Video: The Universal Principles of Undue Influence
I always hesitate to use the word “cult” because I know how hurtful & strong it is. I know I always felt very offended and misunderstood when someone (who knew nothing about my experience) would speak or write about my faith as though I were in a cult.
As such, I don’t like using the word as a tool for shock value, when I could opt for more respectful terms. However, certain informational materials utilize the strength of the term to provide a point. This video is extremely educational when trying to explain the universal pattern of undue influence that occur within certain groups.
“Cults” can come in many forms and genres. These can include Political, Satanic, Commercial, Financial (multi-level marketing schemes!), Therapeutic/Self-Improvement or Religious. Bible-based ‘Christian’ groups are often difficult to contend with, in part for the sacredness and authority associated with the Bible. Given the wide range of biblical interpretation, including the potential to use prophetic verses as platforms for doctrine and supernatural claims, scripture can provide a complex problem. The Christian bible does require discipleship, and a stage for abuse of leadership is ripe. Realistically, any church group can walk the fine line between a sound call to “follow” and to apply what is called “undue influence”.
Undue Influence is essentially any act that overcomes the free-will and judgement of another using persuasion, trickery and deceit. The purpose of it is to replace an individual’s judgement with the objectives/motivations of the perpetrator. In the case of religious context, a self-proclaimed prophet or messiah-figure is common.
The principles in the video are universally applied to all similar groups who practice control techniques. The t-shirts in the video identify the people as “Cult Members”. There’s no need for a specific label; it applies to any group who practices the techniques of undue influence. Anyone who has ever experienced these will be able to apply their own appropriate label.