I watched this really interesting documentary on Netflix the other day. It's about a man called Ted Patrick who became a cult deprogrammer after his son was recruited into a cult in the 1960s. He basically self taught through trial and error and interviewing many cult members and former-members.
I must say I dont agree with his method, maybe as a last resort but I think it's likely to do more harm than good. It's the same as Steve Hassan's method - bundle them into a car, take them to a remote location and start the deprogramming procedure through asking questions and introducing them to former members.
One cult on there even refers to themselves as "the truth". She say's something we can all relate to:
"When I was in, we'd look around at other groups like the Hari Krishnas or Moonies and say "yeah, they're in a cult". But we never noticed ourselves as being in a cult. We were in the truth."
From what I noticed from this, cults seem to follow the same basic method to manipulate the everyday person into their group:
- Find a ripe target. They will approach students, activists looking for a cause to fight for or grieving relatives and people in a low point in their lives.
- Love bomb. Invite them to a free lecture, meal or vacation. During the lecture or vacation the leader and the deeper teachings arnt mentions. At most they'll talk about how bad the world is and how they're working to make it better.
- Isolate the target. Get them away from critical friends/family. Take them away on a vacation with like-minded members or make them commit to a few days of courses away from anyone else.
- Find a handle to exploit. In most cases it was the bible. You can twist any scripture to fit your narrative. One father was talking to his son and became absolutely exhausted with the circular reasoning his son was using. His son said "Jesus said your enemies would be members of your own household" (sound familiar?). Questioning the cult was questioning the bible.
- Get them to give up university, their family and their friends. This makes them dependent on the cult and leaves them empty if they ever leave. Therefore people will come back or escape from their concerned family.
Check it out if you can.