CCChat-Magazine Cults-Coercion - Flipbook - Page 47
something you really don't know much about, I
think it's so important to just slow down and do
your research and be a good consumer.
M: If somebody were to find themselves in a
group that that they wanted to leave, what
steps could they take to get out safely?
J: That will depend on the group. I'd say most
groups aren't going to go after you, but some
groups do. The group I was in went after
people if they left and brought them back, put
them on trial and things like that. But, in most
cases, you can hopefully just walk away. It may
mean acknowledging that you were wrong to
make that choice or it may mean that you lose
money or lose friends or, in some cases, you
may even lose contact with family members
who may also be involved in the group.
or whatever it might be because they're eating
up more and more of your time is another red
flag. Also, not answering your questions. One
thing that is very typical, especially in the
beginning of recruitment, is you'll have
questions, but they don't ever really answer
them and your question gets turned back on
you. They'll often say you haven't seen enough
yet, you don't know enough yet, ask us that
question later, but later you aren't even going to
remember what the question was. So they're
definitely not answering in a straightforward
way. If they're not sharing with you, being
transparent about where the money goes, how
the money is spent, that kind of thing.
I think the most important thing for people is to
slow down, not jump right into something and
to do your research, just like you would do if
you were buying a house or buying a car.
There's so much information online these days
by people who have been in these groups or
participated in these programmes, and they've
written about it, so you can see what the
criticisms are. I think that's very important
because, once you sign your life away in that
way, which may not feel like signing your life
away, but you're giving yourself over to
I think the most important thing, if someone
does leave, is to find support systems to help
you through whatever recovery you may need.
Try to find books to read about recovery. Try to
find therapists who are familiar with the
aftereffects of cult membership. If you can find
a support group of other people who've been in
cults, these support groups are extremely
helpful because people see that they're not the
only one who got duped in a certain way. So, if
you're ready to leave, quietly make a plan and
then do it.
M: Would you say, if you're ready to leave, to
leave on your own or try and find somebody
else to leave with you?
J: That can be very tricky because in a lot of
groups that person will report you to the
leadership. Then they'll just do a whole
campaign to keep you in. So I'd say, in most
cases, it's probably more practical to leave on
your own and then, hopefully your leaving will
inspire other people to leave. I think the
Raniere case was a very important precedent,
a very important legal case that hopefully can
have an impact on other ones.
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