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Life in a Cult Once a person joins a nonconventional religious group he or she must begin to adapt to group life New recruits will go through a program of education in group beliefs and practices Frequently they will begin to master a spiritual discipline and most perturbing to former acquaintances they will begin to change and their behavior patterns to conform to group demands Indoctrination Most groups have a more or less standard program through which they process new members The smaller and newer the group the more informal the induction process will be It will involve attendance at various classes and mastering of a body of information about group beliefs Over a period of time the classes may become quite standardized In some occult groups advancement in the group is through a system of degrees all members must master a set of studies and become accomplished in the practical use of the teachings at one level before receiving the information concerning the next Whatever the methods used most groups adopted an amateurish approach to training new members Average recruit trainers receive no teacher training to assist them in the presentation of materials Their only assset is usually a winsome personality Cults expend a considerable amount of time educating new members in the ways of the group While the average new member knows some of the teachings especially those which proved most influential in his or her decision to join a lengthy indoctrination by the group is frequetly necessary Unlike a person moving between Christian denominations where much of the doctrine and practice are the same a new cult member has to learn a totally new way to be religious and to master a different religious tradition from scratch At the very least if a nominal Christian joined an intense Christian sect she or he would likely spend many hours in Bible study learning a new approach to the Scriptures
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