Former Members’ Perceptions of Cult Involvement
factors have been described in the literature as influencing an
individual’s susceptibility to cult recruitment and/or remaining within
the cult. Some of these factors have been widely and repeatedly asserted,
although the scarce data available from empirical research in this subject and
other cult-related topics (Aronoff, Lynn & Malinoski, 2000), as well as the
usual difficulties encountered when one tries to investigate this issue in
particular, make it hard to investigate cult members before they join these
groups. The aim of the present study was to examine the perceptions of a
Spanish sample of 101 self-identified former members of diverse cultic groups,
who were interviewed face to face or who responded by postal mail to several
questions regarding their process of cult involvement and perceived
psychological abuse within their groups. Their responses were compared to those
of 38 former members of diverse non-cultic groups and 24 Psychology students.
The psychology students were asked to respond to the same set of questions
given to the other groups, but as the students thought a former cult member
would respond. Results showed that the former cult members perceived the
manipulative behaviors of the group as the most important factor in their
involvements. There were no significant differences between former cult members
and former members of non-cultic groups in their reports of problems in
significant others’ relationships as a factor of involvement. The
students who were asked to simulate their responses however, rated this factor
as well as the one related to personal maladjustment significantly above the
ratings of former cult members.
involvement is a gradual process that starts with a person’s initial
contact with a cult member (Sirkin, 1990), and that might or might not be
followed by a next stage of joining the group. Zimbardo and Hartley (1985)
found that 54% of a sample of 1,000 high-school students from the San Francisco
Bay Area reported at least one prior contact with an identified cult recruiter.
Of those respondents, 3% reported they were members of a cult, and 51%
indicated they were open and receptive to considering or accepting the
invitation to join the cult.
Similarly, in Spain, we found that 59.6% of
a small sample of 49 first-year university students reported at least one
cult-recruiting attempt by an identified
cult recruiter (Almendros & Carrobles, 2001, unpublished manuscript).
(Almendros & Carrobles, 2001, unpublished manuscript). The average number
of cult-recruitment experiences for those who had at least one such experience
was 2.41. We also found that 39% of the students reported knowing at least one
cult member. In previous research, Canteras, Rodríguez, and
Rodríguez-Carballeira (1992) studied a probabilistic sample of 1,517 Spanish
subjects between 14 years and 29 years of age and found that at least 0.5% of
young Spanish people at the moment the study took place were cult members,
while 1.5% reported having belonged to a cult group in the past. The attitude
of nearly half of the subjects toward cults was not negative, and 25.85% of
them expressed approval of cults (Canteras, 1991).
Some authors have tried to describe those
who are more likely to seek cult affiliation and have related this
susceptibility to preexisting psychological difficulties and maladjustment
(Levine & Salter, 1976; Deutsch & Miller, 1983; Spero, 1984; Sirkin
& Grellong, 1988). Cited pre-cult characteristics range from high levels of
psychological distress (Galanter, Rabkin, Rabkin, & Deutsch, 1979;
Galanter, 1983), to seekership (Levine & Salter, 1976), which is frequently
mentioned as a result of previous dissatisfaction or disillusionment, or the
presence of some kind of ego weaknesses (Spero, 1984; Curtis & Curtis,
1993), among others.
Familial dysfunctional patterns such as
unrealistic or unobtainable expectations of achievement (Markowitz, 1983), less
emotion and more criticism (Sirkin & Grellong, 1988), poor family communication
and family enmeshment (Schwartz & Kaslow, 1979), or other disturbances
resulting in unsatisfactory parental relations (Deutsch, 1975; Deutsch &
Miller, 1983; Curtis & Curtis, 1993) have also been described as having a
strong and direct influence on the member’s propensity for cult
involvement. Furthermore, Rodríguez (1994) would advise those relatives of a
cult member to realize that “we make adepts at home.”
Any of those affiliation motives have been
said to attract “pre-adepts” (Rodríguez, 1994) to cultic groups as
an escape from a dissatisfying existence. Moreover, these subjects will choose
cult involvement as a “compensatory path” if they do not choose
other destructive behavior such us drug abuse, gambling, or suicide, for example
(Rodríguez, 2000), when they are trying to fulfill previously unmet needs
(Levine, 1978; Hunter, 1998) or solve preexisting problems (van Dam, 1991).
