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November 12, 1982 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-11-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

22 Friday, November 12, 1982

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Expert Looks at Cult Indoctrination Techniques

FACIAL HAIR
PERMANENTLY
REMOVED

By ARNOLD MARKOWITZ

(Editor's note: The
author of this article is a
director of the Cult Clinic
of the Jewish Board of
Family and Children's
Services in New York.
This article was distrib-
uted by the clinic and the
Jewish Community Rela-
tions Council of New

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York's Task Force on
Missionaries and Cults.)
What psychological fac-
tors make a person decide to
join a cult? What makes a
person give up his self-
determination to the point
where he is willing to work
15 hours a day, giving the
cult leader most of his in-
come? What makes him
willing to tell all his most
private thoughts to the
leader?
What causes some people,
such as the followers of Rev.
Jim Jones in Guyana, to be
willing to give up their
lives? Below is an overview
of the process by which a
person is drawn into the
cult. While each cult is
unique, they use similar
methods to achieve the
same results.
Cults usually have re-
cruiters who encourage
others to become involved in
the cult. The recruiter's first
step is to capture the poten-
tial member's attention,
often by capitalizing on his
interests.
If the potential member
is carrying a guitar, the
recruiter might say:
"Hey, it looks like you're
into music! Maybe you'd
like to jam with my

Israel Retains
ITU Membership

PARIS (JTA) -- An
Arab-sponsored attempt to
oust Israel from the Inter-
national Telecommunica-
tions Union (ITU) for its ac-
tions in Lebanon this sum-
mer failed as the six-week
meeting of the ITU in
Nairobi, Kenya, concluded
Sunday with Israel remain-
ing a member of the United
Nations technical agency.
The Arab-inspired reso-
lution, which sought to
exclude Israel from the UN
agency "as long as Israel
does not fulfill its interna-
tional obligations," was
thwarted in part by the ef-
forts of the Reagan Ad-
ministration.
Secretary of State George
Shultz issued a stern warn-
ing against any attempt to
bar Israel's participation
from any UN agency and
said the U.S. would walk
out of the ITU conference
and withdraw all U.S. fund-
ing should such a move suc-
ceed.
The United States pro-
vides $3.2 million, or
seven percent of the
ITU's current $46 million
budget.
an
Nevertheless,
amended version of the
Arab-sponsored resolution
was adopted during the
meeting by a vote of 84-31
with 13 abstentions, con-
demning the "continuing
violation by Israel of the in-
ternational law and the
massacres of Palestinian
and Lebanese civilians."
The amendment was
sponsored by Australia,
Belgium, Canada, De-
nmark, Ireland, Italy,
Luxembourg, Norway and
England. The U.S. voted
against the amended ver-
sion of the resolution be-
cause it was "objectionable
and unbalanced."

friends? We're all into
music and we're all living
together this semester,
and we devote some of
our time to helping poor
people."
Once the potential
member comes to the cult
headquarters, the cult
members begin breaking
down his resistance, to open
his mind to the teachings of
the cult through a process
similar to brainwashing.
This is achieved by break-
ing down the person's ego
and denying him his usual
sources of emotional sup-
port, such as urging him not
to see his friends and family
because they are evil, so
that his sole source of emo-
tional support becomes the
cult. His former values are
degraded through intense
peer pressure. At the same
time, he is showered with
love and affection.
Called "lovebombing,"
this pseudo-intimacy draws
him into the group and
encourages him to reveal
his weak points.
When the potential
member feels comforta-
ble and secure with the
members of the cult, he is
indoctrinated into the
thinking of the cult.
Members provide him
with selective informa-
tion, such as excerpts and
distortions from biblical
texts.
Their reasoning is often
based on simplistic truisms,
such as "you can't believe
anything you read — all in-
formation is controlled by
the media!" While many
people might believe such
statements have an element
of truth, they would not
take them as absolutes, and
certainly would not estab-
lish them as credos to live
by.
Around this point, the
potential member experi-
- ences the "snapping" phe-
nomenon — the instant of
revelation, the "aha!" where
the doctrine of the cult sud-
denly seems to make sense.
Sleep deprivation helps
induce this phenomenon.
Scientists have found that
each night, the average per-
son needs to experience a
given number of REMS
(rapid eye movements)
associated with the dream
state. If the person does not
- dream sufficiently at night,
over a period of time, he
tends to slip into dream-like
states during the day.
When that person gets
the opportunity 'to rest
his mind during the day,
such as when he is chant-
ing his mantra, he will
enter this dream state
very easily. This phe-
nomenon is often termed
"psychological disasso-
ciation" or "floating into
an altered state of con-
sciousness." In most
cults, members are de-
prived of sleep, causing
them to be very suscepti-
ble to a breakdown in ego
structure.
After snapping, the new
member usually acquires
the glazed, child-like look
associated with cult mem-
bers. This look may be the

