Since many autistics suffer from loneliness (and have trouble detecting hidden agendas) they run the risk of ending up in cults, which provide instant fellowship at the price of unconditional obedience. Not all cults are religious groups (and not all religious groups are cults). In fact many cults are secular, offering quasi-scientific psychological therapies or other forms of ‘life improvement’. Inspired by my previous post, here (in no particular order) are the Top Ten Signs You’re in a Cult:
1. Leaders demand unquestioning and unconditional obedience from members.
2. Leaders are not accountable to anyone else, their deliberations are secret.
3. The same leader has been running the group since it started, or leadership has passed to confidants.
4. Members who leave are harassed, or emotionally blackmailed.
5. Members are discouraged from forming relationships outside the group.
6. Non-members are regarded with suspicion, hostility, or merely as potential recruits.
7. Recruiting new members is a mandatory activity.
8. Members are required to spend most of their time on group activities.
9. Members have to consult group leaders on even minor decisions.
10. Members have to give a high proportion of their income to the group.
[Excerpt from The DIY Prison: Why Cults Work, read the book for free below]
To find out more about staying cult-free, simply read this free online cult-awareness handbook from the Cult-Free Campus Campaign. Don’t forget to share!