A text by Panhellenic Parents Union for the Protection of
the Greek-Orthodox Culture, the Family and the Individual


What are the Destructive Cults?

A destructive cult is an organisation or a group, the members of which have been recruited with immoral and misleading means. The followers of such a group gradually remove the free operation of their personal thinking and judgement, through brain-washing procedures, ending up to an absolute dependence on the man who is on the top of the group hierarchy, the guru or the master. Various other groups interlace with the destructive cults, which are simply characterised as "cults" and are distinguished by how much dangerous they may become for the human personality. Some of these organisations are characterised as soul worships. Some others are mentioned as parachristian groups, new sects total religions. As a whole, they are almost placed to the New Age- syndrome as it is called and they have a common origin, that is occultism.


What is their purpose?

Their purpose is the absolute control over human beings. They use their members as unpaid workers, propagandists, money collector, and lifelong slaves. Their desire is to kill the free will. Their victims will stop at nothing. They can commit the biggest crime and tacts of terrorism, as soon as the group, with the conviction that they serve a higher goal, which is the salvation of the humankind, gives the command. They believe that they are entering a "New Age", a "Golden Age" or the "Aquarius Age. For this reason, the requirement of every such organisation is absolute, within the religious, ideological, social, even political sector.


What are the methods of proselytism?

As a rule, cults hide their true targets. They talk with inaccuracy and deceptively about themselves. They hide their true centre, which may be that of a guru or some centre of a self-styles "messiah" or "avatar". They present themselves with a Christian, philosophical, psychological or other mask, through many ways (war arts, athletic festivals, dance, music, peace movements, ecological ones, hygienic and health food centres, alternate medicine, therapy centres for drug-addicts, etc). They usually use a Christian terminology or a cosmic one with a reverse meaning. Approaching new victims can be made through an invitation for a free personality test, for a vegetarian meal, through lectures with subjects of general interest, through self-knowledge and mind control seminars etc. Some groups use the so-called "love bombing", until someone is driven to psychological, addiction. This method is particularly dangerous when someone is in the necessity to make decisions and make essential changes to his life. Then one may feel that the joining to such a group could help. Then the "attachment" created cannot be broken easily.


"Programming" of members

After the first contact with the cult, there are other procedures followed for incorporating the new victim to the organisation. These are: 


  1. sex;
  2. the complete control over the information that is received by the victim, with the purpose to reduce the possible alternative solutions which could become the final free choice of the victim;
  3. misleading by hiding their true purpose, their true identity, their real connections worldwide;
  4. some kind of brain wash which prepares the victim to accept a whole dogmatic system, according to which, the whole world outside the organisation is devilish;
  5. causation of phobia, guiltiness, and agony, that lead to the complete crushing of the victim and suggest a 'feeling' that only into the group one can be delivered from all these;
  6. insufficient diet and fatigue, so that the individual is led to depression and psychological disintegration, bringing therefore, lack of attention and the weakening of independent critical spirit.


Results in psychosomatic health

By the engagement to such a group, the organisation's way of thinking and living becomes a second nature for the follower. Thoughts and positions that he used to have disappeared. Observations show that the victim make limited use of the language and gives stereotyped answers, has a strange behaviour, his personal thought and judgement are weakened, and also any memories of his religious life outside the cult tend to fade. Many ex-members, after their disengagement from the group, need 1-2 years in order to return to the regular everyday life, while others may suffer of psychotic disorders and remain in a situation of psychological phobia for man years. Except the psychic they may suffer of other body detriment such s herpes of every kind, up to permanent injuries caused by harmful yoga "exercises". Finally we should underline a) the suicides individual and massive ones: Jim Jones' 1000 followers in Guyana in 1979, David Coresh in 1993, Leauc Jurret in 1994 b) the individual and massive murders by Soko Asahara in Tokyo's subway during 1995 and c) various other ritual human sacrifices.


Results in the family-social environment

Participation in some organization having these characteristics has negative repercussions to the environment of the follower. Many times the victim’s family is driven to an economic overwhelming, paying his involvement quite much. In some other times, families are led to break, if the rest of the family does not want to follow the "existential" choice of its member. Family tensions happen quite often and may reach up to the murder of the father, husband, or wife if he does not give in to the desires of the victim follower, who is found in absolute dependence from the cult's leader, guru, or master. On the social level, these groups characterised as "destructive cults" have been involved in specific illegal and immoral practices. Examples are:


  1. the ill-treatment, neglect and death of children;
  2. the illegal emigration;
  3. the use and drugs trafficking;
  4. the fraud and deceit in the recruitment of members;
  5. the illegal financial activities and the businesses with enormous profits;
  6. the stealing;
  7. the threats, harassment and blackmails of the families of the victims — and of all those who do unfavourable criticism to the cult — by pressing charges and by doing miserable and filthy acts, h) the storage and trade of arms and ammunition, i) the sexual assault and prostitution;
  8. kidnapping or murders done or attempted;
  9. the psychological and emotional damage. Many former members, who managed to escape, brought these charges against these practices.


