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Cultic Studies 

Too Good to Be True:

Resisting Cults and Psychological Manipulation

 

STUDENT TEXT

A Lesson Plan for Middle Schools and High Schools

Marcia R. Rudin, MA

 

Developed by the International Cult Education Program

Copyright 1992 American Family Foundation

 

 

"When you meet the friendliest people you have ever known, who introduce you to the most loving group of people you've ever encountered, and you find the leader to be the most inspired, caring, compassionate and understanding person you've ever met, and then you learn that the cause of the group is something you never dared hope could be accomplished, and all of this sounds too good to be true it probably is too good to be true!"

�Jeannie Mills

 

Acknowledgments

 

The author would like to express her appreciation to the following people who assisted in the conception and development of this lesson plan:  Dr. Sandy Andron, Linda Blood, Michael Caslin, Priscilla Coates, Paul Engel, Hope Evans, Robert Fellows, Dr. Doris Holloway-Abels, Dr. Michael Langone, Arnold Markowitz, Dr. Herbert Nieburg, Nadia Preyma, Herbert Rosedale, Esq., Judy Safransky, and Dr. Robert Safransky.

 

Table of Contents

 

To the Student

Lesson Plan Objectives

Pre-Test

Introduction

Definitions of Key Terms

What is a Cult?

Cults and the First Amendment

The Harm Cults Can Cause

Mind Control and Psychological Manipulation

Saying "No" to Mind Control and Psychological Manipulation

Occult Rituals

How to Avoid Getting Into a Cult and Getting Involved in Occult Rituals

Supplementary Writing Project

Post-Test

Student Evaluation

 

To the Student

 

There are more cults than ever before, all over the world.  Cults can seriously interfere with your life.  In a survey conducted in 1992 of 308 former cult members from more than 100 different cult groups, thirty-eight percent of those interviewed who were students when they were recruited into a cult reported that they dropped out of school after joining the group.

 

Cults particularly target young people.  College is a popular recruiting ground.  In the 1992 survey twenty-seven percent of the 308 former members said they were college students when they first made contact with their group.

 

Cults also recruit high school students.  Ten percent of the 308 former members questioned in the 1992 survey were in high school when they were recruited.  In addition to the possibility of being approached by cult recruiters, you will also meet people who want to strongly influence you in other ways.  We all meet people who try to manipulate us to get us to do what they want, convince us to give money or time to their cause, or sell us something we really don't want and can't afford.

 

Lesson Plan Objectives

 

This lesson plan aims to help you:

 

         Sharpen critical thinking and questioning skills.

         Evaluate authorities and experts (while not wanting to teach you to question all authority, this lesson plan aims to help you evaluate who is a legitimate authority or expert).

         Recognize when someone is trying to manipulate you.

         Identify a group or individual that might be harmful.

         Identify a group that might be a cult or have some characteristics of a cult.

         Evaluate groups and individuals and evaluate commitments to them.

         Improve your self-esteem and confidence so you can say "no" to people and groups that are trying to manipulate you.

         Apply what you learn in this lesson plan about saying "no" to cults and manipulation to all areas of life, such as resisting peer pressure for substance abuse and sexual activity, resisting overzealous salespeople, advertisers and others trying to sell something, and resisting those trying to persuade you to do something you don't want to do.

 

Pre-test

 

Attach to each statement a number from 1 to 5 best describing your feelings and/or opinion about the statement that follows.  The numbers mean:

 

1 = I strongly disagree

2 = I disagree

3 = I feel neutral (I don't have strong feelings and/or opinion about)

4 = I agree

5 = I strongly agree

 

Please note: There are no right or wrong answers to these statements; no one else will see the responses.  The purpose of this pre-test is to see how much you know now about cults and psychological manipulation.  When the class completes this lesson plan there will be another opportunity to respond to these statements.

 

1.                  It's easy to leave a cult._____

 

2.                  Cults don't harm people and their families._____

 

3.                  There are no differences between cults and other groups._____

 

4.                  There's no difference between my rabbi/minister/priest and a cult leader._____

 

5.                  Manipulating people to get them to do what you want them to do is wrong._____

 

6.                  Everyone has a right to believe what he/she wants to believe._____

 

7.                  Everyone has a right to do what he/she wants to do._____

 

8.                  People who join cults are searching for something, such as meaning in their lives, spiritual fulfillment, a feeling of belonging, a substitute family._____

 

9.                  You can get good things from cults, such as acceptance and love._____

 

10.              You can get good things from cults, such as meaning and purpose in your life._____

 

11.              You can get good things from cults, such as a sense of accomplishment, discipline, and happiness._____

 

12.              Only losers join cults._____

 

13.              I would never join a cult._____

 

14.              Nobody can talk me into doing anything I don't want to do._____

 

15.              I don't do what people tell me to do just because they are in a position of authority over me._____

 

16.              I care about what my friends think of me._____

 

17.              I am strong-willed and can resist anything or anybody._____

 

18.              Occult rituals (see definition on page 4) are fun and are probably harmless._____

 

Introduction

 

"When you meet the friendliest people you have ever known, who introduce you to the most loving group of people you've ever encountered, and you find the leader to be the most inspired, caring, compassionate and understanding person you've ever met, and then you learn that the cause of the group is something you never dared hope could be accomplished, and all of this sounds too good to be true it probably is too good to be true!  Don't give up your education, your hopes and ambitions, to follow a rainbow."

 

Jeannie Mills offered this advice in a book she wrote after she left a cult called "The Peoples' Temple" in the jungle of Guyana in South America.  On November 18, 1978 the cult's leader, Reverend Jim Jones, ordered his followers in Jonestown, the cult's settlement, to drink Kool-Aid mixed with cyanide.  Those who refused to drink the deadly poison were injected with it or shot by Jones' guards. Nine hundred and eleven people died. Two hundred and seventy-six of them were small children and teenagers.

 

This tragedy happened after California Congressman Leo J. Ryan visited there to investigate complaints about Jonestown.  Ryan was shot to death on the orders of Jim Jones at the airstrip as he was leaving Guyana.  (Jeannie Mills was also murdered a few years later.)

 

How could someone like Jim Jones gain absolute control over people's lives?  Could it ever happen to you?  Would you ever give up control over your life � and perhaps your life itself � to someone else?

 

Of course, most people will answer, "No, I'd never fall for that.  Only nerds would!  I'm too smart--I can think for myself!" But we can all be easily persuaded and manipulated, often without even realizing it.  We can all be coaxed into relationships and groups that are harmful to us.  We think we can't be psychologically manipulated.  But we are all vulnerable, no matter how smart or well educated we are.

