People have always been fascinated with cults. What is it about these organisations that have drawn people in for centuries? There are many reasons why people may be interested in cults, but here are some of the most common:
1. Cults offer a sense of community.
When people feel isolated or alone, they may be more likely to join a cult. Cults typically offer a sense of community and support, which can appeal to people who feel lost or lonely.
‘The number of cult members [in America] is variously estimated at 300,000 to three million.’ That’s a rather large community to be a part of.
2. Cults promise a better life.
Some people may be attracted to cults because they promise a better life. Cults often promote their own unique ideology or worldview, which can appeal to people looking for a new way to view the world.
Only 14 per cent of Americans say they are very happy, meaning there’s a lot of people that are less than happy. Belonging to a group that promises happiness can be incredibly enticing for the vast majority of people.
People may also be attracted to cults because they offer people the chance to feel like they belong or that their life has meaning and purpose.
3. Cults can give people hope in hopeless situations.
Many people find themselves in challenging circumstances at some point in their lives. Some of these people may turn to one of the many famous cults for hope and comfort when they feel there is nowhere else to turn. People may look for help from a cult when other support systems have failed them, such as family members or friends who do not understand what they’re going through or professional mental health providers who aren’t available or don’t provide enough support. When other sources of help are not available, people are more likely to be drawn into a cult.
4. Cults are often shrouded in mystery.
People may also become fascinated with cults because they’re often inscrutable or mysterious entities. Cult members usually keep their beliefs and practices private, making it difficult for outsiders to understand what goes on inside the organisation. Cults could have their own language or way of communicating with one another, which can seem strange or confusing to people who aren’t familiar with this communication style. These factors draw people’s curiosity about groups that they don’t fully understand or know much about, which can lead them to want to learn more about why these organisations exist and how they function internally.
5. Cults can seem appealing and attractive.
Many cults present themselves in a way that is appealing and attractive to people exploring new belief systems or religious practices. Think of it as the most extensive and most cultivated marketing campaign globally. Cults often use persuasive language and techniques during their recruitment efforts, which may appeal to the types of people attracted by this type of language. When people become exposed to these messages, they may want to learn more about how their beliefs differ from other groups and organisations. This can ultimately lead them down the path toward becoming members of a particular cult.
6. Cults often give the appearance of having it all together.
Many cults also seem to have everything figured out, which can be very appealing to people looking for a group with specific types of answers or a set of rules that they believe in and adhere to completely. Cult members typically present their beliefs in a way that is easy for other people to understand and follow, which draws their attention and may make them want to learn more about why these individuals choose these beliefs over others.
7. Cults focus on emotional needs rather than intellectual ones.
Cults tend not to care whether or not their teachings coincide with people’s thoughts or ideas but instead focus on meeting (or seeming to meet) the emotional needs of their members. Members often avoid discussing the details of their beliefs with “outsiders,” which can make people wonder what these groups are hiding. Plus, compound the cyclical nature of the belief system and keep members from questioning the rules and doctrine’s validity and healthiness.
This mystery surrounding cults often appeals to people who aren’t too keen on revealing information about themselves or their specific belief systems.
8. Cults tend to use mind-control tactics to attract members.
Many cult leaders employ strategies designed to make people believe that they are unique, need the group, and wouldn’t be able to function without it. For example, cult leaders may present themselves as being very intelligent, having all the answers, and knowing more about how life works than other people do. They then use these characteristics as reasons why people should join them instead of sticking with less impressive individuals or groups. Additionally, cult leaders often use mind-control tactics to get people to conform to their beliefs and practices. These tactics can include using shame, guilt, and fear as motivators and manipulating people’s emotions to keep them under the leader’s control.
9. Cults often have a negative reputation.
Unfortunately, because of the negative things that have happened with some cults in the past, these organisations often have a terrible reputation. This may make people curious about why these groups are considered so bad and what sorts of things they do that lead to this type of reputation. Which can sometimes be appealing if the human subconscious is seeking to rebel somehow. Additionally, many people may want to learn more about cults to protect themselves and their loved ones from being drawn into them.
10. These groups make people feel special
How many people just want to feel special at some time? This is a human desire that extends to almost all of us in some way or another. So when a cult, particularly in the recruitment phase, offers ways for you to feel special, whether through lavish attention and praise or verbal confirmation that you are special, wanted, and, sometimes, needed. Things may feel “right” (or the illusion of) for the first time in your life. Especially if you have been seeking this justification of your existence for most of your life.
By learning more about these organisations and the practices that they implement, people can learn to recognise red flags that may indicate that someone is being recruited into a cult. This education can ultimately help individuals protect themselves from experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety due to becoming part of one of these groups.
Do you love reading about cults? Why not sink your teeth into my psychological thriller novel about some mysterious people who live in the woods called THE TENS?