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Identifying Cults


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Title: Identifying Cults

Identifying Cults
  • Apocalyptic Invasion

Definition of Cult
  • From the Latin cultis which denotes all that is
    involved in worship, ritual, emotion, liturgy and
    attitude. This definition actually denotes what
    we call denomination and sects and would make all
    religious movements a cult.

  • A religion or religious sect generally considered
    to be extremist or false, with its followers
    often living in an unconventional manner under
    the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic
  • The followers of such a religion or sect.
  • Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or
    veneration for a person, principle, or thing.
  • The object of such devotion.
  • A system or community of religious worship and
  • The formal means of expressing religious
    reverence religious ceremony and ritual.
  • A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed
    by its originator to have exclusive or
    exceptional power in curing a particular disease.
  • Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or
    veneration for a person, principle, or thing.
  • The object of such devotion.
  • An exclusive group of persons sharing an
    esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual

Christian Definition of Cult
  • Any group which deviates from Biblical, orthodox,
    historical Christianity. For example They deny
    the Deity of Christ, his physical resurrection,
    his personal and physical return to earth and
    salvation by FAITH alone.
  • Does not cover cults within other world
    religions. Nor does it cover Psychological,
    Commercial or Educational cults which do not
    recognize the Bible as a source of reality.

Universal Definition
  • Any group which has a pyramid type authoritarian
    leadership structure with all teaching and
    guidance coming from person/persons at the top.
    The group will claim to be the only way to God
    Nirvana Paradise Ultimate Reality Full
    Potential, Way to Happiness, etc. and will use
    thought reform or mind control techniques to gain
    control and keep their members
  • Includes all world religions, as well as
    commercial, educational and psychological cults.

Orthodox Bible-Based Cult
  • Called a cult because of their behaviorsnot
    their doctrine. Most religious cults do teach
    what the Christian church would declare to be
    heresy but some do not. Some teach the basics of
    Christian faith but have behavioral patterns that
    are abusive, controlling and cultic.
  • Occurs in noncharismatic and charismatic
  • Add extra authority of leadership or someones
    particular writings.
  • Center around the interpretations of the
    leadership and submissive and unquestioning
    acceptance of these is essential to be a member
    of good standing
  • Acceptance of non-essential doctrines to exert
    mind control

Other Identification Marks
  • Elitist view of itself in relation to others
  • Unique causethey are the only ones right
  • They are the only ones doing Gods will
  • Actively promote their cause
  • Abuse God-given personal rights and freedoms
  • Abuse can be theological, spiritual, social and

Cultic Activity
  • Leaders claim a special, exclusive ministry,
    revelation or position of authority given by God
  • Believe they are the only true church
  • Use intimidation or psychological manipulation to
    keep members loyal
  • threats of dire calamity sent by God if they
  • Certain death at Armageddon
  • Shunned by family and friends
  • Substantial financial support to group
  • Compulsory tithing
  • Signing over all property
  • Coercive methods of instilling guilt on those who
    have not given
  • Sell magazines, flowers or other goods as part of
  • Try to maintain that they are not interested in

Cultic activity
  • Great emphasis on loyalty to the group and its
  • Lives of members will be totally absorbed into
    the groups activities
  • Little or no time to think for themselves due to
    physical and emotional exhaustion
  • Total control over all aspects of the private
    lives of members
  • Communal living
  • Constant and repetitious teaching on how to be a
    true Christian or being obedient to
  • Members will look to leaders for guidance in
    everything they do
  • Bible-based cults may proclaim they have no
    clergy/laity distinction and no paid
    ministrythat they are all equal

Cultic Activity
  • Any dissent or questioning is discouraged
  • Criticism in any form is seen as rebellion
  • Emphasis on authority, unquestioning obedience
    and submission
  • Members required to demonstrate their loyalty
  • Encourages bullying under the guise of looking
    out for ones spiritual welfare
  • Deliberately lie (heavenly deception)
  • Give up lives by refusing medical treatment
  • Attempts to leave or expose the group met with
    threats oaths of loyalty or covenants

Abuses of Rights and Freedoms
  • Abuse of Individuality
  • Group mentalitygroup think
  • Not permitted to think for themselves apart from
  • Abuse of intimacy relationships with friends,
    family, relative, spouses, children, parents are
    broken or seriously hampered
  • Abuse of finances
  • Give all you can to the group
  • Non-communal group members usually live at the
    lower social-economic strata because they give
    all to the group

Abuses of Rights and Freedoms
  • Us versus Them Mentality
  • Isolation from the community in general
  • Everything outside is of the devil or
  • Enemies now include former friends, the Christian
    church, governments, education systems, the
    mediathe world in general
  • Involvement is a means to an end

Abuses of Rights and Freedoms
  • Abuse of Time and Energy
  • Group controls and uses almost all the members
    time and energy in group activities
  • Constant state of mental and physical exhaustion
  • Abuse of Free Will
  • Must unquestioningly submit to the groups
    teaching and direction
  • Own free will must be broken and become the same
    as the groups will
  • Accomplished by coercive methods including low
    protein diets and lack of sleep, or over a period
    of time through intimidation
  • Make heavy use of guilt

