Sociologists view cult behavior as a deviance from society’s norm. There are many theories as to why a cult leader forms a cult and how they garner such complete blind devotion from their members. While researching Jim Jones and The Peoples Temple I discovered that this particular cult adhered to several of the proven theories. Jones had few societal bonds and used fear and intimidation to control his members. He was an extreme socialist turned communist; when his original goals were met with resistance, he chose the path of rebellion, which was to reject society’s goals and seek to provide his own goals and means to accomplish them (Henslin, 2015).
When one hears of a cult, one thinks of organizations such as the Church of Scientology, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and small fanatical groups such as the Assembly of God. According to Robert J. Lofton, author of Letters to an Elder, there are two kinds of cults; those that use mind-control, and those that do not. Lofton describes eight characteristics of destructive mind-control cults, saying, “If any group exercises all eight of these control elements, they are, in fact a destructive mind control cult”. Lofton’s characteristics are ‘Environmental Control’, ‘Mystical Manipulation’, ‘Demand for Purity’, ‘Cult of Confession’, ‘Sacred Science’, ‘Loading the Language’, ‘Doctrine over Person’, and ‘Dispensing of Existence’. These eight
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.
To consider a social group as a cult, it must meet certain The second factor is the outcome. People in cults often come out of the group in a worse position than when they first joined the cult. They could be worse off financially, psychologically, or relationally to give a few examples. More times than not, people in groups that are not considered cults do not produce the effects listed above. Instead, members of these groups report that they improve as a person in some way (Salande, and Perkins 382, 383). Cults can be differentiated from other groups because of the methods that cults use, and the effect that cults can have on its members.
Cults and Their Leaders For many years, cult leaders always had a psychological hold on their followers' minds. Whether it was to kill other people or to kill themselves, they did it without question. Some cult leaders used fear, violence and guilt as a means of a weapon to control the minds of their followers. Other cult leaders used persuasive and spiritual speeches that made their followers believe they were doing good and fulfilling God's plan. Because cult leaders are powerful through psychological offenses, the people that belong to their cults are brainwashed into doing things they wouldn't normally do in their right state of mind.
This paper explores the lifestyle of the different groups of people that follow a religion or a cult and the similarities that exist between the latter two. Everywhere in the world, religion has a strong influence on people’s beliefs and leads them to perceive cult followers in a negative fashion. In particular, the word “cult” is often associated with evil; horrific rituals; and the opposition to religious beliefs. However, this is often not the case as cults in fact, tend to be not dangerous and even share customs with popular religions. Religious principles may directly be compared to those practiced by smaller cults today. That being said, this paper takes both religion and cult into consideration when examining religious practices; by
The year is 1993, and there had been a deadly fire that consumed the lives of eighty individuals. The fire erupted in Waco, Texas on a compound called Mt. Carmel. There had been a 51 day siege where the ATF and the FBI tried to gain control of the compound
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 ,
A cult society is an organization that basically disguises itself as a religion. In a cult, they normally perform rituals. There are usually many people in these societies. In Jim Jones’s cult, there were at least one
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
According to official Scientology website (www.scientology.org), Scientology is a religion that offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature and one’s relationship to self, family, groups, mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the supreme being. A cult
This research will address the self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, a sect of Mormonism based in Utah, Warren Jeffs and his cult of fear. Warren Jeffs had control over ten thousands of followers for nearly a decade. Warren Jeffs coerced young girls into polygamous marriages with older men. Jeffs is estimated to have over 70 wives. The media was shunned, and he created a hidden community where polygamy was prized above anything else. In 2007, after there was a two year FBI manhunt, Jeffs was convicted as an accomplice to rape. Warren Jeff's rise to power effort led to his fallout. Even after his conviction his followers believed that he was innocent and held onto his beliefs and practices.
Keaton Dixon-Reusz September 12 2017 History 12 Mr. Bruce The Polygamy Conundrum Is someone's religion a cult just because you find it odd, or sinister? The small polygamous community of Bountiful would argue that it does not; however many see polygamy as a dangerous and vile practice, and therefore, basing a lifestyle
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).
Most historians use the more neutral term ‘new religious movement’ instead of the cult, because there is no one definition of cults, their number and membership cannot be accurately measured even today (Sarah Pike, 2016). New religious groups are regularly developed from another, more accepted religion. An example of this is Christianity, which first began as a cult extending from Judaism (Sarah Pike, 2016). While this was regularly the case, many cults did not begin as religious groups. A famous example of this is the movement called Synanon, which was originally organised to rehabilitate drug addicts, but then later changed into a commune and won legal recognition as a religion (Sarah Pike, 2016). A theory among UFO groups, there is a widespread belief that extraterrestrials have no vocal cords, an atrophied digestive system and no sexual organs (B.A. Robinson, 2009). This is symbolic of three common religious disciplines: silence, fasting and celibacy. These attitudes may have somewhat shaped what the UFO group Heaven’s Gate believed in.