1. The leader is always right and always in control.
2. The leader never accepts blame for anything.
3. Perfectionism. “The fear of making a mistake, the fear of sinning, keeps the victim of perfectionism from experiencing the grace of God and traps that person in a toxic religious system.”
4. “Don’t confuse me with reality, my mind is made up!” Refusal to admit the truth. “Pride often keeps people from being willing to admit they have been deceived.”
5. Does not permit personal growth. Members talk alike, dress alike, have same mannerisms. Decisions are made for them.
6. “Service with a smile.” No matter what is going on in personal life, appearance is everything. Everyone must see you as being happy. No emotions allowed except that of happiness.
7. Us versus them. One must build the belief that the group vision is on the edge of spiritual evolution and that all others are not as spiritual. “Holiness is what we have but others do not.”
These signs are adapted from an article in Discernment Ministry International’s Truth Matters newsletter, August 2003.