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Predatory Grooming – Serge Benhayon style – a guest post by ‘Tibouchina’

òÊOur guest blogger gives their account of the Universal Medicine workshop experience and their observations of young girls involved, demonstrating how Benhayon grooms large groups of followers to accept his inappropriate behaviour.

NSW Child Protection Helpline 132 111

A few years ago, I attended several workshops held by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine after being exposed to Serge’s audio recordings and meditation techniques by a friend who was convinced they had found “the truth” therein. Despite my initial skepticism toward the claims and ideas I had heard Benhayon present, and my reluctance to get involved with UM (everything about it screamed “cult”). I decided to give it a chance and check it out for myself, before dismissing it completely as the New Age nonsense I suspected it was.

Impressions

I had been told that Serge was a very down to earth person (as opposed to the cliched perception of the guru draped in weird clothes), and a man of absolute integrity, who had become something of a father figure and friend to many of the people who followed his  so-called “Ageless Wisdom”. Furthermore I had been assured that UM events had to be experienced to fully appreciate what was being presented.

Despite my initial misgivings, I approached my UM experience with an open mind. I didn’t go seeking to criticize or debunk, and was quietly curious to see with my own eyes whether there was substance to the seemingly supernatural claims and abilities attributed to Serge. Prior to the event, I received several “healing” treatment sessions at the UM clinic, and each time I was in the waiting room I noticed several young girls (in their early teens) coming and going. At the workshop I later attended I recognized a young woman who turned out to be Natalie Benhayon. I had seen her at the clinic, so in hindsight I assumed she was facilitating activities with the younger girls I had seen.

Several things about the weekend left me feeling uneasy. With a few exceptions, the people I met were friendly (if a little odd), however I did find several of them to be quite dogmatic in their interpretation of Serge’s ideas. While questions were welcomed, Serge’s explanations were often nonsensical and seemed designed to confuse, nevertheless his claims were generally accepted uncritically by those in attendance. Aside from the bizarre belief system being presented (and accepted), the thing that made me uncomfortable was Serge himself.

Firstly, yes, superficially Serge does come across as a normal person. He doesn’t dress in robes or anything that screams “cult leader” at first glance. He is softly spoken, disarmingly friendly, and seemingly very approachable. The first workshop involved its share of weird concepts including reincarnation, and an exercise in alleged entity possession and removal facilitated by Serge (I participated in this, and didn’t feel anything whatsoever, so either I’m possessed by entities all the time or it’s a parlour trick relying on the suggestibility of the people participating). Several of the teenage girls I had seen at the clinic were in attendance and took part in these activities, sone seemingly without parental supervision. More disturbingly, one student merrily related to me an anecdote regarding the very young child of another student who, after being exposed to Serge’s exorcism techniques, attempted to emulate them with other kids when they were playing together. The child had been conditioned to believe that her friends were host to entities when they were in excited or playful moods, and therefore needed to have these malevolent spirits expelled.

Inappropriate behaviour

Early on in the workshop, Serge called on a young girl to help him demonstrate some of the hands-on “healing” techniques we would be learning. He addressed her by name and she appeared to be familiar with the procedure and quite happy to be involved. Because of this, and the fact that she seemed to be present without a parent or guardian, I initially assumed she must have been at least 18 years old, but after seeing her engage with other attendees over the weekend, I would guess that she was younger, perhaps around 15. She got up on the stage with Serge and lay on the massage table as Serge demonstrated the techniques, showing us where and how the practitioner places their hands.

On several occasions throughout the weekend, I witnessed this particular girl lingering around Serge as he spoke to other people, and when he was finally free she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him eagerly, and he returned in kind. It was clear that this was a familiar occurrence and while I was somewhat disturbed by what I saw, nobody else around me seemed to think anything of it. Recalling what I had been told about Serge being a “father figure” (and seeing him kiss her on the forehead during one embrace), I attempted to dismiss my own concerns about what I had seen, despite the fact that I considered it to be inappropriate, to put it mildly.