 

Definitions of Key Terms

 

Some of the words and terms used in this lesson plan may be unfamiliar.  Refer to this alphabetized glossary for assistance as you read through the text.

 

abuse - (noun) Wrong, improper treatment, violation, misuse; (verb) To hurt wrongly or improperly, to mistreat, violate, misuse

 

authoritarianism - A system which requires complete submission of an individual's freedom to authority; submission to the oppression, control of the group

 

autonomy - Self-governance

 

brainwashing - Popular term for mind control; connotes emptying or washing of contents of the mind and replacing them with new contents

 

coerce - To compel by force (psychological force or pressure as well as physical force), to intimidate, dominate, or control

 

coercive persuasion - The use of compulsion by force and intimidation (psychological intimidation as well a physical intimidation) with the intent of convincing someone to do something or believe something

 

covenant - A formal agreement between two or more persons

 

cult - See definition, pages 6-8

 

cultic - Like a cult, having characteristics of a cult

 

demand characteristic - A situation where one will do what one believes is expected (demanded) � for example, in a college-admissions interview or job interview one would dress well, sit up straight in the chair, and answer the interviewer respectfully, or in a medical examination one would remove items of clothing at the doctor's request

 

dilemma - A choice between two or more equally undesirable alternatives

 

faulty dilemma - When it's not accurate that there are only a limited number of apparent choices, alternatives that are equally undesirable, i.e., there are other alternatives or choices; for example, if a cult recruiter says one can either get a job or improve the world, there are other alternatives: one can get a job and work to improve the world at the same time

 

hidden agenda - A situation in which one purpose is openly stated while another, unspoken purpose lies in the background

 

indoctrination - Instruction in a doctrine, principle, or ideology, especially a partisan or sectarian dogma

 

love-bomb - To dishonestly and falsely flood or overwhelm someone with praise and a feeling of self-worth and importance for the purpose of manipulation (a technique often used by cult recruiters)

 

manipulate - To manage or influence by clever or devious skill; to change something or someone to suit one's own purpose or advantage

 

manipulation - Management or influence by clever or devious skill; changing something or someone to suit one's own purpose or advantage

 

mind control - The exercise of restraint or active direction, molding of someone's mental processes and patterns for one's own purposes; the subjection of someone to a method of changing his/her attitudes or beliefs; controlled indoctrination

 

occult - Sacred, hidden, concealed; includes practices and ideas such as astrology, fortune-telling, magic, witchcraft, satanism, the supernatural, and secret wisdom groups and philosophies; based on a philosophy called Gnosticism -- the idea that one should attempt to find hidden knowledge not available to most people and can and should use this knowledge to control life

 

occult rituals - Rituals performed in connection with the occult

 

psychological abuse - The wrong, improper, or corrupt use of someone's mental and emotional state of mind

 

psychological manipulation - Management or influence over someone's mental or psychological state cleverly or deviously in order to suit one's purpose or advantage

 

rite - An established ceremonial act or procedure customary for a solemn occasion

 

ritual -  An established form of conducting a rite; any practice or behavior repeated in an established, prescribed manner

 

ritual abuse - Systematic abuse (can be physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse) committed by a group in a stylized ceremonial manner consistent with the group's belief system and approved by the group's leadership

 

totalism - A social system having a closed environment and complete, authoritarian control over the individual

 

transcendent - Beyond ordinary experience, thought, or belief

 

trespass - An unlawful intrusion on the person, property, or rights of another

 

What Is a Cult?

 

"The path of segregation leads to lynching.  The path of anti-Semitism leads to Auschwitz.  The path of cults leads to Jonestown.  We ignore this fact at our peril."

�Rabbi Maurice Davis

 

Read the article "Cults: Questions and Answers" in the handout Cults & Mind Control.  This lesson plan will not mention or discuss specific cult groups for several reasons: 

 

         There are too many groups to talk about. If this lesson plan mentioned specific groups and a group isn't mentioned, you might think it's not a cult.

         Cults constantly change � facts about individual groups change quickly, new groups form and old groups break up, and names of groups change.

         There are different prominent groups in different parts of the country and the world.

 

Rather than giving facts about specific groups, a major goal of this lesson plan is to help people recognize the characteristics of a cult or what factors make a group a cult and then to apply these criteria to other groups or relationships in order to evaluate them.

 

What are some of these characteristics?  A cult is a group:

 

         whose leaders deceive and manipulate people in order to get them to join it and to stay in it.

         which has strong, sometimes total control over the members' lives, for example telling them where to live, where and when to work or go to school, what to do with their money, who may be friends or romantic partners, when, who -- and if -- to marry, when -- and if -- to have children and how to raise them, what kind of medical care they can receive, how to schedule time, what to eat, what to wear, when -- or if -- to see their families, etc.

         whose authoritarian leader(s) and teachings may not be doubted or questioned.

         whose leader(s) claim to have a special status, power, secret knowledge, or special relationship with a higher power.

         which uses carefully-planned techniques sometimes known as mind control or brainwashing (see pages 11-12 for more details about these techniques) so its leaders will benefit while at the same time exploiting and harming its members and their families  (see pages 9-10 for more details about the harm cults can cause).

 

Often these groups are termed "destructive cults" rather than just "cults."  The word "destructive" when used with the word "cults" describes the harm and abuse that may be caused by these groups.  That is the intended meaning of the word "cult" in this lesson plan, although the word "destructive" will not be used from now on.

 

Cults can grow out of any set of ideas or beliefs.  The ideas needn't be unfamiliar or strange.  On the other hand, a group with strange or unfamiliar ideas or ideas with which one disagrees isn't necessarily a cult.  Defining a cult is a question of how its members act or behave.  It's not a question of what its members believe or what their ideas are.  It's a question of deed, not creed.

 

Often it's difficult to distinguish cults from other groups�the line may be thin, and it may be a matter of degree.  But there are important differences:

 

Groups That Aren't Cults

 

         are not deceptive; tell people what life in the group will be like; tell the real name of the group and its leadership.

         allow people time to think over their commitments to it carefully.

         respect the individual's autonomy and independence.

         respond to critics respectfully.

         respect the family and one's commitment to it.

         have built-in controls to watch over their leader(s), so behavior and abuses can be monitored and corrected.

