It’s interesting to see just how many mental models are used to recruit people into cults.
In order to get an inside look at how cults go about recruiting, Thomas Morton joined three cults. You know a cult is effective when a journalist, who is supposed to be evaluating cults, has a hard time not picking up the phone when a certain cult calls him because he’s worried he’ll join.
Here is an excerpt on his take on the experience with the Moonies:
By the end of the third lecture I was basically sold. I started to find myself thinking that sex was sort of bullshit, and looking through crap on the Unification website at night instead of browsing for porn. Did you know the Moonies want to build a bridge-and-tunnel network connecting Alaska and Russia across the Bering Strait called the “World Peace King Tunnel”? Maybe it’s just the indoctrination speaking, but doesn’t that seem like a really, really good idea?
About the only thing I was balking at was being matched up with a stranger to be mass-married, but from what I’d seen around the building, odds were pretty good the girl they’d hook me up with would be something of a looker or at least Asian.
When Rev. Hyun read to me from his email that True Father Moon was going to be in New York the next weekend, you could have heard my gasp down the hall. Then he reread the message and realized it was just going to be his wife. Crud.
Nevertheless, after Sunday service, the Reverend and I cruised over to the Hammerstein Ballroom, which it turns out is fully Moonie-owned and -operated. It’s hard to explain an auditorium full of grown men and women psyched to the point of screaming about an old Korean woman in a business suit slowly taking the stage then plodding through a speech with all the personality and enthusiasm of someone reading from the phone book, but when you’re there with them, doing creamer shots of grape juice in the Holy Wine Ceremony and reading along in English about the fucking Peace Tunnel, it’s pretty hard not to scream a little yourself.
I’m not going back to the Moonies and I know this was just supposed to be a cult evaluation, but to be totally honest, I have a hard time not answering the phone when they call me. The Moonies is hands down the best cult I’ve ever been in.
(H/T Simoleon Sense)