Category Archives: high-demand groups

Lista de Características de Grupos Cúlticos/Sectarios – Revisado

Resultado de imagen para Legion of Christ

Lista de Características de Grupos Cúlticos/Sectarios – Revisado

(Characteristics associated with Cultic Groups -Revised)

 

Michael D. Langone

for original English[i]

 

Intentos coordinados para influenciar y controlar, forman la esencia de los grupos, programas y relaciones sectarias (ingl., cultic)[ii].  Muchos miembros, ex miembros y colaboradores de este tipo de grupos no están del todo conscientes de en qué forma y con cuánta intensidad han sido manipulados, explotados o incluso abusados. La siguiente lista de patrones socio-estructurales, sociopsicológicos e interpersonales pueden ayudar a asesorar a grupos o relaciones particulares con dichas características.

Compara estos patrones con la situación en la que estuviste (o en la que se encuentre todavía algún familiar o amigo tuyo). Esta lista te puede ayudar a determinar si hay razones para preocuparse. Ten en cuenta que esta lista no es una métrica del control que pueda ejercer cierto tipo de grupo ni mucho menos una lista de requisitos para determinar si cierta comunidad se ha convertido en una secta (cult). Tampoco es un instrumento de diagnóstico, sino una herramienta de análisis.

  1. El grupo manifiesta un celo excesivo y una entrega incuestionable hacia su líder (vivo o muerto) en miras a abrazar su sistema de creencias, ideología y prácticas como la verdad absoluta o una ley inquebrantable.
  2. Cuestionar, dudar o disentir del grupo amerita una censura para quien lo hace, o incluso un castigo.
  3. El uso de técnicas de debilitamiento mental (meditaciones, cantos, hablar en lenguas, sesiones de corrección pública, sesiones de trabajo extenuantes) para eliminar cualquier tipo de cuestionamiento del grupo y sus líderes.
  4. El líder impone, a veces con lujo de detalles, cómo deben pensar, actuar y sentir los miembros (por ejemplo, los miembros deben pedirle permiso para verse con alguien más, para cambiar de trabajo o para casarse. También a veces los líderes imponen un cierto tipo de vestimenta, en qué lugares se debe habitar, si se debe o no tener hijos, cómo corregirlos y demás…
  5. El grupo es elitista, se declara especial y superior a los demás por sí mismo, por sus líderes y sus miembros (el líder es considerado una especie de Mesías, un ser especial o gurú- o el líder/grupo tienen una misión especial para salvar a la humanidad).
  6. El grupo tiene una mentalidad claramente polarizada del “nosotros contra el mundo”, lo que le ocasiona problemas para ser aceptado por la sociedad en general.
  7. El líder no tiene por qué rendirle cuentas a ninguna autoridad superior (cosa que no sucede con maestros, generales del ejército, servidores públicos, sacerdotes, monjes, rabinos o líderes de las religiones dominantes).
  8. El grupo enseña o sugiere que los fines superiores que persigue justifican cualquier medio que se considere necesario para alcanzar dichos fines. Esto provoca que los miembros participen en actividades o tengan comportamientos que antes de pertenecer al grupo les hubieran parecido poco éticos o moralmente reprobables: mentir a sus familiares y amigos, recaudar dinero para falsas caridades.
  9. El líder procura inculcar sentimientos de culpabilidad o vergüenza en los miembros para influenciarlos o controlarlos, A menudo, esto se hace a través de la presión ejercida por los demás miembros del grupo o a través de formas muy sutiles de persuasión.
  10. La subordinación al líder o grupo exige que los miembros corten sus lazos naturales con familia y amigos y que sacrifiquen sus metas personales, así como las actividades a las que solían asistir antes de llegar al grupo.
  11. El grupo se preocupa constantemente por incrementar su número de integrantes.
  12. El grupo se preocupa constantemente por recaudar más dinero.
  13. Se espera que los miembros consagren cantidades excesivas de tiempo al grupo y a las actividades del grupo.
  14. Se exhorta a los miembros a vivir y socializar solamente entre sí.
  15. Los miembros más leales al grupo (los “integrados” o “verdaderos creyentes”) sienten que no puede haber vida verdadera fuera de los confines del grupo. Piensan que no hay otra manera de ser y temen que haya consecuencias para sí mismos o para sus seres queridos si dejan (incluso si solo piensan en dejar) el grupo.

 

 

Nota:

 

Esta lista ha sido revisada en diversas ocasiones desde que el autor la presentara por primera vez en la década de los noventas (1990). Muchas personas han hecho sugerencias o contribuido durante las diferentes revisiones, sobre todo Carol Giambalvo, Janja Lalic, Herb Rosedale y Patrick Ryan.

 

 

 

Tradujeron al español E.E. Escobar & J. Paul Lennon

 

[i] http://www.icsahome.com/articles/characteristics

[ii] Primer párrafo en el original inglés:  Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.

