People may wonder why a person stays in a cult once they figure out that the place isn't what it was cracked up to be. Why don't people just leave?
This varies from cult to cult. Some cults have strict security measures in place that make it almost impossible for a person to leave. For some people, leaving a cult would require the equivalent to a jail break.
Other cults keep people in through mind control and isolation. Such was the case with the cult I was part of.
One of the first things that happens when a person joins a cult is a deep and quick immersion into the life of the cult. This is initially embraced by the new cult member, because after all, they are still on the honeymoon stage with the cult, and are excited to devote their time and energy to the new group. And of course, at this point they have no idea they are in a cult.
At the beginning, the cult member is made to feel like royalty and like a deeply valued member of the family. They are often initially shielded from the deeper workings of the cult, and those darker things are only discovered little by little, as time goes on.
The first thing that happened with me was that my old life was quickly severed. After all, I had quit my job, gotten rid of my possessions, and moved to a city where the only people I knew were other cult members. All of my time was spent with other cult members, working long days. There was no time, money, or transportation to go places outside of the compound. (I lived in a commune with the other cult members.)
I heard the same messages over and over again, how Christians on the outside didn't agree with what we were doing, but that they were on their way to hell in their easy chairs. Our group was different, we were set apart, we were holier than those other people, and we were the ones who were really following God. I'm not sure that I believed the messages I was hearing, but my friends sure seemed to believe them, and so did everyone else there. I had misgivings, but I also had a sense that voicing those thoughts would get me into big trouble.
It soon became very clear that any opinion other than the group opinion was not an acceptable opinion. People who did dare to voice opinions contrary to the rest of the group were publicly ridiculed, taunted, and given the least desirable jobs in the commune.
I became increasingly uncomfortable with this new group that I was part of, but I became fearful, and knew that voicing those opinions, even to a select person or two, would be very dangerous. After all, I wasn't sure who I could trust, I knew that confiding in someone could bring the wrath of the leader down on me.
Since my contact with the outside world was almost nonexistent, and since there was no one there I could trust, and since I consistently heard the same message over and over again, I kept my fear and misgivings to myself, and played the part of the compliant cult member, never having the courage to face the abuse that would come if I voiced my opinion.
The next part of this series will cover the life of poverty and malnutrition I experienced as a cult member.
the Secrets of Power.