Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

The group/leader is always right.

The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.

Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.

Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.

Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".

Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.

Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.

Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests.

A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.

Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.

Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.

Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.

Six conditions are simultaneously present in a thought reform program:

obtaining substantial control over an individual's time and thought content, typically by gaining control over major elements of the person's social and physical environment,

systematically creating a sense of powerlessness in the person,

manipulating a system of rewards, punishment. and experiences in such a way as to promote new learning of an ideology or belief system advocated by management,

manipulating a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in such a way as to inhibit observable behavior that reflects the values and routines of life organization the individual displayed prior to contact with the group,

maintaining a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure in the organization and

maintaining a non-informed state existing in the subject.

The last two conditions work because there is no effective way for the subject to influence the system and because the program moves along in such a way that the subject is unaware of being changed for a hidden organizational purpose.

In a closed system of logic, criticism or complaints are handled by showing the subject that he or she is defective, not the organization. Observations may be turned around and argued to mean the opposite of what the critic intended.

When a subject questions or doubts a tenet or rule, attention is called to factual information that suggests some internal contradiction within the belief system or a contradiction with what the subject has been told: the criticism or observation is "turned around" and the subject made to feel he or she is wrong. In effect the subject is told, "You are always wrong; the system is always right."

The system refuses to be modified except by executive order. In addition, by keeping a subject in a non-informed state, he or she functions in an environment to which he or she is forced to adapt in a series of steps, each sufficiently minor so that the subject does not notice change in him- or herself and does not become aware of the goals of the program until late in the process (if ever).