Dangers of Obedience: David Koresh.

Essay by missmelevolentCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 2003

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People can be coerced into cult-like groups regardless of intelligence, beliefs or up-bringing. It can begin with a smile from a stranger or in today's modern times, an enticing message on the Internet. This is soon followed by manipulation, mind control, isolation, the breaking down of a human being's free will and ability to think rationally and eventually sometimes leads to death. The explanation for events such as the Waco Texas Suicide can be explained in the ability of a charismatic leader to control reality for his followers, using tried and tested techniques to brainwash the human spirit. "It has to do with the drive of a cult leader and what the cult leader wants the members to do." Said John Hochman, a UCLA psychiatrist in the CNN Interactive article, "Mass Suicides Raise the Question: Why," by Al Hinman.

For 51 days in Waco, Texas a religious sect or what some would call a cult called The Branch Davidians were engaged in a standoff with state and federal law enforcement.

The group's self-proclaimed leader, David Koresh, with his hypnotic preachings had convinced the Davidians that God would destroy their enemies and they would be risen up to an after-life in heaven. On April 19, 1993 the compound where the Davidians were holding their standoff went up in flames killing seventy-seven men, women and children. Massive amounts of news, magazine and journal articles focused on the question as to whether the Davidians had committed a mass suicide or if law enforcement was responsible for the blaze. The real question that needs answering though

Amanda Ramos Page 2

is: Why would normal every day people obey a perceived authority even when that obedience becomes dangerous?

There are three stages in which people become involved in dangerous situations as part of cults. First...