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Breaking Down The Walls

Seek The Truth Blog

Breaking Down The Walls:

Unless a destructive religious cult reaches the point of becoming armed and militant, there are no walls to separate cult members from the outside world. Members of a cult live what appear to be normal lives in homes next to non-cult people. Many of them work at normal jobs, alongside non-cult people. Those in contact with cult members on a day-to-day basis would never consider cult members to be isolated or separated. Yet after they escape, many cult members would use those exact words to describe their former life.

Using either positive or negative reinforcement, cults change behavior of their members in small adjustments over time. They praise members for actions, appearance, conduct, or ethics that are different from non-cult people, and harshly condemn or punish members for behavior patterns that are similar to the outside world. As each small adjustment is made, the change propagates through the entire group. Over time, the minor changes become major differences between the cult and the outside world. Cults pride themselves in those differences as the differences become noticeable barriers separating the cult from other people.

This is most obvious in religious cults that have lasted more than a few decades. As destructive cults grow, splinter, branch, and increase, these modifications to behavior do not happen equally in each separate group of the cult. Behavior patterns praised by one sect may not be the behavior patterns praised by another. In some cases, what is praised by one sect is condemned by another. For this reason, members of cults that span entire continents are often shocked when they see their counterparts. Often, they feel the urge to separate themselves from other sects as they realize the differences in behavior patterns. In the more destructive cults, this separation can occur even in the same city. It isn't until members escape that they recognize the cult imploding over mismatched behavior.