By Sophia Christiaan
Having come out of a religious, cultic family myself, and having written an autobiography about my life, I would love to share my experience of what exactly a sect leader is and how to recognize such a person.
Many are easily being deceived by dangerous cultic groups today, and even churches can have secteric features. We need to understand what those features are to protect ourselves from the severe psychological damage a sect with a strong leader will inflict. I have seen firsthand how much harm a sect leader can do in the lives of countless people, including my own, and to most people, it takes years to heal.
I want to give some clues to how a sect leader operates and seduces, because many times, he or she will come into your life as an angel of light, appearing to be innocent, well-meaning, and very religious, yet, turn out to be the exact opposite: a controlling, demanding and binding person that is not easy to get away from.
The Bible says in 2. Corinthians 11:14-15 NLT:
“Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.”
Here are 30 characteristics of a sect leader:
1. A sect leader is a psychopath or a narcissist, or a blend of the two. In short, a psychopath is a very result oriented, unemotional personality that has an extreme need for stimulation. A narcissist is someone who has an extreme need for adoration and power and is someone who will rather die than being proved wrong in anything. Both types are usually unable to feel empathy for the pain they inflict on people, and both types will never truly admit any blame for any wrongdoing. They will make their accuser out to be the “sinner.”
2. A sect leader is usually a very charismatic person to be around, and they juggle a lot of activities to engage and occupy sect members in the sect.
3. A sect leader quickly takes control of your life, by seducing you to believe he/she has the answers to fix any problems in your life.
4. A sect leader isolates you and makes you loyal to him/her and the sect and persuades you to cut all ties with your previous network of friends, family, and colleagues.
5. A sect leader uses guilt, intimidation, and rejection to control you.
6. A sect leader always puts him/herself at the center of attention.
7. A sect leader will pretend to promote you but will abort any chance you get to truly succeed.
8. A sect leader demands total obedience and loyalty, and doesn’t tolerate criticism, doubt, or the appearance of weakness and double mindedness.
9. A sect leader promotes religious fanaticism.
10. A sect leader makes you believe you are part of a great unique work that requires your radical submission and commitment.
11. A sect leader plays people up against each other to bring forth the most loyal person, so the sect leader can use this person as an example of how devoted other members need to be.
12. A sect leader requires insight into your personal and private life, including knowledge of all past sins, mistakes and failures, your finances, sexual habits, and personal interests and relationships.
13. A sect leader manipulates to get his/her will by using sympathy, threats of punishment, and by using confidential information about you to your disadvantage.
14. A sect leader requires complete access to your life to scrutinize your actions and thoughts, and makes members report on each other if they see behaviors and attitudes that could be considered rebellious or disobedient toward the leader.
15. A sect leader makes you trust him/her by giving you what you crave, whether it be love, acceptance, understanding, a family bond, or just being that person who believes in you and supports your dreams and ambitions.
16. A sect leader never wants to let you leave the sect and will turn against a person that attempts to do so anyway.
17. A sect leader lies about people who are opposed to them, and purposely limits the stream of information from the outside world.
18. A sect leader will reject and bash anyone who leaves the sect, and quickly turn other members against them. He/she will hide, distort, and lie about the real reason the person left.
19. A sect leader is not accountable to anyone.
20. A sect leader takes possession of you as an object he/she owns.
21. A sect leader usually uses religious traditions to gain trust from people in order to elevate him/herself to a level of divinity, taking the place of God in people’s lives.
22. A sect leader sees followers as their children, and often arranges spiritual birthing rituals to solidify the follower’s new role. The sect is considered a family.
23. A sect leader will give followers a new identity, and often rename them.
24. A sect leader makes you desire to please him/her, and makes you consider it an honor to serve him/her in any capacity. The sect leader sees him/herself as a very superior and special human being.
25. A sect leader takes control of your lifestyle by dictating rules for what kind of clothing and other personal items are permissible, which spouse to marry, where you must live and with whom, what kind of work you must do, how you must handle your finances, and how much of your time should be spent working for the good of the sect.
26. A sect leader makes you strive for his/her affection and approval.
27. A sect leader is very persuasive and can make anyone feel guilty for confronting them.
28. A sect leader probes your soul until he/she has total access to it at all times.
29. A sect leader will extort family members by keeping their children from them.
30. A sect leader will entice you with love, attention, and gifts and make you desire to be in his/her inner core group.
Such people need to be avoided at all cost!
Romans 16:17-18 NLT says:
“And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.”
Copyright©2012 Edwin & Sophia Christiaan