Friday, August 7, 2015

Inside Information

A technique used by Berg and (other cult leaders) to make their writings hold more weight was to make them exclusive. Feeling that the information we are privy to is limited and only for us, "the called-out ones," made it very powerful. The general public were allowed certain milder, or in the jargon of the cult, "milky" Letters, but for us "elite," well, we could handle the "strong meat of the word."

In line with the principle of scarcity, information is more persuasive if we think we can't get it elsewhere. Thus, the cult was set up to give its members the idea that they had exclusive information on what was really going on behind the scenes (cue conspiracy theories) and that our "prophet" had a direct link to Almighty God who deemed to tell him, and him alone, this private information.

Even weak and stupid arguments gain perceived value if they are deemed inside information.

Add to that the fact that outside information was generally unavailable, and this created a natural "hunger" for something new to read. We were not permitted to watch TV, read books, magazines, or newspapers, and the fledgeling Internet was, of course, off limits. Our only source of any information was the cult. To keep us informed about world events (or rather, the cult spin on world events) weeks-old news stories were chosen, edited, and compiled to conform with cult doctrines and sent to us in the form of "The World News Digest."

The regular "mailings" were eagerly received, and everyone wanted to be the first to read each of the assortment of publications they contained. Of course, there were never enough copies for everyone in the Home to read for themselves, so we had united readings of those the "Shepherds" felt were most important, and had to take turns reading all the others. Scarcity, again.

There were also reams of older publications to read, many rehashed into more sensible topical readings, some made into books of daily devotionals (styled after The Daily Light books, and called in copycat fashion The Daily Might), as well as bound volumes of Mo Letters (the writings of David Berg). We were really never at a loss for inside information to read, but the same old thing could get boring, and that made the arrival of new publications a looked-forward-to event for us information-starved plebeians.

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