The Family Survival Trust

Discussion of cults generally - not specifically related to the SES or its related organisations.
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The Family Survival Trust

Postby actuallythere » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:45 am ... _cults_are

What cults are

A cult is not necessarily a religious group, although religious cults are common, including breakaway sects from more mainstream faiths. Cults can also take the form of therapeutic, commercial, educational, self-help, pseudo-scientific and various spiritual groups. Whatever they masquerade as, and whatever public relations stunts they seek to pull off, what damaging cults have in common is their vindictive abusiveness and their dissociative totalitarianism.

Cults recruit members by various forms of enticement or deception, demanding subservience and the total adoption of their ideas from members, to the exclusion of free thinking. Members are usually exploited both financially and as a labour force. At the same time, to gain acceptance from wider society, cults lobby politicians and the public, using the same ideas of freedom of expression which they deny their members.

Cults are dissociative, separating members from families, friends and colleagues.
Cults tend to be psychologically manipulative or abusive in order to exploit and control members commercially or sexually.
Some cults can also be physically abusive.
The guru and/or upper ranks of the cult are supported in a relatively comfortable lifestyle by the exploitation of lower ranking members.
Cults are totalitarian in structure and thrive on master-slave dependency.
Cults are "socially addictive" and the harm they cause is similar in some ways to other forms of addiction such as gambling, and even drug or alcohol abuse.


Cults are abundant and deceptive and the reason for concern is clear. The separation from loved ones, whose personalities may become unrecognisable after cultic recruitment, causes a great deal of grief and upset to families and friends. Seeing changes in, or hearing of the abuse suffered by, cult victims - or sometimes having to deal with an individual's disappearance - can cause a great deal of stress, anger and upset in the home. These "cult parents" and "cult families" are therefore also victims of cults, even if they had nothing to do with their child's recruitment to a cult. All cult victims need help, no matter how they have been involved or harmed.

Helping the victims of cults and educating interested professionals, politicians and members of the public helps raise awareness of the harmful methods and techniques employed by cults. The role of The Family Survival Trust is to listen and talk to, advise and help, parents, children and other individuals, and seek to ease stress. Family support of this kind can enhance family life in the home. For those individuals who do not have families or friends, we can also help: nobody should feel alone.

By way of example, enquiries have been received on the following groups and subjects. We would like to state that the groups or subjects listed here do not necessarily fulfill the criteria of "cult": Mormons and Mormonism; psychological coercion; Scientology and Scientologists; social addiction; psychological abuse; Jehovah's Witnesses; the Occult; brain washing; Christadelphianism; Satanism; physical or sexual abuse; Christian Science; Seventh Day Adventism; Kindoki; slavery within a cult; Swedenborgianism; the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (formally the Unification Church) and often referred to as "Moonies"; The Family, or The Family International (formerly the Children of God); the School of Economic Science; the Exclusive Brethren or Plymouth Brethren. We receive many other enquiries about groups, terms, concepts and subjects not named here.

There are hundreds of cults operating within the United Kingdom, and thousands of cults operating around the world. Some are small, one-to-one groups; others are large groups with a great deal of money, websites, front groups, and multinational reach.

at a glance

Harmful cults are not always religious. They can be political or commercial groups, or take many other forms.

They are totalitarian, abusive and dissociative.

They are socially addictive, with some effects similar to drug or alcohol abuse.

Lower members are exploited by higher ranking members.

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Re: The Family Survival Trust

Postby actuallythere » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:06 am ... ts_operate

How cults operate

Over many years of experience, The Family Survival Trust has become aware of the wide variety of techniques employed by cults to win power, money and influence. We learn much of this through interested and aware members of the public, journalists, researchers, academics, officials and professionals, ex-members of cults, families of those in cults, and sometimes current members themselves. Some of the different ways in which they operate are given here.

Cults very seldom admit to the extortion, dissociation and manipulation brought to bear on their members. The face they present to the public and potential recruits is very different indeed.