Conversely, some authors prevent us from
“blaming the victim” (e.g., Hassan, 1990; Singer & Lalich,
1997; Burks, 2002; Zimbardo, 1997) and argue that members are typically
recruited within 12 months of experiencing stressful events (Singer, 1979;
Clark, 1979). They have found that the proportion of those who had prior
psychological problems—one-third reported seeking mental-health services
at some point prior to joining the group (Martin, 1989; Singer & Lalich,
1997)—is just slightly more than the one-fourth of the general population
who have sought mental-health services (Martin, 1989). Based on empirical studies
as well as clinical impressions, it has also been asserted that cult
involvement is not related to familial factors (Wright & Piper, 1986;
Maron, 1988), a view supported by findings that most cult members come from
normal family environments (Singer, 1979; Clark, 1979; Goldberg & Goldberg,
Sample 1: Former cult members (FCM)
A Spanish sample consisting of 101
self–identified former members of diverse cultic groups participated in this
study. Each subject was involved with any of a total of 27 different groups,
including New Age, Bible-based, political, and other types.
A total of 55 (54.5%) participants were
male, and 46 (45.5%) were female. Their mean age at the time the study took
place was 43.47 years (standard deviation: 12.22). The participants met their
groups at an average age of 25.3 years (S.D.: 13.3; median: 23) and joined them
at an average age of 26.7 years (S.D.: 12.3; median: 25). Ages for both meeting
and joining the group ranged from those who were born in the group to a maximum
of 60 years. The average length of membership, defined as the number of years
from the moment participants joined to when they left the group, was 9.8 years
(S.D.: 9.5), with a range of 1 month to 38 years of membership. The length of
time between when a member exited the group and the time the assessment took
place ranged from 1 month to 33.4 years, with a mean of 6.3 years (S.D.: 6.7).
Sample 2: Former members of non-cultic
In addition, we collected data on 38
Spanish participants, who were self-identified as former members of non
manipulative groups, who responded to the same set of instruments as the sample
of FCM. They had belonged to a diversity of groups including religious, sports,
NGO, scout, political, theater and youth groups.
They were selected by taking into account
the demographic characteristics of the previous sample, trying to obtain a
similar group. Twenty-one of the subjects (55.3%) were female and 17
participants were male (44.7%). Their mean age during participation in the
group was 40.84 years (S.D.: 13.1).
FNCG participants met their groups at an
average age of 21.26 years (S.D.: 11.2) and joined them at an average age of
22.46 years (S.D.: 10.9). The range for both variables was from 8 to 64 years.
They belonged to the group an average of 5.01 years (S.D.: 4.52), ranging from
2 months to 17 years. At the moment the study took place, they had been out of
the groups a mean time of 12.27 years (S.D.: 11.0) ranging from 2 months to 45
years and 2 months.
The U of Mann-Whitney test was used to
compare these age and time variables for samples 1 and 2. We found significant
differences only for the variables Age of joining (z=-2.25; p=0.02) and Time
out of group (z=-2.74; p=0.00). Participants from FNMG had joined their groups
at a younger age and had spent more time out of their groups.
Sample 3: Simulators (SIM)
A third group of participants was composed
of 24 Spanish subjects who were Psychology students in a University in the
South of Spain. They were asked to respond to the instruments as if they were
former members of a cultic group or to respond to each item as they thought a
former cult member would respond. The vast majority of them were female (83.3%;
20 subjects) and the rest were male (16.7%; 4 subjects). Participant’s
mean age was 22.57 (S.D.: 2.2).
Assessment of all of the participants
included the following instruments:
The background questionnaire consisted of demographic items (e.g.., age, sex,
education, whether participant had sought professional mental-health support)
and some questions regarding perceptions about certain factors related to the
cultic experience (e.g., degree of implication, involvement, method of exit,
perceived social support).
