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How Cults Rewire the Brain

Seek The Truth Blog

How Cults Rewire the Brain:

Often during an interview to discuss life in Branham's "Message" cult, reporters have asked how members are recruited. What attracts people to a cult? When examining a group of people displaying cult-like tendencies, most people choose to steer clear -- not join. What would make a person ignore their better judgment?

Diane Benscoter spent five years as a "Moonie." In 2009, she spoke at a TED Talks event, giving an insider's perspective on the mind of a cult member. The audience listened as she explained how for a new recruit, the "easy ideas to complex questions" offered by the cult mentality are very appealing when one is emotionally vulnerable. According to Benscoter, the simplicity of the cult mindset results in circular logic.

"Circular logic takes over. [The cult leader] is one with God. God is going to fix all the problems in the world, all I have do is humbly follow. Because God is going to stop war and hunger, all these things I wanted to do. All I have to do is humbly follow because after all God is the Messiah. He is going to fix all of this. It becomes impenetrable. The most dangerous part of this is that it creates "us" and "them". "Right" and "wrong". "Good" and "evil". And it makes anything possible. It makes anything rationalizable."
- Diane Benscoter, TED