Some months later I attended one final UM event. This time I approached the workshop “in resistance” (in cult parlance), as I had read several of Serge’s books in the interim. Aside from the deliberately incomprehensible prose, content-wise they were often disturbing; karmic rape, murder and pedophilia being recurring themes, which seemed at odds with the flowery public image presented by Universal Medicine. As the weekend progressed I got a little more insight into Serge that suggested my instinctive misgivings were possibly well founded. Along with the ludicrous claims (detailed descriptions of the hijinks that supernatural beings allegedly get up to in heaven, Serge being able to transport himself into other dimensions, students studying “the ancient wisdom” in past lives beneath the Great Pyramid in Egypt), at one point Serge started describing how men with incestuous, paedophiliac tendencies were so inclined due to the influence of evil “entities” from the astral plane.

While describing this particular scenario, he acted out the part to a degree. “When a man has sexual thoughts about an underage niece, it’s not his fault. The thoughts are being impulsed to him by entities”. At this point, Serge leaned on his podium, eyes closed, holding his forehead. “He knows it’s wrong and he just can’t stop thinking about it”.

This was the last straw for me, and the last time I attended any Universal Medicine event. Just as disturbing as Serge’s relished description of the “paedophile as victim of possession” scenario was the seeming lack of concern towards this display by the adults in attendance (including academics and medical professionals – people who should know better), and the once again apparently unsupervised presence of several young girls, including those mentioned earlier.

For some time I attempted to put the whole thing behind me and just forget it, having no real context to place my experience in and nothing but my gut instincts as far as evidence goes. However, subsequent reporting by other concerned citizens with similar experiences, including exposure in the media, illustrates that my concerns about what I had witnessed may be just the tip of the iceberg. Serge may be quite the charmer, but I sincerely doubt he is the “man of utmost integrity” he constantly claims to be. Taking into consideration his questionable history with his current wife and the blatant lies he has told about his financial situation pre-UM,  the fact that he has charmed so many parents into believing he is beyond reproach is disturbing in the extreme.

Second guessing

The name of the young girl at the workshop has been passed to the Child Protection Helpline. Our investigation reveals she was fourteen, or at the oldest fifteen at the time. I’m aware of two other names and a possible third that have been given to the Helpline – adolescent girls who have stayed unaccompanied in the Benhayon household. 

We have photos of the girl and to me she looks young, and perhaps young for her age. I asked Tibouchina why they thought she might have been 18.

Serge was clearly on familiar terms with her (addressing her by name and getting her to participate in the demonstrations etc.) so I assumed she must have been 18 at the time. She seemed versed in that detached, almost zombie-like way the followers carry themselves (very deliberate walking, little to no emotion displayed). That and the fact that she seemed to be there alone. I’m not that great at guessing people’s ages either,  but the other girls there were really obviously in their early teens in their general mannerisms.

When I witnessed the hugging though, that’s when the alarm bells went off. She looked absolutely besotted with him, but I had no idea about the big picture. My only frame of reference was “Serge is the purest, most amazing man ever” etc. I was told that once he and Miranda became romantically interested in each other, they lived together for a year before they finally consummated their relationship. The version of events that everyone believed was clearly an extremely whitewashed, distorted version of what actually happened and I had no access to any information to the contrary.

Tibouchina also recounted this incident.  

At one point I saw Michael Benhayon standing behind a girl who was sitting down in a chair. He was gently stroking her cheek with the back of his fingers. At first glance I thought it might have been his wife but I realized it was actually one of the young teenage girls I’d also seen at the clinic. It was one more thing that felt weird then and now.

