Hi Steve. A little less than one year ago, I tried to undertake a study on the subject of « charisma ». I began reading a few interesting books, including the one called « prophetic charisma », but then I gave up... These books were quiet helpful to understand how narcissistic people tend to become charismatic, but man... I still don't get it.
I still don’t understand what a “charismatic” looks like.
I still don't understand how a “charismatic” acts like.
I still don't understand what a “charismatic” sounds like.
I still don't understand how and why someone commands all the attention in the room.
I still don't understand how someone gets more respect than others.
Steve, I have been reading a few books about cults but never have I understood better how mind control works than by reading your book.
I would like to ask you about rev. Bill's charisma.
You made me aware of how intimidating he was, but what was his appeal in the first place?
There must have been a charming part in his personality.
Why did the people listen to him, follow him?
Please tell me from your own experience.
Thanks for your reply. To be completely honest, my mother’s best friend lives in a cult right now.
My mother is completely devastated and this has a terrible effect on me and my 2 younger brothers.
I’m afraid that one day someone from my family or even me gets trapped in a cult.
I want to understand the seduction so I can see through it.
More people should be aware of what charisma is so that they don’t get deceived.
I want to be able to recognise the devil in disguise if I meet him on the road.
I’m looking forward to your answer.
Hello Alex, Thanks for the honest reply. Below is a description of Bill’s charisma.
Bill made people laugh a lot. In group gatherings he would tease people and make all kinds of jokes . To these gatherings he would add in spiritual affirmations and whip the energy up so that everyone felt an emotional high together. This is a powerful group experience that cults offer routinely whereas in regular life it is not so common.
Bill spoke in a rapid-fire manner sort off like Robin William's on a tear. He often spoke all day and all night without stopping. It was very impressive and exhibited such a superior talent that no one else dared to join in, or question what he was saying. This gave him almost total control from the start. The way he communicated was a major aspect of his charisma.
He claimed, and everyone close to him agreed of course, that he was an enlightened psychic and a Holy man of the Christian faith. He said he did everything in our interest and at times acted compassionate. Everyone felt very special to be close to him.
He always named or addressed intense personal or group issues first. Most people are afraid or sensitive about doing this so his skill at it is a powerful way of making a huge impact on a person’s mind and soul. He was not afraid to engage in conflict, intimidation, or scary thoughts. He was very demonstrative of powerful emotions like joy, acting-out, amusement, anger, rage. He always grabbed the stage and claimed to act out what people secretly wanted to or feared to do the most themselves. He fascinated him members mind by speaking of these kinds of things; the taboo, the psychic and occult, of his members personal lives, issues, shortcomings. In his speeches he constantly tore into people’s personal lives, and then promised to sow them back together. He tore apart and put together people relationships. In return for total dedication he promised that his followers could become like him.
In his case the mind control was a big part of the charisma. We believed he was enlightened, that he had all the answers. He always said, “I might not have all the answers but I have a friend inside that does.’ That is a tricky way of making people believe he was humble and at the same time in contact with spirits and God in a way that we weren’t. The impression it made in our minds of his enlightened status was enormous.
He fulfilled in us what psychologists call a ‘salvation fantasy’. Salvation fantasy was a big part of the emotional appeal that lead the hippies. Bill claimed to be a master of the ‘mystery teachings’ which promised to give a unique and elite connection to God. If we didn’t execute the teaching to his satisfaction then we were in danger of a horrible fate in hell.
At another level I think when Bill opened himself to these kind of dangerous thoughts and beliefs, spirits, (unbeknown to Bill), used him and gave them ideas, energy, and skills which were palpable to the observer. These spirits were extremely resourceful, skilled, and tricky - but in the end evil.