result of an internal con-
flict, some psychologists
theorize, where the person's
old personality is still fight-
ing his newly reconstructed
"identity," and his indi-
viduality is still trying to
assert itself.
In the next phase, which
might be termed "consolida-
tion," the potential member
is urged to become totally
obedient to the leader. In
most cults, all independent
thinking is discouraged,
often with strict punish-
ments. Members are told to
run chants or mantras
through their minds, effec-
tively blocking their ability
to question or process in-
formation.
The last step is the new
cult member's assumption
of a new name and identity.
His personality changes,
and he tends to forget much
of his past. One cult
member, whom I'll call
"Joey," told his parents,
"Joey no longer exists. If
you wish to see the the Joey
of old, look at your photos of
him." This is the final prod-
uct of cult indoctrination; a
reconstruction of the cult
member's personality.
If the new member has
doubts, he is made to feel
guilty about them and
advised to block them out
of his mind. If he is dis-
tressed or has crying
spells due to the anxiety
produced by that guilt, he
is told he is achieving a
higher level of spiritual-
ity. In this way, the new
member finds it very dif-
ficult to think of leaving.
The cult uses a number of
other methods to keep the
new member in the cult.

Chanting and meditation
maintain his dissociated
state, by preventing him
from using his critical
thinking ability. If he does
contemplate leaving, he is
blocked by his fears of the
outside world.
Cults usually teach their
members that family mem-
bers and friends from his
former life are evil. He may
have been told that the out-
side world represents the
forces of darkness. Though
he may dislike the cult, he
feels he has no other alter-
native.
He also may feel he can-
not communicate with the
outside world. Members of
many cults speak in a spe-
cial jargon particular to the
cult, which draws them
close to those who literally
speak their language, and
prevents them from corn-
municating with the out-
side world. Meanings of
words are changed and
members tend to fixate on
certain "buzzwords." For
example, one young former
cult member I spoke to re-
ferred to the "design of life."
"What is the design of
life?" I asked. He said, "It
will
reveal
itself."
asked.
"How?"
I
"Through its design," he
answered, coming home
to the same buzzword.
This pattern of cyclical
"loop thinking" is also
typical of cults.
Involvement in cults is a
serious matter. If a family
member or friend of yours is
involved in a cult, the
JBFCS 24-hour cult hotline
is available for information
and crisis intervention at
(212) 960-8533.

Exhibit About Wallenberg

Draws Thousands in London

LONDON (JTA) — An hibition was Cohn Shindler,
English exhibition dealing a lecturer, who as a student
with the Holocaust closed leader in the early 1960s,
its doors last week after started campaigning for
being seen by thousands of Jewish emigration from the
Jews and non-Jews from all Soviet Union at a time when
over Britain.
most Jewish leaders re-
The exhibition, in St. garded the Soviet Jewish
Martin in the Fields Church community as defunct and
in the heart of the British incapable of revival.
capital, was intended
From London, the exhibi-
primarily to illustrate the tion will go on tour
case of Raoul Wallenberg, throughout Britain, begin-
the Swedish diplomat who ning with Birmingham,
saved thousands of Hunga- where it will be seen in the
rian Jews during World city's cathedral.
War II only to be taken after
Prime Minister Margaret
the war to the Soviet Union Thatcher, in a public tribute
from where he has never re- to Wallenberg, described
turned.
him as "a hero of our times"
The exhibition's pictures and pledged that Britain
of Auschwitz also gave was willing to assist any
many younger Britons their constructive initiative to
first lesson of the savagery find out what happened to
of the Holocaust. Racist him.
organizations in Britain
have for years been trying KLM Airline Ad
to portray the tragic events Omitting Israel
as a figment of the Jewish
Is Criticized
imagination.
It also helped to deepen
NEW YORK (JTA) —
understanding between Charlotte Jacobson, chair-
Jews and Christians at a man of the World Zionist
time when events in the Organization - American
Middle East have been Section, has criticized the
contributing to growing large KLM Royal Dutch
anti-Semitism in Britain Airlines display advertise-
and the deepening an- ment in The New York
xieties of the Jewish Times of Oct. 28 that erased
community.
Tel Aviv from the list of
The organizer of the ex- cities to which KLM flies.

7

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