Grooming the collective – points to consider

  • The grooming begins with word of mouth recruitment. I also had misgivings about going to an unqualified ‘healer’ but the friend who referred me insisted Serge was all right and it would be a helpful experience. Back then I trusted my friend’s referral, and thought they wouldn’t recommend a sleaze artist like Benhayon.  
  • Serge has trained his children from a young age to participate in grooming and recruiting youth and adolescents. It opens up his market and supplies him with new prey. We have EDG notes talking about unqualified Natalie Benhayon conducting youth groups where she encouraged kids as young as twelve to confess about drug, alcohol and sexual experiences – information which the Benhayons have no right to, and can be used against those kids. 
  • Serge comes across, at first, as a regular guy. He uses deception and thought reform techniques to insidiously condition followers to accept highly questionable practices and teachings. As cult expert, Margaret Singer states, thought reform is aimed at changing a person’s thoughts and behaviours without their knowledge (Singer, 2003, p.58). If it were Sai Baba or David Icke doing any of the above, the cult members would be mouthing off no end, and calling for ‘something to be done’.
  • Personal boundaries are incrementally pushed within a group setting. Serge had no justification to use an adolescent girl as a treatment model for hands on techniques. Tibouchina said he usually used Kate Greenaway. Michael Benhayon has no business stroking young girls’ faces. Children are also brought on stage for entity insertions and removals. Because no one protests or questions, such unacceptable practices become normalized. 
  • Tibouchina, like our friend at the relationship workshop, had bad feelings about the events, but both felt they were the only ones with misgivings. It’s unlikely they were, but Benhayon’s confidence and easy manner while pushing personal boundaries, and the tacit approval of established followers causes those with doubts to second guess. Benhayon relies on this confidence trick. He doesn’t want doubters among his ranks. He seeks to retain those who will accept nonsense teachings and abusive practices and not only hand over money for them, but try to convince friends and families to join. Most doubters simply leave and never go back. Some, like Tibouchina, are left with enough lingering unease to take action. 

Thank you to Tibouchina.

Singer, M. Thaler. Cults in our Midst, Jossey Bass, San Francisco, 2003.

Universal Medicine is Toxic to Children

Serge Benhayon’s inappropriate behaviour with children

The NSW Child Protection Helpline 132 111 is open 24 hours. Reports can be made anonymously.


16 Comments on “Predatory Grooming – Serge Benhayon style – a guest post by ‘Tibouchina’”

  1. trish says:

    I had misgivings. I went to one work shop 5 years ago. I found the whole thing to be strange and devoid of any real humanness. There were kids and teenagers there which at the time I thought strange. Thanks for sharing

  2. RJM says:

    It’s worrying to contemplate, but if Serge gets away with this sort of conduct in front of hundreds of his followers and nobody bats an eye, I hate to think what he possibly gets away with behind closed doors. Or open bathroom doors.

  3. A lot of our readers are aware of the current royal commission into institutional responses to child abuse – expected to run for five years and look at thousands of cases around Australia.

    In the news we hear the same pattern day after day – abuse is reported and nobody acts, or the response is delayed resulting in more victims. Yesterday it was a private school teacher who molested a number of young girls. Parents complained to the school principal who did nothing. Same parents whinged among themselves about the school doing nothing. Another parent whose child came home with bruised genitals went straight to the cops – who investigated immediately.

    That’s how the harm gets stopped – people have to come forward and if we’re not heard, we push until we are. Otherwise this lot will continue to prey on the vulnerable. It’s bad enough they’re going after the elderly, cancer patients (chemo-wash?!), sexual abuse victims, people with eating disorders, people just looking for a healthier life-style – but this is damaging kids as well.

    Please provide whatever information you have to the authorities.

  4. MacReady says:

    For the record, I understand the “official” Serge and Miranda backstory (as opposed to the truth) is that she was a friend of the Benhayon’s who used to babysit for them, and that they grew closer over time after he and Deborah parted ways. If I am mistaken in this impression, I would appreciate being corrected by anyone in the esoteric know. The other explanation I have heard is that she is the reincarnation of Mary Magdalene who materialized from the ether to help Serge with his messianic mission. Both of these scenarios are in stark contrast to the fact that Serge and Miranda met while he was a tennis coach, and she a student barely 13 years old. Now if Serge is a man of utmost integrity and there is nothing untoward in the history of their relationship, why did he feel the need to lie about it? And why did Deborah Benhayon act as an accessory to those lies? And lastly, now that everyone involved in UM has been made aware to some degree of the facts, why do they continue to defend him and his questionable past, especially considering he blatantly lied to them about it? Once again, anyone involved with UM willing to share the “energetic truth” of this matter would be most welcome to do so here.