 

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Legion of Christ faces new Priestly Scandal

we have already published a Spanish language post yesterday.

Clergy collar

Here is a link to the VOA article reporting on how the Legion of Christ and the priest, previously rector of the Legion´s Maria Mater Ecclesiae international seminary in Rome (training priests sent by their bishops from all over the world) revealed that the padre, Fr. Oscar Turrion,  had just had a daughter out of wedlock/vows and -almost an afterthought- a boy from a few years previously. According to his very recent contrite letter, he felt it was time to come clean.  His superiors have been very understanding and did not reveal the slip until the padre was ready to leave and start his new life.

Events were originally reported by Associated Press

UK Daily Mail quotes full AP article

 

Psico-sexual Fallo en Legionarios de Cristo

ordination

El reciente reconocimiento de paternidad de parte de un Legionario de Cristo de alto rango (Rector de la Pontificia Universidad para la formacion de sacerdotes, Mater Ecclesia en Roma) senyala una vez mas (ver caso similar del Padre Thomas Williams, LC hace pocos anyos) la falta de madurez psico-sexual de los miembros, la doble vida del individuo y la colusion y encubrimiento de la institucion que se esconden bajo su fachada intachable.

El caso fue tan sonado entre los mismo Legionarios y en el publico en general que merecio una carta  ´explicativa´de parte de la direccion general de la Legion; el sacerdote que habia engendrado dos hijos fuera del matrimonio habia sido el rector de su universidad internacional ´Pontificia´para la formacion de sacerdotes de todo el mundo.

Tambien podria poner de manifiesto la falta de formacion y de libertad de consciencia de los miembros  que les lleva a guardar secretos y no usar la direccion espiritual ni la consejeria pastoral cuando esten con problemas.

En realidad, el Legionario con problemas puede sentirse muy solo y aislarse ya que bajo un regimen de vigilancia e incomprension llega a desconfiar de todos y no abrirse a companyeros, directores esprituales =superiores ni consejeros pastorales ¨de fuera¨.

Como sucede en estos casos, no se hace mencion de la madre del hijo del sacerdote: como se encuentra ella, que si fuera manipulada, enganyada, explotada, que si hay diferencia de edades, que si se trata de algun tipo de abuso , que como se manejo el caracter clandestino de la relacion….

ni se dice nada importante acerca de los hijos que habran tenido una vida algo extranyo hasta este punto de su existencia…

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Internacional Cultic Studies Annual Conference in Bordeaux, France, June 29…

Join former Legionaries of Christ, Xavier Leger,  Paul Lennon and other former members of Catholic  and Christian high demand   groups and learn how European and other countries deal with questionable groups and communities, enjoy comeraderie and support of people who know where you are or have been…

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http://www.icsahome.com/events/conferenceannuayl

SAMPLE PAPERw:

Addict, Idol and Cult Member: Reflections on the Loss of Self: A Phenomenological Examination of Destructive Cult groups

Tate Wood, Allen

My paper and talk are a phenomenological morphology of religious and political extremism. In the presentation, I give a detailed exposition of seven key elements that are present in the mind of the successfully indoctrinated group member. These seven elements include: absolute leader, absolute teaching, hierarchical social structure, the psychology of the adversary, the ends justify the means as a modus operandi, crisis psychology and the inner circle. The second part of my presentation includes an examination of the variables at play during the process of recruitment and indoctrination: milieu control, communication web/the manipulation of intimacy, peak experiences and planned spontaneity, the splitting phenomenon: the experience of evil, metaphor and ritual: the binding chains, the repudiation of the conscience, the rejection of the critical faculties and the colonization of the imagination understood as an experience of god. My remarks will be punctuated by anecdotal material from my life in the Unification Church including my direct contact with Sun Myung Moon. In addition, I shall be drawing on my 27 years as an addiction counselor working with alcoholics and addicts in county jails and state prisons.

 

 

 

Recruitment: the Way to Unhappiness – an excerpt from Opening Minds, part 2

Some Catholics have remarked on the rigid and almost robotic appearance of the  Legionaries  of Christ, as if they were mass-produced by some kind of priest-making system. This could derive from the particular way they are trained and molded the moment they enter the group and deprived of their individual personalities and traits…

 

ReGAIN  is indebted to Opening Minds blog and book for the main content. What we like about this explanation is that it is very clear and simple; it cuts across the lines of particular ideologies or doctrines -and area in which Catholics seems to blank out.

We feel the need to explain to CATHOLIC READERS how we can approach ‘sects/cults’ from a theological or psychological/sociological perspective. We Catholics usually think in terms of theology; if a group is theologically ORTHODOX (modus credendi) it cannot be a sect. However, from a psychological, spiritual and truly religious perspective that same group can be suspect if is uses methods to recruit, retain members, fund raise and generally operate (modus operandi) in such a way that manipulates its members -does not let them discern, question, choose freely- and places them under undue pressure to conform, using coercive persuasion, control, manipulation…

The breakthrough, aha moment, for Catholic and Christian readers occurs when they realize that, no matter what, or how apparently holy, the doctrines/beliefs/ideals/goals involved, certain group leaders use the same manipulative techniques to recruit, retain and control their members; and that even though the doctrines/idealogies are miles apart, the methods used by these groups, associations, fraternities, communities, orders are all uncannily similar.

