Cults Essay

2054 words - 8 pages

Each year, hundreds of North Americans join one of the increasing,estimated 3000 unorthodox religions that exist across North America. Theincreasing number of cults, to date in North America, is due to the factthat cults are a social movement that attempts to help people cope withtheir perceived problems with social interaction. Cult recruiters targetthose who perceive themselves as different from the rest of society, andgive these individuals the sense of belonging that they crave. Cultliterature lures potential cult members by appealing to their desperateneed to socially fit in. Cults provide a controlled family environmentthat appeals to potential cult members because it is a removal from theexterior society.Cult recruiters prey on those who see themselves as alienated from therest of society, and give these people the sense of conformity that theydesire. A common method of recruiters, to obtain new members, is throughchat lines on the internet. A recorded conversation between a member of theDivine Light Mission, Fire-Shade, and an 18-year old boy, Jay 18, wasobtained off of the site, IRC Teen Chat.Jay18: I am a really great poet, but all of the kids in myclass are pretty warped about it. I basically hide it from thembecause I don't need that hassle.Fire-Shade: My family has a great respect for the artist insideus all. I know you live in Michigan, and our family couldalways use new operatives all over the world. You have tounderstand what our family is about, it is about always fittingin and never hiding the truth to be liked or cool. Are youinterested?Jay18: Well maybeFire-Shade: Give me your phone number we really shouldn'ttalk about this here.Jay18: I would rather not give my phone number out. You giveme yours, I won't be able to talk for long though.Fire-Shade: Trust is very important in our group. Do you trustme? You can't call us, unfortunately because we are not in aposition to be accepting phone calls.Jay18: Well then you can just e-mail me. OK.Fire-Shade: [disconnects]1The cult member makes the young boy feel as though he does care abouthis problems, and wants to make this boy's life better. Fire-Shadeconveys his family as an entity not as many different individuals. Afterfeeling alone for many years the only persuasion some individuals needis the assurance that they will be part of a society and acceptedunconditionally. Cult members know what type of individuals feel mostalienated and alone, says Dr. Lorna Goldberg, a New Jerseypsychoanalyst.No one plans to join a cult unless they see that cult as a possibilityfor a family, or a better society. Cults target people in transition--college students away from home for the first time, people who have movedto 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 membersare merely looking for a sense of community and belonging, during adifficult time in their lives.2Cults provide an ersatz social unit, which takes...

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