    • you know who says:

      Because Serge is a liar. Why did he have a blurb up on his site explaining how great a business man he has always been, whose trademark was integrity, truth and care, when in fact there is a trail of unpaid people, business failures and shenanigans going back to the 1980’s?

      It’s not hard to get the true Miranda story. There are more than a handful of people living in the area who knew Serge/Miranda and the family in that era. And all their stories concur- Serge had an interest, other than tennis, in Miranda, from the mid-nineties. Deborah was singing a different tune then. These people don’t really know each other.

      Deborah has been part of the lie now for so long, how would it look if she changed her tune? There is an investment in their fabrications greater than just the money that is being made. Deborah’s made it, Miranda’s made it, and now the members are making it.

      It’s ‘en-joining’ at a level far greater than sharing the concerns of your love-partner that they’ve all run away from. They’re out there batting for him as if they are him and he is they. They’ve all become combatants for his big ugly lies.

      There’s the lies about who Serge was. Then there’s the lies about what Serge says he is and what he knows. It’s lies all the way to the bank and happy pills for the members as petty payment for services rendered.

      • The problem is if Deborah changed her tune, or if Miranda wants out, they’re surrounded by a nest of vipers. We’ve been hearing whispers the bullying within the cult has reached a new high. The pressure for them to put up and shut up is immense and Sergio has made sure they’re implicated in his grubbiest misadventures.

        They may feel they have no escape and no choice – but we’d like any who want out to know they have the choice and support is available.

  5. Darkly Venus says:

    A headline story in one of Brisbane’s Sunday papers was about a private school teacher and rowing master who told a group of teenage boys not to wave their ‘wangas’ around and made a gesture, twirling his finger in front of his crotch. He was sacked from his job.

    Serge Benhayon publicly lectures about a lot worse – rape, murder and paedophilia, in front of children of any age up from infancy, with a bit of explicit sexual advice, a plug for circumcision as a way of controlling sexual urges and a few entity insertions performed on kids. His lectures are now being called Sermons – for real.

    In the real world of accountability, the teacher was sacked. On Planet UM, pervey Uncle Serge is a deity.

  6. It was already mentioned in the post, but WHY is Sergio bringing little girls on stage for hands on treatment demonstrations??

    However many hundred adults were present, he could have chosen any one of those, yet he’s compelled to touch a young girl on stage.

    He’s not only a pervert, but an exhibitionist and he’s determined to implicate his whole flock.

    If it were a legitimate accredited massage course, or training in medicine or any other modality apart from Esoteric, he would not have demonstrated on a child, let alone a girl, full stop.

    You’d only demonstrate a technique on a minor if it were a technique specifically for children.

    But what am I talking about? Esoteric healing is a disgraceful, ineffectual, trance inducing piss take, and nothing more.

    It makes me furious he gets away with that.

    • MacReady says:

      And even if someone running an accredited massage course were to select a young girl for the demonstration, it would be unthinkable for that teacher to then publicly engage in intimate embraces and even kiss the forehead of the child. But in the Sham-bollock world of UM, it’s okay because Serge is an Ascended Master. And what was it Serge said about the Ascended Masters again? Oh, that’s right. They’re all murderers and pedophiles who realized the error of their ways and after several reincarnations became the divine teachers they are now. He also said that these karmic transgressions can be overcome in a single lifetime now, i.e. since he declared himself an Ascended Master. Gee, what could he be insinuating there?

    • Darkly Venus says:

      In the wonderful world of accountability where I work, there’s some simple rules for protecting everyone – protecting patients from predators and also protecting practitioners from false accusations.

      * Never touch a patient’s breasts or genitals unless you’re a registered professional with a legitimate medical reason for doing so.

      * Don’t hug patients or make physical contact that is not part of a legitimate therapeutic technique – and that would deemed acceptable by AHPRA or your professional association.

      * Don’t do or say anything in a clinic or treatment room to a patient that could be construed or misconstrued as a sexual or other advance.

      * Don’t socialize with patients.

