At the heart of most cults is a narcissistic cult leader. While not all cults have a cult leader, you will see that the majority of cults today are either run by 1 very charismatic guru or began under such leadership.
A very good documentary on the Narcissist Personality Disorder put out by the BBC is called “Egomania” can be found here:
In this documentary, they explain 9 traits associated with the Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
- Arrogance and Domineering
- Preoccupation with Success and Power
- Lack of Empathy
- A Belief of Being Unique
- A Sense of Entitlement
- Requiring Excessive Admiration
- Exploitation of Others
- Being Envious of Others
- Narcissists are addicted to both positive and negative attention (he calls this a drug called “Narcissistic Supply”).
- Narcissists have “x-ray” vision in that they are able to instantly diagnose the weaknesses, vulnerabilities, soft spots, predilections, fears, hopes, and emotional needs of everyone around them and to put it to use instantaneously, relentlessly and ruthlessly to further their needs of “Narcissistic Supply” (either positive or negative)
- Narcissists well never regret what they do, because they do not hold themselves responsible to the consequences of their actions.
In comparing my experiences I make the following observations concerning the leader of the group I was a part of:
In regards to Grandiosity, the leader considered himself not only an Apostle of Jesus, but the greatest of all Apostles (quoted from a former member: “a greater Apostle than Apostle Paul”). He considered himself the leader of “The End Times Army” and one of the “Two Witnesses” spoken about in the Book of Revelation in the Bible.
The cult leader was Arrogant and Domineering whenever there was an argument or discussion. He would argue and argue with someone every in his own mind PROVING without any doubt that he was right and the other was wrong. If ever challenged, he would boast that he knew more than the other person and that he KNEW the Bible better than anyone else. He implied and often declared that he was MORE gifted in the “fruits of the spirit” than anyone else. He considered himself MORE HUMBLE than anyone else.
The cult leader constantly boasted that he was/is successful and will make lots of money (because God promised him) through various internet schemes such as replacing Facebook, Craigslist, Search Engines, etc… He had plans to replace the entire system of the Internet, local computer networks, how cellphones work and communicate.
The cult leader showed a complete lack of empathy and responsibility when asked about a former member who was arrested for obtaining materials and creating plans for fire bombing several churches in a rural town. When asked if he had any responsibility for his actions, he emphatically stated without a show of emotion: “NO” and that he found it unusual that anyone would interpret his words to indicate any form of violence or destruction.
The cult leader believed and taught the he was the only one performing as a Christian “correctly”, and that he and his followers were specially “hand picked” by God for such a special time as this to go out and be martyrs to the world.
The cult leader would not overtly stated “I want your admiration”, but he clearly fed off of it by boasting about how much better he was at other people, and his followers attributed many miracles, successes, salvation from hard times to the leader.
The cult leader exploits other by “tricking” them into believing that he is doing “good works” in his community and that he is the only one in a large community doing these good works, and thus people continually give him money, trucks, cars, trailers, food, supplies, etc… “for his good works cause”
The cult leader would often speak about how the “other churches” had money, and big buildings, and that he was doing so much more than him. He often criticized local food pantries who had more than them (claiming he would take over their operations soon). He clearly didn’t like it if someone was doing more than he was on a larger and more successful scale.