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Editor’s Note: The following is adapted from Jon Atack‘s new book, Opening Minds, chapter 2. This is the second part of a two-part blog.

Manipulative groups and individuals use similar approaches to trick us into handing over our cash and our  loyalty. In part one, we saw how manipulation most often follows a series of steps; today we continue with:

Step Three: Finding the Ruin

Once rapport has been established, the recruiter may seek out the most significant difficulty in the recruit’s life. In Scientology, this is called the ‘ruin’: ‘What is ruining your life?’ If the first steps have been followed carefully, most people offer up even their most secret troubles. Unless they’ve been hurt before after revealing their secrets, most people welcome a chance to say what they feel and receive sympathy for their problems. It is surprising how willing people are to share their deepest longings with complete strangers, as if there is a need to confess; this deepens rapport.

Step Four: Fear of Worsening

Scientology recruiters then push the target into ‘fear of worsening. The recruit is exploited to feel discouraged about the ‘ruin’: ‘I’m sure you’ve tried everything, but nothing has worked.’ Confession of troubles usually shifts the recruiter into a position of authority. The recruit will follow directions almost like Pavlov’s dogs, which salivated in anticipation of food when a bell was rung.

Step Five: Bring to Understanding

Next, the recruiter will use the information from this confession to demonstrate that the recruit desperately needs the group in order to make life better; Scientology recruiters call this step to ‘bring to understanding’. Sales manuals suggest that a story be made up to show sympathy: ‘I know a guy who had exactly the same problem. He took a few of our courses and everything started to work out for him.’

The ‘understanding’ is that the cult can solve any problem that is presented – whether it is romantic, financial, work-related or spiritual – anything and everything can be resolved by the offered course, counselling or study programme, so the recruiter has no difficulty in inventing a supporting story: the ends justify the deceptive means.

During the first course, seminar, or workshop, the recruiters will continue the love-bombing, while using a hypnotic technique to bring about a peak experience. After long enough, any type of repetition, mimicry or fixation leads to a euphoric altered state.

Chanting, drumming, group singing, visual fixation – as in meditation – repetition of a word or phrase (‘mantra meditation’), repeated movements, such as rocking, shaking, or walking meditations, all lead to an altered state. Some narcissists use sexual pleasure to trap their victims.Most people in western society are unfamiliar with the effects of eastern meditation, so they are delighted and surprised by the euphoria that floods them. Almost every former member I’ve talked with had an initial peak experience, and spent the remainder of their time in the cult trying – and failing – to repeat it.

It is likely that the peak experience is simply a release of dopamine or serotonin. These neurochemicals are the ‘reward’ system of the brain, and are released during sex and by alcohol and drug use. In a group setting, surrounded by approving people, cult techniques can lead to a powerful high in the new recruit. This is the experience of awe.

Awe changes our perception of the world. We are awed by celebrities, by vastness, by skill, by ‘miracles’ and by beauty. Awe can be induced as part of a peak experience. New recruits are infatuated by flattery and the prospect of miraculous change in their lives. When awed, our critical faculties diminish.

Once we believe that a leader has miraculous powers, we become willing to believe anything that leader says. Awe turns to fervour and the recruit adopts the beliefs of the manipulator and will defend them as if defending their own child: just as we are unwilling to hear criticism of our children, nothing bad will be accepted about the manipulator, whose ideas have become gospel truth.

Step Six: Reinforcement

Testimonials are demanded for reinforcement. In Scientology these are called ‘success stories’. This reinforces consistency: the more publicly and loudly you commit to a technique or experience, the more difficult it will be to change back later.  People trying to give up smoking are advised to tell all of their friends that they have given up, because, under the consistency principle, it will make it harder to admit defeat and light another cigarette.

We all suffer from confirmation bias, where we justify our actions and dismiss anything that disagrees with our beliefs. There is a quality of inertia to all human activity; we keep going in the direction we’re travelling in. Delivering a testimonial – or simply telling all our friends – reinforces the sense of belonging and further confirms our bias.

Often, members will be encouraged to confess their former sinful lives in front of the group. By humbling themselves in this way, people give ever more power to the group. Members come to believe that everything good can be attributed to the group’s practices, and everything bad is their own fault.

A particular group or individual may not use all of these approaches. Some will focus on the potential recruit’s desperation, others will head straight for an experience of awe. Once lured into the trap, by whatever means, the recruit will go through a process of reinforcement that will draw them into the group or relationship and isolate them from their previous relationships and values.

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What do you think about this article? Do you agree? Have you read Jon’s new book? Do you have a story about recruitment into a high-control situation that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! 

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