 

Cults

 

         deceive people; don't tell them what life will be like in the group; sometimes don't tell the real name of the group or its leadership or reveal the nature of the group.

         demand firm commitment to join before people have a chance to think things over carefully or consult with family and friends or other support systems.

         force people to obey their demands; don't respect the individual's autonomy and independence.

         may respond to critics with intimidation or physical or legal threats.

         view the family as an outside enemy or interfering factor.

         operate secretly, allowing no public or organizational scrutiny, no checks and balances, no way of checking or monitoring misbehavior or abuses and no way to correct them.

 

To summarize, whether or not a group is a cult depends upon its actions and behavior, as described above, not its ideas.

 

In the past, most cults were religious groups promising religious or spiritual fulfillment.  But that's no longer true.  Now there are also political cults, based on a specific political ideology; commercial cults, which claim to help people make money (sometimes business management-training programs sold to companies promising to increase employees' productivity and increase the company profits); and therapy cults, whose leaders claim they can help people solve personal problems and fulfill their potential.

 

Cults and the First Amendment

 

Because many cult leaders and members believe "the ends justify the means" and that what they are doing is more important than society's laws, sometimes they break civil and criminal laws in order to advance the organization and its goals.  Examples of laws some cults violate include those concerning:

 

         minimum wage

         child labor

         child abuse and/or neglect

         sexual abuse

         health and sanitation

         compulsory education of children

         immigration

         transportation of minors across state lines or international borders

         involuntary servitude (slavery) of adults and children (violation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which forbids slavery)

         extortion

         college-loan fraud

         welfare fraud

         income-tax evasion and other tax fraud

         solicitation fraud (for example, the cult member trying to get someone to donate money falsely claims that the money will feed hungry people, house the homeless, etc.) and other kinds of commercial fraud

         storage of illegal weapons and ammunition

         drug smuggling

         murder of dissidents

         basic human rights, especially the rights of women and children

 

Such cult leaders hide behind the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment�which provides for freedom of speech as well as freedom of religion�to mask their illegal activities and to escape prosecution.  Everyone wants to protect these precious freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.  But the First Amendment doesn't provide immunity when any group or individual violates laws.  One must distinguish between freedom of belief and freedom of action as a result of these beliefs.  We are free to believe as we want, but we are not free to act as we want, especially if our actions harm others and/or break laws.

 

Discussion Question

 

How can you tell if a group is a cult?  What are some of the warning signs that it might be a cult?

 

The Harm Cults Can Cause

 

"Cults leave scars on the entire family, like scars and adhesions you have after major surgery."

�Judy Safransky, parent of former cult member

 

Read the articles "Bible Talk . . . Have You Been Invited?" and "Coming Out of the Cults" in the handout Cults & Mind Control.

 

Cults may:

 

         Seriously and perhaps permanently disrupt members' lives by interrupting their schooling and careers (38% of the 308 former cult members interviewed in a 1992 survey who were students when they were recruited dropped out of school after joining the group)

         Cause financial harm, by, for example, forcing the member to turn over salaries, savings, inheritances, trust funds, or property to the group

         Harm families by interfering with family relationships, often causing separation of cult members from their family members who are not in the group or separation of family members within a group

         Psychologically, physically, and sometimes sexually abuse members

         Cause severe problems of readjustment if a member leaves the group

         Pose a serious threat to our democratic system because they are authoritarian, anti-democratic, and totalistic

 

Some personal stories:

 

Our son's daily routine changed completely.  Junior college and his part-time work became secondary in his life. Our family life changed drastically.  My son was a stranger in his own home.  Mike's school grades went down, and his boss at his part-time job at the local utility company noticed his lack of concentration at work. Eventually, he had to drop out of school, and he lost his job. They [the cult leaders] "suggested" he move out of our house.  My family was "of the devil" (the cult's words) because we chose not to believe as he now believed. From the non-stop pressure the cult put on him, he did suffer a nervous breakdown and that is how we were able to get help for him.

Recuperation was painful for the family, most of all for Mike.  He suffered great losses -- he lost his new belief system, his job, his school, his "new" family. The cult family continually pestered him to return. After leaving the cult, he had to re-establish his whole world.  His recovery is a continual process taking many years.

�Mother of Former Cult Member

 

[The following is excerpted from and used with permission of CAN News, May 1990, pages 4-5.]

In our group women ignored their children � children kept you from being close to God . . . My children were not really treated the way I wanted them treated.  The adults thought that children kept you from knowing God well enough.  They were "in the way" and you were better off not having them because you had less time for God with them around you.  You had to meet their needs and your attention was not on God . . . My son slowly drifted away from me but I was thinking that this was part of growing up and his adolescent independence.  I was confused.  A sign of a good mother was to give up.  I was not to idol-worship my children.

�Former Cult Member

 

[The following is excerpted from and used with permission of CAN News, August 1988, pages 3, 8.]

I began to see that Group X was a militant control on my life and the other members.  A mass control and mass response.  When I thought about leaving X, there was fear.  Instead of leaving, I recruited others into X, I pushed myself even harder in activities.  I couldn't shake off . . . the thought we were doing the right thing for ourselves and the world.  All of it was an illusion.  A beautiful mystical dream . . . This went on for ten years and my time and life had nothing to show for it.

�Former Cult Member

 

On October 25, 1956 during the Hungarian revolution I got shot through my left leg.  Because of my involvement in the revolution, I had to escape from Hungary in 1960 . . . I came to the US in 1966 with my wife and two small children, $200, and an eighty-pound box.  We came to America so we would have freedom, freedom of thought.  I worked hard all my life, and built up my life -- a beautiful house, barn, woodshed, on a ten-acre lot in Maine so I would have something for my family.  We had six children.  In the early '80s my wife and children got involved with the X group in neighboring New Hampshire.  One of my children just graduated from college.  Another is just coming into high school age.  My sixteen-year-old in the cult has no communication with me because I am called an outsider, a non-believer.  The church has taken most of my property.  My marriage has split up.  I have lost everything.

 

I never dreamed a religion would destroy a family.  They are trapped in their own world . . . They have my wife and children, I have lost my family! . . . I lived through the Communist regime in Hungary, I know what brainwashing is.

�Husband, Parent of Cult Members

 

Discussion Questions

 

1.                  What are some effects of cult membership on the followers and on their families?

2.                  Do you know of any situations similar to those described above by the parents of cult members and the former cult members?

3.                  Do you think what cults and their leaders do to cult members is wrong?  Why or why not?

 

Mind Control and Psychological Manipulation

 

"People don't join cults--they're aggressively recruited into them."

