Deception - The group's identity and/or their real motives are not revealed at first. The group's leaders tell members to withhold information about the group from outsiders.
Love Bombing - Cults offer instant friendship and acceptance. Recruiters will not take no for an answer without making you feel guilty or ungrateful. If you say yes, guilt and obligation will increasingly be used to lower your defenses.
Exploit Personal Crisis - Situations such as a broken relationship, death in the family, loss of job, recent move, and loneliness as well as depression are exploited.
Crisis Creation- The world around you and even other believers are seen in a darker light, or the end of the world is imminent, etc. You must be part of this group to be saved or healed.
Answers- The group has over-simplified answers to life's questions for every question you ask. Theirs are the ONLY answers.
Intense Study - The focus is on group writings and doctrine. The Bible, if used, is quoted selectively but out of context.
Warnings - Recruits are told that Satan will cause relatives and friends to say bad things about the group. Recruits soon trust only group members.
Guilt and Fear - Groups focuses on individual's sinful nature and the need to purge the old personality.
Schedule Control, Fatigue - Study and service to group are mandatory, taking up almost all the time of the new member, making them too busy to question or to listen to others. Family, friends, jobs and hobbies are squeezed out, further isolating the new member.
Attack Independent Thought - Critical thinking is discouraged as prideful and sinful. Blind acceptance is encouraged.
Divine Commission - Group leader(s) claim new revelations from God, and that they are God's sole spokesmen to mankind today.
Black and White Mentality - All issues have simple answers, and require unquestioning obedience to the group. "Us against them" thinking strengthens group identity. Everyone outside of the group is labeled as weak or misled.
Motives Questioned - When sound evidence against the group is presented, members are taught to question the motives of the presenter. What is verifiable is ignored due to what is non-verifiable.
Information Control - Group controls what member may see or hear. Forbids contact with ex-members or anyone critical of the group.
Isolation and Alienation - Group becomes a substitute family and is taught that no others are needed, including natural family. Members may be told to quit school, leave home, give up sports, etc.
Coercion - Disobedience, including even minor disagreement with group doctrine will result in shunning and expulsion.
Phobias - Fear of the world and other people is magnified, as is fear of the devil or evil. Members are taught that something very bad will happen to them if they leave the group. No honorable way out of the group.
Striving - Group membership and service are essential for salvation. No matter what you do, it is never enough.
Dependency - Member adopts a childlike dependency on the group.
Personality Disorders - Depression, disorientation, anxiety, stress, neurotic or psychotic behavior and even suicidal tendencies may result.
Diminished Capacity - Members lose ability to think clearly and critically. Logical contradictions in doctrine have little or no impact on member.
Broken Relationships - Family and friends are cast aside.
Exploitation - Member is exploited financially, physically and/or mentally. May be manipulated into giving all possessions to group, leaving school or job to put in long hours selling literature or other items, providing low cost labor for the group, etc.
Why do group members:
Because they lack a free mind!