One way I deal with the the compassion fatigue or emotional overload that comes from reading tol many cult survivor stories in one sitting is with the lulz. This video, while being totally instructive and accurate, cracks me up in a dark humor kind of way. (I still think Angela's Ashes is funny and has a happy ending. My family saw the movie based on my impression, and now they think I'm twisted and weird.) So, with that kind of a endorsement, watch and enjoy!
I may have posted that before - I don't care. It's a good video. Seriously, of all the cult checklists and papers and testimonies I've read, this is the best, simplest Cult 101 explanation I've seen. I showed this video to a Christian cult escapee who was staying with me for a while this summer. I was trying to let her know that what happened to her happens to lots, yadda yadda. I think it just freaked her out that I know how to start a cult.
But really, starting your own cult is easy. Just look at the five simple steps in this eHow article. (I don't know if it will happen for you also, but when I pulled up that page a giant flash $cientology ad came up under the checklist, lol.)
Phil Milstein has a more thorough (and delightfully snarky) six steps in his piece "How to Become a Cult Guru or, You Too Can Induce Mass Suicide." Some pearls of wisdom from it include:
Remember that everyone you meet is, deep inside, like a scrawny branch wavering in the stiff wind of life, just waiting for a big tree to sprout up alongside and protect them. Be that tree...And on why laundromats are an awesome place to collect new recruits:
Down at the local suds parlor you'll find oodles of brain-dead scum, just sitting around twiddling their thumbs and spitting pumpkin seeds. Perfect cult fodder.
Heartwarming, no? Although I'm pretty sure around here sunflower seeds are a lot more popular than pumpkin, I'm sure the principle still applies.
This post that made me wanna ROFL or at least PMP (pee my pants - come on people, it could catch on). It's 5 steps to starting your own $cientology off shoot denomination.
So remember folks, whatever your cause or passion is, while it's important to stay dedicated towards positive actions and efforts, and while promotion awareness and legislation and social protests (I mean marches dumbass - leave your assault rifle in the armory at home), it's okay to laugh, too. I know cults are awful. I know good people do terrible things and have terrible things done to them. But laughing can be a really effective coping mechanism, and it's served me well through many trials and tragedies, so I'm gonna keeping LOLing over here, even about the serious stuff like cults, and I'd love it if you joined me in the merry making.