Alexandra Stein is only a few minutes into her harrowing story when she pauses with a smile. “I know a lot of people listening to this are undoubtedly going to think: ‘well, why did you go along with it?’” she says. “And after I got out, that was the question I had: why did I go along with it?”
For this plucky intellectual, fighting for the rights of humanity was second nature. How, then, did she find herself involved with a group which took away her rights and turned her into a virtual slave? In this revealing interview with her fellow Open Minds Advisory Board member Chris Shelton, Alex Stein not only answers the perennial question: “how do people become involved in such groups?”, she also details the way predatory groups and individuals use our own normal psychology – and our natural instinct for human connection – to subvert the will of others.
Using the Attachment Theory pioneered by such thinkers as Bowlby, Stein shows how any of us, at the right time, could fall into the trap of a cultic group or relationship. Even those of us who have read her excellent book, Terror, Love and Brainwashing, will find this interview illuminating and thought-provoking.
What do you think about this interview? Do you agree? Have you read Alex’s book? Do you have a story about being recruited into a cult that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!