The 9 Lives of Cult Leaders by Debra Van Neste

nine-lives-logoWe don’t often hear about victims of cults unless it involves a horrible tragedy that just cannot be part of our sense of a normal experience. However, outside obvious tragedies, many people fall prey to cults.  As a result, many suffer from mental breakdowns, lose their jobs, families and suffer from poor health. In many cases, lives are destroyed by a cult, and these people will quietly suffer throughout the rest of their life.

Some victims may become activists, advocates, spokespersons, and reach out to small groups and venues, or support through social media. Often the first step in healing is to seek others who have been through the same or similar experiences, either of a cult or a very manipulative relationship.

However, not all anti-cult organizations operate on the same philosophy, or mission and principles.  Some don’t help people or are even qualified to help people. Though sometimes it helps to vent or seemingly mock cult leaders, often victims of cults are humiliated and bashed along with it.

“How can people be so STUPID to follow her!”—”That is one gullible idiot to do that for a cult leader!”—”What new age nonsense, people are desperate!”—”What do you expect, stupid is as stupid does!”—These are some of the common phrases I read when I am on support forums, guru bashing pages, and even anti-cult pages. Some of the people that lead these pages and forums, have never been involved in a destructive cult or been victimized by some narcissist manipulator, as such they never suspect how painful this is too read and how it re-victimizes.

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It feels safer to stand away and point fingers, at how people must be idiots or stupid or simply don’t know how to think properly. Another confusion is that beliefs are mocked when in reality it is behaviors which are harmful rather than beliefs. Every person has the right to believe whatever they want, be it religion, philosophy or grandma’s sage advice.

When I pointed out gross errors in an article criticizing Bentinho Massaro, I was accused of being a paid shill and a cult sympathizer. If my article was read with any observation, it would have been noticed I did not spare Bentinho and was critical of his horrible behavior. However, screaming he is another Jim Jones, and painting such an outlandish comparison, does not help and for this reason why:  For one, it degrades what really happened at Jonestown. Second, it dilutes the understanding, as well as the historical significance of the Jonestown tragedy. In my rebuttal, I offered links to an academic site, to educate, so that one may draw their own conclusions, whether Bentinho is another Jim Jones.

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There was no evidence of crimes or anyone held against their will, though we tried our best to expose anything on Bentinho Massaro. What we do know, is that he has hurt people emotionally and mentally. He has mocked his victims and continues to do so. Therefore, there needs to be a continual awareness of him and he should be watched, so we get REAL facts on him, not fear mongering sensationalist stories.

Bentinho Massaro has twisted this as a campaign for sympathy and support and is far from being shut down, making our jobs even harder and making his support even tighter than ever.

Read his latest response here.

Teal swanLike Teal Swan, he has the nine lives of a con artist, but when victims are not mocked, and facts are presented, this is when all the ducks are lined up in a row, and we can come to fully expose any alleged cult leader.  We don’t want to make the cult leaders more popular and have them turn any article with possible victim accounts into a joke and free publicity.  Only with facts and comparisons through experts,  and with advocates working together, can we bring alleged cult leaders to justice and accountability.  Cult leaders will use everything as a pawn and are master manipulators of social media.  They look for errors, and biases because this is their livelihood and a business they are running. A business based on exploitation and using human beings.