Here is an interesting little blurb from a web site called My Savvy Sisters
Her comments below describe perfectly the various leaders of the 700 some splinter cults of Armstrongism.
My Savvy Sisters: How do spiritual leaders benefit from being abusive?
Interesting question! The benefits vary from group to group, and leader to leader. It depends on the end goal of the group and the leaders themselves. Some groups are driven by money, and others by power. Some religious groups also exploit sex as well. Other groups serve to meet the psychological needs of the leader.
The primary group leader of a group generally fits a typical narcissistic profile, what some have termed the Machiavellian Personality after the famed Prince Machiavelli. With only casual contact with such an individual, one would never suspect that they had anything less than the highest moral character, but this is just on the surface. In addition to being very charismatic, charming and keenly shrewd, they never show humility, they believe that ethics apply only to the weak (so they are exempt from moral standards which serves their exaggerated sense of entitlement), and they prefer to be feared (prefer an authoritarian style of control). Despite their capacity for arrogance, they can feign compassion and humility impeccably when it suits their objectives, yet they have a very limited capacity for showing true empathy to others. Those who tend toward this profile demand a great deal of attention and praise, and they thrive on the power others surrender to them.
Your question also speaks to a dynamic found within spiritually abusive groups themselves. The sub-status of a type of “middle management leader” that is bestowed on followers within spiritually abusive groups provides “true believers” with status, prestige, and the rewards of approval and worth. Groups promote an external basis of worth, discouraging individuals to derive confidence and well-being from within themselves. The profoundly powerful sense of reward comes with these positions in middle management within the system, and members lust after them because it offsets the discomfort of the shame-oriented control measures used in such groups to control members.