What Makes a Person Vulnerable to Join a Cult ? By Steve Hassan

by flipper 45 Replies latest jw friends

  • choosing life
    choosing life

    I joined at a very vulnerable time for me. I was about to have my first child and was scared about how to raise him. I was just a kid, how was I going to raise one?

    The jws had all the answers of course. I don't think anyone should feel stupid or foolish for being taken in by a cult. It has nothing to do with lack of intelligence. Many extremely bright people fall victim to cults.

    The important thing is to educate yourself when you leave so you never fall victim to similar techniques again. Steve Hassan's books are good for that.

  • flipper

    CHOOSING LIFE- I agree with you. Many of us got sucked into the witnesses when we were at a vulnerable time in our life. They decieved us into hanging our hats on false hopes of a paradise. No one should ever feel dumb or stupid because we got deceived by it. Happens to everybody who was a witness. But very true what you say, reading books like Hassan's books gives us better understanding so we all won't get duped again

  • crazyblondeb

    Mr. Flipper..

    At least I can say that's one thing i didn't do...get sucked in. I knew when I was 15, it was a load of poop. I only got baptized at the guilt of the elders and my parents!!

    Give the mrs my love.....miss talking to you guys on the phone!


  • flipper

    CRAZYBLONDEB- Hello there ! Nice to hear from you ! We miss talkin' to you too ! We will call later today- perhaps when you aren't working ! I hear what you are saying about feeling pressured to join when you were young. I had no choice either- being raised in it from birth ! I didn't have the courage to finally leave until 5 years ago at age 44 because most of my family is still in it ! But after awhile mind contol is mind control- a person just can't stomach it any more ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • shopaholic

    I was basically born-in. My mom got dunked when I was 5. I knew it wasn't the truth and even told the elders that when I was a teenager. But then I got baptized 'just in case' at 16 not really realizing what the heck I was doing. Not sure which category I fit into. My mom got in probably because she wanted friends. They had recently relocated to new area hundreds of miles away from their home town and then all of a sudden these ladies started showing up at our door.

    BTW, I was flipping through the channels and caught a few minutes of Steve Hassan on E!

  • DanTheMan
    1. First reason is there is a pervasive lack of awareness about cults and mind control. In talk shows an interviewer will ask a cult member, " Are you brainwashed ? " And of course they will answer , " No ". What the host fails to realize is that the mind controlled member will not know that he has surrendered copntrol until he is able to step away from the group and learn about cult recruitment and indoctrination. "

    Prior to my becoming involved with JW's, my imaginings of cults was that they were these shadowy groups with strange rituals and secret compounds who kidnapped prospective members and held them captive over a period of weeks or months, during which time torture and isolation would be used to break the recruit down psychologically, and then the recruit would be built back up according to the ways of the cult. I had no idea that mind control could be far more subtle than that.

    2. " Second, many situations make people more vulnerable to recruitment. A person whose parents have recently separated or divorced will be more likely to listen to a recruiter who describes his group as " one big happy family . " Someone whose romantic relationship or marriage has just ended will be more susceptible to come-ons by an attractive person. Other common variables include : death of a loved one, illness, loss of a job, graduation ( from high school or college ) , and moving to a new location. Situational vulnerabilities occur in everyone's life. It is easy to see how people tend to be more vulnerable to an attractive recruiteroffering community, love and meaning during such episodes. "

    Two of the above were true - broken family, and high school graduation. A lot of kids experience the divorce of their parents, but with mine the dynamic of it was pretty extreme as my mom (who got custody of me) really flipped out over it for a number of years. It was a very bad, very dysfunctional scene.

    3. " Thirdly , some individuals have psychological profiles that make recruitment easier for cults. People pleasers, who seek the approval of their peer group out of insecurity, and anyone with low self esteem, will be more vulnerable to the peer pressure exerted by cult recruiters. Individuals with learning disorders, drug or alcohol problems, unresolved sexual issues ( sexual identity orientation or, possibly, past rape or molestation trauma ) ,pre-existing phobias, and other unresolved traumatic issues will also be easier targets. Cults seek out such vulnerabilities and use them against recruits , often making grandiose claims that their group will solve all of the person's problems .

    Hmmm...definitely approval seeking and insecure...i don't know if i have any learning disorders, although I've occasionally wondered if I might be somewhere on the very high-functioning end of the autism spectrum as I have quite a bit of that sort of thing in my family and I've had many embarrassing blunders that I attribute in part to a lack of social awareness. I smoked a lot of wiid back in the day too, and again this isn't something that affects everybody the same way, but I would probably have been better off if i had never put a joint to my lips, lol.

  • flipper

    SHOPAHOLIC- So it sounds like you were under pressure like me as a " born-in " to get baptized to be accepted. I'm glad you got out in time though ; feels a lot better doesn't it ? Glad you got a chance to see Hassan on the E cult show the other night !

    DAN the MAN- I agree with you. Not until I educated myself about cult mind control after getting out of the witnesses did I realize as well how many groups use " subtle " methods to deceive people.

    Sorry to hear about your family breaking up when you were a teenager and that it went so bad for your mom. I'm sure it made an impact on you turning to the witnesses most probably. I think many of us sought approval and had insecurities that the witnesses played onthat sucked us into the cult. I'm glad you got out Dan. Good for you

  • purpleplus
  • HoChiMin


    I'm a “once a yearer” for looking here so appreciate your bumping it-up. I joined the witness cult at 17 just before high school graduation. I had the Vietnam era draft looming down my neck and the dubs had all the answers. After some 20 years in I'd had it with nonsense and for years the book "1984”,advised reading by a high school teacher, always came to mind. I realize now why I cringed every time I heard the word CULT subconsciously I sensed the mind control. Unfortunately one hates to admit wasting a lifetime with falsehoods and chasing windmills. Steve Hassan's description of high control groups and cult behavior made the light brighter for me.


  • leavingwt

    Chapter 4 of Combatting Cult Mind Controlis a must-read. Eye opener!

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