To find out which factors enhanced cult
involvement, an 18-question, short-item scale was included with response
choices ranging from 0 – Not at all to 5 – Completely. This scale, Factores de Involucración Sectaria (FIS;
Cult Involvement Factors), was developed by the first author taking into
account previous literature (e.g. Chambers et al., 1994; Santamaría, 2001;
Sullivan, 1984). A question was also included regarding attitude toward cult
involvement after the participant first contacted the group. Response options
included these choices: “I strongly desired feeling part of the
group”; “I don’t know; it arose”; “I was in
doubt,” as well as an open-ended choice. The time between the moment
participants initially contacted the group to the moment they joined the group
was also taken into account.
version of the Group Psychological Abuse Scale (GPA; Chambers, Langone, Dole
& Grice, 1994). We
used the Spanish version of the GPA scale (GPA-S; Almendros, Carrobles, Rodríguez-Carballeira
& Jansà, 2003), as an empirically derived measure of psychological abuse
that assesses former members’ perceptions of the degree to which their
group environments were psychologically abusive. The GPA scale consists of 28
items, which originally comprised four subscales: Compliance, Exploitation,
Anxious Dependency, and Mind Control (Chambers et al., 1994). The Spanish
version of the GPA revealed a factor structure comprising three subscales:
Compliance, Mind Control, and Exploitation, showing adequate psychometric
properties (Almendros et al., 2004). A recent revision of the Spanish version
of the scale with the larger sample included in this study (Almendros,
Carrobles & Rodríguez-Carballeira, 2007) found that the first two subscales
were composed of 10 items, while the third subscale was composed of 8 items.
Items are rated on a 5-point Likert scale, with the first two subscales ranging
from 10 to 50 and the third subscale ranging from 8 to 40; the range for the
overall scale is 28 to 140.
The participants of Sample 1 (FCM) were
contacted through data provided by national cult educational organizations
(32.7%) and mental-health professionals not necessarily familiar with the
subject matter (33.7%). A few ex-members provided data about others who might
wish to participate, and some of the ex-members passed on the materials to
other former members (33.6%).
They were assessed at sites appropriate for
those who were interviewed (57.4%; 58 subjects). A trained psychologist
traveled to several provinces inside Spain that corresponded to the different
places of residence of the subjects. Those who couldn’t or didn’t
want to participate in the presence of the interviewer were informed of the
characteristics of the study by phone and were sent the materials when they
agreed to participate, together with an envelope and postage to be returned by
mail (42.6%; 43 subjects). All of the participants completed an
informed-consent form, volunteered to take part in the study, and went through
With respect to participants of Sample 2
(FNMG), the majority were interviewed face-to-face (44.74%; 17 subjects).
Several participants responded collectively (36.8%; 14 subjects), while a few
participants responded to the instruments in private and returned them to the
researchers (18.42%; 7 subjects). Participants composing Sample 3 (SIM)
responded to the instruments at a Psychology conference organized for students
in a University at the South of Spain.
Statistical analyses were carried out using
SPSS-PC, version 12.0 for Microsoft Windows.
Neither gender nor method of participation
yielded significant differences on any of the dependent variables; therefore,
these variables were disregarded in further analyses.
Participants were asked about which factors
enhanced their cultic involvement. Eighty-nine of them responded correctly to
the FIS, not leaving any item unanswered. Psychometric properties of the
18-item cult-involvement scale were examined. Calculating Cronbach’s
Alpha coefficient, we observed reliability, showing adequate internal
consistency with a value for the total scale of 0.86. All of the items obtained
appropriate item-total correlation values, higher than 0.30, but one, item 12
(“Serious illness/loss of a loved one”), was barely related to the
rest of the items (rjx=0.06) and was
excluded from subsequent analyses, which increased the Alpha value to 0.87.
Construct validity was examined through a factorial analysis (Principal Components;
Varimax Rotation), which revealed a factor structure composed of five subscales
that accounted for 67.01% of the total variance.
The first factor, labeled General Dissatisfaction (D), was
composed of four items that addressed previous personal maladjustment (e.g.,
“Dissatisfaction with daily life”). The second factor, Intimate Relations (IR), was
composed of four items that referred to problems in family and friend
(significant others’) relationships and loneliness (e.g.,
“Conflicts within family”). Factor three, Seeking Ideals (SI), consisted
of four items related to attraction to the group’s beliefs and lifestyle,
and the need for a belief system that provides the individual with a life
meaning (e.g., “Need for solid beliefs”). The next factor, Seeking Self-Development (SD), was composed of three items that
addressed the individual’s search for spiritual and personal development
experiences (e.g., “Searching for new spiritual experiences”).
