From the definition of cult, one would think that large groups cannot be cults. This is tn the members of this church place THE CHURCH ABOVE EVERYTHING – the law, contracts/pledges to do a job, psychological well being of individuals who are seen as threats, maybe even its own members. There appears to be absolutely no remorse shown among any of these people. Creepy, creepy people.
Words in parenthesis are mine or Anna’s
Religious scholar, the Rev. Richard L. Dowhower, author of “Recovery from Cults,” points out that there are some key characteristics that distinguish religions and cults:
- Cults enforce compliance.
- Cults exploit spiritual needs
- Cultic conversion involves an unaware surrender to external forces that care little for the person’s identity.
- Religions cherish the family, but cults view the family as an enemy. (Anna – not so with this cult, but the family is used as leverage. You will be shunned by your family if you question or stray).
- Cults encourage quick decisions with little information. (This cult doesn’t tell interested parties all that they are signing up for. This from ex members.)
In reflecting on the writings of Robert Lifton, the internationally known scholar on the subject of thought reform, he says that cults possess three characteristics:
* A charismatic leader “who increasingly becomes an object of worship” (Anna asks, “How about a group who isn’t necessarily an object of worship, but their word is the law?”)
* A process of “coercive persuasion or thought reform” (brainwashing); and (taught to think a certain way as children, taught to tell on one another for the good of the group)
* Economic, sexual, or psychological exploitation of the rank-and-file members by the cult leadership. (In this case economic – required tithing and psychological when you take into account that a cult member’s whole life revolves around church and family – leaving or being shunned causes psychological damage – I would think).
Another noted scholar, Jerry Stokes, author of “Changing World Religions, Cults & Occult,” found that, typically, cults are led by those who claim to be divinely inspired. He also believes that “Cults and sects usually claim to be the only true (or the most true) church in the world.”
More of the article goes on to talk about Scientology, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormonism. It evens says that at one time Christianity could have qualified as a cult. Also, when a cult becomes large it can be recognized as an established religion.
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