Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building Bridges: A World Religions Program for 8th-9th Grades

Leader Resource 1: What Do Cults and Religions Do

Recreate the image of the poster on newsprint. Cut the phrases into slips of paper.

Make everybody eat together

Pressure people to give their houses, cars, money, etc. to the group

Track down and/or kill people who leave the group

Punish people for criticizing the group or the leadership

Pressure people to give a set portion of their income to the group

Excommunicate or shun people for very bad offenses

Require doing unhealthy tasks, such as going without sleep, to prove loyalty

Require specific behavior to demonstrate one's faith

Discourage contact with family or friends outside the group

Declare that opponents or enemies should be tricked, sued, lied to, or destroyed

Make members feel guilty about making life choices for themselves

Encourage or require all members to live together or in the same area

Insult members, diminish their sense of self-worth

Require that children attend schools run by the group

Publicly punish or humiliate members, both adults and children

Strongly encourage parents to send children to group-run schools

Assure members the group will always be there for them

Assure members the group will always completely take care of them

Encourage members to be somewhat dependent on the group

Encourage members to be independent thinkers

Encourage members to be totally dependent on the group

Want children to grow up to be members of the group

Require that children become fully indoctrinated members for life

Require children to be taught group doctrine, but allow them to leave

Rely on the gratitude and generosity of members to perpetuate itself

Specify certain texts as the only acceptable sources of ultimate truth

Interpret the world for members, who must accept this interpretation

Create a mindset of "us versus them"

Perpetuate themselves by playing on members' insecurities and fears

Offer members reassurance that they matter and others care about them

Maintain that its teachings are the only path to eternal salvation

Punish misbehavior in social, unofficial ways

Require members' attendance at group events to be in good standing

Require a financial contribution to be a member in good standing

Require a large financial contribution to be a member in good standing

Require occasional proof of loyalty

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LEADER RESOURCE 1 What Do Cults and Religions Do