 -- Former cult member

 

"Recruitment is a form of trespass.  It is an invasive act.  The victim of cult recruitment does not succumb�the victim has been targeted and the recruiter takes careful aim, using charm, guile, and deceit."

�Hope Evans, mother of cult member

 

Cults claim to offer contentment and fulfillment.  They can appeal to people who       

 

         are lonely and/or seeking attention.

         are in a normal but often difficult transitional stage of life

         have suffered a recent loss through death or ending of an important relationship

         want to be part of a caring community

         are searching for meaning and purpose in their lives or a transcendent experience

         are frightened of the uncertainty in life today and of facing a difficult economy

         are idealistic and want to improve the world

         want absolute, instant answers to life's complicated problems and ultimate questions

         want to find a loving family in a time of breakdown of  traditional family structure (some groups talk about themselves as "The Family" and the leaders as "True Parents" or "Mother" and "Father")

         are attracted by a sense of daring and adventure

         are disillusioned with our political system and want to find another way to change the world

 

But experts and former cult members say people don't join cults just because they're unhappy or searching for something.  While those may be factors, they insist that people are manipulated, pressured, and deceived into going into cults.

 

Everyone is vulnerable because cult leaders use strong pressure to get people into the group and then use carefully designed methods of coercive persuasion or psychological manipulation to keep them in it.  They use effective techniques to undermine and destroy the person's identity, self-confidence, self-image, and individuality and to bring him/her under the tight control of the group. Some of these specific techniques include:

 

         Discouraging questions and critical thought

         Encouraging feelings of extreme guilt and remorse

         Using strong peer pressure, playing on member's desire to be loved and accepted (a technique known as love-bombing)

         Totally controlling the physical and psychological environment -- cutting members off from friends, family, school, and previously held beliefs

         Making the member totally dependent on the group for physical survival and happiness

         Generating a fear of leaving the group; for example, telling members they will never be happy outside of the group, will become ill, or will die if they leave

         Imposing a poor diet and poor health care, which can physically weaken members and interfere with their ability to think clearly

         Forcing members to work long, exhausting hours, with little rest and sleep so they have little energy and resistance

         Controlling channels of communication, cutting off members from outside sources of information

         Manipulating language, assigning special meanings to words, which makes members feel they are part of an elite, special group

         Inducing trance-like states of mind in which a person can be easily influenced

         Forcing embarrassing public confessions of misbehavior which can make members vulnerable to manipulation

         Tightly controlling time and activities and allowing little or no privacy, so members have no time to think or to evaluate their commitment to the group

 

What is Mind Control?

 

[The following is excerpted from Easily Fooled, by Robert Fellows, copyright 1989 by Robert C. Fellows, published by Mind Matters, Inc., page 22, reprinted with permission.]

 

Mind control.  It sounds powerful and insidious.  The kind of brainwashing that gets prisoners of war to reveal secret information.  We would certainly recognize it if it were happening to us.  We'd be hypnotized, have bright lights shined on us, be forced to listen to propaganda, and receive shock treatments or drugs.  Not the case!  The most effective kind of mind control is the most difficult to recognize.  It subtly exploits our social conditioning and the vulnerable characteristics that we all have at various times.

 

Mind control is really just social influence that restricts freedom of choice.  It consists of psychological manipulation, deception, and the use of demand characteristics.  Because of our social conditioning, certain situations and relationships with other people seem to demand that we act in a predictable way.  That dynamic affects us every day in advertising, sales, business, and personal relationships.  For example, when we listen to a lecture, the theater seating and the podium influence us to sit still and listen while an "expert" talks.  That is a demand characteristic.  An "expert" is someone from out of town with a briefcase.  "The printed word is true."  "Team players cooperate."  "Doctor's orders."  "It's impolite to say 'no.'"  These are more demand characteristics that can be used to influence people.

Guests don't complain, so if I wanted to convince you of something, I might try to invite you to dinner.  Then you'd be less likely to complain about the food . . . or my business, religious, or political views.

 

When we interview for a job, we are supposed to answer questions.  It might be better if we resisted the expectation of the situation and went into the interview with our own list of questions, as though we were interviewing the company to see if we wanted to work for them.

 

 

Manipulation Tactics of a Cult Recruiter

 

This "typical" conversation between a cult recruiter and a student she has carefully selected to try to get into her group takes place in a student lounge.  The cult recruiter, an attractive young woman named Jennifer, enters the room and spots a potential recruit sitting at a table alone, reading a book.

 

[The following is excerpted from the videotape "Cults: Saying No Under Pressure," copyright 1990 by Instructivision, Inc. and International Cult Education Program, printed with permission.]

 

Recruiter

(looking over shoulder of student and noting the title of the book he's reading.)  Hey, I read that book last year.  It's tough.  Looks like you have a lot of work to do.  You must be under a lot of pressure.

John

Yeah, I'm swamped.

Recruiter

School can sure be hard to deal with sometimes.

John

Right.

Recruiter

(sits down with the student at the table) I'm Jennifer, what's your name?

John

John.

Recruiter

You're concerned about important issues, I can tell, John. (student nods)  I belong to a discussion group that talks about these things.  We're getting together tonight, John.  Come with me!

John

I have a lot of work to do.

Recruiter

Come on�what's one night out of your life?  We discuss politics, too, like how to improve the world.

John

Yeah, it sure is a mess.  But I don't have much time to worry about that.  My parents are nagging me to get good grades. They want me to get a good job, be a big success, you know?

Recruiter

So many people are starving, John.  Homeless.  (sending him on a guilt-trip) You mean you'd rather go out and make money than help?

John

(weakly): Well, no . . .

Recruiter

(softening tone of voice) We have a lot of fun too. We always have a party afterwards. Good food. (pauses, looks into student's eyes, flirting) And I'd really like to get to know you better, John.

(John responds to the eye contact and flirting, and begins to look interested.  Jennifer notices this and picks up on it.)  You should come. We really need great people like you in our group, John.  I'll take you.

John

A party would be fun.  I could use a break. . .

Recruiter

Great!  You're coming!  I can't wait for the others to meet you. . .They're going to love you, John.

John

Is this a school club?

Recruiter

Yes. (deception)

John

What's it called?

Recruiter

(deception) We don't have a name. We're just people who care about what's really important and want to make the world a better place. . .

