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Cults: Definitions, Patterns, Behaviors

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  • Cults: Definitions, Patterns, Behaviors


    When identifying cults and cult like behavior, most sociologist and psychologist agree that there are three aspects of their behavior that should be evaluated. As all cults are different in their approaches, a cult may have one or more identifying factors from each category, or, may just predominantly reside within one. Let's take a look at all three.

    Sociological Cults

    The main identifying factor of a group as a cult, is its tendency to completely withdraw from normal regular society, into a communal isolated lifestyle. That lifestyle can be a relative one, whereby people withdraw locally within their regular communities, or, actually withdraw as a group into a distant or remote area with others who follow their beliefs. The polygamists of southern Utah, who live in Colorado City, are an example. The Jim Jones people are another.

    These communities exhibit secondary concepts, such as out of the ordinary behavior, such as polygamy, incest, pedophilia, drug use, physical abuse, weapons caching, out of the ordinary therapies, and murder. It is not uncommon for these groups to run afoul of the overall society's laws.

    Psychological Cults

    Here it gets more interesting; the psychological aspect of cults has long been associated with the concept of brainwashing. According to Langone, a psychologist and exectutive director of the American Family Foundation, the psychological definition of cults includes:

    A cult is a group or movement that, to a significant degree, exhibits great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing; uses a thought reform program to persuade, control, and socialize members (to integrate them into the group's unique pattern of relationships, beliefs, values, and practices); systematically induces states of pyschological dependency in members; exploits members to advance the leadership's goals; and causes psychological harm to members, their families, and the community.
    Generally, the following can be found in psychological cults:
    • Isolation of members, psychologically and or physically, from individuals outside the group whose ideas and philosophies are contray to those promoted by the group.
    • Intense "love bombing" that so powerfully affects individuals with deep seated emotional needs that those persons are psychologically thrown off balance. They are faced with an agonizing decision: stay with the group and receive love, or leave the group and lose love.
    • A systematic replacement of the pre-conversion identities of members with a new group-related identity. This sometimes includes the destruction of personal possessions and the destruction of family ties.
    • Rapid-fire teaching techniques that do not allow members to think critically about what is being said, coupled with an environment wherein open discussion of relevant issues and the expression of contrary opinions is discouraged.
    • The use of fear and intimidation against members who desire to leave the group, or former members seeking to break ties with the group.
    • Use of deceptive recruitment techniques that include false information about the group's doctrinal beliefs and cover-ups of negative episodes in the group's history.
    • Total, unquestioning allegiance to a central leader or elite core of leaders.
    • The promotion of an "ends justifies the means" philosophy within the group.
    • An "us vs. them" mentality that stresses the group's unique hold on truth and demonizes anyone who opposes that alleged truth.
    • An inordinate emphasis on submission and obedience to the group authority, which effectively "guilts" a person into submission.
    • Consistent stress on the importance of following the divinely revealed truths being taught by a group's leader or leaders.
    • A siege mentality that dismisses all criticisms of the group from outside sources as unwarranted "persecution".
    • Shunning and harsh criticism of "rebellious" members who question the teachings or practices of the group.
    • An elitist attitude that is drilled into members, which states that those outside the group are spiritually lukewarm, comprising, or entirely lost.
    • Excessive control over personal aspects of member's lives, eg, where to live, where to work, who to date, who to marry, what literature to read, when vacations can be taken, etc.
    • Rigid restrictions relating to the sleeping habits, food intake, exercise, and leisure time of members.
    Theological Cults

    There are a few characteristics found within theological cults:
    • A group of people gathered about a specific person or person's interpretation of the Bible... Cults contain not a few major deviations from historic Christianity. Yet, paradoxically, they continue to insist that they are entitled to be classified as Christians.
    • Any religious movement which claims the backing of Christ or the Bible, but distorts the central message of Christianity by either an additional revelation, and or by displacing a fundamental tenet of the faith with a secondary matter.
    • A group adhering to doctrines which are pointedly contradictory to orthodox Christianity yet which claim the distincition of either tracing their origin to orthodox sources or of being in essential harmony with those sources.
    • A perversion, a distortion of biblical Christianity and/or a rejection of the historic teachings of the Christian church.
    • A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual, group of leaders, or organization, which denies one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.
    • A group of persons polarized around a heretical interpretation of religious truth. Such groups typically cite the Bible and claim to be in harmony with Christianity, but deny such basic doctrines of the Christian faith as the Trinity, the unique deity of Jesus Christ, salvation by grace alone, and justification by faith.
    From the excellent book, One Nation Under Gods, by Abanes
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)

  • #2
    NOW, in light of that, consider the following thoughts:
    • The behavior patterns exhibited by some so-called "monks" and their followers/students.
    • The behavior patters exhibited by your martial arts teacher and the expected behavior in your dojo/school.
    • The historical patterns exhibited by Yongxin at the Shaolin Temple (now there's a discussion)
    • The "russboians" at
    Think about that for a while.
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)


    • #3
      christ am I in trouble then!! and according to thaat, You're all mad too !!. .. where the f*ck do we even get these arguments and then qualify for the point of contention?? ?? ..
      ... yah.. nice thread :/

      hang on.. a cult can be a good thing then right?? ... what iis your point??


