A member of the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University cult would fit a fairly typical profile – intelligent, thoughtful, passionate, concerned by the injustices and prejudices of the world, and also concerned by their own inadequacies or shortcomings and a perception that they need to be better than they are.
They tend to be people of integrity, capable of self control, sacrifice and commitment. They are so committed that they volunteer their time and energy without material reward or even compensation. These characteristics may not have been obvious before they ‘found their faith’ because typically a degree of confusion, anger, resentment or depression, insecurity or negativity may have compromised their emotional state.
The majority of westerners who became members in the 1970′s and 1980′s were in their twenties although with the new style of recruitment this has changed. Many of those who are older are educated and professional. But there is a common denominator – childhood discontent. Cult members are often the product of less than functional childhoods and see the world as an unhappy place – for example they may have come from dysfunctional families, or single parent families, or negligent (although possibly wealthy) families.
Almost inevitably cult members have reached adulthood emotionally compromised. And they are aware of it. And they want to do something about it. That is the trap.
If it all sounds too corny, or pathetic (like it wouldn’t happen to you) don’t be fooled – it is not just in the packaging, nor is it about gullibility. It is about being human and our need and ability to believe. Hitler, Mao Tse Dong, Pol Pot all convinced their followers of the truth of their ideology. Those same followers then went on to murder millions of people on their behalf. So how hard is it then for some of us to be convinced by a spiritual ideology that we should make an effort to be better people and to contribute to a collective that is trying to uplift the world and make it a better place to live? How hard is it to believe that renunciation and dedication would be necessary to achieve this? Who doesn’t want to be better than they are and to make a difference?
When you meet the members you will be impressed by their ‘niceness’ – they are very dedicated to being pleasant people. This is very disarming and is a primary reason they have developed such great influence as a group. It is obviously a different story when they are falling apart – but you won’t get to meet ex-members.
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