Did you know that America is home to come of the most dangerous cults in history? Cults began in America as early as the 1930s, and they still exist today! By definition, “a cult is any group which employs mind control and deceptive recruiting techniques” (How Cults Work). Although people may know what a cult it, they may not know how potentially dangerous a cult is.
Cults are just simply new religions or as Donald Stone reports in the text, “emergent religions”. They offer friendship and a social connection of like –minded people and offer people a place to make this connection. As older religions grow and change, new sects may break off in either disagreement or as a way to return the religions to its roots. Members of these new religious groups come from very different walks of life, countries or just different regions but they have a new purpose, restoring the traditions or returning back to the fundamentals of the religion. Many of these new religions are centered on college campuses and about 10 % of the population join the cult and remain in it for about two years. (Diem p16) An interesting note is that many of the new members
The scene of the first murder was a Malibu Beach house. On July 25, 1969, Gary Hinman, a young music teacher was attacked in his home. It was the first of a series of murders committed by The Family to start Helter Skelter, a war that Manson had propagated to his
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).
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
Most know Manson as a notorious cult leader who inspired his followers to do the unthinkable. Upon reaching age 34, Manson chose to start a “family” (Abbas). However, this one would be far different than any other family to ever exist. He pushed the boundaries of sanity for several young girls whom he lured into his evil movement. Charles believed that an enormous race war would bring about the end of the world. He predicted that African Americans would prevail. During all of this, he planned to hide out with his family in the desert, only to emerge and take over the world because he thought the African Americans would be unfit to lead themselves. He even referenced himself as Jesus Christ incarnate (Abbas). All of Manson’s predictions came from what he thought were hidden messages in the song “Helter Skelter” by the Beetles (Henderson). It seemed as if all that was left to do was wait for the end to come.
destructive cult is a rigidly structured absolutist group usually under an authoritarian, charismatic leader which isolates itself from established societal
The history surrounding cults is not as simple as one might think. Cults raise a
Mason had many of his chosen followers to kill his enemies and other crimes. Now up until August 19, 1969, Houten had not been included in any of the murders. However, this one time, she asked to go. This is where she held Rosemary LaBianca was held down by Van Houten. She was stabbed numerous times until death. There were over 47 stab wounds in totally. Some stabs were done after she had already died. Houten confused to stabbing LaBianca in the butt and lower back. This was done after she knew LaBianca had already died. The mason family moved from the ranch they were staying. Charles mason, the leader was arrested in October of 1969. In December 1969, Van Houten was arrested. Van Houten went to trail as well as other members of the Manson family cult. Tex Waston, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Clem Gragon, Bruce Davis and Charles Manson all went to trial for murder. It was said that Van Houten giggled and laughed while the testimonies of the victims were being discussed. Later she started to have been on drugs during the trial. Van Houten has had many multiply trails. She was given a life sentence. After twenty times of trying to get parole, she was finally granted parole on September 6th,
It was revealed in a book about Manson that his plan he thought their was going to be a war between balock and white people. He wanted to start this war with the killings, hoping people would think black people, or a civil rights group, had committed the murders. In Manson’s mind this would have started the war, which he called Helter Skelter after the Beatles song.
The church of Scientology has been the subject of controversy since its inception. Its methods and beliefs have attracted the attention of scholars from around the world. The church has been under government investigation and has endured a countless amount of lawsuits (Reitman 14). It is also a hot topic by the media with several endorsements by some of the most recognized Hollywood celebrities. However, the main topic of debate regarding the Church of Scientology is its status as a religion. Some members claim that the church has helped them overcome their struggles and that they are happier people, while others condemn it as a dangerous cult (Sweeney). The church of Scientology is a religious group whose purpose is to retain their
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.
The owner of the secluded home in Benedict Canyon was Roman Polanski, but Terry Melcher lived in the house before he sold it to Polanski. Six people were brutally murdered that night, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, all on Manson’s command (“Manson Family Murders”). Afterwards, Manson was delighted his only reason for killing everyone in the house was because it was once home to Terry Melcher. Melcher was a record producer who once denied to work with Manson many years before. Consequently Melcher’s denial made him another victim of Charles Manson's death list. Upon entering the house the police were shocked. “The police found a number of bizarre clues: DEATH TO PIGS, and RISE on the living room walls, and the misspelled HEALTER SKELTER on the refrigerator door, all printed in the blood of one of the victims” (Bugliosi 160).
Cults can be classified as destructive, considering the methods used and how membership affects individuals. According to the International Cultic Studies Association or ICSA, cults can be considered destructive to its members. Reports form former cult member’s reveals that they have trouble trusting others, problems forming and maintaining relationships, and feel disconnected with the world. In addition, former cult members report being diagnosed with depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD often having flashbacks of events that occurred while they were in the cult. Finally, it is important to mention that cults also cause injuries or death. Considering these reports cults can be classified as destructive because members may have a difficult time adjusting to life outside the cult, difficulties in living life
Charles Manson had a way of picking up on people’s weaknesses and fears, and used it against them. He preyed on vulnerability and, as Linda James said, he offered them wealth and perfect relationships (Fennel, 1993). And, although his claims were extraordinary, he was able to attract a good amount of followers.