Have You Accepted Cult Stereotypes?

Cults in 2018

Think of all the different minority religions that exist. Think of how different their belief systems are, where they came from in philosophy and their various religious traditions, and from across the world. Do you think of them as all one?

Could your thinking about minority religions be filled with cult stereotypes?

Is it really ‘mind control’ that causes a person to join and stay in a ‘cult’, or is it a conscious individual decision every day?

How powerful is this ‘mind control’ any way? It sounds bad, like the term “black magic”. But have you critically examined this term “mind control’, and like ‘black magic’, whether it really even exists?

Why do believers in mind control so easily switch the term with “brainwashing’, ‘hypnosis’, and other terms? Isn’t that an indication that it’s a very nebulous thing? You wouldn’t blithely switch terms such as “infra red” and “ultra violet”, right? That’s because those are exact, measurable frequencies of light, that are proven to exist. And we know the difference between them.

Why do believers in mind control not use the same intellectual exactitude? Is it because they can’t?

Why not? If ‘mind control’ really exists, then it should be able to be pinpointed as it exists, right?

What studies have been done to prove the effect and POWER of mind control? What positive evidence exists to support the existence of mind control? Do believers in ‘mind control’ even want to find out, lest your worldview crash on you again after Scientology?

I think it’s time to start asking questions about this whole idea of ‘cults’ in 2018. There are so many unexamined assumptions that have been given for you to accept, and that so many people are operating on, after Scientology.

Just because it’s ‘cool’ to hate cults right now – does that really mean it’s valid?

Is thinking in cult stereotypes really what you want to do?

3 Responses to Have You Accepted Cult Stereotypes?

  1. Alanzo January 2, 2018 at 8:07 am #

    From Marildi:

    Eloquent tweet, Alanzo! You’ve spoken my mind – succinctly and without mincing any words.

    Ridiculing and mocking “cults” is in fact an effort in the direction of negating their religious freedom – a slippery slope to step onto regardless of how contemptible “we” view their activities. Older, even ancient, “cults” could be the next to be judged – such as those whose monasteries might be viewed as “abusive” of the monks, who might be seen as living a rather deprived existence.

    It’s one thing to bring up the awareness of the members of a group, and the public in general, regarding harmful practices that may have been kept secret from them – and, in the case of Scientologists, awareness of the availability of core Scientology outside the church, in a non-authoritarian environment. Nevertheless, deriding the religion itself, as you indicated, is bigotry. Plain and simple.

    Actually, the raising of awareness and educating others is the exercise of another right in a free country – freedom of speech. And that type of campaign with regard to the CoS might even be enough to get the church to reform significantly. According to some reports, reform has already occurred as a result of it.

    But in any case, the bottom line is that the group and its members still have the right to their beliefs and to continue their practice – without being persecuted. This definition fits so well:

    persecute: “to subject (someone) to hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of their race or political or religious beliefs.”

    • Alanzo January 2, 2018 at 8:30 am #

      As you know, I’ve been a fervent anti-Scientologist for many years. During that time, my main purpose was to expose information that the Church of Scientology, specifically those running Scientology such as Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder and David Miscavige, were keeping hidden from Scientologists. I felt that exposing that information allowed everyone to make much more informed decisions about their own involvement in Scientology.

      My thinking and feeling as an anti-Scientologist was captivated by the continued repetition of Scientology atrocity stories such as Lisa McPherson. They sustained a kind of hysteria in my mind about Scientology. And they gave me this PTSD feeling that “it’s all still going on”. And so I must continue to “expose” them to make them quit abusing people. And to make them pay for what they’ve done to people.

      It never occured to me that Lisa McPherson, no matter how horrible, was a single event, which had never occured prior, or since. And it happened 20 years ago and the family has settled with the Church for a lot of money.

      Scientology has paid for Lisa McPherson. And I seriously doubt there will ever be another Lisa McPherson in the Church of Scientology again.

      Continuing to repeat the Lisa McPherson Scientology Atrocity Story had the effect of a kind of socially constructed mania among myself and my fellow anti-Scientologists. I wasn’t thinking critically about it. It just fueled an on-going emotional hysteria and a feeling that I was fighting a righteous fight against “oppression”.

