Los Angeles television station KTTV has investigated a number of cult groups on its news program ON TARGET. These have included: The Children of God, Krishna Consciousness, Love Israel Family, Sun Myung Moon, The Alamo Foundation and others.
Researcher-newsman, Larry Attebery, who does the series, says it is remarkable how divergent cults, with different teachings, leaders, dieties, rites and customs are so often identical in the psychological techniques and indoctrination methods they employ. He told AMBASSADOR REVIEW that he has observed four characteristics found in almost all cults:
Cults encourage separation from non-member family and friends. Converts are told by their leaders that the “outside world” is evil and that they should not associate with it. They are discouraged from “contaminating themselves” by delving into other philosophies or religions.
No questions or thoughts against a cult are tolerated by its leaders and members. Self-hypnosis, meditations, chanting, constant use of slogans, repetition of key phrases and special prayer routines are some of the methods used to stop conscious, constructive thinking. Many cults encourage constant activity for members so that they do not even have the time to think or question.
3) ABSOLUTE OBEDIENCE
Cult members are taught to accept all orders from their superiors. In some groups even lying and stealing can thus be justified. According to Mr. Attebery, “All actions are justified in the name of God, because the group is God’s tool, and all outsiders ‘serve the devil’.”
4) GIVING EVERYTHING
Cults encourage unrestrained, indiscriminate giving to the group’s leadership. It is not unusual for a cult to coerce new members into giving all their money and possessions. It sometimes even includes signing over one’s legal rights (especially inheritances).
For those interested in obtaining information on various cults we recommend that you write to:
P.O. Box 256
Chula Vista, California 92012