The word “Cult” has not always had such a negative connotation attached to it. Many religions would’ve been considered cults when they first began. By the end of the 19th century many visionaries had revealed radically new religious systems, claiming immunity to the impurities of the old ones (Powers, 1997). These were no more than a group of people organizing themselves in worship and devotion for a person, object, or movement. They practiced rituals different to other “mainstream” religions, and were therefore considered cults.
Cults influence society in many ways. They shape people’s behaviors and emotions to get them to align with the cult’s beliefs and thoughts. The people that join cults are usually very insecure about themselves and want to be accepted by then group. Cults offer people acceptance, friendship, community, and family. These qualities often appeal to someone who feels the need to be accepted by others. Cults are groups that use tactics such as the foot in the door phenomenon, entrapment, and obedience to achieve the leader's ultimate desires as seen through the cults of Jonestown and Family International.
The history surrounding cults is not as simple as one might think. Cults raise a
The theory also goes that the United states Government had no involvement and that the Reason he moved to Guyana was because he was fearful of the Rising Nuclear threat. Not to mention that the main Lure of being a Religious leader at the time was the money. In fact after Jones death he left Millions of dollars and many argue if he had taken advantage of his Group (The Peoples Temple). To add to the theory, Jones mostly integrated African Americans into his Congregation (Mass Suicide at Jonestown 2). Which at the time Many Blacks did not have a Church to take them in so Jones would have had some easy followers to add to his Group which meant more money.
Ever since we were little, our parents, guardians, or even ourselves grew up to know the difference in between was would be considered peversive and what isn’t. Many people find it difficult to understand how people can be so devoted to a religion or something that can’t be scientifically proven, but the real question is how can a normal resident be allured by cults. A religious cult may be well known to us as a religious imposter who claims to lead the way to salvation and a lifespan of well being filled with blessings and free of the damnation a disease may bring, only because he or maybe even she may claim that he was sent from the heavens to the filthy earth. People who are believers in a omipitent kind believe this to be a ludicrous idea ,
The days leading up to the suicides are vastly important in Jones’ twisted reasoning in the decision to make over 900 people commit suicide in the town pavilion. It started after reports of sexual, mental and physical abuse in Jonestown had been reported to the US government. After hearing this news Congressman Leo Ryan was flown into Guyana on November 14th with 31 others including news reporters, photographers and worried relatives of The People’s Temple members. Entry into Jonestown was denied for three days before the group was welcomed into the town with dinner and entertainment for the night on November 17th 1978. Throughout the night members of the group were handed notes from Jonestown citizens asking for help defecting from the cult. The next day the visitors began to leave Jonestown with the defecting members of the cult, this sent Jones into a panic, he believed that the end was near for himself and The Peoples Temple. Jones sent gunmen to kill the congressman and other visitors before they could leave, only a handful of 5 people were shot and killed, including Leo Ryan. Jones then called for a White Night; getting nurses to create a concoction of Kool-Aid/Flavour Aid and Cyanide; an extremely poisonous compound Jones had stockpiled in his time as a
Cultic activity has taken place since the practice of religion was established thousands of years ago. Since then, literally thousands of denominations have been inoculated throughout the world, especially in the United States. A cult, according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is a system of religious beliefs and rituals. By definition, this includes organizations such as Baptists, Catholics as well as Satanists and Witches. While this maybe true, cults have been popularly perceived as Separatists who are consumed by the belief of apocalyptic events, and the leader is someone who believes he or she is chosen by God or some other deity to lead those who are to follow him or her. One group that fits this description is the
Jones ideas of equality in the form of socialism attracted many to the congregation. But as his following grew so did the criticism for his socialist beliefs. In 1965, with an increasing number of threats, Jones moved his following to Redwood Valley, California. Jones created a whole society with every level of work a commune needs to sustain itself. By the 1970s, The Peoples Temple had opened up branches all throughout California setting up its headquarters in San Francisco. But a then amphetamine addict, jones began to go crazy. Defectors of the congregation went public telling stories of fake mass suicides and other mistreatment of his members. With even more criticism than before, Jones leased 3,800 acres of land in Guyana and brought over 900 of his followers with
In Salvation and Suicide David Chidester analyzes one of the most chilling events in history. In 1978 Jim Jones orchestrated a mass murder-suicide killing 914 Jonestown citizens. Following this event the media posed the question “What is the relation between religion violence?” Chidester using evidence to support an understanding of why the people of the People’s Temple could commit mass murder-suicide and follow the teachings of Jim Jones. Chidester gives a brief description of the events and of Jim Jones life leading up to the massacre, giving insight to Jim Jones’ childhood. Furthermore explaining Jim Jones understanding of religion, and his reasoning for creating an unthinkable event.
Cults have existed throughout history since the beginning of time. A cult is defined in Webster’s dictionary as a “system of religious worship with a devoted attachment to a person, principle, etc.” Over the past thirty years numerous religious cults have caused “ tens of thousands to abandon their families, friends, education’s, and careers to follow the teaching of a leader they will never meet”(Beck 78).
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines cult as: "a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also: its body of adherents." Indeed, any religion involving unconditional worship and unquestioning obedience to God could be labeled as a cult (using the derogatory suggestion of the word), since such a religion would have that high level of dependency, obedience, and unwavering compliance ascribed to cults by definition. Many mainstream religions still require their members to believe in God unquestioningly, to have faith that he is good and that what he does is good, to consider one's own wants and needs as unimportant while accepting the will of God as paramount. All of these are certainly characteristics commonly attributed to cults, but while it would not be unreasonable to apply this definition of a cult to any dogmatic religion that requires strict compliance with God's word and will as a condition of membership, the notion of applying the word "cult" to Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or any other major world religion today is considered absurd. There are those who make this very claim: that those who worship God fit the classic depiction of cult members in their dogmatism, unswerving
The first public challenge to Jones’ leadership of the Temple came in 1972 from the media, which then increased his paranoia that his followers would turn against him. Jones went to greater lengths after being challenged by the media to declare his control by constantly testing his followers. He would organize “white nights”, which required his followers to drink a red liquid which may have contained poison, then Jones would see how many of his followers wouldn’t hesitate to drink the red liquid. Jones was still paranoid and made the decision to move Peoples Temple to Guyana and start a community called Jonestown.
A cult is defined as a social group or a social movement under one charismatic leader. It maintains a belief system, which includes a transformation of a group member. Members of the group have a high level of commitment to the leader, members, and beliefs (Lalich). An additional definition to consider is from the American Journal of Psychotherapy:
Such groups are usually thought of in terms of religion, although other types of cults can and do exist. "Cults can be described by their major focus or function: religious, psychotherapy or personal growth, political, or popular or faddist" (MacHovec, 1989, p.10). Cults require strict adherence to a set of beliefs and, in turn, provide a sense of meaning and purpose to their followers.
Manson was referred to both as "God" and "Satan" by his followers. As the family's guru, he claimed to be a reincarnation of Jesus Christ. The police and DA argue that Manson found sections within the Beatles' song Helter Skelter and within the last book in the Christian Bible, Revelation which he felt referred to a devastating future race war between blacks and whites. Although Manson is not believed to have killed anyone directly, he ordered his followers to commit the famous Tate, LaBianca and other murders.