Inside the Social Media Cult That Convinces Young People to Give Up Everything
Bransle
From here: https://onezero.medium.com/inside-the-so...878fbec632

She likens the DayLife Army to traditional militaries around the world. “[Military service people] literally volunteer for a contract where their life is not their own any longer,” she said. “And they will even, in the traditional military, die for that. That’s not what we’re doing here. We actually say that you must experience ego death, not physical death, and then live more than you ever have before. Live larger and louder and longer than ever before.”

Though its Facebook operation has slowed, the DayLife Army is still operating. In December 2019, the group rolled out the first installment of a new newsletter. Written by Wiz-EL, it offered advice for women looking to empower themselves in the social media age. Former followers say that the DayLife Army onboarded at least three new IRL members in 2019. On platforms like Twitter and Instagram, you can catch glimpses of the army from time to time, in motel rooms or standing against an expanse of desert or colossal trees.

A post on the DayLife Army’s Instagram account from fall 2019, which currently boasts around 350 followers, shows a young woman clad in all white, head shaven, brandishing a small placard: “They made me eat my yogurt in a closet.” In a series of Instagram live broadcasts in spring 2020, members of the organization took turns, in the manner of a confessional, speaking at length about the ways they were working to interrogate their own behaviors and thoughts, searching for traces of the Pain Matrix programming they had internalized as a result of the different facets of their identity. A few months into the coronavirus pandemic, they appeared to be spending the bulk of their time outside; in some posts, members mention they have been sleeping in tents.

As nationwide protests against police violence and systemic racism erupted following the killing of George Floyd, the group seemed to seize the moment as a recruitment opportunity.

“Evurythung is ready to EXPLODE,” KoA explained in a tweet on June 2. “Thu rotting corpse of thu PainMatrux is on the side of thu road — bloated to bursting. Get yr air matresses ready folks, u might b camping sooner than u thunk.” Days later, Wiz-EL criticized protesters for “providung free emotio al and apirual labor to bandaid” global capital’s “continual PR crises.” Eventually he published a Twitter thread claiming that if protesters didn’t feel like the police, the government, and the economy were serving them, they should try “surving” KoA instead. “Uts a lot more fun thun foghtun cops,” he tweeted on June 13.

Meanwhile, the organization continues to lose members. Two IRL DayLife Army soldiers left the organization in May. One of them was Yasmin Ben-David, who announced her departure on Facebook: “I will continue my own mission, fostering immaculate ethics and values, continuing the work that my soul is meant to do,” she wrote.

She said she was initially attracted to the group’s politics. “I liked the inversion of society’s pyramid structure and putting Black women in control of the resources,” she told OneZero. Though she appreciated the idea of a social economy and the group’s emphasis on living a physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy life, her issue was more with the DayLife Army’s approach. “The group’s execution of their mission is marred by misprized arrogance and unchecked hypocrisy,” she said. “Using the same structural methodology as the systems that originally brainwashed everyone into white supremacy and violent institutions sounds like an effective strategy until you realize that that system was engineering people for pain, toil, violence and blind subservience to malevolent entities — not for pleasure, harmony and spiritual alignment.”

Days after she announced her departure online, Ben-David began circulating an online fundraising page to assist her in leaving the organization. “I have not had my own money since the moment I got off the Greyhound bus in July 2019,” she explained in a later Facebook post. “Since then, I have not seen a doctor, dentist, had a bank account, bought new clothes, cooked a meal for myself, gone anywhere by myself.”

Phu, the other soldier who left, said she was especially drawn to the group’s idea of “Black Subpremacy,” a belief system that prizes and emphasizes the power of Black women. But her time with the organization told a different story: Only white people, she said, were promoted to leadership positions. Meanwhile, these leaders were empowered to impose the organization’s strict rules and disciplinary measures upon the Black women they supervised. Phu said KoA and Wiz-EL would often accuse her of being “irresponsible” and “ruining the organization’s integrity with [her] pussy,” in a manner Phu said evoked the racist “Jezebel” trope. “[This is] totally not an anti-racist organization,” Phu said.

Before joining the in-person community last October, Phu, who is transexual, said KoA personally assured her that the group would ensure her continuous access to hormone replacement therapy and associated medical care. But, she says, the leaders caused her to repeatedly miss or delay scheduled appointments by refusing her access to her own money or car. At one point, Phu said she experienced a three-week stretch without her daily hormones; after she traveled to receive care, she said the organization penalized her by increasing the amount of money she was expected to bring in. “They think [medical care for [transexual people] is not real,” Phu told OneZero. “They don’t give a fuck about trans women.”

