Apologies if this has been mentioned on here before but I didn’t find it by doing a search.
If you are interested in the inner workings of cults, you might want to watch out for a new documentary film called ‘Holy Hell’ which is due to be released in May 2016 and was premiered at the Sundance Film festival in January. It was described by critics as a powerful and ground breaking film and the audiences at Sundance loved it and gave it a standing ovation at almost every screening.
It documents a small cult named Buddhafield that began in California in the 1980s. Former members describe the initial blissed-out euphoria which slowly deteriorated into abuse and exploitation as the charismatic but delusional and narcissistic cult leader progressed from offering spiritual guidance to exercising total mind control over his adoring followers.
The film director Will Allen was a former member of the cult and a personal assistant to the leader, named Michael. (Michael later renamed himself Andreas). Will Allen had the informal role of house videographer and documented the lives of Michael and other members over a period of 22 years, so there is an unprecedented amount of footage.
The group encompassed all the classic US west coast cult hokum, including detachment from family, faith healing, trance like states, new age mantras, and a 'divine’ leader, who, inevitably, claimed to have a direct line to God.
Eventually in 2007, members of the cult began to wake up to the real truth about their guru. He was a former gay-porn star, failed actor and also a registered hypnotherapist, but they were not the main issues.
Many disturbing secrets were revealed, such as the fact that whilst he demanded that his followers should be sexually abstinent, the leader regularly coerced young men, both straight and gay, to have sex with him. Female members were forced to have abortions if they became pregnant. Some members were made to have plastic surgery, so the cult leader could see the effect before he had the procedure done himself - paid for of course by the members. There were cases of people being forbidden from returning home to visit dying parents and many other abuses of power.
The leader’s efforts to defend himself against accusations were ineffective, but despite that he is apparently still running a smaller version of the renamed cult in Oahu.
If you are interested, google ‘Holy Hell’ to find various websites with more information and videos.
Buddha Field is on the surface more extreme than the JWs who surreptitiously encourage members to worship the Watchtower Organisation and the Governing Body, but it's clear that JWs are a cult when you are aware that they have fundamental control techniques in common with these more wacky groups.
It's just such a pity that if JWs see this film, many will condemn the Buddhafield members as brainwashed, not realising they are themselves also mind controlled.