Minimum Ingredients Needed to Exit a Cult
Dismissing servant: Agreed upon! Maybe: 5. Some kind of social network at the outside.
You make a very good point. But for the purpose of the given list, I think that 5. somewhat negates the need for 1. and 3.. Or, to put it another way, 5. would be an alternative to 1. and 3. I would say that your 5. could be combined with 1. as having some kind of social network at the outside gives one more courage to leave or makes leaving much easier thus reducing a measure of the courage that one would otherwise need if one had no support system.
I would say that the list can be further condensed to just 2 fundamental requirements:
1. Critical Thinking. This is needed to escape the mind control and see the cult for what it really is. (2.)
2. Strong personal integrity. This would motivate the person to be humble to admit he was wrong (4.); seek a more authentic and happy life (3.); and imbue the person with the courage needed to leave the group despite negative repercussions from the group members (1.)
While I tend to agree with the ingredients in my case, there are others that leave because of harsh treatment or lack of love in the group. Many have not started critical thinking and would have needed more "courage" to stay in such a harsh environment, may have replaced Strong desire to have a more authentic, happy life with the variant, Strong desire to escape that miserable life.
Some are commenting on the list missing a catalyst, but I thought I addressed that in #3? Perhaps it needs to be reworded to be clearer?
Remember, that motivator does not need to be a major event--it can be discontent that grew over a period of time and begins to fester.
3. Strong desire to have a more authentic, happy life. Again, he will need a critical mass of a desire to change. This could come from a decreased willingness to continue one's high control lifestyle, or there could be an immediate motivator, such as a major bullying incident or scandal.
OTWO, I see escaping misery as being equal to wanting happiness??
"Social network" is probably a big elephant whose limbs are interpreted differently by different observers.
I got out without any social network of any kind, as I did not know one human soul for three years other than workmates. But I recommend the component of "social network" that gives what I consider to be 'oxygen', or, the basic ability to vent your experience. You don't need to be BBF to vent and get acknowledgement, so I put that component of social network under Maslow's "Physiological". Later on, other components of social network become necessary, respect by others for instance, which are quite elevated above mere venting and breathing in the oxygen of knowing you are not alone.
I don't see myself in any of those categories and yet I left. I was in high school and planned to go to a good college. My social circle were people at school - my teachers and classmates. I had not a single friend at KH. In fact, the classmates who were Witnesses were snitches. They gathered information about me and reported any lapses to the brothers. It was a time when I felt support to be worldly. My teachers would have had a fit if I disappeared into JW land.
I explained that I could not go to college in my early high school and junior high years. They replied that it would be especially tragic if I did not go. Teachers were so certain that I should be a college student. In the end, I was going to ask to be a foster child so I could finish school. The abuse was escalating. I don't think I could have taken much more.
I don't see myself as courageous, brave, logical. Altho my high school lacked so much, I fully embraced the material we did learn. I could no longer pretend the Witnesses were right.
Perhaps you need these traits later but I diid not have them. There was a zeal to be normal. I was politically active. Rock and roll was my main religion. jWhat is strange is that I am still interested in my high school interests. I keep finding out that some fairly common souvenier I collected is worth a lot of m oney today. I've kept many of my high school items to this day.
Great Thread, and a great list !
I think Island man makes a really strong point that "Strong Personal Integrity" should be highlighted.
Jehovah's Witnesses do not realise that they have had all. or very nearly all, of their personal integrity removed. This is a major technique used by Cults, once this is achieved control by the Cult becomes easy.
The JW feels that he/she is in control, that they willingly make the decision to go along the Cults demands, this is simply not the case.
It was personal integrity that forced me to walk. Raised to believe I was a lover of Truth, and I was ! of REAL truth, I could no longer associate with an Organization founded on and maintained by lies.