After a year and a half of reporting, OneZero sent KoA, Wiz-EL, and Edaan a list of fact-checking questions. While KoA and Edaan both participated, Wiz-EL chose not to, either not commenting or answering “Fake Nuws.” During the formal fact-checking process, OneZero again reached out to the group, and KoA responded with a nearly 5,000-word message. “Do you know why you are doing this article, really?” she wrote in part. “Do you know how it ended up coming from you? Have you wondered about all the overlapping contexts that created this particular reality we are engaged in together?” Others in the DayLife Military simultaneously shared the same illustration to their Instagram Stories feed: It said “Lying to the press is legal.”

And on June 14, Tumple issued a statement on its official Twitter account: “we r seekung no mew memburs curruntly an understund @daylifearmy is seekung none eithur.”

Matthew moved back home in late 2018 and eventually entered treatment with therapists specialized in recovery from cultic groups. He also began attending a monthly group meeting for cult survivors.

At first, he said, the thing that struck him was “how similar everyone’s stories were.”

“The idea of needing to sacrifice one’s ego, of needing to destroy people in order to bring in a new matrix,” was a common refrain among survivors, he said. He recognized his experiences in the tales of other victims: the minute rules and the punishments for violating them, the incessant cleaning and menial labor, the constant fundraising and recruitment, the charismatic leaders claiming supernatural authority. Matthew believed that Tumple was doing something wholly new, but at the end of the day, he realized Wiz-EL and KoA had just created another cult.

“It hurt — especially because the initial thing that was tapped into was, ‘You’re going to be this legendary artist,’” he says. “You’re being inflated with this importance that you’re saving the world, thinking that you’re in new biblical times and everyone around you is the most pivotal person ever, and you’re creating a new way of life, the greatest artistic statement of your century. If anything, I feel like the real art piece of the thing is just basically that they recreated the exact abusive structure of the quote-unquote Pain Matrix.”

Reached for comment for this story, Kyp Malone, KoA’s brother, said that while he loved and respected his sister, he chose not to know the specifics of the situation. However, he stressed that he understood why an individual like his sister might end up following the path she chose based on their family’s strict religious background. “We grew up in a high-control group,” he said. “Sometimes people find different ways to reproduce situations that were essentially traumatizing to deal with.”

High-control groups like cults can come in all shapes and sizes. According to Alexandra Stein, a London-based social psychologist specialized in ideological extremism and other dangerous social relationships, they can range from activist groups fighting for progressive causes to multilevel marketing schemes. There’s nothing particularly unusual about a new religious movement that dresses up in the clothes of a specific youth subculture — even one as niche and of-its-moment as Weird Facebook — and taps into the same issues at the heart of progressive social causes and movements.

In her 2016 book Terror, Love, and Brainwashing, Stein outlines some of the characteristics that define high-control organizations: a totalizing belief system that hinges on good-versus-bad, us-versus-them thinking; thought-stopping buzzwords that gloss over complex realities; members who become increasingly isolated from their friends, families, and former selves; the belief that any single person holds the answer to all of the questions of existence — and on that basis, has the right to dictate every aspect of yours.

Stein says that all humans share an innate need for community. As such, we’re all vulnerable on some level to the advances of these groups. And they can be particularly attractive to individuals in the midst of a major life transition, such as starting college, leaving a job, or losing an important relationship.

As we spend more and more of our time online, there may be more opportunities than ever to fall into these crowds. And thanks to social media, communicating with and keeping tabs on members has never been easier.

Rachel Bernstein, a licensed therapist, cult expert, and educator, says that while the internet has made it easier for individuals to investigate groups, it’s also become “a free-for-all for any and all people who want to recruit to their group or to their idea or to their ideal or to their conspiracy or to their paranoia.” She estimates there are hundreds of internet-based high-control groups.

The DayLife Army’s origins in Weird Facebook, and the particularities of its belief system, may be unique, but the organization shares something in common with contemporary conspiracy theory groups and far-right online communities, which tend to embrace a similar mix of memes, irony, and insider-outsider thinking.

“Conspiracy stuff is challenging what we take for granted — the most extreme example being the flat-Earth thing,” says David Robertson, a lecturer in religious studies at the Open University in the U.K. “It’s about [how] what you’ve been told is true isn’t true.” Part of that formula, he says, is using deliberately provocative rhetoric to prod at consensus niceties and norms. “They say they’re doing it: ‘We’re not even using your language.’ Using the word ‘cult’ to describe themselves — it’s all part of that.”

