- The cult claims that they have the only way -- the only way to Heaven, or to salvation, or spirituality, or eternal bliss, or higher knowledge, or sanity, or mental powers, or recovery, or whatever it is that the cult promises to deliver...
- And then there is Denigration of competing sects, cults, or religions. A corollary to cults' claims of having The Only Way is the assertion that "the other people" do not have The Way. "They" are all misguided and missing the boat, and "they" won't be going to Heaven.
- Thus the cult encourages an isolationist "us versus them" mindset, which naturally seques into an attitude that
- The cult members are special -- they are morally and spiritually superior to the common rabble who haven't been "saved" and who don't have The Big Answer....
- Another common cult characteristic the we have seen is the demand for Surrender to the Cult. You can't just join the group; you have to surrender to the cult and give it everything -- your life, your mind, your heart, your loyalty, your obedience, and even your soul. (And all of your money will be welcome too.) An Oxford theologian observed that the students who became involved with Buchmanism were obsessed with it:
The Groupers are unable to give their heart and soul to any other organization whatever: for his heart and soul is given to the group, whose sole immediate task is to attack sin.
C. R. Morris, page 85, writing in
Oxford and the Groups; The Influence of the Groups considered by Rev. Geoffrey F. Allen, John Maud, Miss B. E. Gwyer, C. R. Morris, W. H. Auden, R. H. S. Crossman, Dr. L. P. Jacks, Rev. E. R. Micklem, Rev. J. W. C. Wand, Rev. M. C. D'Arcy, S.J., Professor L. W. Grensted. Edited by R. H. S. Crossman. Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1934.
- Then there are the constant put-downs -- the cult characteristic of You Are Always Wrong: "You have been defeated by sin", "You are so sinful that you are insane", and "You are hiding some giant sin that keeps you separated from God".
- The constant put-downs also reveal the the mind-bending technique of Guilt Induction, and the use of guilt to manipulate cult members.
- Channeled or occult sources of 'wisdom', like 'Guidance' psychically received during a 'Quiet Time', is common in cult religions.
- A hierarchical, authoritarian system of control of members is very typical of cults.
- So is Pseudo-democracy. The Oxford Groups supposedly offered people "true democracy", where nobody voted and everybody followed orders without question. Curiously, Frank Buchman simultaneously declared that he was giving people "the true dictatorship of the living God", and "the dictatorship of the spirit of God". It takes some fancy semantic tap-dancing to reconcile "true democracy" and "true dictatorship".
- The doctrine that you cannot trust your own mind or your own thoughts, and must turn to the cult's mentors or elders for guidance is anther standard cult practice.
- And thus, so is a system of mentors.
- As is Intrusiveness -- they want to hear about every sin you ever committed, and they claim the right to tell you how to live, what to do, and what to believe.
- And so is the attitude that newcomers can't think right.
- And so is the deceit that "we have no structure or system", when in fact they have a very despotic system of control.
- And then there is Deceptive Recruiting.
- The End Justifies The Means.
- And You must change your beliefs to conform to the group's beliefs.
- Thought-Stopping Language. Thought-terminating clichés and slogans.
- Inability To Tolerate Criticism, and Personal Attacks On Critics.
- Dishonesty, deceit, and wild exaggeration of successes and praise, accompanied by minimization and denial of faults and criticism.
- The Cult is Money-Grubbing.
- The cult leader is not held accountable for his actions.
- The Guru Is Extra-Special.
- Everybody else needs the guru to boss him around, but nobody bosses the guru around.
- The guru criticizes everybody else, but nobody criticizes the guru.
- And the problems of Disturbed Guru, Mentally Ill Leader,
- New Identity -- Redefinition of Self -- Revision of Personal History
- The cult wants to own you.
- Demands For Compliance With The Group
- Grandiose existence. Bombastic, Grandiose Claims.