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In It For The Short Haul

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In It For The Short Haul:

One of the most interesting aspects of the a religious cult, as it relates to its members, is the sense of urgency members retain over time. Religious cults form under the premise that an urgent timeline is quickly expiring, and if not for the cult and its leader, there would be no escape. Whether doomsday, foreign invasion, government control, natural disasters, or other frightening events are used as the foundation, the sense of urgency is always the same. Not recognizing the fact that these situations have been used to produce fear for thousands of years, cult followers are easily captivated by current events "confirming" the cult leader's "urgent" warning.

Joining the group as a means to escape the impending tragedy, most members are not planning to be part of the group for the rest of their lives. In fact, many who join religious cults do not plan on being in the group for the rest of a decade; they believe that the "urgent" event will happen as quickly as the cult leader is predicting. As the years pass by, and members are manipulated and indoctrinated to fear leaving the group, they remain in an altered state of perpetual urgency.

This altered state of perpetual urgency is a hindrance to deprogramming. After leaving, some former members try to retain the same sense of urgency, or redirect it to another situation with similarities to cult doctrine. In doing so, these former members create an internally destructive mentality, almost as damaging as the cult they left behind. Fear is in control. As this progresses, those remaining in fear become nervous wrecks.

Former members must recognize the difference between healthy precaution and urgency for the sake of fear. Even if true, fearing these "urgent" events will do nothing more than cause stress. Once former members recognize the similarities between current events and historical fear from past events, they are free from the unnecessary stress of false urgency.