The cult recruiter is using deception, pressure and mind manipulation.  John found it difficult to resist this pressure and was letting Jennifer control the conversation and control him.  Let's see how Jennifer did this:

 

         Jennifer appears to be pretending to be a student at that school.  She may be, but she probably isn't.

         Jennifer tells John how great and terrific he is, and how much the group needs great people like him.  That's known as love-bombing.  Did you notice how often Jennifer repeated John's name?  This is flattering: it makes people feel very important.

         Jennifer is trying to make John think she's interested in him.

         Jennifer is pressuring John to come that very night and to meet the group right now. She's not giving him any time to think it over or to check it out.

         Jennifer is forcing John to choose between two options, which she presents to him as mutually exclusive choices: either meet the other kids now or miss out on this wonderful opportunity forever.

         In the same way she narrows down the options of either helping to improve the world or to build his own career, either be a good person and help others or be a selfish person and not help others.

         Jennifer doesn't tell John the name of the group or what it's really like; in fact, she lies when she says it doesn't have a name and that it's a school club.

         Jennifer plays on John's guilt for wanting to say "no" and for wanting to get good grades and be successful.

         Jennifer paces herself and makes it appear that she's going towards John's goals. She goes along with John just enough to give him the illusion that he is making the choices. But actually Jennifer is molding the choices and is steering John towards her goals. She skillfully makes John feel that he wants what Jennifer wants.

 

In insisting that John come with her that very night to meet the group, Jennifer pressures him by trying to force him into the choice of "come with me now" or "lose your chance forever to help change the world."  Her false limitation of the wide range of choices that John actually has to the two she presents to him is known as a faulty dilemma.  According to social psychologist Dr. Robert Cialdini, the limiting of time that we see in this situation is a high-pressure sales technique used often to force people into making decisions on the spot.

 

[The following is excerpted from Influence: Science and Practice, by Robert B. Cialdini,(3rd ed.), New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993, pages 197-198, reprinted with permission.]

Customers are often told that unless they make an immediate decision to buy, they will have to purchase the item at a higher price or they will be unable to purchase it at all.  A prospective health-club member or automobile buyer might learn that the deal offered by the salesperson is good for that one time only; should the customer leave the premises, the deal is off.  One large child-portrait photography company urges parents to buy as many poses and copies as they can afford because "stocking limitations force us to burn the unsold pictures of your children within 24 hours."  A door-to-door magazine solicitor might say that salespeople are in the customer's area for just a day; after that, they, and the customer's chance to buy their magazine package, will be long gone.  A home vacuum cleaner operation I infiltrated instructed its sales trainees to claim that "I have so many other people to see that I have the time to visit a family only once.  It's company policy that even if you decide later that you want this machine, I can't come back and sell it to you."

This, of course, is nonsense; the company and its representatives are in the business of making sales, and any customer who called for another visit would be accommodated gladly.  As the company sales manager impressed on his trainees, the true purpose of the can't-come-back claim has nothing to do with reducing overburdened sales schedules.  It is to "keep the prospects from taking the time to think the deal over by scaring them into believing they can't have it later, which makes them want it now."

 

Discussion Questions

 

1.                  What techniques do the writers of newspaper and magazine advertisements and radio and TV commercials use to get you to buy things?  Do they work on you?  If so, why do you think they work?  If they don't work on you, why not?

2.                  Do you have designer clothing in your closet?  Do you think it's better than other clothing and worth the extra money you spent?  If your last answer is "no" then explain why you purchased it.

3.                  Why is it wrong to psychologically manipulate people? Are there any circumstances in which psychological manipulation isn't wrong?  If your answer is "yes," give some examples.

 

Saying "No" to Mind Control and Psychological Manipulation

 

"When I was a kid and asked my parents if I could do something or go somewhere, I would argue, 'All the other kids are doing it!'  My parents would always answer, 'If all the kids jumped into the lake, would you jump into the lake too?'  That phrase still echoes in my mind.  I hated it when they said that, but it always made me stop and think for myself."

�Dr. Sandy Andron

 

It's one thing to recognize psychological manipulation; it's another thing to resist it.  It takes strength and enough self-confidence and self-esteem to be able to say "no." That isn't always easy.  Nobody likes to be different, be seen as difficult or impolite, or be left out.  Sometimes it's easier to just go along with the crowd.

 

One way to resist manipulation is to pause and question or examine the credentials of the person(s) claiming to be in authority in that specific situation.  For example, for many years an actor named Robert Young played the role of a beloved physician in a popular television program.  He later made television commercials promoting a brand of coffee.  Because Young had come to be so closely identified with the character of the trusted physician in the public's mind, people tended to accept his recommendation for this brand of coffee.  But while he may have been an expert in the acting field, he was not an expert in the medical field.

 

[The following is excerpted from Influence: Science and Practice, by Robert B. Cialdini, (3rd ed.), New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993, pages 187-188, reprinted with permission.]

A better understanding of the workings of authority should help us resist it.  Yet, there is a perverse complication�the familiar one inherent in all weapons of influence:  we shouldn't want to resist altogether or even most of the time.  Generally, authority figures know what they are talking about.  Physicians, judges, corporate executives, legislative leaders, and the like have typically gained their positions through superior knowledge and judgment.  Thus, as a rule, their directives offer excellent counsel.

 

Authorities, then, are frequently experts; indeed, one dictionary definition of an authority is an expert.  In most cases, it would be foolish to try to substitute our less-informed judgments for those of an expert, an authority.  At the same time, we have seen . . . that it would be foolish to rely on authority direction in all cases.  The trick is to be able to recognize without much strain or vigilance when authority directives are best followed and when they are not.

 

Posing two questions to ourselves can help enormously to master this trick.  The first question to ask when we are confronted with what appears to be an authority figure's influence attempt is:  "Is this authority truly an expert?"  This question focuses our attention on two crucial pieces of information, the authority's credentials and the relevance of those credentials to the topic at hand.  By turning in this simple way to the evidence for authority status, we can avoid the major pitfalls of automatic deference.

 

Resisting the Cult Recruiter

 

Re-read the cult-recruitment conversation beginning on page 13.  Now let's see how John resists Jennifer's strong pressure politely but firmly.  Note that the first part of the conversation is the same as before, but it soon changes.

 

[The following is excerpted from the videotape "Cults: Saying No Under Pressure," copyright 1990 by Instructivision, Inc. and International Cult Education Program, printed with permission.]

 

Recruiter

(looking over shoulder of student and noting the title of the book he's reading.)  Hey, I read that book last year.  It's tough.  Looks like you have a lot of work to do.  You must be under a lot of pressure.

