Escaping Utopia: Growing Up in a Cult, Getting Out, and Starting Over

1st Edition

Janja Lalich, Karla McLaren

Routledge
Published September 6, 2017
Reference - 176 Pages
ISBN 9781138239746 - CAT# Y310529

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Summary

Actors Michelle Pfeiffer, Glenn Close, Rose McGowan and Leah Remini. Humorist Garrison Keillor. Musician Lisa Marie Presley. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Each of these well-know people has more than fame in common; each was born or raised in a cult.

We think of cults as bizarre, inexplicable, or otherworldly places that only strange people inhabit, but cults and other abusive and high-demand groups (and relationships) are actually quite commonplace. In fact, the behaviors, social pressures, and authoritarian structures that create cults exist to a greater or lesser extent in every human relationship and every human group. Cult behavior is human behavior – and by studying cults, we can learn remarkably useful things about the social world and our place in it

In the first in-depth research of its kind, sociologist and cult expert Janja Lalich interviewed sixty-five people who were born in or grew up in thirty-nine different cultic groups spanning more than a dozen countries. What’s especially interesting about these individuals is that they each left the cult on their own, without outside help or internal support. In Escaping Utopia: Growing Up in a Cult, Getting Out, and Starting Over, Lalich and award-winning author (and fellow cult survivor) Karla McLaren craft Lalich’s original and groundbreaking research into an accessible and engaging book, the first of its kind focusing on this particular population. Lalich and McLaren explore fundamental questions about human nature, human development, group dynamics, abuse and control, and triumphs of the human spirit in the face of intense and extended suffering.

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