      This example of the Lisa McPherson Atrocity Story is only one out of many trigger stories used to enrage people, to shock them about Scientology, and to whip them up into intolerance – with the hope that they will join up and help persecute this minority religion along with other anti-Scientologists, to buy books, t-shirts and hoodies, to watch documentaries and TV shows. And hopefully, to scare the government into action against Scientology like they did at Waco in the early 90’s. Or at least have congressional hearings, FBI raids, or to eliminate their tax exempt status.

      Lisa McPherson was used to trigger a revenge response in people.

      With the closure of the RPF, the ending of employing children in the Sea Org, no more cadet org, no more abortions for pregnant SO women, what is the purpose any more to anti-Scientology but continued persecution of Scientology as a minority religion?

      I am asking sincerely, and I am inviting the many intelligent and critical thinking anti-Scientologists (most of whom I still consider friends even if they do not consider me one any more) to think about this question and to answer it with a thoughtful, rational answer.

  2. Alanzo January 6, 2018 at 8:03 am #

    I found this to be an interesting conversation with a typical Internet anti-cult warrior. ClaudWaterbuck, friend of mine, posted a link to this post into an Internet forum, and dayzee_fitzroy come through to comment:

    dayzee_fitzroy 2 points 3 days ago*

    Drivel.

    It asks a bunch of vague, leading questions, much like a CoS document. In addition, it cites nothing but the author’s own tweet being offended at having his belief called a “cult.”

    Point being, regardless what you call it, high-control religions exist and cause real and significant damage to individuals, families, and society as a whole. All claim to be the one source of absolute truth too. Funny how that works.

    And try this on for size, a citation to support the claims I’ve made above! https://freedomofmind.com/bite-model/

    ClaudWaterbuck[S] 1 point 22 hours ago

    “Drivel.

    It asks a bunch of vague, leading questions, much like a CoS document. In addition, it cites nothing but the author’s own tweet being offended at having his belief called a “cult.”

    Interesting. I do believe that you are stereotyping the author. Funny how he can ask those questions and the subject matter can ZOOM right over your head. Could it be because you are thinking in stereotypes?

    …”high-control religions exist and cause real and significant damage to individuals, families, and society as a whole.”

    That, right there, is a fascinating claim!

    Let’s see, there’s JONESTOWN, AUM SHINRIKYO, and HEAVEN’S GATE

    I could name 3 african american criminals, but would those three criminals mean that all african americans were like those three criminals?

    In the same way, your claim above smears all minority religions with the same stereotype.

    I do believe that you have an opportunity here to examine your mindset on the subject of minority religions. Can you spot the stereotypes you are using?

    dayzee_fitzroy 1 point 22 hours ago*

    I’ve never been presumptuous enough to think that one of my tweets contains enough wisdom to be a quote. So, I have little to gain by understanding the hubris of the author.

    And which religion are you presuming that I’m stereotyping? Where did I ever lump similar “minority” religions together? I mentioned that the document is vague, cites no actual sources, and reads like something from CoS. That was my only reference to them. That they author drivel such as the content in OP. This is just a poorly-written narcissistic blog by any standards, not just religious or ethical ones.

    This document makes no sense short of being personally offended at others disputing their claims. Which is fine, the author, and you, have every right to be offended at being persecuted. It sort of goes with the “woe are we because people are MEAN” narrative anyway.

    Your reply makes no sense. Inserting race is ??

    When entire races of people start claiming to be sources of absolute truth, presume to tell followers who they can associate with, what they wear, what they should think, require significant sums of money, or threaten them with banishment, I’ll happily criticize them also.

    I don’t have an issue with religion or a personal relationship with a higher power. I do have a problem with people presuming to be the one-true mouthpiece of such deities, and then using that power to manipulate, and robbing people of money, autonomy, and possibly their family when shunning occurs. But that is just a personal opinion of mine, and unlike your author, I don’t presume to be an authority on such things.