When recruiting, cults do not make a full disclosure about what they are and how they operate. They may hand out leaflets or talk to passers-by offering friendship, love or relief from stress, for example. If someone, normally of above average intelligence and at a low point in their life, is enticed from the street by such conversation or literature, they may then be exposed to more of the same, except in isolation and mixed with hard-sales persuasion. This is not the basis for them to make a clear judgement about a group, especially one which has not made a full disclosure about itself.

When openly lobbying government, spiritual or religious cults will talk about their belief systems, which range from the apparently normal to the bizarre; political cults will talk about their political ideologies; therapeutic cults will talk about their therapies and so on. They will move the debate onto grounds of belief rather than the theory and practices they use which cause so much harm, hoping to distract attention from the real issue and presenting any critics as being anti-religious or bigoted.

A cult will not talk about any commercial activity unless it wants to be seen as a business, and commercial pyramid-sales cults will try to pass off extortion as legitimate business. Cults claiming tax-exemption on the grounds of religious or charitable relief will play down their fundraising altogether. Therapeutic cults claiming amazing cures, relief or treatments will not produce empirical evidence to back their claims and rely on officials not asking awkward questions.

Cults use freedom of speech and freedom of conscience legislation to give themselves an air of honesty and respectability. They do not mention the isolation, impoverishment and abuse of their members who are not conducting public relations. Higher ranking members can wear impressive suits and wine and dine officials, paid for by extortion from the lower ranks. There are large deputations of representatives of cults and their front groups at conferences hosted by national and international government. How can they afford to pay for their voices to be heard apart from commercial activity or extortion?

How can cults afford their often impressively grand headquarters, whether in the heart of London or other large cities in the United Kingdom and abroad, or in large country estates? Where does the money come from? At the same time, the members whose tithes, labour, money and manpower pay for the grand estates live in often cramped and squalid dormitory conditions, or struggle to pay for their own small homes. Cults may also apply for grants available to religious charities, paid for by the tax-paying general public, and often obtain what they want without providing any proof of their activities or satisfying any criteria.

Cults sometimes maintain front groups which may reveal nothing of the cults with which they maintain ties. Some cults publish newspapers which do not disclose their true owners, because the company possesses a different name, and thereby pursues its agenda on unsuspecting readers undetected.

Other cults have front groups of different names which provide education courses to discreetly pursue their cultic agenda with vulnerable and unsuspecting children and their teachers; some even maintain schools or universities; or offer management training to employees who know little or nothing until it is too late; others offer laudable-sounding literacy or drug-rehabilitation programmes which are untried, untested and make promises ungrounded in any science or research.

Cults will in some way isolate their members to prevent them from a balanced world view. This begins from the start, when the potential recruit is taken from the street and brought into a strange enclosed environment on their own, persuaded, cajoled and pushed into joining, rather than making a balanced decision in their own time and space.

On the whole, cults will attempt to diminish their members' ability to think for themselves by controlling information, being the only voice which knows what is right, what is best, and, in fact, where possible, the only voice at all. To a certain extent, this information monopoly can also be attempted as public relations tactic on the outside world.

Cults will make demands on their members to fit the cult's requirements, and in a black-and-white worldview, anything seen not to fit these requirements is seen as wrong, a failure to be shunned or shamed, or the enemy to be excluded or hounded. These demands are often justified with mystical or spiritual reasons which purport to give powers or benefits to those who observe them, or terrible (sometimes divine) afflictions to those who do not.

The worldview given by the cult is the only truth, and nothing else can be accepted. Those who do not accept it are liable to punishment or dismissal, because many cults maintain their own corrective regimes, courts and systems of justice which pay little or no heed to the real law of the land. This monopoly on "truth" and judgement may be supported by the use of a code, language or jargon which makes the group more inscrutable to outsiders and help maintain a feeling of superiority or separateness to insiders.

A cult member may be made to confess sins or faults, sometimes presented as counselling or advice but often kept for the purposes of blackmail. The cult members' own thoughts and ideas are increasingly subjugated or overridden by the doctrine of the cult as it pursues its totalitarian ideas to complete its control over its slaves. The control may be aided by hypnotic or other mind-altering techniques to induce extra suggestibility.

