Religious Cults And Other Dangerous Cults

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In addition, many dangerous cults can be described as totalitarian (Kent, 2008, p. 109) and are often the defining characteristic of a cult. If a group revolves around one central leader who is controlling, authoritative, destructive, yet charismatic, it could be called a cult (Halperin, 1982, p. 21). In many instances, to be considered a worthy member of the respective group, one must perform in accordance with group norms as set by the leadership. If an individual meets the expectations of the leadership, they will be considered spiritually satisfactory. If they fail to do this, they are often punished in some way (Ward, 2011, p.909-910). What is involved in these cults is a little less straightforward, however, there are a few facts…show more content…
166-167). Religious cults are often aimed at young individuals who desire to change the world in some way (Richmond, 2004, p. 367). They attract these young people because they criticize the current culture and claim to be able to create some sort of better one (p. 369). However, once this member is indoctrinated, coercive techniques are applied to them to keep them in the group (Kent, 2008, p. 109). This makes them especially dangerous because a person may find themselves rendered unable to leave a group due to blackmail, dependency on the group, abandonment from family and friends, or brainwashing. It is important to recognize warning signs so that young people can avoid these destructive cults at all costs. The first indicator of cultic involvement is usually some sort of strict diet. Many destructive cults, such as Satanism, require some sort of cleansing somewhat resembling communion in Christianity. This generally persists throughout the cult experience, however, a more stringent diet is placed on new “recruits” before they formally enter the cult. This is typically used to create a wedge between the individual’s family which will make separation easier (Halperin, 1982, p. 17). Other warning signs include withdrawal from normal activities, loss of interest in religious activities, and increased rebellious behavior or aggression (Richmond, 2004, p. 373). Cult Recruitment The influence that religious cults have on young people has become
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