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Creating Leaders

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Creating Leaders:

In a religious cult, the central figure has greater importance than all other members. On the surface, it appears to be a hierarchy of leadership, similar to a business or organization. On the inside, however, it is vastly different from other environments; the central figure has embedded himself in the worship of his or her followers. Worshippers must not only believe in their deity; they must believe in their deity AND the central figure.

Visitors or new recruits are often unaware of this dynamic. Those visiting Christian-based cults continue worshipping Jesus Christ alone, mistakenly believing the cult members are doing the same. Though it is uncomfortable to hear others continually mention the central figure's name in conversation, song, or sermon, they ignore their instincts and overlook the obvious praise of the leader.

At the same time, cult followers are unaware that they are doing so. Influenced to believe their central figure is their best or only conduit to their deity, they have become so accustomed to using the "conduit" that it has become second nature. As a result, their continual praise of the central figure has also become second nature. The long term effect of this is a dependency upon the leader. Those in religious cults are often confused when trying to understand mainstream religion without central figures, and often assume presidents of denominational groups are also central figures. If they are not followers of their cult leader, then they must be followers of another. When a cult member awakens, this effect is disorienting. Many of those programmed to be a follower had the personality type of a leader.

This is dramatically different than non-cult religion. While religious cults teach members to become followers, non-cult religions teach members to become leaders. Former cult members are often excited to learn that they can have active roles in their new groups of faith, as leaders, helping others.