John

Yeah, I'm swamped.

Recruiter

School can sure be hard to deal with sometimes.

John

Right.

Recruiter

(sits down with the student at the table) I'm Jennifer, what's your name?

John

John.

Recruiter

You're concerned about important issues, I can tell, John. (student nods)  I belong to a discussion group that talks about these things.  We're getting together tonight, John.  Come with me!

John

I have a lot of work to do.

Recruiter

Come on�what's one night out of your life?  We discuss politics, too, like how to improve the world.

John

Yeah, it sure is a mess.  But I don't have much time to worry about that.  My parents are nagging me to get good grades. They want me to get a good job, be a big success, you know?

Recruiter

So many people are starving, John.  Homeless.  (sending him on a guilt-trip) You mean you'd rather go out and make money than help?

John

(beginning change in conversation pattern) I don't think it's "either/or".  I can help people and still have a good career.  I'd donate money, do what I can in my spare time.

Recruiter

(spotting resistance and changing tactics, softening tone of voice)  We have a lot of fun too. We always have a party afterwards. Good food. (pauses, looks into student's eyes, flirting) And I'd really like to get to know you better, John.

John

(resisting the sexual pitch) Well, I hope you have a good time.  But I need to stay home tonight.

Recruiter

You should come.

John

(sensing and resenting pressure) Thanks, but I just don't have time . . . Is this a school club?  What's it called?

Recruiter

(deception) We don't really have a name.

John

If it�s not an official school club then I'm not interested . . . Look, it's been nice talking to you, but I need to get back to my work now. (firmly) Goodbye.

*****

 

Self-Responsibility

 

[The following is excerpted from Easily Fooled, by Robert Fellows, copyright 1989 by Robert C. Fellows, published by Mind Matters, Inc., pages 24-26, reprinted with permission.]

 

Self-responsibility means that you see yourself as the person in charge of your destiny.  Self-responsibility also means making your own decisions without giving in to manipulation.  It does not mean blaming yourself when things go wrong.  Instead you take responsibility, let go, and move on.  And when things go right, you realize that you played a part in making that happen.

 

We all have vulnerable characteristics that can contribute to restricting our free choice.  We know what we should do and what we want to do in a given situation, but for some reason we just don't do it.

 

How can we get at those vulnerable characteristics?

 

Maybe some specific questions would help.  Here is an exercise that I developed to heighten awareness of manipulation and help to achieve self-responsibility:

 

Step One: Answer the following questions by writing down a key word or phrase that will help you to remember specific situations.

 

         When have you bought something, taken it home, and then realized that you really didn't want it?

         When have you agreed to something in a discussion or argument that you didn't believe?

         When have you accepted a drink, drug, or food when you really didn't want it?

         When did you make a decision under stress that you later regretted?

         When were you ever manipulated to do something that you really didn't want to do?

         Now answer these questions about each situation:

         Why did you do this?

         What was the feeling that you had when you did this?  (That feeling is the key to your vulnerable characteristic.)

         Who were you with, and how did that person or those people influence you?  (What "buttons" did they push?)

         What action leading up to the event influenced your decision?

         What was the vulnerable characteristic that caused you to ignore your intuition in the moment when you made the decision?

         Finally, ask yourself in each case what you can do to change the situation the next time that it occurs.  How can you overcome the vulnerability and resist the social conditioning that tends to influence you?

 

Step Two: In the moment when a decision is made, a person's self-responsible characteristics sometimes contribute to the more positive choice.  The following exercise may help you to recognize what personal strengths make you more self-responsible.

 

First answer the following questions by writing down a key word or phrase that will help you to remember specific situations.

 

         When did you resist buying something under pressure?

         When have you disagreed with something in a discussion or argument, or when you were on a committee, even though there was pressure to conform?

         When have you rejected a drink, drug, or food when you felt pressure to take it, but you really didn't want it?

         When did you successfully resist manipulation to do something that you really didn't want to do?

         In each case, there was probably some characteristic of your personality that led to your choice.  How can you recognize your self-responsible pattern, and recreate it more often?

         Having come up with specific situations in which you made these positive choices, the next step is to answer these questions:

         Why did you do this?

         What was the feeling that you had when you did this?  (That feeling is the key to your self-responsibility.)

         Who were you with, and how did that person or those people influence you?  Why were you able to assert yourself with those people?

         What action leading up to the event influenced your decision?

         What was the characteristic of your personality that helped you to be self-responsible in the critical moment when you made the positive choice?

         Finally, ask yourself in each case what you can do to recreate the positive situation the next time that it occurs.  Can you discover a self-responsible pattern for yourself?  What environment can you create to ensure that you act in a self-responsible manner more often?

 

We all have the potential to be self-responsible.  Sometimes we just think that we were "lucky" or had a good day when we act in a way that brings us positive results.  But it was probably something positive that we were doing!

 

It's helpful to explore both your vulnerable characteristics and your self-responsible traits.  The better you understand your unique personality, the more intuitive you will be, and the easier it will be for you to create a positive environment for yourself.

 

 

Ten Steps to Free Choice

 

[The following is excerpted from Easily Fooled, by Robert Fellows, copyright 1989 by Robert C. Fellows, published by Mind Matters, Inc., page 27, reprinted with permission.]

 

Here are some suggestions for resisting manipulation, ensuring free choice, and promoting self-responsibility:

 

1.                  Recognize Social Conditioning.  Resist mind control -- the ways that groups and certain social situations can manipulate people.

2.                  Remember You Can Say No.  Sometimes we agree with people just to be polite.

3.                  Recognize Faulty Dilemmas.  Try adding "None of the above" to multiple choices before making a decision.  I tell children that if a stranger says "Would you like to go for a walk in the park or a ride in my car?" they can say "Neither!"

4.                  Sleep On It.  Recognize pressure to decide quickly.  Try not to act under stress.  If someone wants you to "buy now," you can say you'd like to think about it.  He'll always be willing to sell!

5.                  Look For the Hidden Agenda.  What is really being said?  What is not being said?  To whom, by whom, and why is it being said?  Practice with commercials and political speeches.

6.                  Recognize Logical Fallacies.  When someone emphasizes the truth of the statements in an argument ("I'm sure we'd all agree that the sky is blue . . ."), the argument may not be valid.  If he emphasizes the validity of an argument ("so it must be true that. . ."), it might be because some of the statements in it aren't true.

