Is it a cult? Take the Checklist of Characteristics quiz! Any Al-Anon or A.A. member is familiar with the format.

Below the quiz is some more information and links to information on recruiting and mind control techniques.

Checklist of Cult Characteristics
The following questions are designed to help you decide whether or not you dealing with a Cult: 
If you answered "YES" to any of the questions below, you should be concerned!
If you have answered “YES” to 3 questions or more... 

"Comparing the following statements to the group with which you or a family member or loved one is involved may help you determine if this involvement is cause for concern. If you check any of these items as characteristic of the group in question, and particularly if you 3 or more of them, you may well be dealing with a cult and should critically examine the group and its relationship to you or your loved one.

1) The group is focused on a living leader to whom members display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.

2) The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members and/or making money.

 

3) Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged.

4) Mind-numbing techniques (for example: meditation, chanting, denunciation sessions, or debilitating work routines) are used to suppress members' doubts.

5) The group's leadership dictates how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, or get married;) leaders may determine types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth.

6) The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, it's leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).

7) The group has a polarized We vs.Them mentality that causes conflict with the wider society.

8) The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).

9) The group teaches or implies that its "superior" ends justify the means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).

10) The group's leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control then.

11) Members' subservience to the group causes them to give up previous personal goals and interests while devoting inordinate amounts of time to the groups."

12) Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

Adapted with permission from Dr. Michael Langone. 

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CULTS.

The following information and quotes are from the Website, http://www.workingpsychology.com/intro.html.

From the ​​​​"An Introduction to Social Influence" page. Under the tab "Cults".

The reader may find the site very useful in gathering more information on questions and answers on cults.

Kelton Rhoads currently serves as adjunct professor of

Communication and Psychology at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication.

"I approach the topic of influence from a scientific viewpoint--you won't hear me talking about my hunches, fabricating entertaining distinctions, constructing pseudo-scientific systems, or offering anecdotes as substitutes for hard evidence."

"There are over 3,000 destructive cults in the US, with approximately 4 million members." 

"Since cults make liberal use of many influence techniques, I find them fascinating and study them whenever the chance arises."

"I've been able to identify about 30 influence tactics (depending on how finely you make the divisions within types), which are used to varying degrees in cults. They appear to group themselves into two types: the first set are used to attract recruits (I call these get-tactics), and the second set are used to keep members (I call these keep-tactics)."

"Cults prefer intelligent, productive individuals who are able to contribute money and talent to "the cause," whatever it may be."

"Unlike most established religions which employ a broad power structure with checks and balances, cults often have a pyramid structure, with one leader at the top demanding complete subservience from subordinates."

"Many cults use respectable sounding organizations as fronts. For example, Narcanon is run by the Church of Scientology. Even more ominous is the Church of Scientology's recent acquisition of the Cult Awareness Network, previously a clearinghouse for crucial information about destructive cults."

"Established religions and altruistic movements are focused outward--they attempt to better the lives of members and often, nonmembers. They make altruistic contributions. Cults serve their own purposes, which are the purposes of the cult leader; their energies are focused inward rather than outward (Margaret Thaler Singer)"

 "I'm not the kind of mindless zombie who joins a cult." But very few mindless zombies join cults. Instead, as discussed on a previous page, the vast majority of cult recruits are normal, productive people--people confident in their ability to shrug off cult influence tactics. So, if I had to name the single most important defense against cult influence, it is the realization that we are all vulnerable--our friends, our families, and ourselves." Dr. Brad Sagarin

Further information:

How cults recruit & indoctrinate their members.   http://michaelbluejay.com/x/how-cults-recruit.html

Mind Control Techniques In Cult Recruiting. http://www.decision-making-confidence.com/mind-control-techniques.html

 

 

Cult Recruiting Methods. http://www.watchman.org/articles/cults-alternative-religions/cult_recruiting-methods/

 Why do people join and even appear to thrive in cult-like groups? 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201402/why-do-people-join-cults

THE DEFINITION OF A CULT

A system of religious Veneration and Devotion directed toward a particular figure or object:

It has been said by many in Al-Anon that the Gottawanna's veneration and devotion is directed towards Sue and Keith Drum. 

Gottawanna Home Group was established in 1961 as “Fullerton Tuesday Night Meeting”. 

"Sue D, only had two years in the Al-Anon program.  She had the desire to study the Steps and put them into practice into her life as she knew her husband, Keith, and members of Alcoholics Anonymous were doing for their own personal growth."

(Quoted from the "About Us" page on the website, http://www.gottawanna.net)

Keith D, is a long time member, "Old-Timer", of "Dog On The Roof". A Men's Stag Group Meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The Dog On The Roof – Men's Stag Group Meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous was established in Fullerton, California on April 15, 1962.

"Around 1990 and only because of the loving support and cooperation from the members of the Gottawanna Al-Anon Family Group we were able to get ourselves a good old fashion meeting hall, where we could enjoy having our meetings with complete autonomy."

(Quoted from the "History of the Dog", page on the website,http://www.dogontheroof.com)

Keith D, is a long time member, "Old-Timer", of "Dog On The Roof". A Men's Stag Group Meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The Dog On The Roof – Men's Stag Group Meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous was established in Fullerton, California on April 15, 1962.

"Around 1990 and only because of the loving support and cooperation from the members of the Gottawanna Al-Anon Family Group we were able to get ourselves a good old fashion meeting hall, where we could enjoy having our meetings with complete autonomy."

(Quoted from the "History of the Dog", page on the website,http://www.dogontheroof.com)
The Meetings are "Closed Meetings", but If you could visit the "The Hall" you would see the two Icon’s images hanging in veneration.
A demonstration of the Groups devotion directed to their leaders.

A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister:

Sue and Keith D are well know for their opinions on how "Their" Fellowship should practice the Program.

Many of their practice's are against the written doctrines of the "Official" Traditions, Concepts, and General Warranties, in Al-Anon. As stated in the Approved Literature of the Program. 

There is also controversy on how their "Groups" Work the 12 Step Program. 

The social aspects and arranged relationships, is considered strange or sinister"by others.

Examples are "the​ ​pairing​ ​and​ ​un-pairing​ ​of​ ​members​ ​with​ ​others," 

The un-paring of relationships prior to becoming a Member.

Paring members of Dog On The Roof (A.A.s) and Gottawanna's (Al-Anon's?).

A misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing:

The "misplaced or excessive admiration" of Sue and Keith has led the Groups to practices what many consider "strange or sinister"

And that this "misplaced or excessive admiration" has perverted the Al-AnonTradition of “Principles above Personalties".