Characteristics of a Cult

This is a list I ran across somewhere and found it useful.

  1. INTERNAL CONTROL, amount of internal political power exercised by leader(s) over members.
  2. WISDOM CLAIMED by leader(s), amount of infallibility declared about decisions.
  3. WISDOM CREDITED to leader(s) by members; amount of trust in decisions made by leader(s).
  4. DOGMA, rigidity of reality concepts taught; amount of doctrinal inflexibility.
  5. RECRUITING, emphasis put on attracting new members; amount of proselytizing.
  6. FRONT GROUPS, number of subsidiary groups using names different from that of the main group.
  7. WEALTH, amount of money and/or property desired or obtained; emphasis on members’ donations.
  8. POLITICAL POWER, amount of external political influence desired or obtained.
  9. SEXUAL MANIPULATION of members by leader(s); amount of control of sex lives of members.
  10. CENSORSHIP, amount of control over members’ access to outside opinions on group, its doctrines, or its leader(s).
  11. DROPOUT CONTROL, intensity of efforts directed at preventing or returning dropouts.
  12. ENDORSEMENT OF VIOLENCE when used by or for the group or its leader(s).
  13. PARANOIA, amount of fear concerning real or imagined enemies, perceived power of opponents.
  14. GRIMNESS, amount of disapproval concerning jokes about the group, its doctrines, or its leader(s).
  15. ISOLATION, attempts to separate members from family and friends who are not part of the group.
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