CCChat-Magazine Cults-Coercion - Flipbook - Page 46
It's not so much about young people anymore,
not that they aren't also getting recruited into
cults, but I don't think, at this point, it's the
M: Oh wow, I wouldn't have expected that at
J: In a sense, so many of these groups have
mainstreamed in that they've entered into
mainstream society, you know, all this New Age
stuff – talking to dead people and Ascended
Masters and all that – became very common
and everybody was buying crystals and there
were TV shows about ghosts and talking to
dead people. It became very normalised and
then it's gotten completely entrenched into the
J: Essentially in a cult, in some way or another,
the indoctrination is going to break down your
personal boundaries. The whole idea is to take
you apart and create a new you – a cult you.
So, in one way or another, they're going to strip
you of your personal boundaries and your
safety mechanisms in regards to relationships.
You have to completely open yourself up. It
may not be in the way that Raniere did it; but
there will be some way that that happens so
that the person loses their sense of self and
takes on what we call the cult persona, which is
why people who were friends or family often
recognise that somebody has really changed
and they're not the same person they were
before because they literally are not the same
"The whole idea is to take you apart and create
a new you – a cult you."
I think that's why we're seeing older individuals.
I don't mean people in their 70s and 80s, but
middle- aged people getting more and more
into these kinds of groups.
M: That makes sense. I became more
interested in my 40s, it was definitely a midlife
thing. Half of my life had gone and it hadn’t
gone the way I'd wanted it to and I was looking
for new meaning for the next half of my life.
Another thing I've noticed, both with how
Raniere behaved but also what I’ve seen
personally, is that lack of respect for someone's
personal space, always up close and personal
with the hugging, the touching or just standing
too close. With Raniere, it was the kissing on
the lips. Is breaching someone's personal
space a common thing to look out for?
M: Is there any advice you could give on what
to watch out for, if somebody was interested in
joining an empowerment group, New Age
group or anything. Is there any advice you
could give for what red flags to watch out for?
J: I think one of the red flags is being asked to
sign a waiver. With many of these groups, they
asked you to sign a waiver saying if something
happens to you, you won't hold them
accountable. If you're being asked to sign a
waiver like that, there must be something
wrong or the potential for something to go
wrong, so that should make you think twice.
Also, if you're feeling a lot of pressure, you're
constantly being pressured to go to the next
thing or sign up for the next thing, the kind of
pressure telling you this has to happen now, I
think that's definitely a signal. Trying to take up
all of your time so that you don't have time to
see the people you saw before, or do the things
you like to do, so you give up hobbies
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