Finally, the Manipulation factor (M)
consisted of two items related to deceit and persuasion (e.g., “Deceit by
As far as the factors are concerned, Alpha
coefficients for the five factors were calculated to examine the factors’
reliability. Values were all above 0.70, which shows an adequate internal
consistency for each of the five factors (General Dissatisfaction: 0.78;
Intimate Relations: 0.75; Seeking Ideals: 0.75; Seek of Self Development: 0.75;
We calculated mean scores for each of the five
factors. With respect to the self -identified former cult members’ (FCM),
Figure 1 shows that Manipulation was perceived by respondents as the most
important factor in their cult involvement (mean score: 3.06; S.D.: 1.7)
followed by Seeking Ideals (2.93; S.D.: 1.4). Both factors were rated above the
midpoint. The next higher factor was Seek Self Development (2.29; S.D.: 1.7),
followed by Dissatisfaction (1.77; S.D.: 1.4), and finally Intimate Relations
(0.92; S.D.: 1.2). Thus, participants rated previous personal and social
problems as considerably less influential factors for their cult involvements.
* Mann-Whitney U test comparing FCM and FNCG
mean scores. ** Mann-Whitney U test comparing FCM and SIM mean scores.
Figure 1: Average Scores for
We compared responses of the FCM sample to those of the comparison
group of self-identified former members of diverse non-cultic groups (FNCG)
using Mann-Whitney U tests to compare the ranks of both groups’ scores
for each of the FIS subscales. Figure 1 shows the means obtained in both
samples and the Mann-Whitney U test values for the subscales. The groups differ
significantly in the cult involvement factors Manipulation, Seeking Ideals,
Seek of Self Development and Dissatisfaction, in which former cult members
obtained higher scores. There were no significant differences between the
former cult members and the non-cultic comparison group for the Intimate
In respect to the sample of simulators, or
those who responded to the FIS as if they were former cult members (SIM), all
subscales were similarly rated (see Figure 1). The same test was performed to
compare the ranks of scores of the former cult members and the simulators,
finding significant differences for the subscales Dissatisfaction and Intimate
Relations, which were rated significantly higher by simulators.
Time for Involvement: Responses that
addressed the issue of time since participants first met the group to when they
joined the group varied widely for FCM respondents, from those for whom both
moments were coincident (29.5%), to those who took a considerable number of
years before they were involved. The mean time for them to get involved was
1.95 years (S.D.: 3.5), and the time overall ranged from 0 years to 19.2 years.
Time for involvement in participants in
sample 2 (FNCG) averaged 0.70 years (approximately 8 months) (S.D.: 1.0; Median:
0.08) ranging from 0 to 4 years. No significant differences were found between
both samples in time for involvement (Mann-Whitney U; z=-1.23; p=0.22).
Attitude toward involvement: For 23.2% of the
participants in Sample 1 (FCM), their attitude toward their involvement after
the initial contact with the group was that of a strong desire to feel part of
the group. The majority of participants (50.5%) responded with “I
don’t know; it arose,” while the rest (22.2%) responded with “I
was in doubt.” Finally, a few of them (4%) responded to the option
“other” and provided an open-ended response.
In respect to participants in Sample 2, the
following percentages were obtained for the different response options:
“Strong desire” (18.9%), “arose” (67.6%), “in doubt”
(5.4%) and “other” (8.1%). A Chi-square test showed no significant
differences between both samples 1 and 2 in their attitudes toward involvement ((3) = 6.83;
Statistical analyses were performed to
examine what distinguished FCM grouped by attitude toward involvement. The
Kruskal-Wallis nonparametric test showed statistical differences ((2) =16.23; p=0.00) in attitudes toward the group according
to participants’ ages at the time they joined the group. Thus, younger
participants tended to be in the “strong desire” group, with a mean
age of 22.10 (S.D.: 10.2), followed by those for whom involvement “arose”
(mean age: 25.70; S.D.: 11.3), and finally by those who were “in
doubt” about joining (mean age: 35.55; S.D.: 10.9).
Cult Involvement Factors by Attitude
To examine the influential factors for their
cultic involvement in relationship to the participants’ attitudes toward
their involvement, we used the Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance.