      * Don’t contact patients out of hours unless it’s for a legitimate reason to do with their appointment.

      * Don’t encourage patients to contact you out of hours.

      * Never treat children without a parent or guardian present in the room.

      * Never talk about a patient’s medical history or private life to anyone apart from another professional involved in their treatment and only if it’s relevant to their treatment.

      And yes MacReady, you’re as sharp as ever, Serge is always making autobiographical statements.

  7. Scarlet Woman says:

    DV I have continued to follow these sites, well done with your tenacity.
    Thanks for your candid sharing Tibouchina.

    It’s sad to say but UM recruits or any cult for that matter are like dealing with a computer. They are running on an operating system and software that only permits a limited range of responses and that is not capable of processing complex input.

    Every time anyone writes here at ‘Facts about UM’ or at UMA like a normal decent person the cult computer program reads that the ‘Astral cult are persecuting us – we are right they are wrong.’ Persecution complex. Their cult brainwashing program does not permit anything else.

    It would appear that the personal cost to be a UM recruit is large and multi – faceted.
    To be able to have the intestinal fortitude as a UM recruit and to turn around and say this is wrong and I am out of here, and then the resulting apparent consequences appear to be more than most could do. They would rather go down with the sinking ship than get a life boat.

    What is the go with UM’s continual explicit exposure of rape victims sexual experiences, it is appalling and distasteful and I feel saddened for the victims who have been so manipulated to write such pieces, and these pieces tell the world how vulnerable they are. I know for sure that a Counselor worth their salt would NOT say to do this as part of the victims recovery.

    I cannot get my head around Medicos giving their support to UM. Dr’s getting so excited about being at the upcoming Vietnam retreat. Paying big dollars to have your head messed with more and more. Desensitised to normality and decency more and more.

    Many many many people have stopped drug taking and heavy drinking etc without the help of UM or suchlike cults, so it is not a feather in their cap at all.

    The articles that follow sum up the UM Cult to a T:-

    First, a group that uses manipulative psychological “mind control” techniques to recruit and control their members. These techniques might be “love bombing”, instant friends or emotional blackmail. At extremes it might include keeping people away from their friends and family and isolating them both physically and emotionally.

    Destructive Cult Characteristics:

    Self-appointed messianic leader(s) who focuses followers’ veneration upon him or her, claims divine selection, and exercises autocratic control over members’ lives.
    Use of deception and misrepresentation for purposes of recruitment, retention and fundraising.
    Techniques aimed at controlling individual thought and personal privacy that frequently lead to a coerced reconstitution of personality.
    To be considered a destructive cult, a group must have all of the above to one degree or another.

    Other characteristics:

    A destructive cult is almost any kind of organization whose followers have been deceptively and unethically recruited and retained. They use manipulative techniques, which are imposed without the informed consent of the recruit and are designed to alter personality and behavior. These groups are only concerned about advancing the mission or business of the group, and not the well being of the individual members. The leadership is interested in control, power, and self-aggrandizement.

    A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO:
    Give total and unquestioning loyalty to a leader as a living deity or prophet.
    Use deception and manipulation to recruit and keep members.

    HAS A LEADER (OR LEADERS) WHO:
    Is charismatic.
    Holds a uniquely exalted position.
    Claims an exclusive relationship with God, truth, happiness, etc.

    THE GROUP EXPECTS:
    Complete and total loyalty and obedience to the leader.
    Complete and literal acceptance of the leader’s teachings.
    Unquestioning devotion to the group and its leader.

    CULTS ARE:
    Unethical in their practices.
    Designed to advance the goal of the group’s leader, often to the detriment of its members.
    Dangerous because they separate people from their families, friends and other support networks. In this way, cults foster in their members feelings of complete dependency and sometimes isolation from outside influences.

    What are the Marks of a Destructive Cult?

