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Essay on Why People Join Cults

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CULTS

I. Introduction Thesis: The forces that draw individuals into cults can be explained by psychological doctrine.

II. What is a cult
A. Brief description
B. Types of cults
1. religious
2. psychotherapy or personal growth
3. political
4. popular or faddist

III. Popular cult groups
A. People's Temple
B. David Koresh
C. Heaven's Gate
D. The Family

IV. Charismatic group
A. Brief desciption
B. Characterization

V. Sigmund Freud's beliefs
A. Belonging to a group
B. Super-ego

VI. Thought Reform
A. Brief description
B. How thought reform works

VII. Effects of a cult
A. Stress
B. Isolation
C. New lifestyle
D. Dissociative
E. Anxiety
F. Personality disorders

VIII. Conclusion

IX.
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Manson was referred to both as "God" and "Satan" by his followers. As the family's guru, he claimed to be a reincarnation of Jesus Christ. The police and DA argue that Manson found sections within the Beatles' song Helter Skelter and within the last book in the Christian Bible, Revelation which he felt referred to a devastating future race war between blacks and whites. Although Manson is not believed to have killed anyone directly, he ordered his followers to commit the famous Tate, LaBianca and other murders.
Because cultic behavior underlies more than extremist religious sects, many psychologists refer to these groups as charismatic groups. "A charismatic group consists of a dozen or more members, even hundreds or thousands. It is characterized by the following psychological elements: members (1) have a shared belief system, (2) sustain a high level of social cohesiveness, (3) are strongly influenced by the group's behavioral norms, and (4) impute charismatic

(or sometimes divine) power to the group or its leadership" (Galanter, 1989, p. 5). Most psychologists would probably acknowledge that there exists a deep human need to belong to a group. Often, this need leads people to form what might be viewed as unhealthy allegiances to a person or group who, ultimately, does not truly have the person's interest at heart. Sigmund Freud also believed wanting to belong to a group is a
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