Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Bounded ChoiceTrue Believers and Charismatic Cults$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Janja Lalich

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520231948

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520231948.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022



Cults and True Believers

(p.1) CHAPTER 1 Introduction
Bounded Choice

Janja A. Lalich

University of California Press

The confounding behaviors of some cult members occur as a logical conclusion to lives that have been gradually constrained in an increasingly oppressive social structure. Some cult members make seemingly irrational, harmful, and sometimes fatal decisions. These acts are committed in a context that makes perfect sense to them at the time and are consistent with an ideology or belief system that they trust. This chapter provides an understanding of why cult members do what they do, based on both the promises and the constraints of the cult context. A look of the daily lives and inner workings of various cult groups over the decade is provided. Contrary to popular belief, cults have attracted not the lonely and lost, but rather the idealistic and lofty-minded, the curious and well educated. The model of bounded choice offers a new way of thinking about and analyzing the true believer phenomenon, which explains how normal, intelligent, educated people can give up years of their lives and sometimes their very lives to groups and beliefs. This intertwined reality is conveyed using the instances of Heaven's Gate and the Democratic Workers Party.

Keywords:   cult, true believers, bounded choice, Heaven's Gate, Democratic Workers Party

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.