Cult Research Paper

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The word cult is defined as an alternative religion. Most cults are started because someone doesn’t like the way the world is, and feels that his/her church isn’t doing anything to make it better, so they leave and create what they believe to be the perfect religion. Then this person strives to make others believe as they do so they will join (Miller, 1991, p. 15). There are somewhere around 3,000 to 5,000 of these cults throughout the United States, but only 75 to 100 are documented (Miller, 1991, p. 15-16). Satanism is the oldest form of such cults. A few other commonly known cults are Reverend Jim Jones and the People Temple, Heavens Gate, and Charles Manson and the Family.
In the early 20th century,
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In 1977 Jones was forced to move his church to a secluded jungle in Guyana, South America. There he created Jonestown (Cults R Us, 2000, September 27, p. 1).
In 1978, Leo Ryan went to Jonestown on a fact-finding investigation. After being there for only one day, a member tried to stab him. When Ryan tried to leave the compound, members of the church shot at his plane and killed him. A few hours after this incident, Jones made all the members drink grape-flavored Fla-Vor-Aid that was laced with potassium cyanide and tranquilizers. All members did so, some by force, and most died. Surviving members later committed suicide (Cults R Us, 2000, September 27, p. 1).
Many people believe that Jim was involved with the CIA, and that Jonestown was just a mind control experiment. Later Henry Lee, a known serial killer, said he was the one who delivered the cyanide to Jones (Cults R Us, 2000,September 27, p. 1).
One of the more recently publicized cults is Heavens Gate. Heavens Gate was the only known “doomsday-cult-web-design-team”. On March 26, 1997, they believed there would be a space ship hiding in the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet, and it would come and take them to their “mother planet”. This caused a mass suicide of 21 women, and 18 men. “All the people that committed suicide were between 26 and 72, all had buzz cuts, were dressed in black pants, oversized shirts, and brand new Nikes”.
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