Is there any way a person can avoid getting involved in a cult?

We hope so! The first and most important safeguard is to realize that anyone can end up in a cult.

Momentary crisis situations make people vulnerable. When you acknowledge that it can happen to you, you will be more aware and less gullible. This is especially significant considering the deceptive, seductive and extremely persuasive tactics of recruiters.

Second, if you are going through a rough time and you are far from home, be especially careful who you place your trust in to help you. Call home. Let your parents or siblings know you are having difficulty.

Contact a friend.

If you are in school, contact the Hillel or a local rabbi; go to counseling services on or off campus. Cult recruiters are not always friendly strangers; they can be classmates, people in your dorm, even professors.

If you are asked to go to a lecture or free dinner, don’t yield to the pressure or go out of curiosity without knowing the nature of the group. Don’t give your name, address, or phone number. If you are considering accepting their offer, take their phone number and tell them you’ll be in touch after you check them out. Then check them out

with your local Jewish community, a local rabbi or call the Jews for Judaism office.

If the recruiter pressures you, walk away. Cult recruiters count on your good manners to listen politely which gives them the opportunity to persuade you.