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Watchtower Society Jehovah's Witnesses: Are They a Cult?

8 Marks of a Cult

Milieu Control "Milieu" is a French word meaning "surroundings; environment." Cults are able to control the environment around their recruits in a number of ways, but almost always using a form of isolation.

Mystical Manipulation In religious cults, God is ever-present in the workings of the organization. If a person leaves for any reason, accidents or ill-will that may befall them are always attributed to God's punishment on them. For the faithful, the angels are always said to be working, and stories circulate about how God is truly doing marvelous things among them, because they are "the truth." The organization is therefore given a certain "mystique" that is quite alluring to the new recruit.

Demand for Purity The world is depicted as black and white, with little room for making personal decisions based on a trained conscience. One's conduct is modeled after the ideology of the group, as taught in its literature.

The Cult of Confession (spilling your guts) Serious sins (as defined by the organization) are to be confessed immediately. The members are to be reported if found walking contrary to the rules. There is often a tendency to derive pleasure from self-degradation through confession. This occurs when all must confess their sins before each other regularly, creating an intense kind of "oneness" within the group. It also allows leaders from within to exercise authority over the weaker ones, using their "sins" as a whip to lead them on.

The "Sacred Science" The cult's ideology becomes the ultimate moral vision for the ordering of human existence. The ideology is too "sacred" to call into question, and a reverence is demanded for the leadership. The cult's ideology makes an exaggerated claim for possessing airtight logic, making it appear as absolute truth with no contradictions. Such an attractive system offers security.

Loading the Language Lifton explains the prolific use of "thought-terminating clichés," expressions or words that are designed to end the conversation or controversy. They are called the "language of non-thought," since the discussion is terminated, not allowing further consideration.

Doctrine Over Person The person is only valuable insomuch as they conform to the role models of the cult.

Dispensing of Existence The cult decides who has the "right" to exist and who does not. They decide who will perish in the final battle of good over evil.

Danny Haszard

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