Continued from part five. Leaders of destructive cult-like groups are very likely to have a very strong need for power and control. The adage “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is especially true of leaders of destructive groups. As power increases, so also privilege, reflected in a lavish lifestyle, sexual excess, and eventually mental disorder usually with paranoid features. Such was the case with the leaders in the groups described earlier. Power in such people is psychological poison, often slow acting but always a downward spiral.
Continued from part four. Groups have a personality and destructive cult-like groups have certain behaviors in common. “Good” cult-like groups may or may not have the same traits. In “good” groups the traits serve to strengthen group identity and help members conform positively to the group’s ideals and mission. The acid test is in the results. There shouldn’t be any violence, to a member’s mental or physical health or to anyone outside the group.
Continued from part three. Heavens Gate was a California UFO/apocalyptic group founded by Marshall Applewhite, son of a Presbyterian minister who dropped out of seminary to study music. He taught music at the University of Alabama but was fired for alleged sex with a student. His wife left him taking their two sons. In 1972 he had vision that he was on a special mission but it so alarmed him he committed himself to mental hospital. There he met nurse Bonnie Nettles, herself married with three children. In 1973 they called themselves “the two” from the Book of Revelations, to save people from evil UFO aliens. Their followers were forbidden to have sex because, they claimed, heaven is asexual.
Continued from part two. The Amana Colony was founded in 1713 in Germany by two Lutherans as the Community of True Inspiration. Amana means true, from the Song of Solomon. They believed God speaks through inspired persons (Werkzeug). Persecuted, they moved to Buffalo NY in 1842, then in 1855 to seven communes in Iowa on 18,000 acres. In 1859 they became the Amana Society, non-profit religious communes of farms and businesses. The great depression in the 1930s reduced income and many families wanted to live separately, with more material possessions. In 1932 it became a for-profit joint stock company. Amana built refrigerators (now Whirlpool), beverage coolers (the first coke machine), and the Radarange microwave.