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The Whole Truth And Nothing But

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The Whole Truth And Nothing But:

One of the ways in which a destructive cult can convince followers to believe their doctrine is by telling the truth. Not the whole truth, but parts of it. By giving cult members subtle elements of truth that can be verified along with circumstantial evidence or unverifiable "supernatural" claims, cult leaders have a clear advantage over skeptics. They can train members to be well versed in the verifiable parts of their claims, while convincing them that only "unbelievers" reject the "truth" when they question the unverifiable parts. As a result, when critical information is shared, cult members reject critical thought by focusing on truth buried in fiction.

With perception of information being manipulated in this way for long periods of time, former cult members often struggle when having in-depth discussions with those never influenced by a destructive cult. Some develop a behavior pattern similar to the cult leader, using partial truth as they try to persuade or convince others. When their listeners become aware that critical elements of their plea are withheld, they are angered or upset. Many former cult members struggle to understand why.

Being truthful isn't simply making sure that elements of the conversation are factual, or creating words and phrases that could be interpreted multiple ways. If the listener becomes convinced of something that is not true, while the speaker is aware that his or her words are leading the listener in that direction, information is being controlled and manipulated. This results in the listener believing the speaker has lied. For this reason, those who escape cults using manipulation of perception often say things like, "I can't believe they lied to me", or "They don't know what truth is".

Understanding this is a critical part to healing. Truth is powerful. Most people avoid others who use deceptive patterns of speech, while forming close relationships with those who are truthful.