The Grand Illusion of Cults

by Greg Sammons, M.Ed., PC

Greg is currently the Executive Director of Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center.


“Welcome to The Grand Illusion, come on in and see what’s happening, pay the price, get your ticket for the show.”

These are the opening lyrics of the song entitled “The Grand Illusion” written and recorded by the rock group Styx. While working at Wellspring for the last several years I have often thought about the meaning of this anthem. The words speak about our desires and fantasies to be or to follow celebrities and rock stars. The songwriters say “Don’t be fooled by the photographs, movie stars, TV or the magazines....” Another line proclaims “....Just remember, it’s a Grand Illusion and deep inside we are all the same.” In other words I think we all need to remind ourselves we are human beings. No one person can have all the answers and have a corner on life or God.

We all want to better our lives and we should. It is never wrong to look for answers or ideas about improving the world we live in. We must take heed when things sound too wonderful. Step back for a moment and ask yourself, “Is this too good to be true?” When someone seems to have all the answers or they seem to be on top of life, just remember that it may just be a “Grand Illusion.”

The many clients who have stepped through the doors at Wellspring are the same as you and I. We all look for answers and ways to improve our lives. We all can become victims of deceit and lies. I am sure we all could think of at least one time in our lives when someone may have led us astray on some kind of an issue whether large or small. We have all been deceived and lied to. We have all been conned at some point in our lives. Some of us on a bigger scale than others.

We all have our own vulnerabilities as we journey through life. There is a cult for all of us, or we could say there is an “Illusion” for each of us as cults claim to have all the answers and happiness for those who will follow their system. Maybe you have been fortunate enough not to come across the cult that would coerce you to give up everything. Maybe you have not crossed the path to be intrigued and then drawn into a world where you become trapped under a system which removes your own thoughts just to be replaced by someone else’s agenda. Maybe this has not happened to you...yet. This is why we always have to be on guard and continue educating ourselves about cults and the abuses of mind control.

Each day we face many opportunities to make investments, join groups or begin new relationships. We must remember things are not always what they seem. Check it out, take it slowly and ask questions. Sometimes it can be a “Grand Illusion. 

Copyright © 2007 by Greg Sammons.  Used with permission.