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Cults in Our Midst. The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace. Edition No. 1

  • ID: 2217972
  • Book
  • April 2003
  • 432 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Cults today are bigger than ever, with broad ramifications for national and international terrorism. In this newly revised edition of her definitive work on cults, Singer reveals what cults really are and how they work, focusing specifically on the coercive persuasion techniques of charismatic leaders seeking money and power. The book contains fascinating updates on Heaven's Gate, Falun Gong, Aum Shinrikyo, Hare Krishna, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and the connection between cults and terrorism in Al Queda and the PLO.
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Foreword xi

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction to the Revised Edition xvii

Introduction to the First Edition xxi

Part 1 What Are Cults? 1

1. Defining Cults 3

Definitions and Characteristics

Cult Types

Who Joins Cults?

Why Do They Join?

2. A Brief History of Cults 29

Cults in the 1800s

The 1960s: Fertile Ground for Cults

The 1970s: Cults to Expand Awareness

The 1980s: Psychological, Occult, and Prosperity Cults

Examples of New Cults

Cause for Concern

3. The Process of Brainwashing, Psychological Coercion, and Thought Reform 52

Historical Examples of Brainwashing

Packaged Persuasion

Attacking the Self

How Thought Reform Works

Producing a New Identity

Impermissible Experiments

4. What's Wrong with Cults? 83

Cults Threaten Legitimate Institutions

Cults Harm Our Children and Tear Apart Our Families

Cults Are Violent

Cults Engage in Conspiracy and Fraud

Small Cults Can Be Just as Harmful as Large

Cults Take Away Our Freedom

Cults Take Away Our Possessions

Cults Escape Scrutiny

What Is to Be Done?

Part 2 How Do They Work? 103

5. Recruiting New Members 105

First Approach

Invitation

First Cult Contact

Follow-Up: Gaining Greater Commitment

Young and Old Alike Are Vulnerable

The Double Agenda

6. Physiological Persuasion Techniques 125

Mass Marketing of Experiential Exercises

Techniques Producing Predictable Physiological Responses

Meditation May Not Always Be Good for You

7. Psychological Persuasion Techniques 150

Trance and Hypnosis

Trickery

Revision of Personal History

Peer Pressure and Modeling

Emotional Manipulation

Psychotherapy Cults

8. Intruding into the Workplace 182

Clarification of New Age

A Clash in the Workplace

Violation of Civil Rights

What Goes On in an LGAT?

Development of a New Age Training Program: A Case Example

Problems with Being "Transformed" at Work

Psychological Casualties

Buyer Beware: Thought-Reform Processes at Work

9. The Threat of Intimidation 209

Co-opted Professionals

Intimidation and Harassment of Critics

Part 3 How Can We Help Survivors to Escape and Recover? 241

10. Rescuing the Children 243

Children of Jonestown

Children of Waco

Children of Other Cults

Role of the Cult Leader

Role of Cult Parents

What Children Learn in Cults

After the Cult

Children Are Survivors

11. Leaving the Cult 266

Why It's Hard to Leave

Ways of Leaving the Cult

Deprogramming and Exit Counseling

12. Recovery: Coming Out of the Pseudopersonality 295

Recovering from Cult Aftereffects

Practical Issues

Psychological and Emotional Difficulties

Cognitive Inefficiencies

Social and Personal Relations

Philosophical and Attitudinal Issues

Helpful Tasks for Individuals Leaving Cults

There Is Life After the Cult

Postscript to the First Edition: The Millennium, Cults, and the End of the Century 335

Postscript to the Revised Edition 339

Chapter Notes 357

Resources and Organizations 379

Further Reading 383

The Author 385

Index 387

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Margaret Thaler Singer Berkeley, California.
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