Eventually, Matthew says, he realized that the only thing that really stood out about the DayLife Army was the way it flagrantly advertised itself as a destructive, dictatorial organization. In some ways, this was more transparent than most high-control groups.

But it also offered the group some plausible deniability, especially in the irony-obsessed context of millennial internet culture. In a social media ecosystem where the most shocking claims always seem to travel the farthest, it was also part of the pitch.

Like many cult survivors, Matthew is still coming to terms with some of his own actions during his time with the group: “Everyone that I walked around to with my enthusiasm and excitement that we could do something new, I was just dragging all these people into an abusive structure that some of them are still in to this day,” he says.

In an effort to raise awareness of the realities of life in the organization and encourage remaining members to leave, Matthew began sharing his story on an Instagram account he created this spring. The account dissects the psychological tactics that underlie the organization’s online and IRL activities. “I didn’t know what was ironic, what was sincere, fake or real,” he wrote. “All I knew was that I was going to follow the next order and keep going at all costs.”

Mostly, Matthew has been spending the past year trying to rebuild the parts of his life he neglected during his years with Tumple and the DayLife Army: repairing his relationship with his parents, reconnecting with old friends, forging new ones, and embarking on a new career. Since coming back home, he’s started making music again, too.
JohnTrent
I feel vindicated about my post in another thread. I was slightly surprised when figuring out this was for Shaniquas, but it was only a matter of time, I suppose. If you've ever checked through some Black Israelite pages or related spheres, they can produce some posts that make the average /x/ schizo look like an upright citizen. There seems to be a common thread amongst these new cult+MLM formations where each tend to discuss their own version of a Matrix. The usage appears to have something to do with social structures and never to do with something as far-encompassing as The Matrix movie — the gist is that the Matrix is some facet of society and, by being initiated as a member, you have an enclave that is outside the Matrix's grasp (or alternatively, you can "overcome" the Matrix through a series of actions promoted by the group). That the word "pain" should be appended to it should attract people who are prone to unfounded feelings of "oppression", leading them to desire an escape from the Pain Matrix. How long this strategy will work is up to the people's gullibility. 

I lol'd at these two excerpts:
Quote:Only white people, she said, were promoted to leadership positions. Meanwhile, these leaders were empowered to impose the organization’s strict rules and disciplinary measures upon the Black women they supervised. Phu said KoA and Wiz-EL would often accuse her of being “irresponsible” and “ruining the organization’s integrity with [her] pussy,” in a manner Phu said evoked the racist “Jezebel” trope. “[This is] totally not an anti-racist organization,” Phu said.
Quote:Before joining the in-person community last October, Phu, who is transexual, said KoA personally assured her that the group would ensure her continuous access to hormone replacement therapy and associated medical care. But, she says, the leaders caused her to repeatedly miss or delay scheduled appointments by refusing her access to her own money or car. At one point, Phu said she experienced a three-week stretch without her daily hormones; after she traveled to receive care, she said the organization penalized her by increasing the amount of money she was expected to bring in. “They think [medical care for [transexual people] is not real,” Phu told OneZero. “They don’t give a fuck about trans women.”

If I had to make predictions, the homesteading and "innawoods" cliques on the Right are a fertile ground for cult organizations. There is now a void that militias once filled, where a person went off-the-grid to fight ZOG. There is a different motivating factor with the homesteading types, as they are no longer interested in combat but in their own self-preservation. There is no programme, no plan, no solid concept of a breakaway territory in the United States. What they are concerned about is escaping from the cities and avoiding ZOG. They could easily be swindled if a charismatic enough person decided to take control of these few, placing before them some certainties amidst the chaos. I do not approve of doing this, simply observing and making predictions.
Guest
Weird how someone encouraging ego death is a danger signal if they plan to enclose you or even just regularly communicate with you over the internet, but then drive-by ego deathers are a core part of established american "counter culture" Joe Rogan, new agers, basically all non-wigger MKultra. (with occasional opponent process wigger synergy) If you are trapped in a system like society whether big or small where someone has the opportunity to harvest resources from you and even be gratified by your enslavement itself and they start putting ego death mindworms into your mind things are about to get even more cultlike. ("If it saves even a single life, stop being greedy, it is only months, err- years, of your life, no this isn't undignified!")
The_Author
Good post. Didn't read it all the way, but I think there is some merit to the denigration of the individual. Not to the "ego-death" extent, but, as I have written: "Cohesive groups are not established by coincidental agreement between people."

I have tried to apply this principle slightly in this post: https://templism.substack.com/p/cohesion

It takes 2 minutes to read.
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