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I Am The Vine, Ye Are My Favorite Branches

Seek The Truth Blog

I Am The Vine, Ye Are My Favorite Branches:

In a religious cult, the closest thing to "transparency" is "favoritism". It isn't difficult to notice the central figure's favorites among the members. This often leads to power struggle as members compete for their position to receive the highest respect from the cult leader. This can also lead to confusion among new recruits, because the "favorites" are not always cult members. Even non-members are sometimes considered "special" by the cult leader, and earn the respect of members without even joining the cult. Some non-members even gain "salvation" for simply being "kind to the leader".

The atmosphere this creates is not healthy. Competition created by favoritism can only uplift members closest to the central figure, the "winners". All others are the "losers", and as such, feel defeated. Instead of inspiring the many, cult leaders promote jealousy with the few, and revel over the fact that they are getting so much attention.

Good leaders, on the other hand, do not show favoritism. They encourage and inspire those they lead by promoting collaboration instead of competition. The skills of each individual is recognized, but in such a way that contributes to the success of the group. Each person's strength support any weaknesses in the group, and the combined skills function as a single unit.

Former members sometimes fail to recognize the competition of the cult group, which leads to an array of issues from the workplace to the home and even their physical well-being. Healthy competition is good, but unhealthy competition is destructive. Some former members will push themselves to exhaustion for fear of inadequacy, and often suffer "burnout". Others compete with team members in the workplace instead of collaborating, causing unnecessary friction. Though seen as "hard-working" by their peers, skewed perception of leadership in former cult members can sometimes hinder progress, and must be readjusted.