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Profile of Cult Leaders (Keller on Tobias & Lalich)

Profile of Cult Leaders (Keller on Tobias & Lalich)

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Published by AnonLover
Rod Keller, former anti-cult advocate, Scientology activist and writer summarizes chapter 5 Characteristics of a Cult Leader from the highly recommended book "Captive Hearts, Captive Minds" by Madeleine Tobais and Janja Lalich.
Rod Keller, former anti-cult advocate, Scientology activist and writer summarizes chapter 5 Characteristics of a Cult Leader from the highly recommended book "Captive Hearts, Captive Minds" by Madeleine Tobais and Janja Lalich.

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Published by: AnonLover on May 13, 2012
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Profile of Cult Leaders
By Rod Keller (1998)
 Reprinted from
by Madeleine Tobais and Janja Lalich.It's a 1994 book on cults and abusiverelationships. Madeleine was in an easternmeditation cult, and Janja was in a politicalcult, so they do not focus on Scientology verymuch. But I was struck by how their profile of cult leaders matches LHR. They describe cultleaders as psychopaths.
I've summarizedchapter 5, Characteristics of a Cult Leader,below
. Spelling errors are mine.I think the specific comparisons to LRH areobvious, but I'm curious if former membershave any personal experiences that match the profile, perhaps some stories that haven'talready been published in the biographies or inaffidavits.
1. Glibness/Superficial Charm
Glibness is a hallmark of psychopaths. Theyare able to use language effortlessly to beguile, confuse, and convince. They arecaptivating storytellers. They exude self-confidence and are able to spin a web that intrugues others and pulls them into the psychopath'slife. Most of all, they are persuasive. Frequently they have the capacity to destroy their criticsverbally or disarm them emotionally.
2. Manipulative and Conning
Cult leaders do not recognize the individuality or rights of others, which makes all self-serving behaviors permissible. The hallmark of the psychopath is the _psychopathic maneuver_, which isessentially interpersonal manipulation "based on charm. The manipulator appears to be helpful,charming, even ingratiating or seductive, but is covertly hostile, domineering... [The victim] is perceived as an aggressor, competitor, or merely an instrument to be used ... The manipulationinevitably becomes the end-all and is no longer qualified by the reality principle." In other words, there are no checks on the psychopath's behavior -- anything goes.
The psychopath divides the world into suckers, sinner, and himself. He discharges powerfulfeelings of terror and rage by dominating and humiliating his victims. He is particularlysuccessful when, through an overlay of charm, he makes an ally of his victim -- a processsometimes described as emotional vampirism or emotional terrorism.
3. Grandiose Sense of Self 
The cult leader enjoys tremendous feelings of entitlement. He believes everything is owed to himas a right. Preoccupied with his own fantasies, he must always be the center of attention. He presents himself as the "Ultimate One": enlightened, a vehicle of god, a genius, the leader of humankind, and sometimes the most humble of the humble. He has an insatiable need for adulation and attendance. His grandiosity may also be a defense against inner emptiness,depression, and a sense of insignificance. Paranoia often accompanies the grandiosity,reinforcing the isolation of the group and the need for protection against a perceived hostileenvironment. In this way, he creates an us-versus-them mentality.
4. Pathological Lying
Psychopaths lie coolly and easily, even when it is obvious they are being untruthful. It is almostimpossible for them to be consistently truthful about either a major or minor issue. They lie for no apparent reason, even when it would be easier and safer to tell the truth. This is sometimescalled "crazy lying". Confronting their lies may provoke an unpredictably intense rage or simplya Buddha-like smile.Another form of lying common among cult leaders is known as _pseudologica fantastica_, anextension of pathological lying. Leaders tend to create a complex belief system, often about their own powers and abilities, in which they themselves sometimes get caught up. "It is often difficultto determine whether the lies are an actual delusional distortion of reality or are expressed withthe conscious or unconscous intent to deceive."These manipulators are rarely original thinkers. Plagerists and thieves, they seldom credit thetrue originators of ideas, often co-opting authorship. They are extremely convincing, forceful inthe expression of their views, and talented at passing lie detector tests. For them, objective truthdoes not exist. The only "truth" is whatever will best achieve the outcome that meets their needs.
5. Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
At the core of the psychopath is a deep-seated rage which is split off and repressed. Someresearchers theorize that this is caused by feeling abandoned in infancy or early childhood.Whatever the emotional or psychological source, psychopaths see those around them as objects,targets, or opportunities, not people. They do not have friends, they have victims andaccomplices -- and the latter frequently end as victims. For psychopaths the ends always justifythe means. Thus there is no place for feelings of remorse, shame, or guilt. Cult leaders feel justified in all their actions since they consider themselves the ultimate moral arbiter. Nothinggets in their way.
6. Shallow Emotions
While they may display outbursts of emotion, more often than not they are putting on acalculated response to obtain a certain result. They rarely reveal a range of emotions, and what isseen is superficial at best, pretended at worst. Positive feelings of warmth, joy, love, andcompassion are more feigned than experienced. They are unmoved by things that would upsetthe normal person, while outraged by insignificant matters. They are bystanders to the emotionallife of others, perhaps envious and scornful of feelings they cannot have or understand. In theend, psychopaths are cold, with shallow emotions, living in a dark world of their own.Hiding behind the "mask of sanity," the cult leader exposes feelings only insofar as they serve anulterior motive. He can witness or order acts of utter brutality without experiencing a shred of emotion. He casts himself ina role of total control, which he plays to the hilt. What is most promised in cults -- peace, joy, enlightenment, and security -- are goals that are forever out of reach of the leader, and thus also the followers. Since the leader is not genuine, neither are his promises.
7. Incapacity for Love
As the "living embodiment of God's love," the leader is tragically flawed in being unable toeither give or receive love. Love substitutes are given instead. The leader's tremendous need to be loved is accompanied by an equally strong disbelief in the love offered him by his followers;hence, the often unspeakably cruel and harsh testing of his devotees. Unconditional surrender isan absolute requirement.
8. Need for Stimulation
Thrill-seeking behaviors, often skirting the letter or spirit of the law, are common among psychopaths. Such behavior is sometimes justified as preparation for martyrdom: "I know I don'thave long to live; therefore my time on this earth must be lived to the fullest." "Surely even I amentitled to have fun or sin a little." This type of behavior becomes more frequent as the leader deteriorates emotionally and psychologically -- a common occurrence.Cult leaders live on the edge, constantly testing the beliefs of their followers, often withincreasingly bizarre behaviors, punishments, and rules. Other mechanisms of stimulation come inthe form of unexpected, seemingly spontaneous outbursts, which usually take the form of verbalabuse and sometimes physical punishment. The psychopath has a cool indifference to thingsaround him, yet his icy coldness can quickly turn into rage, vented on those around him.
9. Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Psychopaths readily take advantage of others, expressing utter contempt for anyone else'sfeelings. Someone in distress is not important to them. Although intelligent, perceptive, and quitegood at sizing people up, they make no real connections with others. They use their "peopleskills" to exploit, abuse, and weild power. Psychopaths are unable to empathize with the pain otheir victims.

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