    ClaudWaterbuck[S] 1 point 21 hours ago

    I think you continue to miss the point. It’s about thinking with stereotypes on the subject of minority religions. It’s a critical thinking point, a chance to examine one’s reasoning on a particular subject.

    A stereotype is defined as “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.”

    Are you saying that stereotypes about minority religions do not exist?

    Or that you do not think with them with regard to minority religions?

    dayzee_fitzroy 1 point 21 hours ago

    I think your point is ignorant and asinine. And that if a religion has high-control aspects it should subject to scrutiny. I don’t think it matters if it’s a minority or majority religion, and I think that point is moot. I’m certain many people have existing stereotypes about less popular forms of worship. I’m only speaking about high-control groups, most often called “cults.” But the verbiage doesn’t matter to me. What matters is how they behave to their followers and I feel like as a reasonable human I can assess them individually based on their merits.

    ClaudWaterbuck[S] 1 point 20 hours ago*

    …”if a religion has high-control aspects it should subject to scrutiny.”

    Exactly. And that is exactly what the article is inviting you to do – scrutinize not only the “high-control” aspects of a minority religion, but also your own thinking about them.

    One of the hardest things to understand is someone else’s religion. The idea that you are thinking about someone else’s religion in ways that are totally accurate, and without stereotypes, is highly likely to be false.

    Maybe you are different. Maybe you never lump a single individual who is an adherent of Scientology in with another single individual who is a member of ISKCON. But if that is the case, you would certainly be in the minority.

    Am I right?

    Do you see how you are speaking only in generalities about these “high control groups”?

    Could you entertain the idea that joining and maintaining a membership in a “high control group” might be some individual’s conscious and intentional choice?

    Or do you believe that all cult members are “brainwashed” into joining and remaining members?

    dayzee_fitzroy 1 point 17 hours ago*

    I think there are some fundamental problems with Scientology, particularly disconnections, knowledge reports, and discouragement of “apostate” information.

    That said, anyone should be able to choose to associate themselves with Scientology without consequence, or being judged. I also believe they’re entitled to make that decision with a full understanding of what that means. You’re not convincing me of something new that I hadn’t already considered at length. It may even improve them as an individual. It’s when an individual is forced to join, is victim of abuse, feels personally oppressed, or trapped that I have a problem.

    I am personally vehemently against indoctrination of children.

    As for the article, I didn’t get that impression at all. It came off to me as a self-centered complaint about being part of a religion known for high-control, and also being angry at those who are disaffected by it, or who reject those principles. All while also trying to pin the issue on a “cult” witchhunt. All based on sparing the feelings of the religious individual. I don’t think anyone should be immune to logic. I feel like parsing vocabulary like “cult” is what is distracting, if the article is what you say.

    If they just said, “Please respect my personal choice to associate with _____.” It would be a reasonable request. I might even want to pick that person’s brain to see why it works for them. But instead it says “Don’t call it a cult, and if you do, you’re a bigot.” I don’t think that is true. There is a lack of vocabulary to describe high-control groups such as Scientologists, Orthodox Jews, JWs, Calvinist Christians, Mormons, and Muslims.

    All of these groups, at times, share troubling similarities of previous actual cults. Also with high-control governments. I think this is why people are eager to label these groups as cults. There is an opportunity for new vocabulary to expose abuses of high-control groups that aren’t quite Jonestown.

    My advice to anyone whose feelings are hurt at being accused of being in a “cult.” Is to closely examine why it hurts. Perhaps real cults can teach us how to recognize, and protect ourselves, as autonomous individuals from abuse and oppression.

    TL;DR: People should be able to believe what they like, and associate with who they like, even high-control groups. The danger lies when people are forced to do things, or are abused. But I think that experience is individual.

    ClaudWaterbuck[S] 1 point 12 hours ago

    I see.

    By the way, the author of that article is not a Scientologist. He left 18 years ago. Here’s his bio:

    https://alanzosblog.com/alanzos-biography/

    He espouses an evolution out of Scientology and even out of Anti and Ex Scientology that he calls Post Ex-Scientology.

    https://alanzosblog.com/post-ex-scientology/

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