A cult is both voluntary and compulsory community of people held together by some religious dogmas. Such communities often have an authoritarian leader whom they unconditionally obey. The largest and most famous of all modern cults is "Jehovah's Witnesses" which is a Christian branch that particularly focuses on the missionary activity. Beware of such people and don't let them clutter up your brain.
The danger of the cults is that the leaders often "brainwash" the members. Consequently, the members can give their savings and even apartments to the cult, which leaves them without any means of living. That is not even the worst option: in some cults, the leaders can rape, torture and sometimes even kill the ordinary members and remain unpunished due to the closed character of the cult.
How to recognize the cults?
- Firstly, remember these names and do not ever become a member of the following religious organizations:
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormonism)
- The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses)
- The Church of Scientology
- The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (Unification Church)
- The Family (Children of God)
Although every cult is different, sociologists can highlight some key features that characterize most of the cults.
The cults try to attract more adherents, so usually the members of the cults are actively engaged in the promotion of their doctrine. The annoying phone calls, emails and messages with suggestions to freely attend a seminar on spiritual growth or awakening should alert you. Charity concerts, festivals for children, or psychological training often conceal the pseudo-religious cults, as well.
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Hierarchy and dual teaching
Typically, the leaders of the cults disguise their doctrine under the accepted values. They never tell the beginners the whole truth about the ideals of their cults. Often, to become aware of the affairs of the cult you need to take a high place in the hierarchy. Hierarchy is one of the main properties of the construction of a religious sect. This allows you to keep the entire organization under strict control, as well as to encourage participants to be active to get to the next level.
Most cults exist thanks to the contributions of their adherents. At a certain stage, the cult leaders begin to demand contributions and donations from the members. Sometimes cults inform about the charges for his seminars and workshops from the very beginning, but more often the beginner find out about the fees after the "initiation" into the ranks of the cult. To dispose the funds and property of the members, the leaders can use a variety of methods of suppression of consciousness, hypnosis, and psychological pressure, or even threats to life and health.
The infallible leader
The doctrines of the cults usually claim the uniqueness and invincibility of their leader. Moreover, all the knowledge the "supreme teacher" has he usually received in a supernatural way, for example, through the communication with the spirits, nature, or alien intelligence. His level of "enlightenment" is unattainable for the followers, so his orders cannot be discussed. This is a kind of a "dictator," and obedience to him through the hierarchical levels is totalitarian in nature. Even if the beginners think that their participation is voluntary and democratic, actually the structure is strictly regulated.
Books and meetings
The cults provide the beginners with all kinds of information to put him into the religious spirit. They can give you books, CDs, films, booklets, etc. The beginner is usually invited to the meetings of the cult, during which "miracles" happen to prove the righteousness of the cult's beliefs. The meetings of the members of the sect is a mandatory procedure for newcomers. Depending on the nature of the cult, these meetings can be either small (when there are only a few participants or even tet-a-tet), or quite massive to make the beginner understand how many people believe in this teaching.
The opposition to the world
The members of the sect are constantly inspired by a kind of "elitism" of their status among other people. As a rule, they are told that they will be saved and will achieve the incredible heights of consciousness, or even will be able to save the lost humanity when the time comes. The main implication is that the cultists are the "chosen people" among the others. The members are required to oppose themselves to all others.
The common purpose and the isolation from the outside world
Many cults, especially the radical ones, have a particular goal of their existence. It may be the Apocalypse, and consequently the salvation of the souls of the members. It may be a "point of enlightenment," the conquest of power and wealth or even the vengeance. Most of the problems that exist in the world, according to the cults, can be solved after achieving the ultimate goal of the community. The common purpose unites the members of the sect and separates them from the outside world.
Identification symbols and uniforms
For the members of the cult, it is important to see the difference between themselves and the other world. Therefore, they invent special symbols that can be applied as tattoos on the body or worn as amulets hidden under the clothing. They can use a special language that is understandable only to the initiated or has some special non-verbal signs. The members can wear a specific item of clothing, a particular hairstyle, or jewelry. They do all of this to feel the connection with the cult even when they are outside of it.
Usually, people who have an unstable mentality, problems in life, the feeling of loneliness are those who become the members of a cult. Be careful and don't let yourself or your friends to be tricked by the dangerous cults. Contact the police if you notice any illegal actions among members of the religious organization (fighting, theft, illegal rental housing). If someone you know acts as if he has become a member of a cult, find a specialist in the dependency from the sects.