    UNDUE INFLUENCE: Manipulation by use of psychologically sophisticated techniques such as coercive persuasion or behavior modification. (SEE BELOW)
    CHARISMATIC LEADER: Claims divinity or special knowledge and demands unquestioning obedience. Doubting or questioning the leader’s authority is not tolerated. Leadership may consist of one individual or a small core of leaders. Leaders live a life of privilege and often one of wealth.
    DECEPTION: Recruits and fundraises with hidden objectives, without full disclosure of the use of funds or the use of mind controlling techniques. Many cults use “front groups” to conceal their identity.
    EXCLUSIVITY: Secretiveness or vagueness by followers regarding activities and beliefs.
    ALIENATION: Separation from family, friends and society; a change in values and substitution of the cult as the new “family;” evidence of subtle or abrupt personality changes.
    EXPLOITATION: Can be financial, physical, or psychological. This may include pressure to give money, by spending a great deal on courses or by giving excessively to special projects; pressure to work at menial or other jobs for excessive hours without adequate rest or nutrition; and pressure on adults and children to engage in inappropriate and often abusive sexual activities.
    BLACK AND WHITE WORLDVIEW (we\they syndrome): Everything in the group is good while everything outside the group (including individual goals) is evil, bad, or crazy. While claiming goodness, unethical behaviors are used to promote group goals.

    Techniques of undue influence (thought reform)

    GROUP PRESSURE and “LOVE BOMBING” discourages doubts and reinforces the need to belong through the use of child-like games, singing, hugging, touching, or flattery.
    ISOLATION\SEPARATION creates inability or lack of desire to verify information provided by the group with reality.
    THOUGHT-STOPPING TECHNIQUES introduce recruit to meditating, chanting, and repetitious activities which, when used excessively, induce a state of high suggestibility and dependency on the group.
    FEAR and GUILT induced by eliciting confessions to produce intimacy and to reveal fears and secrets, to create emotional vulnerability by overt and covert threats, as well as alternation of punishment and reward.
    SLEEP DEPRIVATION encouraged under the guise of spiritual exercises, necessary training, or urgent projects.
    INADEQUATE NUTRITION sometimes disguised as special diet to improve health or advance spirituality, or as rituals requiring fasting.
    SENSORY OVERLOAD forces acceptance of complex new doctrine, goals, and definitions to replace old values by expecting recruit to assimilate masses of information quickly with little opportunity for critical examination.
    NOTE: Not all of these features need to be present simultaneously for a mind control regime to be operative.

    CRITERIA FOR THOUGHT REFORM

    Dr. Robert J. Lifton’s 8 Criteria for Thought Reform

    Environmental Control – The purposeful limitation of all forms of communication with the outside world.

    Mystical Manipulation – Extensive personal manipulation is used to provoke specific patterns of behavior and emotion in such a way that they will appear to have arisen spontaneously.
    The Demand for Purity – The world is sharply divided between pure and impure with the group in the role of ultimate judge. Normal urges and tendencies become sins, and shame is used to control.

    Confession – Carried beyond its ordinary expressions to the point of becoming a cult itself. This enhances the group’s hold upon the person and their guilt; is an act of symbolic self-surrender; is a means of maintaining a tone of total exposure; and makes it impossible to attain a reasonable balance between worth and humility.

    The aura of Sacred Silence – Prohibiting any questioning of the basic dogma, the cult’s laws, regulations and rules are absolute and must be followed.

    Loading the language – Characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most complex of problems are compressed into brief, definitive sounding phrases, easily memorized and expressed.
    Doctrine Over Persons – The value of an individual member is insignificant compared to the value of the group.

    Dispensing of Existence – The cult environment draws a sharp line between those whose right to existence can be reorganized and those who possess no such right. The religious cult draws a sharp line between not only those who will or will not be saved but other individuals and groups who are not acceptable.

    Source: Margaret Thaler Singer with Janja Lalich, “Cults in Our Midst”, copyright 1995, John Wiley and Sons Inc., pp. 69-74

    Dr. Margaret T. Singer’s 6 Conditions for Thought Reform

    Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how she is being changed a step at a time. Potential new members are led, step-by-step, through a behavioral-change program without being aware of the final agenda or full content of the group. The goal may be to make them deployable agents for the leadership, to get them to buy more courses, or get them to make a deeper commitment, depending on the leader’s aim and desires.

