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Is Alleged Murderess Lori Daybell a “Cult Mom?”

Rich Procida: “Beauty Queen Black Widow” might better describe Lori Daybell, but this label would appeal to a different and perhaps smaller audience and can be misleading, too.
doomsday mom

Media Hype, Cults, Psychopaths, and Politics

I usually don’t write about crime, but the case of “Doomsday Cult Mom” Lori Daybell gives me the opportunity to address the affect media hype and propaganda have on us. I also get to talk about things I’ve been researching lately: narcissism, cults, propaganda, psychopathy, and covert hypnosis. I’ve recently come to realize that everyone needs to learn about these things in order to protect ourselves from manipulative people and organizations.

A trail of death follows Lori Daybell while she sits in jail for refusing to tell authorities where her two children are. After her brother shot and killed her husband, she took off to live near her married lover Chad Daybell. Somewhere along the way Lori and her brother took the kids to Yellowstone. The children have not been seen since.

Lori has been labeled a “Doomsday Cult Mom” because of the extreme beliefs she expressed and the fact that her new husband is an author of books about the supernational and the end times. The problem with this description is that there is no cult. No one has actually identified any manipulative and deceptive group influence in the case.

“Beauty Queen Black Widow” might better describe Lori Daybell, but this label would appeal to a different and perhaps smaller audience and can be misleading, too.

Court TV, the news media, and social media influencers have used the “Cult Mom” moniker to sensationalize the case. It’s more likely Lori is a psychopath who may have been involved in the murder of her husband, brother, the wife of her lover, and her two children. “Beauty Queen Black Widow” might better describe Lori Daybell, but this label would appeal to a different and perhaps smaller audience and can be misleading, too.

Let’s look at the effect this misinformation has on our understanding of the case. Making the story about a “Doomsday Cult” implies that Lori has been manipulated into murder. Chad Daybell, the “Doomsday Author,” becomes the murderous influence though he has yet to be arrested. Chad may have murdered his wife, but it’s more likely Lori convinced him to do it and not the other way around. Importantly, people misunderstand what a cult is.

Cults are not about strange beliefs and practices. Just because people have weird opinions or give themselves spiritual or religious titles doesn’t make them dangerous cult members. A cult is a manipulative group or institution led by a malignant narcissist or psychopath who uses deception and undue influence to control the minds and bodies of cult members.

Beliefs and ideas can be dangerous. Ideology, like theology, can be turned into weapons and used against us. Ideas and beliefs become little more than tools to manipulate people.

In reality, the world is not trapped in an endless ideological struggle. The political struggle is over money and power, not ideas and beliefs. Political propaganda is used to pit us against one another in arguments over ideas and policies while politicians pick our pockets.

Propagandists use symbols and ideas to manipulate us. They appeal to our sentiments, opinions, fears, and prejudices. They use facts, arguments, rumors, half-truths, and lies to influence our beliefs, attitudes, and behavior.

Propaganda is all around us in the form of advertising, news, media, public relations, political ideology, and religious doctrine. It is a systematic effort to manipulate people’s beliefs, attitudes, and actions.

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Doomsday Cult Mom?

Lori used her supposed spiritual beliefs to manipulate people. Throughout her life, she tricked people into thinking she was a great mother, but being the best mother in town was never going to be enough for this budding psychopath. Her later beliefs are little more than the ramblings of a psychopath to justify murder.

A psychopath or sociopath is someone who has no conscience or empathy for others. They are narcissistic and manipulative. They are habitual liars and believe they are above the law. They will stop at nothing to rise to the top even if it means hurting people. They can be superficially charming and ambitious and often seek out positions of power and leadership.

Narcissists and psychopaths often find their way into leadership positions in corporations, political parties, and governments. They become community leaders. They lead churches and local political groups and organizations.

For a time before the pandemic, I worked with a group called Refuse Fascism. I disagreed with some of their teachings and recognized their materials were propaganda. After the last meeting I attended, I was arguing with one of the leaders of the group. She was smiling, touching me, and holding my hand. I became confused. I wondered whether she might be flirting with me.

Suddenly, I found myself asleep. My eyes were closed. I felt terribly fatigued and couldn’t open my eyes. I thought to myself, holy [bleep], she just hypnotized me!

I couldn’t hear what she was saying. So I asked myself what the issue or question was? What was she saying to me and trying to convince me to believe or do?

It quickly came to me. She was trying to convince me that I didn’t understand and wasn’t seeing things right. So I exclaimed, “I can see reality!” Then I came out of the trance wide awake.

We need to be aware that it’s not just the President who is a narcissistic sociopath. Many of the leaders of our local, state, and national political organizations are narcissists and psychopaths, too. If we could identify and remove malignant narcissists and sociopaths from positions of power, we could bring an end to much of the conflict, violence, and exploitation in the world.

Elections and politics are too often expressions of our collective psychopathology. Narcissism is widespread and people are easily manipulated. We must educate ourselves.

To this end, I have developed a Propaganda Awareness Training that I can present to your group’s online meeting. Here’s a link to information about the presentation. In this age of partisan news and foreign interference, we must be more critical and skeptical about what we choose to think and believe.

Many of us have already been indoctrinated. Propagandists have a way of making us believe we came to the conclusions they put in our heads. It may be difficult to critically examine our beliefs and opinions but it’s essential if we are to protect ourselves and save the world.

the election

Rich Procida

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