Sometimes we find ourselves involved in organizations, governments and communities that might be psychologically unhealthy to us or our communities. John Larsen has collected a few points you can use to check to see if an organization might be considered dangerous or unhealthy.
- There are elections with only one candidate up for each office.
- All members are expected to vote in unison.
- The term “beloved” is applied to a living leader by other leaders of the organization.
- Loyal members calling for reform or change are purged or otherwise silenced.
- There are no means for membership to appeal a decision.
- The group is willing to break up families or other social structures to further or preserve its own organizations.
- Members are encouraged to look and dress the same. Uniformity is encouraged or required in clothing, haircuts, jewelry, etc.
- Life events are controlled by the organization. For example, you cannot marry without leadership approval.
- There is an organizationally controlled media including television, radio and newspapers. All outside media is cast as suspect.
- The organization is overly focused on winning over vulnerable populations such as the youth, those who are grieving, or those in financial distress.
- The group is involved in many business or monetary transactions wholly unrelated to the central mission of the organization.
- Members are encouraged or required to never say anything negative about the leadership.
- The organization uses litigation as a means to silence dissident membership or outside organizations speaking against the group.
- Community leaders are chosen by the central organization. Local communities have no say in who their representatives will be.
- The governance structure of the central organization is ambiguous, hidden or unknown.
- Obedience to the central organization is encouraged over all other values.
- All finances are kept secret.
- The leadership of the organization is preoccupied with the most intimate details of member’s lives including finances, sex and personal relationships.
- Leadership tends to speak of the victim-hood of the organization even in endeavors where the organization has a majority or controlling influence.
- Organizational history is overly sentimentalized and unflattering information is edited out of official documents.
- The organization insists that it has primacy or is more important than all other organizations.
- The group has an almost obsessive focus on the outward appearances of organizational buildings and properties, grass is meticulously cut, no litter is ever found, grounds are always perfect. A great deal of time and effort is spent on this resource.
Episode Show Notes
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