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Tenacity of attachment to a cult leader: a psychiatric perspective
Am J Psychiatry 1980;137:1569-1573.
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Abstract

This follow-up study describes a cult whose leader became cruel and increasingly bizarre. Six of 14 members who were investigated at the time of the cult's formation remained loyal to the leader until the dissolution of the group almost four years later. The author describes the attitudes of these and other devotees who submitted to the irrational guru. The leader's radical teachings, his purported closeness to God, and his embodiment of a countercultural ideal of freedom appeared to be factors that bolstered his overwhelming authority in his followers' lives. The devotees used denial, rationalization, and other defensive operations to maintain the fantasy that the leader was acting for their benefit.

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