Through the Global Lens: An Introduction to Social Sciences, VangoBooks (3rd Edition)

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Jonestown Massacre Mehak Rasheed Michelle Lustman PSY225-YB April 7, 2010
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Cults are defined as “a system of religious worship or ritual, devoted attachment to, or extravagant admiration to a person or principle”, while the purpose of this is to serve the needs of the leader. It is about the leader getting whatever he wants—whether it is an emotional, financial, sexual, or power need. The keyword, power, and the strong need to obtain it is what separates cults from an ordinary group or organization. Power is the cause of all extreme measures that take place in a cult as once the leader gets a taste of it, he wants more. There was one cult leader, Jim Jones, who possessed all of these qualities, intensified. Using deceptive methods, he gained hundreds of supporters. In the late 1970’s, this cult leader reached his much sought after goal—an incredible amount of power, only to realize that it would be his downfall. James Warren Jones (Jim Jones), founder of the people’s temple was a strong, powerful man. He knew what he wanted from the start as his career in church business started well over 20 years before the Jonestown massacre. Being the strong willed, self driven leader that he was, it took him little time to take on the role of a “self-appointed messiah” once he started his own church. Jim Jones obtained similar characteristics to other cult leaders and one of that involved processing charisma. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines charisma as “a personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm for a public figure (as a political leader or military commander); a special magnetic charm, or appeal”.
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Like many other cult leaders, what got him to where he ended up were his perpetual actions when he was young He had a rough childhood growing up, never getting along with others, resulting in mental problems. Part of the reason other children were so prudent around him was because of his strange, hostile behaviour towards innocent animals—it has been said by his childhood peers that Jim repeatedly stabbed
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Cults-report - psychology cults

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