Mass Society, Totalitarianism, and the New Religious “Cults”

This is a paper I wrote in 1980. To give you some background, it was fall, the same year Ronald Reagan was elected. I wrote this paper for a sociology class while attending Bennington College. Our instructor (whose comments you can see here) was Jean Cohen.  I found her to be brilliant and quite demanding. I enjoyed that sort of class! As you can see, this is not a personal experience paper, but a research paper. I never revealed to Jean nor to anyone in my class that I had been an inductee into the Unification Church (the Moonies) but I had left on my own after ten days. In many ways, writing this paper helped me resolve the trauma of being brainwashed. I’d say leaving the cult was much harder than being in it.

That said, the parallels are clear. I had been in the cult in 1979. My eating disorder started not long after that. In 1981 I made the huge mistake of going into another cult, Psychiatry. This time, it was not so easy to walk out. After 34 years I finally succeeded in leaving Psychiatry. It is a dangerous cult indeed that takes the lives of many people, most of us young and in the prime of our lives.

Totalitarian Cults