destructive. This I felt was unfair and I began to side with Heaven's gate. I am a firm believer in allowing people to worship the God they choose. Even if it is a bald globe headed being from the Evolutionary Level above Human. The Christian bias was so nauseating I couldn't bear to watch it anymore.
What annoys me about the subject of cults is that it gives way to bigotry. It also gives license to anyone who feels that they are above the manipulations of destructive groups.
Soon, there is name-calling and labeling of people who truly are involved with sects that may not be cut from the same cloth as mainstream religious groups.
Mormons have had to deal with such persecution by evangelical churches that look at their pyramid like organization as a threat to "wholesome Christianity."
However even though it may appear that many of the tenants of a destructive cult exist within the Mormon Church there has not been evidence to show that it has been a destructive cult in over 150 years of existence.
Of course there are individual stories of treachery in the church, but there are stories such as these in any religion. Mormonism is a cult, and so is Catholicism. Evangelical and charismatic faiths are cults, and this is not arguable. At least from my vantage point.
I am not saying this with malicious intent. I am declaring it because it's about time that someone paints religion with one brush. That they declare openly and candidly that any group who wants your servitude is a cult.
The bottom line is that if they use destructive group dynamics in their practices then they will self-destruct on their own and there is nothing you can do or anyone else can do. Cult is not a dirty word and it should not be used as a derogatory term for any religion that is not a traditional Christian faith.
The arguments within Christianity are stupid. They are used to create an agreed upon enemy. It has devolved into a Satan of the month club and religious leaders are beginning to preach hatred from their pulpits. American faithful have put their trust in these organizations because they assume that the group they belong to can't easily be misled.
The result is the justification of murder. Killing of abortion doctors, and homosexuals, all with the blessing of churches who say that they are not groups who practice destructive group dynamics in order to secure the power of a few individuals who preach the truth. Their ideologies are more important than the sanctity of life. The sanctity of spirit.
Realize that you can lose your will if it sounds keen to the intellect.
However there are many other tricks that exist that can get you to join a destructive cult and sometimes you are not emotionally or mentally prepared to fight it off. Some groups use hypnosis, visualizations, and subliminal messages in the media and now the internet.
The latest allegations are being levied against the Church of Scientology.
Over the last 20 years the non-profit organization F.A.C.T.Net and its predecessors have supported individuals who have left Scientology or are in the process of leaving Scientology, helping them to tell their stories of abuse and systematic criminality. Now they are about to lower the boom on the Hollywood establishment which boasts some pretty influential members of the Church of Scientology.
An Internet newsletter has been making the rounds alleging that the Movie Battlefield Earth based on the book by L. Ron Hubbard is a last ditch effort to increase Scientology's shrinking numbers of members.
There have also been reports from unnamed sources that allegedly are in an inner circle about the movie. These sources tell F.A.C.T. net that they have considered putting subliminal or hidden messages in the film pushing Dianetics, the book authored by Hubbard.
The report also claims that that the producers of the film could buy the ability to imbed images and messages within other images from some foreign advertising companies who had mastered it. They said they also had access to some eastern bloc government research, which detailed new ways to imbed subliminal messages into video, in which the messages simply could not be found without detailed knowledge of these specific imbedding techniques.
This set off a memory of an earlier Ground Zero show where my audience actually heard a subliminal message in the soundtrack of a John Travolta film. Reverse Speech researcher David John Oates stumbled on to a reversal that was imbedded in the John Travolta Movie Phenomenon. The reversal was allegedly intentionally put in the films soundtrack.
John Travolta is a well-known Scientologist in Hollywood and stars in Battlefield Earth.
While many Scientologists including Travolta deny that this new film is made to recruit young people into their sect there are many others who feel that this Sci-Fi epic is the bait to lure people who wouldn't otherwise care or have an interest in the sect.
The official Battlefield Earth web page contains a biography of L. Ron Hubbard and book sales statistics without reference to the fact that most of those quoted statistics are for Scientology books. While most movie companies host the Websites of their perspective films Warner Brothers does not support the website.
No where on the site is there any reference to Scientology however there is some fear that when kids decide that they want to buy the Book and the T-shirt that their names and addresses will end up on a Sceintology database. That according to Cult watchdogs is where the danger rears its head.
The Scientology center then begins sending letters and making phone calls to your house, to your kids, inducing them to go into the organization's center for a free movie with John Travolta promoting Scientology.
Then the next stage of the recruitment is a free personality test or an inexpensive, innocent-sounding communication improvement course.
Back in the early 80's I remember taking that test, and when they asked me to go to their center I simply said no.
After they had my address and phone number I continued to receive information regarding an L. Ron Hubbard Science fiction writing contest. I contacted them and told them to stop contacting me but they were relentless.
If the allegations concerning use of subliminal messages in this film are true, F.A.C.T Net is demanding that immediate government intervention should be required to protect the public from serious harm.
Subliminals were outlawed 30 years ago that told you to buy more candy and soda during a movie intermission. However it would be hard to prosecute because the artist can say that it was well within the art of the film.
There were subliminal flash images in the Exorcist and in the movie Fight Club and there were no fines levied and no arrests made.
However it is common sense to monitor where your child sends his information. It is not wise to send your personal information to companies that you aren't sure about especially to businesses whose religious affiliation you find questionable.
Steven Hassan M.Ed., a leading cult expert and licensed mental health counselor who has helped people recover from Scientology believes that the movie Battlefield Earth might be a powerful vehicle for recruiting masses of people into Scientology which he describes as a destructive cult.
Meanwhile the watchdog groups are rallying a protest against a movie that is really a Science fiction yarn that will probably be compared to Star Wars for it's ability to water down "true" religion.
That being Christianity where a small group of Jews followed a man who claimed he was sent from heaven by God to save people. When his followers rejected his message he willingly died on a cross, an act that arguably was suicide to show them that he was capable of rising from the dead. Only to be whisked away into heaven by two men in a cloud of light. He then told everyone to follow.
Jesus has been dead for nearly 2 millennia and has a large following. Before his death no one claimed him. It took a Roman emperor and a few bloody crusades to sell Jesus to a group of people who doubted.
Scientology is learning that in order for them to lose their destructive cult moniker all they have to do is hire better salesmen. They have learned that you don't have to kill non believers, just entertain them.
Besides isn't cult like behavior the American way?
We have all been taught to die for the cause. Keep your mind where they can't get at it. It's easier to stay at Ground Zero.
Copyright 1998-2007 Ground Zero Media, Clyde Lewis, and John Hart. All Rights Reserved.