When I was organizing the cellars earlier this year, YouTube decided that this was a video I would like to watch. While I don't agree with his list as a whole, I do agree that destructive cults do tend to rise up during turbulent times. Fear, the inability to take care of one's self, and the need to belong when other connections fail are all motivating factors that drive people to join cults. All of these things will be present if society changes and things go south.
Cult leaders often start by separating people from loved ones both mentally and physically. They "invite" their followers to leave their homes and go far away. They tell their followers to not trust others, even people like them, keeping their followers only looking to them for survival. They like to tell their followers about how hard things are or will become. This way their followers won't mind working hard and living in less than ideal arrangements while the leader lives in relative comfort. Doomsday predictions are often part of these groups, starting off as vague ("you know the world is ending just by looking at what's going on around you"), but become more specific if the leader thinks s/he is losing control ("on December 31, 2023 a star will go supernova and swallow the earth, and unless you send your soul to the stars with me you will cease to exist"). Leaders start off with easy to follow orders (gather every Thursday for meetings) that steadily get more vulgar as they go on (let the leader have sex with your spouse or children), until fear of losing control can lead to murder, suicide, or both in the name of the leader. Often the leader spends a lot of time telling how less their followers are and how much more the leader is, using vague insults and promises of becoming more by following the leader. They will play their followers off one another, using favor from the leader as reward for the most loyal, and punishment from the group for those who dare question the leader.
Studies done show we are all susceptible to these cult leaders. They use our human need to belong, and like the frog slowly being boiled, they reel their followers in until it is too late. Not every cult leads to murder and suicide, but enough do to worry about it.
How susceptible do you think you are to these cult leaders? Do you think you would recognize one if they started working on you? Would you have the ability to admit you were wrong if you started following one only to recognize it later? Do you have friends, family, or neighbors that might be vulnerable to to one and betray you to them? Do you have the ability to help not only yourself, but others to not fall into a cult and bring that kind of thinking into your area? Remember that the more remote the area, the more a cult leader might want to take his/her followers to that area. That way they can only get information from the leader
This is asking not to have everyone post their favorite wanna-be cult, but to ask you how you would handle recruiting efforts from a cult or what you would do if one moved into your area. If you would even recognize if a cult leader, wanna-be or established, was working on you.