Everyone is capable of being persuaded to do something that we did not want to do, and that susceptibility is what mind-control groups use to incrementally take over people’s lives. Mind- control and cult-like activities do not start with something dramatic like the tragedy at Jonestown but with incremental efforts to control people’s thoughts and lives little by little.

New students and others experiencing major life transitions are often especially susceptible to mind-control groups, which often seem extremely friendly, provide many opportunities for community, and seem to create stability in a time of change. For that reason, these groups often try to recruit people in times of transition. However, unlike healthy spiritual and ethical communities, these groups do not ultimately support students’ intellectual freedom and academic success, physical and mental health, and positive relationships with family and friends as part of a healthy, balanced life.

Pursuant to Trinity College’s Policy Statement on Discrimination, General Harassment and Abuse (see, Student Handbook), mind-control groups are contrary to the College’s mission and thus are not welcome at Trinity College. This information is provided to help you avoid these groups and to connect with Trinity’s many healthy spiritual and other campus communities. Trinity College’s policies for recognized religious and spiritual communities prohibit behaviors such as deceptiveness, proselytizing (outreach that involves pressure or exploits vulnerabilities), and harassment. Therefore, we strongly encourage students to begin their exploration for religious and spiritual communities with those listed on the Trinity College Office of Spiritual and Religious Life (OSRL) website. For your protection and that of all members of the Trinity College community, if you believe you have encountered a mind-control group on campus, or have questions about whether a group is a mind-control group, please contact Trinity College OSRL at 860-297-2013. It is better to err on the side of caution. Information shared will be kept confidential.

Mind-control groups can be hard to recognize at first, and there is a spectrum in the aggressiveness of these groups’ tactics. Some mind-control groups seem to share some of the beliefs or features of mainstream religious groups—the issue is not their beliefs per se, but their emotionally abusive and destructive practices. These groups seek to create an all-or-nothing reality and a situation in which people are totally dependent on the group—spiritually, socially, romantically, financially, and in every way. In the United States today, there are an estimated 5,000 mind-control and cult-like groups.

To learn more about ways you can help safeguard our community against mind-control groups, check out this resource: Avoiding Mind-Control Groups and Groups with Cult-Like Practices.