Menu Close

Religion, cults and Charles Manson

Cults & religion: The Charles Manson "Family" - most were young girls
Cults & religion: The Charles Manson "Family" - most were young girls
Cults & religion: The Charles Manson “Family” – most were young girls

The following is Part Five of an expanded transcript of a detailed and in-depth interview Patrick Wanis PhD Human Behavior Expert gave to Michele Morrisette with  about gurus, cults and brainwashing. Here Patrick Wanis reveals that the quote that absolute power corrupts absolutely was not about politics but rather, it was about religion. Patrick also reveals the primary way Charles Manson recruited people to his Family and cult. Click here for previous part of the interview, Part Four:

Patrick Wanis: We’ve been using this phrase for a long time when referring to politics. We use it for dictators, whether we talk about Stalin, Saddam Hussein or any political leaders around the world; we’ve often quoted: “All power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” But here’s the interesting part. When Lord Acton wrote this in 1887, he wasn’t even talking about politics.

Do you know what he was talking about?

Michele Morrisette: No.

Patrick Wanis: Religion.

Michele Morrisette: How …

Patrick Wanis: He was actually talking about religion. He was identifying people in positions of religious power who were becoming corrupted and we have lots of examples of that throughout many religions today.

Now an interesting thing is, you say, Well, wait a minute. James Ray wasn’t a religion. Mahendra Trivedi isn’t a religion. What about these other people? They’re not religions.

I might argue that you’re right. They’re not institutionalized religion but in many ways each one is a religion – it’s a belief in a greater power and there are principles, dogma, rituals and followers – so it becomes very much like a religion.

The New Age Movement was a direct response and even a rebuttal to traditional Western religion. In the New Age Movement and even The Secret, they use the same terminology – they replaced the word “God” with “Universe”. Ask the Universe and it shall be given to you. The Universe wants to help you. The universe wants to teach you and until you get the lesson, the universe will keep sending it to you.

Deepak Chopra, in his attempt to separate himself from traditional religions and to claim a stake as spirituality, refuses to use the word God and instead refers to The Source. But this is the same as The Universe.

All they did was simply replace “God” with the word “Universe” and there are many other teachings amongst them that are very, very similar. Even the basic teaching of, you know, what goes around comes around, love thy neighbor, the golden rule, treat people the way you want to be treated, et cetera.

So I just wanted to offer that as a background, as a foundation. Hopefully if people listening to this call have ever been duped or brainwashed or felt stupid or ashamed or embarrassed or humiliated by having being tricked by someone, it’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just human and it’s easy to get fooled.

Let me use one more example, because I know you have a lot of other questions, but I really want to drive home this point, Michele, and I’m going to use a very extreme example, Charles Manson.

Now why would I use this example?

How does this fit into brainwashing?

Charles Manson's followers killed people on his behalf
Charles Manson’s followers killed people on his behalf

Charles Manson was more than just a cult leader. Charles Manson didn’t just, like James Ray, lead people, 3 people to their death. He led people to kill other people. So he searched for lost souls. We will use that phrase for the moment and then he didn’t just, bring them into his “family”, as they called it. He then turned them into killers; he took them to another extreme.

But what’s common between Charles Manson and any other cult leader?

It’s identifying people that are lost and then offering them meaning, purpose, love and connection, significance, security, challenge, meaning, growth, et cetera.

Even if all of that is in a perverted or distorted way; and I just want to mention this briefly because I’ve done a lot of work talking about Charles Manson. And of course Charles Manson was of a completely different league. I mean the guy was psychopathic and sociopathic but what’s more interesting is who the people were that came to him. And in the research that was done on Charles Manson, it was revealed that his followers, his family, were young kids, and most of them were college age and younger; and what was really interesting was a lot of them came from wealthy backgrounds.

So they weren’t just kids from the street who were homeless. They already came from affluent backgrounds. So how did they get sucked in?

Manson tapped into what they needed. He gave them a meaning and a purpose. He gave them significance. He gave them a connection to a different community even though all of that was in a perverted way and in a distorted way. Do you understand what I’m saying?

Michele Morrisette: I do and what you’ve just done Patrick is open kind of this Pandora’s Box. I want to maybe hone in on something you said that really hit a button with me. You talked about the demographic of the young women who were drawn to Manson and I’m not going to go any further than just that demographic because you and I have talked and for anybody who doesn’t know, I actually did work with the Trivedi Foundation for a short period as an independent contractor.

So I was able to see some of what was happening and it was through that experience that really has led to this overall effort to educate, but my one concern I had was this demographic and it was young women, younger men too; and it was in the, I’m going to say 19 to 25-year old range, that I am seeing this group of people come into the Trivedi Foundation. Very innocent, vulnerable, wanting to help and, from my point of view, being taken advantage of.

So one of the things that I would like to have you perhaps comment on Patrick is here we have this same thing happening. That was perhaps years ago. It’s almost a little bit of a déjà vu. We have this new demographic or just perhaps always happens over time but we aren’t always privy to it because it’s not top of the media. But how does that shift happen when you start out as a teacher and then you find yourself becoming more of the guru, adored and just to – one last segue into that is an email that I just got with somebody who just participated in the June retreat and he indicated, “I can only describe a Messianic trail of thought amongst the supporters.”

So his observation was there were these people, hundreds of people at a retreat who were treating this person in a Messianic type of relationship. Can you expand on that for us please?

Click here for Part 6 of the expanded transcript of the in-depth interview by Patrick Wanis PhD, Human Behavior Expert about gurus, cults and brainwashing; Patrick Wanis reveals how women who have had poor relationships with their fathers become easy prey for charismatic men and cults: 

Facebook Comments