Cults in Our Midst: The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace / Edition 1

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Cults today are bigger than ever, with broad ramifications for national and international terrorism. In this newly revised edition of her definitive work on cults, Singer reveals what cults really are and how they work, focusing specifically on the coercive persuasion techniques of charismatic leaders seeking money and power. The book contains fascinating updates on Heaven's Gate, Falun Gong, Aum Shinrikyo, Hare Krishna, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and the connection between cults and terrorism in Al Queda and the PLO.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787967413
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 4/11/2003
  • Edition description: Revised and Updated Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 630,824
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Thaler Singer is a clinical psychologist and emeritus adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In her career she has counseled and interviewed more than 3,000 current and former cult members and their relatives and friends. An expert on post-traumatic stress as well as cults, she lectures widely in the United States and abroad. She is the coauthor of "Crazy" Therapies.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xi
Acknowledgments xv
Introduction to the Revised Edition xvii
Introduction to the First Edition xxi
Part 1 What Are Cults? 1
1. Defining Cults 3
Definitions and Characteristics
Cult Types
Who Joins Cults?
Why Do They Join?
2. A Brief History of Cults 29
Cults in the 1800s
The 1960s: Fertile Ground for Cults
The 1970s: Cults to Expand Awareness
The 1980s: Psychological, Occult, and Prosperity Cults
Examples of New Cults
Cause for Concern
3. The Process of Brainwashing, Psychological Coercion, and Thought Reform 52
Historical Examples of Brainwashing
Packaged Persuasion
Attacking the Self
How Thought Reform Works
Producing a New Identity
Impermissible Experiments
4. What's Wrong with Cults? 83
Cults Threaten Legitimate Institutions
Cults Harm Our Children and Tear Apart Our Families
Cults Are Violent
Cults Engage in Conspiracy and Fraud
Small Cults Can Be Just as Harmful as Large
Cults Take Away Our Freedom
Cults Take Away Our Possessions
Cults Escape Scrutiny
What Is to Be Done?
Part 2 How Do They Work? 103
5. Recruiting New Members 105
First Approach
First Cult Contact
Follow-Up: Gaining Greater Commitment
Young and Old Alike Are Vulnerable
The Double Agenda
6. Physiological Persuasion Techniques 125
Mass Marketing of Experiential Exercises
Techniques Producing Predictable Physiological Responses
Meditation May Not Always Be Good for You
7. Psychological Persuasion Techniques 150
Trance and Hypnosis
Revision of Personal History
Peer Pressure and Modeling
Emotional Manipulation
Psychotherapy Cults
8. Intruding into the Workplace 182
Clarification of New Age
A Clash in the Workplace
Violation of Civil Rights
What Goes On in an LGAT?
Development of a New Age Training Program: A Case Example
Problems with Being "Transformed" at Work
Psychological Casualties
Buyer Beware: Thought-Reform Processes at Work
9. The Threat of Intimidation 209
Co-opted Professionals
Intimidation and Harassment of Critics
Part 3 How Can We Help Survivors to Escape and Recover? 241
10. Rescuing the Children 243
Children of Jonestown
Children of Waco
Children of Other Cults
Role of the Cult Leader
Role of Cult Parents
What Children Learn in Cults
After the Cult
Children Are Survivors
11. Leaving the Cult 266
Why It's Hard to Leave
Ways of Leaving the Cult
Deprogramming and Exit Counseling
12. Recovery: Coming Out of the Pseudopersonality 295
Recovering from Cult Aftereffects
Practical Issues
Psychological and Emotional Difficulties
Cognitive Inefficiencies
Social and Personal Relations
Philosophical and Attitudinal Issues
Helpful Tasks for Individuals Leaving Cults
There Is Life After the Cult
Postscript to the First Edition: The Millennium, Cults, and the End of the Century 335
Postscript to the Revised Edition 339
Chapter Notes 357
Resources and Organizations 379
Further Reading 383
The Author 385
Index 387
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