Attitude toward involvement affected differently the factor Seeking Ideals ((2) =11.24; p=0.00), in the sense that the scores for
participants who showed a “strong desire” to become a member of the
group were significantly higher for this factor. We found no statistical
differences for the factors: Dissatisfaction ((2) =1.31; p=0.52),
Intimate Relations ((2) =1.45; p=0.48),
Manipulation ((2) = 1.08; p=0.58)
and Seek of Self Development ((2)= 5.00; p=0.08)
among those three attitude groups, although in the last case the p-value is
just slightly above the level of significance ( = 0.05).
Figure 2 represents mean scores in the subscales relative to attitude toward
cult involvement. We observe that those who had a “strong desire”
to belong to the group rated Seeking Ideals and Seek for Self Development as
the most important factors in their involvement. And when we compared them, the
ratings were considerably above the ratings of the other two attitude groups:
“It arose” and “In doubt”. We found little differences
for all of the involvement factors between those whose attitude was “it
arose” and those who were “in doubt” about joining the group.
Figure 2: Mean Scores for Cult-Involvement Factors
Relative to Attitude Toward Involvement
Prior Psychological Services Demand
Approximately one-sixth of our
participants, 16 subjects (16.2%), reported seeking mental-health services
sometime prior to their cult involvement. This was significantly different from
the 2.7% of participants in sample 2 of FNCG who sought such services
(Chi-square test; (1) = 4.46; p= 0.03).
To examine whether there were differences in
cult-involvement factors based on participants’ preexisting psychological
difficulties as suggested by their previous demand for mental-health services,
we used a Mann-Whitney U test comparison. There weren’t significant
differences for any of the factors. However the probability found for
Dissatisfaction was barely above the level of significance (z= -1.9; p= 0.05)
and a t-test, parametrical option for comparison of the mean scores, for
Dissatisfaction between both groups, showed significant differences for that
factor (t= 2.2; p= 0.03). Thus, participants who had sought mental-health
advice before their cult involvement reported higher Dissatisfaction scores
than those who didn’t seek mental-health advice before cult involvement,
with an average score of 2.53 (S.D.: 1.6) for the first group and an average
score of 1.66 (S.D.: 1.4) for the other. That result is consistent with the
Dissatisfaction factor’s content that describes previous personal
The Chi-square test was used to compare the
attitude towards involvement between the two groups regarding the demand for
mental health services prior to joining. No significant differences were found
between the groups ((3)= 1.43; p= 0.70).
Perceived Psychological Abuse and
Former members of diverse cultic groups
reported psychological abuse in their group environments, with a mean score for
the global GPA-S scale of 103.61 (S.D.: 18.16) and a range of 39 to 136.
We used a t-test analysis to compare the
perceptions of psychological abusiveness by their groups between participants
who sought mental-health services prior to cult involvement and those who
didn’t, and we found significant differences on the global GPA-S (t=-2,63;
p=0,01). The mean score for the first group on the GPA-S (90.77; S.D.: 19.54)
was considerably below that of the second group (104.44; S.D.: 16.88), although
both groups were above the cutoff of >= 81 for GPA-S (Almendros et al.,
2007). We examined the same groups for the GPA Spanish version subscales and
found the same-direction differences between both groups only for
Compliance (t’=-2,14; p=0,04); we
found no significant differences for either Exploitation or Mind Control.
We calculated Pearson correlation
coefficients between cult-involvement factors and GPA-S subscales. We found
significant correlation values between Manipulation and all three GPA-S
subscales (Compliance: r=0.52; p<0.01; Mind Control: r=0.53; p<0.01; and
Exploitation: r=0.29; p<0.01), between Intimate Relations and Exploitation
(r=0.22; p<0.05), and between Seek Ideals and Compliance (r=0.29; p<0.05)
and Mind Control (r=0.21; p<0.05).
Finally, an ANOVA revealed no differences
on either the GPA-S global score (F (2, 92)=0.94; p=0.40) or on the subscales
regarding the participants’ attitudes toward involvement. Mean scores for
the global measure were 108.74 (S.D.: 17.59) for the “strong
desire” group, 102.98 (S.D.: 18.02) for the “it arose” group,
and 102.68 (S.D.: 17.78) for the “in doubt” group.
Cult involvement is a complex phenomenon
with diverse expressions, as might be deduced from the varied periods of time
our participants took to join their respective groups. For a considerable
number of them, however, the process was quite fast.
