- Address the following questions:
a. What challenges did you overcome throughout this inquiry project? How did you go about
overcoming these challenges?
One of the challenges I faced while doing my inquiry project was finding reliable sources. I overcame this by using multiple sites to double check information. For example, I used google, google scholar, YouTube, and even Netflix documentaries to make sure the information was correct. I used a Netflix documentary that gave me a general understanding about cults, because I could not find a site that did that. I also find it quite challenging to find precise information for a specific question. Much of the information was quite general, and not precise. For example, finding recruitment tactics posed as a challenge. I overcame this by searching my question in different words. Eventually, I ended up using a paper on google scholar.
I also found it quite difficult to make sure I was actually finding information to answer my question. I tend to think of many other questions while doing research, which can cause me to get off track. Often, I found myself reading cult stories that would not help me answer my question, but I would read them out of sheer curiosity. For example, while looking for sites for my first round of research ( What are cults?), I caught myself doing reading about cult leader mindset instead. I overcame this by trying to be more self aware and concentrated while working. I made sure that when searching, I would use a specific questions, with plenty of key words.
b. How did this inquiry change the way you think?
This inquiry has allowed me to think in a more cautious way. I learnt that cults recruit everywhere, even in public areas such as universities. I also know that friends and family can recruit you. Strangely, my mindset towards cults has completely changed. I always thought that all cult members are satan worshiping, very mentally ill, and have terrible intentions. Though some cults are extremely dangerous ( like the KKK), most cult members are normal people, who are, in fact, victims. Of course, people in racist/ terrorist cults are not victims, and have committed many crimes. Religious cult members are often tricked into joining, being told that “if they love god” they must join. On the contrary, cult leaders are not the victim. This inquiry has made me realize that although some cult members are innocent, their leaders never are.
Now, I can also see things from a different perspective. For example, I can now identify a cult. Cults vary, but they generally follow a very similar recipe. There is always a charismatic leader, who uses guilt to persuade members to stay. Doing this research has allowed me to see the layers in a dictatorship. Being able to identify dangerous personality traits is also something that I have learnt. Generally, I now use more analysis while thinking. I have improved at dissecting problems, approaching them from a different view point.
c. How did this investigation impact your future decisions?
Though I really, really hope I will never be involved with a cult, if I were to be stuck in one, it would be easier for me to identify the layers in a cult and leave. This information might even help me recognize a cult before accidentally joining. It may also help me decide how to help others leave. Before, I would have not known how to help someone leave a cult. I would have most likely distanced myself from the person, whereas now, I know that I must show my support to help them leave. Most people join them because they feel lonely and unloved, so it is important to show them that they are wrong. Cults are extremely dangerous, to the members and the community around them. Because of this, I will be sure to educate those around me.
d. What impact will this investigation have on others locally and/or globally?
I would hope that this information will help people both globally and locally. This can show others how to avoid cults. Knowing what a cult is crucial if you want to identify them. I also wrote about how to help other leave a cult (the best time to help someone leave is when they begin to doubt their beliefs). Most importantly, people now know the importance of helping others when they are facing professional or personal losses. This investigation will help individuals recognize their susceptibilities. In conclusion, I think this information shows when you are most susceptible to being recruited, allowing you to be self aware and avoid the cult.