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Alexandra Bruce  People don’t set out to join a cult. People join a new religion, work for a cause or start a political movement and from the inside, the group is noble and inspirational – but then a line is crossed – and it becomes a cult.

Harvard University’s Howard Jay Lifton says that a group needs to have three main characteristics in order to be called a cult:

1) A guru or leader is worshiped, rather than the larger religious principles.

2) Thought-Reform-like characteristics, with systematic indoctrination and a great focus on confession and self-criticism.

3) Heavy exploitation from above, usually from the “guru” or other high-ranking people. Usually, this exploitation is economic and sexual.

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Uploaded by GluteusInflammatus
December 31, 2011

From the bizarre prophecies of Charles Manson to the desperate paranoia of Jim Jones, cult leaders draw us into worlds of power, paranoia, and death. Through interviews with world-renowned scholars and the survivors of cultic tragedy, we will unmask the mystery of cults. From Jim Jones’ pursuit of a socialist paradise to Warren Jeffs’ Yearning for Zion ranch, cult leaders have twisted the quest for purity into an obsession with madness and murder.

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