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Nothing To Hide But Perception

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Nothing To Hide But Perception:

Destructive cults cannot survive without the control of information. If members were to come in contact with information critical to the cult's inner workings, the group would quickly implode. Cult leaders are careful to control which information is presented to cult members at what speed, as well as how that information is received. There is just one problem: members cannot be manipulated at the same pace.

To achieve this, cult leaders often create a second tier in the cult hierarchy. Whether ministers, teachers, or common lay members with "special" access to the central figure, a subset of the cult is appointed to control the flow of information. More importantly, they are used to adjust the perception of that information.

When cult members escape, they mistakenly believe all members considered "special" by the central figure are purposefully controlling or hiding information. As they watch new members being introduced to only the non-controversial subject matter, it appears as if the controversial information is being concealed. While this may be true in some instances, not all of these elite members are aware of what they are doing. Just as the lay members have been manipulated into vessels willing to be filled, the elite members of a cult have been manipulated into helping fill them. Gradually introducing members to the cult's more extreme beliefs, they inject small doses of information while adjusting perception. Over time, even the most extreme beliefs seem commonplace.

This becomes evident when cult members escape. As they try to explain the more extreme beliefs to those never influenced by a cult, they find themselves sounding awkward and sometimes absurd. Their listeners did not have their perception adjusted in the same way, and were not introduced to the information gradually. It becomes very painful as they realize that some of what they believed was so unusual they have difficulty even explaining it.