From Rick Ross's Cult Education Institute -- Getting Started:
How can you determine if a group or leader might be potentially unsafe?
Are you trying to determine if a group or leader is destructive or might pose a possible problem, but can't find anything specific about that group, organization or leader on the Internet? You might try "Warning Signs" as a meaningful list of criteria to evaluate the group, leader or organization that you are concerned about. Many groups and leaders, which may be potentially unsafe, seem to share the same characteristics. Reviewing "Warning Signs" could help you to determine if a group or leader conforms to that pattern.
If You Need Help Now
If you suspect that someone you know is involved with a destructive cult or potentially unsafe group and need help now, go to "Getting Help" where you can begin the process of arranging for an "Intervention." Or, if you are involved in a court case and are considering using an "Expert Witness." The Cult Education Institute also offers educational DVDs that will help you to better understand the subject of destructive cults and abusive controlling relationships.
What is a cult? Why do people join? What kind of people join cults? These and many more commonly asked questions can be found at a section titled "Frequently Asked Questions."
Are you trying to understand the process of intensive indoctrination used by many groups to gain undue influence? See the section titled "Mind Control." Are you curious how and why some people seemingly give up their individuality and critical thinking within certain groups? "Is this like brainwashing?" See the section titled "Brainwashing?."
There you will find a list of specific criteria developed by the renowned psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton (the definitive authority on "mind control") that can help you to determine if a group, organization or person are actually using "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism."
Are you struggling to leave a destructive cult or group, or working through a recovery process after breaking away from such an experience? See the section titled "Recovery." Here you can find constructive advice from leading experts in the field, such as educator and clinical psychologist Margaret Singer, the preeminent authority concerning cults of the 20th Century.
One of the largest virtual libraries about destructive cults, cults, controversial groups and related subjects on the Internet is available at Books. Here you will find hundreds of reading selections instantly accessible for ordering in partnership with Amazon.com.
See also the fascinating Objectivist Living topic, "Secret Objectivist Cult," a funny and intriguing thread started by Dear Leader seven years ago:
I am a big fan of Tony Ortega's blog The Underground Bunker. Tony is former editor of the Village Voice, where he began his decade-long examination of Scientology. Some readers here may have seen him on various episodes of the Leah Remini cable series "Scientology and the Aftermath.
Tony had a 'public service' announcement in an awful GQ article that dared to compare Trumpism to a cult ...
It seems to me, rightly or wrongly, that the word cult gets flung around with wild abandon at the best of times. My first immersion into "cult studies" came in the mid-nineties, when a couple of trends in psychotherapy met and melded with moral panic into a belief that an intergenerational and international "Satanic Ritual Abuse" cult was stalking children and adults (sound familiar?).
One of the many astute chroniclers of this time was Frederick Crews, whose "The Memory Wars" still stands out above the rest. I note in passing his most recent book, a stunning tour de force in my opinion. See Freud: The Making of an Illusion. I have mentioned his work a couple of times here on OL. He is the author of a book review just out, published at the online site of Skeptic Magazine, which is -- to say the least -- becoming massively controversial. See this critical blog entry to grasp the contours of the controversy. In a nutshell, the book reviewed suggests that Jerry Sandusky may be innocent ...
Anyway, back to the main subject, cult warning signs, and what to do or say and how to behave if you suspect someone is trapped in cult-thinking or a 'High Demand Group.' Here's another PSA:
-- finally (save for edits), what compelled me to post this rambling topic.
NB: I have never, ever used the word "shithole" on Objectivist Living, to the best of my memory (which unfortunately, may not approach the 'best memory' of the US President). I much prefer "socialist hellhole."