Some cults work their members so hard that they burn out, sometimes
to the point of having nervous breakdowns. When this happens they
are no longer any use to the cult, and are simply abandoned.
No money left
Some cults take in new members primarily for the money they can give.
When a member has no money left he/she is no further use to the cult
and is kicked out.
Members sometimes just get fed up with the way things are run, how
they are treated, or the "truth" presented by the cult fails
to satisfy them any more. Sometimes the cult may be unable to continue
meeting the emotional needs of the group, or the price (financial,
emotional, or time) asked in order for the member's needs to be met
may become too high.
Realisation of truth
Sometimes all it takes is one Bible verse for a cult member to realise
he/she has been lied to for years. (This particular effect is due
to control of information within the cult and a discouragement of
reading the Bible freely.) This does not happen very often, and it
often takes years to persuade some members to leave a cult.
All the mind control techniques
help to keep people in cults, sometimes being used together to form
even stronger controls over members. Here's how.
Cults teach their members that the real world is different to how
it actually is, making it appear a place that members would not want
to be part of.
Also, the cult member might not realise anything is wrong.
Cults teach their members that only the cult offers salvation or
the truth. Leaving the cult is the same as leaving God, and no relationship
with God will ever be possible if they leave.
Fear, Guilt, Intimidation
The leadership knows all the wrongdoing of the members and the threat
of having it all revealed – basically emotional blackmail – is used
to scare the member into staying.
If a cult dictates what its members are allowed to read, and what
they can listen to on radio and watch on TV, members will not know
what the outside world is like. That can make it a very scary prospect
stepping out from the cult. The cult may also present its members
with a false view of the outside world, perhaps one in which everyone
is so sinful that leaving members wouldn't last a week before being
killed or worse.
Alternatively, the cult member might be completely unaware that there
is anything wrong with what they are taught or that life within the
cult is unusual – it might be all they've ever known.
Love bombing, conditional love
After a honeymoon period where a new member (suddenly) has all the
love they can cope with – known as love bombing – love is turned on
and off to control. Members have their needs for love and acceptance
met only when they are complying with the cult's requirements. This
is a strong disincentive to do anything wrong, such as think about
Relationship control and shunning
Cults try to control all the personal relationships of their members.
Eventually (normally over a period of a few years) the member will
not have any close friends outside of the cult. Often their entire
family will also be in the cult. It takes a huge amount of courage
to leave friends and family behind, since members who leave are shunned
by the cult. Shunning is when present members are forbidden to talk
to or associate with former members, even if they are their own family.
Over the years a person spends within a cult, their business might
become completely dependent on other cult members, possibly because
the cult leadership has told them they are not allowed to have other
customers. If they were to leave, both they and their business would
be shunned – no more customers.
Reporting structure and thought stopping
If members know that they will be punished for saying or doing anything
against the cult (especially if they think the punishment is somehow
justified – for example if guilt is also used) they will be more and
more reluctant to say or do anything that could possibly appear disloyal.
They will eventually block out any anti-cult thoughts as they have
them. This is known as "thought-stopping." (It's quite bizarre
watching this happen, and very sad, too.)
Some cults deliberately keep their members so busy that they don't
have time to consider their involvement. The members are too busy
(and possibly too tired) to figure out that the cult is bad. Some
extreme cults also control food, which also prevents the member from