      • #4
        Free Kool-aid at The Doc Palace!

        Just don't forget the ceremonial Chan Wu Xue Yuan sweaters/hoodies.
        Becoming what I've dreamed about.


        • #5
          Wait a second!! The "Russbo Fists Around the World Tour" is starting again? I wasn't notified. Doc, what's up with that??????


          • #6
            Some possibly relevent recent news:

            NYC Cop Charged With Raping Teen Karate Student

            Friday , December 28, 2007

            MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. —
            A New York City police officer is accused of raping a teenage student in his martial arts school during a sexual relationship he claimed was one of the school's rites, police said Friday.

            Middletown police said Trent Young, 39, sexually abused and then began having sex with the 15-year-old girl, a student at Iron Tiger Martial Arts in West Milford, N.J., in 2005.

            Young, who also teaches karate at his Middletown home, was arrested Thursday on his way to work and charged in Orange County Court with felony counts of second- and third-degree rape, police said. He was free on bail Friday.

            The girl told police she'd been a student at Iron Tiger for a year when Young asked her to sign an oath of obedience in 2005. She told police that Young made her take off all of her clothes as part of the oath, and then sexually abused her. She said he then told her to get dressed and that the encounter was part of a test.

            Young then began a sexual relationship with the girl, leading her to believe it was part of the karate school's program, police said. Young is accused of having sex with her 20-40 times at various locations, including his home and at the school.

            Investigators said Young told a second 15-year-old to take off her clothes as part of her obedience oath, but she refused.

            There was no answer at Iron Tiger Martial Arts Friday and police were not sure who is representing Young in court.
            Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

            "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

            (more comments in my User Profile)


            • #7
              I wonder how long the other students were defending the teachers actions...
              The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


              • #8
                I think the scary question is: how many other students were sexually abused before this guy finally got caught?.....

                This is definitely not the first time these things have happened. My sister used to train for a very short time in a school in Delaware with a guy named Sifu Brian Gray. Ends up this Sifu was sexually abusing students in his children class.... It is disturbing because when my sister was training there she heard rumors of sexual abuse from the adult students who had trained there for most of their life. However, they never did anything about it and the information was kept in the down low. Of course everyone respected the Sifu and didn't want to break "oath". It was only till 5 years later that a parent pressed charges which she found out in a newspaper..... I hope this guy is in jail... if not please avoid taking classes with this guy....

                If i ever have kids, I know I'll have to do extensive research on the master and any kind of criminal record the guy might hold....


                • #9
                  That shit is sick man, people like that Get ****KKED up in prison.
                  "Life is a run. In attack we run, in defense we run. When you can no longer run, time to die" - Shichiroji "Seven samurai"


                  • #10
                    The name Brian Gray sounds familiar. We've seen that before...
                    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                    (more comments in my User Profile)


                    • #11
                      Yes, Brian Gray actually is said to teach Shaolin style with speciality in Iron Palm. My sister has an old VHS of his and he is actually teaching the basic wushu long fist forms. Just another Shaolin scammer who opened a kung fu early in the 80s.

                      This is the article I found about this guy. I think he is the same guy but I don't know anything about the geography in Delaware. You can do the subsequent research if you guys are interested.

                      y:Carl Hamilton , [Only Registered Users Can See Links.Click Here to Register for free] 12/02/2003

                      Brian Wayne Gray routinely sexually abused two students in his now-defunct kung fu school in Elkton about 20 years ago, and he used threats to keep them silent.

                      That's what prosecutors told jurors Monday as a criminal trial for Gray, 52, of Perryville, began in Cecil County Circuit Court.The defense, meanwhile, maintained that the two alleged victims -- now men -- concocted stories of sexual child abuse in an effort to blackmail Gray.

                      Gray is charged with multiple counts of child abuse, second-degree sex offense, third-degree sex offense and unnatural and perverted sex practice.A Cecil County grand jury handed up an 18-count indictment against Gray last May at the conclusion of a Maryland State Police investigation.

                      In his opening statement Monday, Assistant State's Attorney Keith A. Baynes noted that Gray is a homosexual, but stressed that the state's case wouldn't focus on his sexual preference in general."It (the case) has to do with predator nature of Mr. Gray," Baynes said.

                      Gray held a position of authority, partly because he was the students' martial arts instructor, partly because of his high national ranking as a master kung fu competitor, according to the state.He told his victims that they would be arrested, as well as him, if they told their parents, police or anyone else about the sexual acts Gray routinely performed on them, the state reported.