The process of taking an enthusiastic recruit, who may see certain aspects of the cult as being exciting or different, and then making this the chief weapon by which they suborn all other ideas in the member, is amongst the most disingenuous and manipulative of crimes to enslave an individual without their knowing it.

Cults will often encourage the separation of loved ones within families, business associations or friendships if it leads to unwelcome attention to the more unsavoury aspects of their dealings, or the hurt they cause. They will carry out harassment of critics who go to the press to highlight the damage they inflict, or disseminate negative publicity about their critics in the press or on the internet, to draw away attention from any directed at the cults themselves. More persistent critics may be subjected to a grinding process of litigation, which can, at times, continue into bankruptcy.

at a glance

Abusive cults use deception to recruit members and hoodwink the outside world.

They extort from their members and make false claims for public funds.

They isolate, coerce, control and abuse their members.

They infiltrate society with front groups, and separate, harass and litigate against families.

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Re: The Family Survival Trust

Postby Dr.Alan » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:07 pm

In the spirit of open debate :-

The item on cults is quite interesting. But let us look at the main stream religions and see how they score on the list of main points in the third paragraph. For this I will include my own knowledge of 20th and 21st century incidents which can be pointed at the established belief system of the UK (Including all branches / sects) and those other belief systems which have grown in the UK due to large numbers of people from other countries who have settled here and have formed there own , quite large, communities here. i.e. the diaspora of eastern Europe, the middle east, India etc. So we mean, Christian, Jewish, Muslim. Hindu etc. as main stream belief systems (and all their various sects)- without the need to mention below which one is responsible for what.

Item 1. dissociative behaviour. Definitely incidents of not allowing marriage outside the belief system. And dissociative behaviour for any family member who does so. Also dissociative behaviour for anyone who gives up the faith, family or friend, with even death threats. Score maybe 9/10

Item 2. Manipulative behaviour. Definitely saying that a bad future awaits those who do not comply with the belief system code. Sexual manipulative behaviour to minors and to adults under their "care". Sexually exploiting those of another belief system to their own - on the grounds that the women were displaying low moral dress codes and behaviour. Score 10/10

Item 3 - physically abusive - Abusive through mutilation of body (private) parts . Also killing and terrorising those who do not belong to their belief system. Also killing/ mutilating / terrorising those who are part of the same belief system but belong to a different sect. Score 10/10

Item 4 -- Upper ranks living in luxury etc. That place in Italy is one of the richest places on Earth. High ranks in established religion are very well off and always begging. It costs money to go and visit well known places in London. - Cashing in on tourists. etc. Worshippers are always asked to contribute to a system which is one of the biggest land owners in the UK. Score 9/10 at least.

Item 5. -- Master /slave. Hardly any of the belief systems consider the normal worshippers as equals. All are considered lesser beings who need to be told what to do -- or else. Score 8/10 maybe.

Item 6 -- socially addictive. Some oblige their members to take part 3 , 4 or five times a day. You "cannot go on in life without taking part every day." score 8/10.

I am sure all forum members can add to this for main stream belief systems which they know of.

So how do we decide if main stream belief systems are non-different to all other organisations who play on the human weakness of wanting to be in like company and share a common feeling about something ???

My opinion is that all major belief systems have committed worse atrocities than anyone else has committed on all 6 of the above categories. This does not mean all people who follow or belong to these systems are bad people. The vast majority are good and decent people. More families are broken up because people are violent or otherwise abusive within their own family.

Is it really to do with "cults" or is it to do with human weakness of one form or another. If it is the latter - then there will be no change even if we rid the world of all main stream religions and all cults (whatever they are)??

Rest the case here for now.
SES - London 1964-1974 left due to SES interference with private life.

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Re: The Family Survival Trust

Postby actuallythere » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:16 pm

Dr Alan,

I quite agree. Personally I don't use the c-word, partly for this very reason. I've posted the links for interest - not because I agree with all the content.

Guess you'd concur there is a distinction between (i) religions and (ii) spiritual groups that say they are not religions. One is more straightforward than the other, even if both may e.g. encourage dissociation. It seems the c-word gets used to connote that lack of straightforwardness.

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