There’s a great rare book called The False Messiahs, by Jack Gratus. In it he gives the history of some really strange cults throughout history.
One point he made has stuck with me that makes me wish I had the book. It’s the relationship between close followers and cult leaders. At times the followers’ faith may lag, but then the cult leader rises to the occasion and gives a great speech, or maybe performs a miracle to raise the faith of the followers.
At the same time, the cult leader’s faith in himself (or herself) may lag. Maybe he gave a bad interview, or a miraculous healing failed. This is where the toadies come in. THEY prop up the cult leader’s faith! Oh, dear leader, you are unique and wonderful! Think of all the people you have saved/cured/audited! etc. So the leader and the toadies keep the cult going by propping up each other.
Toadies also bring any doubters back into line. If some member’s faith is lagging, the toady rushes in to either shore up their faith or berate them into submission. If it weren’t for the toadies, many more people would leave a cult.
Merriam-Webster gives several synonyms for toady: apple-polisher, bootlicker, brownnoser, fawner, flunky (also flunkey or flunkie), lickspittle, suck-up, sycophant. Yes-man also works. Toadies are generally those close to the cult leader who have been given some degree of power in the group as a reward for their toadyism. They return the favor by actually seeing the emperor’s invisible clothes. They keep the scheme going. Without toadies, what would a cult leader do?
I bring this up merely to point out that toadies must share the blame for what a cult has done. They perpetuate the scam. Without them a cult would collapse.