                      One of the alleged victims, now 32, testified Monday that he was "too ashamed" to come forward as a child and young man. (He notified police last March, wanting to gain "closure" and wanting to protect other children from Gray, he said.)

                      Noting that he had enthusiastically asked his mother to enroll him in the kung fu class , the alleged victim didn't quit because he didn't want his mother to think something was wrong, he explained.According to that alleged victim, Gray abused him in the studio's dressing room on the first night that he attended class in January 1984, a few days after his 13th birthday.

                      Baynes told jurors that the state wouldn't produce videos, photographs or other physical evidence because the offenses happened so long ago."The evidence will be the testimony of these young victims ... Their testimony is the key,'' Baynes said, noting it "took a lot of courage" for them to come forward.

                      Defense lawyer Harry D. Barnes III of Elkton, meanwhile, maintained that the two alleged victims conspired to extort $30,000 from Gray, basing their allegations on his sexual preference.(State testimony Monday indicated that the two alleged victims hadn't had any contact with each other for approximately 15 years.)

                      "Just because a man's gay doesn't mean he's a pedophile," Barnes told the jurors.

                      Barnes also told the jurors that Gray would testify in his own defense this week, although, as a criminal defendant, he has a right to remain silent."Brian is going to testify. He wants to tell his side of the story," Barnes said.The trial is scheduled to last three days.

                      Full Link


                      • #12
                        Maybe I should've been a gymnast instead or a martial artist...
                        The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


                        • #13
                          I thought the guy got acquitted. Or, was it that we never heard about this again.. Anyone know the outcome of this? It was in another thread, a long time ago
                          Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                          "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                          (more comments in my User Profile)


                          • #14
                            serious business

                            I have no idea what happened to Brian Grey, the last time I sat next to him for lunch was 6 years ago in China and I was distracted by the incredible schmatta.

                            but seriously, the relationship of students and masters is a tricky one. I'm witnessing it day in day out at our school. A certain loss of identity when young impressionable students join the school. And it's not so hard to understand, especially when your school is led by a man who comes from the Shaolin Temple. Already the critical thinking is slightly diminished because we deify these men. (And that is exactly what they are, men, mortal men with their own problems, issues, stuff. Some display these issues more openly than others). So we mimic their behavior, appropriate or not unquestioningly because they're the "enlightened" ones. Also when students join and they're new to the city they find a place where they can belong, here comes the factor of emotional dependency. It starts when you open the door and a group of people is moving and shouting in unison, that is a very powerful image. Who wouldn't want to belong.
                            One of the problems of the masters is, that they have no counterweight, someone a friend a fellow master, their own master that they respect as equal and from whom they will accept criticism. If criticism is never offered it is easy to fall into an illusion of omnipotence.

                            Surrounded only by admiring yay-sayers it's easy to think you can become a law upon yourself. A crop is only sewn as long as it falls on fertile ground, if it doesn't grow on that ground anymore you might sew a different crop.

                            There is also a phenomenon, doc you might know the clinical term for it, that describes how we follow orders of a person in power against our better judgement. As if we happily give up all responsibility for our own actions once they're ordered by someone else. In the 50s test were done, during which on test subject was told to administer painful electro shocks on a scale from 1 to 20, mild to lethal, to the other test subject when this one made a mistake. And you'd be surprised to know how many just followed the orders even up to the lethal level.
                            Uhm, how did I get there. (sorry I'm not a good blogger-person)
                            Ah yeah, you've got to keep your own head on and say "NO", when whatever happens in your school goes against your convictions.
                            Another thing I observe is that people come to their master with all of their life's questions, that creates another level of psychological dependency. But sorry, that's just nonsense, you expect one individual to have all the answers to your life's questions. Some stuff you have to work out on your own.
                            Come on! Common sense! You're not sheep!

                            What did Spider-Man's uncle say: "With great power comes great responsibility"

                            More later, my italian houseguest is calling me for snack!

                            And please excuse any grammar and spelling mistakes, english is not my native tongue.


                            • #15
                              An interesting take on this problem I believe. So, what is one to do once the situation and all the players involved has been identified? Does one simply ignore it and go about their daily lives. When I was at shaolin I saw that all the time. In fact I still hear from people that follow this idea. They know full well whats going on around them is wrong and goes against everything they believe, but choose to ignore it because they themselves are not directly involved in it. The "It's someone else's problem" mantra.

                              Personally I never prescribed to this idea much myself. I'm of the belief if you see someone doing something that you KNOW to be harmful to them then step up and tell them. Otherwise the outcome is usually far worse down the line.

                              Out of pure curiosity I would like to ask some of the old students of these schools, who know full well the mind warping cult like aspect on young impressionable people, if they would have their pre-teen or teenage children, relatives or close friends train in these places knowing full well they could easily get sucked into their darker side. It would be interesting to hear what they said.
                              The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


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