Careful control of your image (Orange Papers, 小心控制你的形象, 橙色文件)

The cult leader is a master at controlling how people view them.

One aspect of that, is after reaching a certain critical mass of mindless followers, to limit your public appearances to situations in which you have the most control, and notably being surrounded only by your believers.

Because of course: you are human, not a God, and you are going to fuck up from time to time, so why take any risks now that you are already established?

Li Hongzhi (李洪志, LHZ, Falun Gong prophet) does not announce where he is going for the most part, even though he is followed by millions: he just shows up unannounced, and local believers whisper to one another in short advance and come to see him when possible.

As a result, there are almost no recordings of Li Hongzhi except from the early days when he actually had to go out and get new believers hooked himself.

What if he (brain-)farted during a presentation, like we all do from time to time? Don’t want recordings of that, do we? Canonical Falun Gong texts (法轮功的经典著作) related to those private presentations is only published after careful review of course.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2Cv5hZfOmk&t=1177 Siberian Cult Leader Thinks He’s Jesus by VICE (2012) In this documentary, which VICE was allowed to visit and interview Siberian prophet Vissarion (real name Sergey Anatolyevitch Torop Серге́й Анато́льевич То́роп, AKA "The Russian Jesus"), and they note how well he controlled his appearance. Ciro also heard similar stories of Stalin (斯大林, 1922-1952) and Mao Zedong (毛泽东, 1954–1976) when they would retreat from the public eye for a while. Part of appearance control generally requires you to select select cult members of the inner circle to act for you, so you can minimize your surface of errors. This in exchange gives them greater status in the community.