By Theron Hogg
So you want to start a cult. It’s a trickier task than it may seem, getting a group of people to do your bidding or follow some specific doctrine isn’t easy. People have free will and pre-conceived notions on how life should work. It takes some very special skills to rewire people’s brains. But it is possible; it’s been done before.
There are a few consistent factors that were a part of many previously successful cults. It is these factors that are the key to forming your own flock of worshipers.
Jim Jones was incredibly charismatic. He put body language and visual cues to great use. He had incredible confidence in his followers and it wasn’t long before Jones had his followers calling him ‘Father’. Some would compare his leadership to Martin Luther King Jr.’s. It was this kind of charisma that led to the death of 909 people in the Jonestown massacre. That is the importance of charisma. Wealth & power–none of that matters. If you can’t talk to people in a meaningful way… you will never be able to lead them.
Belief is a very powerful tool. Whether it’s the belief in a single figurehead, a religious doctrine or even belief in what the group can do for you. The Church of Scientology shows great skill in all of these forms of belief. Most people are recruited into Scientology because of what it can do for them. Just look at what it did for Tom Cruise and John Travolta. They use that ambition to entice people into their church. Then they slowly get people used to the ideals of Scientology, turning their minds to the church’s way of seeing the world. Finally comes the belief in a figure, the now-dead L. Ron Hubbard. Sure, he can’t actively guide his church, but his doctrine still stands and he has 1084 different works of literature for his followers to take inspiration from.
These tools alone may have you well on your way to cult status, but there is one thing greater than both charisma and belief. The one thing that is absolutely necessary for a successful cult is lost people. Just look at the Manson Family.
Almost all of his followers were hippies and in the 60s hippies were complete outcasts. Manson gave them something to believe in and when you give somebody with nothing something to believe in, they’ll do whatever it takes to protect those beliefs.
Whether it’s Jonestown, or Scientology or the Manson Family, lost people are the foundation of a successful cult. So there you have it–all the information you need to start your cult. Do with this information what you will. Who knows where it could take you.