Results showed that susceptibility to cult
involvement cannot be presumed or reduced to a specific age group, although
younger people showed a more emotional tendency toward cult membership. Median
age in which participants got involved was 25 years, and they did so at an
older age than participants in the comparison group of former members of
According to our data, previous
psychological difficulties cannot be asserted as a factor related to our
participants’ attraction to cults—and according to the
participants, neither can the existence of personal or social maladjustment.
There were more participants in the sample of former cult members who required
prior psychological attention and their scores were higher on Dissatisfaction
as a factor of involvement than those of the comparison group. Nevertheless,
the figures are still too low to warrant generalization to all cult members.
Contrary to Martin, Langone, Dole & Wiltrout (1992; see also Langone,
1996), we found that those participants who sought mental health services prior
to their cult involvement showed significantly higher post-group psychological
distress than those who didn’t (Almendros, 2006). This work cannot determine if pre-group
help-seeking could be considered a predisposing factor for cult involvement or
a vulnerability factor, in the sense that those people showing prior
psychological difficulties suffer a more negative impact of the cultic
experience. We also found that pre-group help-seekers tended to spend less time
in the group (Almendros, 2006). This may lend support to the notion that those
people with prior psychological difficulties remain involved for shorter times
because they find it difficult to adapt themselves to the group demands or
because cultic groups are not interested in maintaining the commitment of less
productive people (Hassan, 1990). On the other hand, some cult representatives
have argued that critical ex-members were people who couldn’t consolidate
their commitment to the group as a consequence of prior psychological
difficulties, which led to their departure from the group. Contrary to this
assertion, however, pre-group help-seeking was related to a less negative
perception of the past group environment as measured by GPA-S.
Former members of non-cultic groups
considered significantly less important than former cult members all of the
involvement factors but one: Intimate relations.
Despite the limitations of self-reported
data, previous work (Almendros, 2006) that examined these participants’
responses to the MCMI-II validity indexes, together with the data presented in
this study, found no evidence supporting the hypothesis that the reports above
could be due to insincerity or social desirability on the part of our respondents.
Our limited knowledge, as well as this study’s findings, urge caution
about making deterministic assertions concerning the prior social maladjustment
of potential cult members. While it may be true that “simulators”
could have given importance to all of the factors simply because they were
asked about the factors, the fact that only the two factors implying personal
and social maladjustment were rated significantly higher by this group (SIM)
than by true former cult members is consistent with that part of the literature
that seems to assume that something should be wrong with the
Former cult members reported deceitful and
persuasive behavior of the group as the most important factor in their
involvement, as well as their perception of the cult as providing ideals and a
meaningful belief system. Finally, a desire for self-development and a search
for experience were also considered important in this regard.
In relation to the seekership factor that
is sometimes mentioned in the literature (see Ash, 1985), our finding of two
separate factors in our cult involvement scale (FIS) is intriguing: Seeking
Ideals and Seek for Self Development. We interpret the first as a base that
supports the second. Thus, the meaningful belief system implied in Seeking
Ideals provides the frame in which to display the behaviors and new spiritual
or personal development experiences that comprise Seeking Self-Development.
Thus, the second seems a more experiential and active factor, while the first
may imply higher degrees of ambiguity in the seeker. These two factors are
equally rated by the comparison group of former members of non-cultic groups,
and though significantly lower than former cult members, they are reported as
the most important factors for their involvement in the groups.
Thus, a mainly external factor such as
Manipulation (describing behaviors displayed by the group) is considered by our
participants as the most important in influencing them to join the group,
followed by Seek Ideals, which we consider to be a more mixed factor in the
sense that it depends on the interaction of the person and the group, and
includes elements of attractiveness of the recruiter/group (Zimbardo &
Hartley, 1985), “psychological offers” (Kraus, 1999) by the group,
as well as the receptiveness of or active search by the individual.
The fact that Manipulation was perceived by
our respondents as the most important factor for their involvement with their
former groups, and significantly above the comparison group, seems coherent with
the majority attitude shown toward involvement: “I don’t know; it
arose.” The attitude toward involvement of the FCM was not different from
that of the comparison group of FNCG. According to Andersen and Zimbardo
(1984), situations in which we are more prone to being influenced are those
with “normal appearances,” which don’t seem to “require
skepticism, resistance, or even our conscious attention.”
In conclusion, we agree with Martin, Pile,
Burks and Martin (1998) when they state that “most people who join cults
think they are joining a good group, a moral group, a healthy group.”
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