7.                  Know Which Group or Belief a Person Represents.

8.                  Recognize Flattery.  What are the buttons someone can push to get you to respond?

9.                  Ask Questions.  Challenge claims of authority.  Does a person's training, education, or background make her an authority on the subject she's discussing, or is she outside of her field?

10.              Retain Your Self-Esteem.  Don't be afraid to be different.

 

Discussion Questions

 

1.                  Do you think your opinion is as good as an "expert's" opinion?

2.                  Do you think "experts" have all the answers?  Why or why not?  Who are "experts" anyway?  What makes someone an expert?

 

Classroom Activities

 

1.                  Choose someone in the class to be an expert on a particular topic.  Choose someone else to argue with or resist this expert.  The rest of the class can suggest other ways in which the expert can be challenged and can vote on who comes out on top in the discussion.  If there's time, choose others to play the roles.

2.                  Choose someone in the class to try to sell something to another person in the class.  The other person should try to resist the "hard-sell" manipulation tactics.  The rest of the class can suggest other ways in which the salesperson can be challenged and can vote on who comes out on top in the discussion.  If there's time, choose others to play the roles.

 

Occult Rituals

 

"It is clear that basic needs are being met [by performing occult rituals]�the need to belong, to believe, to find identity, meaning, and power.  These needs are powerful, especially in teenagers, and cannot be denied. 

 

It would appear that society as a whole is actually moving away from meeting these needs: family units are deteriorating, community life offers little for kids who move frequently, churches seem to be attracting fewer and fewer young people . . . Moreover, young people are inheriting a world rife with the possibilities of imminent destruction."

�Rob Tucker, Former Director, Council on Mind Abuse

 

Read the article "Satanism and Occult-Ritual Activity: Questions and Answers" in the handout Cults & Mind Control.

 

No one knows how many people participate in occult rituals because they are done secretly.  These activities are often classified under the term "satanism."  But not all of these rituals are based on the specific ideology of satanism, so the broader and more accurate term "occult rituals" will be used here.

 

Levels of Occult-Ritual Involvement

 

There are various levels of involvement ranging from experimenters, called "dabblers" �usually teenagers�to organized, secret cult groups which control their members through mind manipulation and intimidation. These cults may perpetrate ritual abuse (see definition on page 5).  Followers on this level may participate in illegal activities including robbery, arson, drug use and sale, rape, child pornography, animal mutilation, and, in extreme cases, murder.

 

These levels of involvement can overlap.  Some experts believe organized adult occult-ritual groups recruit vulnerable youngsters who are dabblers.  So any level of involvement in occult rituals, no matter how seemingly superficial, could lead to dangerous consequences. 

 

Most young people who perform occult rituals are dabblers who do the rituals either alone or in small groups. These rituals are often done according to an occult calendar.  They take place in abandoned buildings, outdoor settings, homes where no adults are present, or even in the youngster's own bedroom.

 

Participants perform these rituals because they think that by doing them correctly they will draw upon a higher energy or power that, they believe, is produced by the rituals.  Some rituals include:

 

         Summoning of demons, casting spells, making covenants

         Torturing and sacrificing animals, drinking animal blood

         Cutting of own body, drinking other participants' blood (particularly dangerous now because of the risk of contracting AIDS)

         Group sexual activities (particularly dangerous now because of the risk of contracting AIDS)

         Ceremonies using drugs and alcohol, which lower participants' inhibitions

         Ceremonies focusing on death, conducted in graveyards, crypts, or abandoned churches using dead bodies or parts of bodies

         Divination through ouija boards, tarot cards, and other occult paraphernalia to answer questions and predict future events

         Chanting

         Harmful consequences of occult-ritual participation may include [please note: some of these conditions may already be present to some degree before the occult-ritual participation]:

         Diminished intellectual ability, falling grades

         Difficulty in forming close relationships

         Increase in drug and/or alcohol abuse

         Physical self-mutilation

         Psychotic episodes, reactions, breaks

         Deterioration in physical health

         Alienation from family and friends, eventually leading to destruction of relationships with them

         Increase in feeling of hostility towards others, rejection of mainstream ideas and values

         Increase in suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts

         Loss of free will, freedom of action

         Growth of interest in deeper levels of the occult, with the possibility of increasing experimentation in it, perhaps leading towards participation in destructive, antisocial, violent, and/or criminal acts such as vandalism, animal sacrifice, arson, rape, theft, blackmail, extortion, and murder

 

Heavy-Metal Music and Fantasy Role-Playing Games

 

Some youngsters learn about and become attracted to occult rituals through easily-available books and other occult-ritual paraphernalia, heavy-metal music, black-metal music (an offshoot of heavy-metal music sometimes also known as "Death Metal Music"), and fantasy role-playing games.  While in most cases listening to heavy-metal music and playing fantasy role-playing games is not harmful, experts say that an obsession with heavy- or black-metal music or fantasy role-playing games to the exclusion of nearly everything else in one's life could contribute to a growing interest in occult rituals.

 

The lyrics of some heavy- and black-metal music glorify the occult, themes of anarchy, violence, (including abuse of women and children), violent sex, murder, drugs, suicide, incest, and rape. Occult images are often displayed on album covers and posters.  A few teen suicides have been linked to this music.

 

Some youngsters who have become involved in occult-ritual activities were involved first in fantasy role-playing games.  These games are acted out in the imagination rather than on playing boards and demand many hours of preparation and study.  In a few cases where the players already have psychological problems, the results of their vivid imaginations can spill over into the real world if they psychologically merge with their game character, lose the distinction between reality and fantasy, and the game becomes all-consuming and addictive.  Because the games deal with supernatural and magical powers, these youngsters could come to believe they can gain supernatural and magical powers by playing them.  Experts say these games are sometimes used by adults to recruit vulnerable youths into deeper levels of occult-ritual activity.

 

Why Are Occult Rituals Appealing?

 

         The participants, who may feel powerless, believe the rituals give them power over others.

         The participants, who may feel that their lives are out of control, believe the rituals give them control over their own lives and over the lives of others.

         They provide an outlet for unfulfilled religious or spiritual needs and a way of rebelling against accepted religion and values.

         Their ideology justifies the free expression of otherwise forbidden aggressive and sexual drives.

 

Suzanne [not her real name], a fifteen-year old who was a dabbler, explains why she was attracted to occult rituals . . .

 

I met up with a new group of people, a lot of whom basically were into doing occult rituals.  I started hanging out up on some hill, getting drunk and getting stoned all the time and everything.  Basically, I had lost control of my life, and I wanted to get back in control.  The only way I saw possible was turning to these rituals . . . power is one of the basic things.  I was into it for a while�I started carving on my arms and stuff like that.