Who may be trapped?

Anyone can be easily trapped. It is of no consequence whatever the education, intelligence, or will of someone might be or even his possibly superficial, dogmatic position in front of the danger of his entanglement. The danger is greater for people suffering from psychological problems, those having inspired plans for the future with a weak will, or those who feel lonely and uncertain. Also are in danger, those who are credulous and can easily be persuaded that the organisation can offer them the secret of happiness, the success, and the psychosomatic health. Also may become victims are those who are romantic, idealists and friends of utopia.


Where does proselytism take place?

Proselytism can take place in the streets, in the library, at the post office, in the military camp, in your office or home, in high schools, at demonstrations for the homeless, for the poor, the suffering people, in protests against the spread of narcotics, or against the environmental pollution. Proselytism and also occur in peace festivals, clinics and hospitals, gymnasiums, beauty salons, schools and student unions, outside classrooms, or wherever there are young people. They occur in congresses, self-improvement seminars, and educational meetings. They advertise in posters, parties, restaurants, recreational centres, stadiums, concerts, discos, in your work, in the public services (ministries, other organisations), where committed members work systematically, and inside schools. Cults have invaded the education system, and they have founded kindergartens and day nurseries. They are everywhere.


When and by whom is there danger?

The entrapping can be done at any time but mainly can happen under the following circumstances:

  1. during the first time from being far from home and family (students, soldiers, working people);
  2. when someone changes job or is fired;
  3. during graduation from school or when one quits his studies;
  4. sudden illness, the death of a beloved person, unexpected accident;
  5. periods of change in our lives (periods of loneliness, travel-vacation, becoming older, periodic depression and disappointment).


The danger may come from anyone but especially from people who are to friendly or show interest in our preferences and our problems. From people who have simple solutions in worldwide problems. From someone who finds you "very interesting" and is aware that you have contacts, influence or even financial resources and means. From people who are offered to discuss with you "existential" problems and promote occult beliefs (reincarnation, karma, tarot, astrology, hypnotism, sorcery, spiritism, divination, and religious syncretism). >From some people who invite you to free vegetarian meals, free personality tests, self knowledge courses, personality, expansion, live retrospection, etc.


The 'New Age' scenery

These sects have taken care of everything, under the frames of the New Age syndrome, in order to prepare people properly worldwide. They have worked on it for the last 100 years and intensively for the last 15 years — so that these New Age beliefs, doctrines, symbols and practices become accepted from great parts of the Western world. A great responsibility for this preparation belongs to the Theosophical company of Helen Blavatsky and the thousands branches of Theosophy, from its foundation until today. Theosophy, a mixture of eastern religious teachings and occultism, had always the vision to subordinate the humanity into its own order, making Christianity disappear, and its only serious obstacle. Using this scenery, some international decision-making centres made sure to announce the New Age, develop, and promote its beliefs. The only presupposition was the publication and circulation of a bibliography of thousands titles in all the languages and the use of the massive media (newspapers, magazines, radio, cinema etc.). The beginning was made with discretion and went on with ‘UFO-logy’. The "science fiction", the war arts, the rock music, and it is gradually completed with the introduction of occultism as a basic part in our lives. Nowadays, few people have not read Lonisang Rampa, Casaneda, or Erich Von Deniken, those writers who introduced us into the doctrines of the New Age. Yet, the frequent and repeated newspaper articles, the advertisement of such groups, and the relative astrology horoscopes complete the whole scenery together with some terror films shown in TV after midnight. Comics or comic strips in newspapers-magazines, "role games" in computers, and monster-toys for our children.


Self-help protection

Worldwide, parents and families-victims have become organized into groups of help and self-protection having a remarkable activity. In Greece, our organization (the Panhellenic Parents Union) cooperates with the Christian Orthodox Church of Greece in order to support families and individuals with such kind of problems.

Finally, we believe that the best method in order to help people having this kind of problems is found in our own Christian faith and in our own tradition.

from The Orthodox Messenger, July/Aug 1998
published bi-monthly by the SA Central Youth