Sep 30, 2016

It's Way Easier Than You Think to End Up in a Cult

September 29, 2016

From Esquire

In a new short documentary, The Atlantic explores the workings of EnlightenNext, a cult led by guru Andrew Cohen who taught evolutionary enlightenment, a modern take on spiritual enlightenment.
EnlightenNext, with almost a thousand followers at its peak, was notorious for patterns of abuse, control, and manipulation, according to a licensed social worker and psychotherapist interviewed in the doc. Still, the ex-cult members in the movie did not get bamboozled or tricked or kidnapped into the cult.

One man named Sam was familiar with Andrew's cultish teachings before he joined, and he made a pact with himself to never become Andrew's student. Then he went to a lecture. An hour and a half later, after looking into Andrew's eyes, which was "like looking into eternity," Sam had a "mystical experience." He was in. He didn't leave for eight years.

That's the thing-no one is ever trying to join a cult. But they connect with something powerful, and it takes another powerful force for them to leave. As the video makes clear, you don't need to drink the Kool-aid to be a cult member.

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