    Control the person’s social and/or physical environment; especially control the person’s time. Through various methods, new members are kept busy and led to think about the group and its content during as much of their waking time as possible.

    Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person. This is accomplished by getting members away from the normal social support group for a period of time and into an environment where the majority of people are already group members. The members serve as models of the attitudes and behaviors of the group and speak an in-group language.

    Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments and experience in such a ways as to inhibit behavior that reflects the person’s former social identity. Manipulation of experiences can be accomplished through various methods of trance induction, including leaders using such techniques as paced speaking patterns, guided imagery, chanting, long prayer sessions or lectures, and lengthy mediation sessions.

    Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in order to promote learning the group’s ideology or belief system and group-approved behaviors. Good behavior, demonstrating an understanding and acceptance of the group’s beliefs, and compliance are rewarded while questioning, expressing doubts or criticizing are met with disapproval, redress and possible rejection. If one expresses a question, he or she is made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to be questioning.
    Put forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval or executive order. The group has a top-down, pyramid structure. The leaders must have verbal ways of never losing. (Singer, 1995)
    Source: Margaret Thaler Singer with Janja Lalich, “Cults in Our Midst”, copyright 1995, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., pp. 64-69.

  8. Scarlet Woman says:

    I found this interesting, others may as well.

    Steven Hassan became involved with the Moonies and upon being ‘deprogrammed’ went on to become a world’s renowned cult specialist. The rising number of manipulative groups makes his books Combating Cult Mind Control (Park Street Press 1990) and Releasing the Bonds (Freedom of Mind Press 2000) important reading.

    In Chapter 4, Hassan goes on to explain the type of people susceptible to joining cults.

    “Most people would like to believe that they are in complete control of their mind at all times. But it is precisely this belief in our own invulnerability that allows cults to entrap unsuspecting recruits. There are three primary reasons why intelligent, educated people with stable backgrounds can be drawn into cults. First, there is a pervasive lack of awareness about cults and mind control.

    Second, many situations make people more vulnerable to recruitment. For example, person whose parents have recently separated or divorced will be more likely to listen to a recruiter who describes his group as “one big happy family”. Someone whose romantic relationship or marriage has just ended will be more susceptible to come-ons by an attractive person. Other common variables include: death of a loved one, illness, loss of a job, graduation (from high school or college), and moving to a new location (city, state, country). Situational vulnerabilities occur in everyone’s life. It is easy to see how people tend to be more vulnerable to an attractive recruiter offering community, love and meaning during such episodes. ”

    Finally, some individuals have psychological profiles that make recruitment easier for cults. In general, people who have difficulty thinking critically will be easier targets. People-pleasers, who seek the approval of their peer group out of insecurity, and anyone with low self esteem, will be more vulnerable to the peer pressure exerted by cult recruiters. Individuals with learning disorders, drug or alcohol problems, unresolved sexual issues, pre-existing phobias, and other unresolved traumatic issues will also be easier targets. Cults seek out such vulnerabilities and use them against recruit, often making grandiose claims that their group will solve all of the person’s problems.” – pp.86, 87

    http://www.freedomofmind.com/resourcecenter/faq/#2 February 17th 2007 Hassan Mind Control
    http://www.freedomofmind.com/resourcecenter/books/rtb2.htm (6th June 2006)

    • Esther says:

      Sorry, about the delay in approving your comments. Long story but comments containing two or more URL links go to moderation and I don’t get notified. Settings are hard to tweak.

      So anyone wanting to post two or more links, perhaps post one per comment and they’ll skip moderation. thx.

      One more type not usually covered by the experts is the low emotional intelligence and highly rigid personality types. They can have good academic ability, but shithouse social skills. They’re susceptible to love bombing because people don’t usually warm to their stiff personalities. The dogma and regimental structure within cults appeals to them, and they can attain status within cults they won’t get outside. Examples in UM are Charles Wilson, Eunice Minford, William Foley, Neil Gamble, Neil Ringe and Michael Nicholson. They often have flakey partners.