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Childlike Cult Faith

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Childlike Cult Faith:

Patterns of group behavior are a natural part of human development. At an early age, children learn to take orders from a leader (their dominant parent), match the behavior of others in the group (siblings), question differing behavior from outsiders (other families), and look for acceptance by their group (family) before adopting new behavior. Children learn right from wrong based on feedback they receive from the family unit, and those patterns of behavior are embedded into their identity.

As adults, that same structure for group learning exists in various forms. Those with leadership personality traits push for unity towards common goals, while others join together as individuals towards a common cause. Yet the original set of behavior patterns they developed as children define who they are. As a unique part of a larger group, their behavior patterns are used for strength in diversity. Religious cults, however, do the opposite. Rather than empower individuals by tapping into the strengths of their behavior patterns, cults attempt to reset their core behavior. Cults create unity by adjusting behavior into unison while removing diversity.

This results in a stronger bond to the central figure of the cult. The core belief system that developed as a child is broken down, while a new core belief system is formed. During its formation, the cult victim is emotionally reminded of their bond as a child to their dominant parent. When the cult leader scolds or commands, they obey with the same unquestioning devotion given to their parents. When the cult leader is angry, they try to calm with good behavior. When the cult leader is sad, they try to uplift. By breaking down the core behavior patterns, cult leaders send victims into a childlike state of development. After they escape, former members often struggle in adult group settings for several months while they adjust. They must solidify core behavior before using it in a group.