Results of Abuse
  • Personality changes
  • Loss of identity cannot see themselves separate
    from the group, may change name
  • Paranoidpersistent feelings of persecution
  • Social Disorientation
  • Lose ability to socialize outside the group.
  • Cannot make simple decisions for themselves
  • Become naïve about life in general
  • Severe Guilt Complexes
  • About prior lives
  • Misdemeanors are made into mountainskeeping
    members in constant state of guilt
  • Arent doing enough, entertaining doubts or
    questions, or thinking rationally for themselves
  • Piled on with new rules constantly being laid
    down about what is sinful
  • Illness is a lack of faithbringing on more guild
  • Emotional illnessproof of sin

Characteristics of a Cult
  • Not all these points will be found in every cult
  • All cults will have some if not most of them, in
    varying degrees
  • MIND CONTROL MADE EASY! Become a Cult Leader
    Today! http//
  • CIA Mind Control Techniques http//

FBIs Lethal Triad of Extremist Groups
  • Isolation
  • Projection
  • Pathological Anger

Domestic Terrorist Groups
  • Function more on emotional issues than on deeply
    entrenched political ideologies
  • Usually loners whose beliefs garner little
    support from mainstream American society
  • Emotional variables such as fear, anger or hatred
    motivate group membership and methods of operation

  • Key components in the restructuring or
    indoctrination phase of most groups, even those
    at the constructive end of the continuum, such as
    the militarys bootcamps and corporate Americas
    executive retreats
  • Most powerful of the social dynamics operating in
    radical group processes

Isolation Procedures
  • Sequestered from previous identities or memories
  • Sometimes receive new names
  • Contact with family member forbidden or strictly
  • Protects members from contamination of outside
  • Bolsters group solidarity

Psychological Isolation
  • Control what members think
  • Strict censorship by leaders Books, television,
    radio and any other form of information are
    strictly censored
  • Bombarded by cause-related information in the
    form of literature or lectures by the groups

Communal livingIndoctrination
  • Daily meetings or prayer sessions
  • Extreme sleep deprivation
  • Dietary restriction
  • Physical fatigue

Group Think
  • Isolation decreases critical thinking
  • No alternative information sourcesmembers encode
    new belief systems
  • Group tenets never challengedonly recited
  • Platitude conditioning replaces reasoning
  • No individual thinking or decision making
  • Chanting and rhythmic, repetitive body movements
  • Creates an autistic cognitive encapsulationa
    closed belief system
  • Now fertile for the seeds of other two components
    of the Lethal Triad, projection and pathological

Projection2 pronged process
  • Group projects responsibility for its decisions
    and direction onto the leader
  • Each group requires a single authoritarian
    leader, who assumes absolute control of all group
    functions and decision-making processes
  • As members surrender critical thinking, the
    elevate the group leader to the status of
    absolute authority
  • Leader assumes a title such as Supreme Commander
    or may claim to be the groups deity incarnate
  • Member pay homage to leader in a number of ways,
    including shouting, bowing, or chanting leaders
  • Group projects the cause for its perceived
    grievances onto some outside entity
  • Can be specific people or groups or merely world
    in general

Collective Orchestrated Behavior
  • Group prayer, meditation, or training sessions
  • Reality thinking does not occur
  • If find themselves thinking, the group leader
    will revert them to some form of
    isolation-producing cognitive exercise, such as
    chanting, exercising, or reciting organizational
    platitudes, to reduce the anxiety created by the
    mere thought of challenging the group leader

Leader Knows Best
  • Members abdicate responsibility and
    accountability for their actions, which allows
    them to commit any act the leader requests
  • He is my leader it would be a bigger wrong to
    violate his order than it would be to shoot my

Pathological Anger
  • Grows from the combination of isolation and
  • Collectively, group members see themselves as
    victims of an outside force
  • As they project blame onto this entity, they grow
    emotionally volatile
  • Their explosive anger can fuel actions that range
    from scapegoating ethnic minorities to bombing
    and gassing outsiders indiscriminately

Righteous Indignation
  • Only in contact with other like-minded members
  • Dont test or challenge the group hypothesis and
    feel no sense of individual accountability
  • Commit heinous acts worth experiences significant
    emotional turmoil or guilt
  • The group process has created situational
    sociopaths who suffer no remorse no matter what
    they do

Negotiating with Cults
  • Typical Negotiation Rule of the ateslocate,
    isolate, evacuate, and negotiate
  • the indoctrinated belief system and social
    reinforcement by other group members override the
    influences generated by traditional negotiation
  • Negotiators should not attempt to address issues
    central to the groups belief systemmembers
    react as martyrs-for-the-cause
  • Should focus on providing specific, concrete
    resolutions that permit group members belief
    systems to remain intact
  • Allow group member to focus on finding a solution
    to the situation rather than defending the
    groups philosophy
  • Consider the significant social influence the
    group leader possessesdecisions must appear to
    come from leader, not the negotiator
  • Apocalyptic resolution can resultself-destruction
    becomes more acceptable than total capitulation
    of its beliefs and principles

Connections with Revelation
  • Rhetoric
  • Decoding numbers and dates
  • Imagery
  • Binary Good vs. EvilUs vs. Them Mentality

Some Interesting Sites
  • Top ten cults http//
  • http//

  • Jan Groenveld http//www.ex-cult/General/identifyi
  • Kevin M. Gilmartin, Ph.D., The Letahal Triad
    Understanding the Nature of Isolated Extremist
    Groups http//
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