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The Marine recruit clearly knows what the organization is that he or she is joining…. There are no secret stages such as people come upon in cults. Cult recruits often attend a cult activity, are lured into “staying for a while,” and soon find that they have joined the cult for life, or as one group requires, members sign up for a “billion year contract….”
Medical and dental care are available, encouraged, and permitted in the Marines. This is not true in the many cults that discourage and sometimes forbid medical care.
A military legal system is provided within the USMC; a Marine can also utilize off-base legal and law enforcement agencies and other representatives if needed. In cults, there is only the closed, internal system of justice, and no appeal, no recourse to outside support.
The USMC is not a sovereign entity above the laws of the land. Cults consider themselves above the law, with their own brand of morality and justice, accountable to no one, not even their members.
In the USMC, the methods of instruction are military training and education, even indoctrination into the traditions of the USMC, but brainwashing, or thought reform, is not used. Cults influence members by means of a coordinated program of psychological and social influence techniques, or brainwashing.
–adapted from Cults in Our Midst: The Hidden Menace in Our Everyday Lives, Margaret Singer and Janja Lalich, Jossey-Bass, 1995. Reprinted with authors’ permission.