 

I started getting out of control, but I thought I was in control.  In this stuff, I started losing control of myself.  I didn't care about myself anymore.  All I would do was just go out and look for fights . . .

 

Dabblers will do anything in their power to make people scared of them . . . I felt like I had total control and total power, and everybody in my house was basically scared of me at one point.  I felt I could do anything, I had the ability to do anything I wanted . . . I wanted to be evil, like Satan . . . We wanted to be part of something people were scared of . . . Basically, most of it was attention-seeking.  Fifty percent was for getting attention and fifty percent was for power and control.

 

Discussion Questions

 

1.                  Why are occult-ritual activities dangerous and wrong?

2.                  If your friends or acquaintances were involved in these activities, would you tell their parents, your parents, teachers, your school administrators, or law-enforcement officials?  Why or why not?

 

 

How to Avoid Getting Into a Cult and Getting Involved in Occult Rituals

 

How to Avoid Getting Into a Cult

 

Learn to cope with stress.  When stress is getting the best of us, we are more likely to be seduced by someone selling happiness.  If you are having difficulty coping, seek help from reputable, trustworthy persons.

 

Common sources of stress include:

 

         Troubled romances

         Academic difficulties

         Conflict with and tensions within the family such as parents' marital problems, domestic violence, alcohol and/or drug abuse by a family member(s)

         Confusion about what to study, what work to pursue, or how to get a job

         Confusion about sexual or other values

         Physical illness of self, family member, or other loved one

         Loneliness

         Transitions -- for example, moving, changing schools, jobs

         Death of loved one

         Disillusionment regarding religion or people you once respected

 

Never be afraid to question other people.

 

Always be wary of anyone who tries to prevent you from questioning.

Protect your freedom and autonomy.

 

Learn to recognize common cult-recruitment tactics and situations.  Beware of:

 

         People who are excessively or inappropriately friendly; there are few genuine instant friendships

         People with simplistic answers or solutions to complex world problems

         People with invitations to free meals, lectures, and workshops

         People who demand secrecy from you

         People who try to play on your guilt; you don't always have to reciprocate a kindness, especially when it may have been a way to manipulate you

         People who are vague or evasive.  If they are hiding something, it's usually because they don't want you to know

         People who claim to be just like you

         People who confidently claim that they can help you solve your problems, especially when they know little about you

         People who make grand claims about saving mankind, achieving enlightenment or showing the road to happiness

         People who always seem happy

         People who claim they or their group is really special

         People who promise quick solutions to difficult problems

         People who put down reason and critical thinking

 

How to Avoid Getting Involved in Occult Rituals

 

         Say "no" to pressure put on you by friends or acquaintances to become involved in the occult and in occult rituals.

         Avoid going anywhere alone or being stranded in isolated physical locations; make sure you have transportation home in case you find yourself in an uncomfortable social situation.

         Critically examine claims of people promising easy access to abundant sexual activity, free drugs and/or alcohol at parties or other occasions.

         Beware of forming sudden friendships with unknown adults, especially those offering sex, drugs, and alcohol.

         Avoid being drawn into antisocial, violent, and/or illegal activities because you don't want to "go against the crowd" or "make waves."

 

Supplementary Writing Project

 

If you want to explore this topic on your own, do a special writing project for extra credit.  Suggestions for projects include:

 

         Read one of the books in the additional resources list in your teacher's guide and write a summary of the book or a book review. (All books and other materials in this resource list can be obtained through the International Cult Education Program.)

         Write a conversation between a cult recruiter and the person he/she is attempting to get into the group different from the conversation in this lesson plan.  Pay special attention to how the person refuses the recruiter.

         Write an essay on "Life in a Cult -- A Typical Day."

 

Post-Test

 

Attach to each statement a number from 1 to 5 best describing your feelings and/or opinion about the statement that follows.  The numbers mean:

 

1 = I strongly disagree

2 = I disagree

3 = I feel neutral (I don't have strong feelings and/or opinion about)

4 = I agree

5 = I strongly agree

 

Please note: There are no right or wrong answers to these statements; no one else will see the responses.  The purpose of this post-test is to see how much you learned about cults and psychological manipulation from this lesson plan.  These questions are the same as those in the pre-test on page 1.  Are your responses different from the ones you gave before?  If so, which responses are different?

 

1.                  It's easy to leave a cult._____

 

2.                  Cults don't harm people and their families._____

 

3.                  There are no differences between cults and other groups._____

 

4.                  There's no difference between my rabbi/minister/priest and a cult leader._____

 

5.                  Manipulating people to get them to do what you want them to do is wrong._____

 

6.                  Everyone has a right to believe what he/she wants to believe._____

 

7.                  Everyone has a right to do what he/she wants to do._____

 

8.                  People who join cults are searching for something, such as meaning in their lives, spiritual fulfillment, a feeling of belonging, a substitute family._____

 

9.                  You can get good things from cults, such as acceptance and love._____

 

10.              You can get good things from cults, such as meaning and purpose in your life._____

 

11.              You can get good things from cults, such as a sense of accomplishment, discipline, and happiness._____

 

12.              Only losers join cults._____

 

13.              I would never join a cult._____

 

14.              Nobody can talk me into doing anything I don't want to do._____

 

15.              I don't do what people tell me to do just because they are in a position of authority over me._____

 

16.              I care about what my friends think of me._____

 

17.              I am strong-willed and can resist anything or anybody._____

 

18.              Occult rituals (see definition on page 4) are fun and are probably harmless._____

 

Student Evaluation

 

Attach to each statement the number from 1 to 5 best representing your feelings about the effectiveness of this lesson plan.  The numbers mean:

 

1 = I strongly disagree

2 = I disagree

3 = I feel neutral (I don't have strong feelings about this)

4 = I agree

5 = I strongly agree

 

1.                  I enjoyed this lesson plan._____

 

2.                  I learned a lot from this lesson plan._____

 

3.                  This lesson plan helped me reach the objectives listed on page 1._____

 

4.                  Because of this lesson plan, I would like to learn more about cults and psychological manipulation._____

 

5.                  On the whole I found this lesson plan very effective._____

 

6.                  Some things should be added to this lesson plan._____  My suggestions are:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.                  Some things should be left out of this lesson plan._____  My suggestions are:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please detach this sheet and give it to your teacher.

 

 

_

 

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