What is the general attitude regarding the leader or leaders? Are members passive, blindly faithful, intimidated, star struck by the leadership? Or do members treat leadership like any other member? Are pictures of the leader(s) posted throughout the buildings they occupy?
What is the lifestyle of the leader or leaders? Do they live moderately compared to other working members of the group, or is their lifestyle more extravagant more glamorous? Are they easily accessible, do they have an entourage around them, body guards?
Is there a checks and balance system for the leadership? Is there a Board of Directors? Is there a justice system to keep leaders in check? Does the justice system report it’s findings to the general membership base or is this kept secretive?
What are the recruitment techniques? Is the group open and upfront about who they are when recruiting or are they deceiving in ways?
Is there quotas for getting new recruits or member outings to solicit group literature? Do members go in groups to pass out literature, is there pressure to get new recruits or activate old members who are no longer participating?
Is there consequences for leaving the group? Is it easy to leave or are there required steps to take before you can leave & are they time consuming? Is there pressure to stay, are you made to feel guilty or as though there’s something wrong with you for wanting to leave?
Is there exclusive terms or jargon to learn? Do they use abbreviated terms, a different jargon all together to explain everyday normal words?
Is there pressure to do more classes, listen to lectures, read literature, do one on one sessions? This would be considered the indoctrination process. How often are you expected to participate, daily, weekly?
Do books, lectures, classes, sessions etc cost money? If so, how much? Does it cost more as you reach higher levels? Are they reasonably priced, or extremely out of reach in price (going into debt, 2nd mortgages etc)?
Are you discouraged or forbidden from talking to former members? If so, why? Are exmembers considered trouble makers, apostates or bad? What happened to agreeing to disagree? Since when did we give other people power over who we can and can not talk to?
Do core members who devote themselves to the group on a more full time basis have access to outside information? TV, radio, newspapers, personal cell phones, internet, personal email? What is the groups general attitude regarding these outside sources of information?
Is there a reporting system within the group? Do members report on others for breaking rules or not keeping schedules or not meeting quotes or not attending meetings etc? Didn’t Hitler have a reporting system in place too?
Does the group encourage members to see family and friends who are not part of the group? Or are they encouraged to stay away from them if they don’t agree with the groups dogma or activities? Is personal time encouraged? Is there a balanced ratio of time to see family & friends outside of group work and activities or is it very rare occasions? And do you have to ask permission to make visits?
Does the group encourage individuality? Pursuing personal interests outside of any group activities? Higher education, music/art interests, work etc. Or does the group feel members should devote most of their time to the group? Is the groups goals and activities more important than the individual’s goals and interests?
Is there pressure to reveal personal transgressions or sins? Either in a group setting, one on one session, written etc? Do you fear that personal information will be used against you if you to decide to leave or change your mind about the group?
How does the group view other philosophies? Is their way the “only” way? Or is it ok to study & adopt other philosophies?
Does the group make promises? Are they kept? Are they realistic or do they seem far fetched or unreal?
Does the group practice chanting, Chinese schooling, meditation or any form of repetitive process? If so, how often and for what purpose? Relaxation? Confirmation of dogma? Removing any doubts?
Does the group practice shunning/disconnection? Why would any group ask or require you to no longer talk to family or friends, what would that solve? Isn’t it ok if others have a different viewpoint then the group? Shouldn’t churches, groups and individuals encourage family & friend relations- just so long as there is no abuse occurring?