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Dangers Of Obedience: David Koresh. Essay

1425 words - 6 pages

People can be coerced into cult-like groups regardless of intelligence, beliefs or up-bringing. It can begin with a smile from a stranger or in today's modern times, an enticing message on the Internet. This is soon followed by manipulation, mind control, isolation, the breaking down of a human being's free will and ability to think rationally and eventually sometimes leads to death. The explanation for events such as the Waco Texas Suicide can be explained in the ability of a charismatic leader to control reality for his followers, using tried and tested techniques to brainwash the human spirit. "It has to do with the drive of a cult leader and what the cult leader wants the members to do." Said John Hochman, a UCLA psychiatrist in the CNN Interactive article, "Mass Suicides Raise the Question: Why," by Al Hinman.For 51 days in Waco, Texas a religious sect or what some would call a cult called The Branch Davidians were engaged in a standoff with state and federal law enforcement. The group's self-proclaimed leader, David Koresh, with his hypnotic preachings had convinced the Davidians that God would destroy their enemies and they would be risen up to an after-life in heaven. On April 19, 1993 the compound where the Davidians were holding their standoff went up in flames killing seventy-seven men, women and children. Massive amounts of news, magazine and journal articles focused on the question as to whether the Davidians had committed a mass suicide or if law enforcement was responsible for the blaze. The real question that needs answering thoughAmanda Ramos Page 2is: Why would normal every day people obey a perceived authority even when that obedience becomes dangerous?There are three stages in which people become involved in dangerous situations as part of cults. First a person is enticed to join the group. People who are perceived as vulnerable and are in major life transitions such as having left home or losing a loved one are prime targets for cult recruiters who will approach with open arms and promises of happiness and fulfillment. "Twas hard to leave that loving place where the word of God abides," said Gladys Ottman, a Waco survivor, in an article published in Maclean's by Andrew Phillips and Hilary Mackenzie. For Gladys the word of God still abides with Koresh, even in death. She insists that her loyalty is with David and his followers. Using speech and words, Koresh acquired a following of very religious people who badly needed to be a part of something they viewed as special. "David revealed what was good and what was evil", she says. "It was like I had another love. I had found God. I loved God but I really didn't know him before I met David Koresh. He was a godly man." "Had I been in the fire, I would have accepted it, but God had a different plan for me." Jynona Norwood, who lost her family in the 1978 Jonestown Suicide, states that "It's very difficult to understand or comprehend." "A lot of young people, or even parents, are...

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