How to Recognize a Cult

You may be in one right now!

Some say that the spritual path called New Thought is a cult, but they fail to take into consideration what a cult actually is. If you are ever confronted by someone who wants to know if your New Thought church and spiritual path are cultish, you now have the information that will put their minds and hearts at ease:

• Cults are manipulative, deceptive. They do what they believe they must to entice you.
• They’re exclusive; they always claim to have the “only right way.” And everyone else is hellbound.
• Cults use spiritual, psychological, and financial exploitation. They catch you at the emotional rather than logical level.
• They are totalitarian; you must think, feel, and act in the group’s prescribed manner at all times. (Now, that’s scary!)
• Commits—or at least, threatens—psychological or physical harm to members and/or their families, in this life or the life to come. They may even preach that a punishing deity is always watching you.

Remember, claiming to have an open mind is often considered heretical. Yet, the only progress that has ever been made has been by people who have stretched the confines of consciousness and moved off into unknown territory. Early technologies were considered not only heretical, but dangerous, even evil. That’s all changed, right?

The heresy hunters are still with us. And you may be a target. No need to concern yourself. As a New Thought practitioner, you’re on solid spiritual ground. What's more, you are free to leave this path any time you wish. But then, why would you want to?

“A miracle is nothing more than this. Anyone who has come into a knowledge of his true identity, of his oneness with the all-pervading Wisdom and Power, thus makes it possible for laws higher than the ordinary mind knows of to be revealed to him.”
Ralph Waldo Trine

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Comments 58 comments

Whikat 7 years ago

Thank you for posting this, I was thinking about doing a hub on this subject for a couple friends who are not sure what a cult is and if their church could be considered a cult. Thanks again


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Thanks for yet another great hub. Most informative.


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

its all a cult to me, I walk with my own thoughts and listen to no one


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

The USA was a cult for 8 years. Luckily we are all getting reprogrammed.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

Are you sure you are not another cult are you are trying to deceive some by spreading some of the wrong principles. You are telling people that what Christians believe is wrong , but yet you are saying that the only truth is your church. I am an opened minded Christian and I read the word of God but I do not any way feel decieved by the church I attend. :)


Tom Cornett profile image

Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

The only difference between most churches and cults is that most churches don't think they are cults. :)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

You are SOOOOOO right - they are manipulative, they entice you, they catch you at the emotional rather than logical level, they are totalitarian ....and anyone could be a potential target!

For inside information on a HubPages cult, this is where to go:

a http://hubpages.com/hub/Christoph-Reilly-and-his-C...


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 7 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

AEvans:

If you read the article closely you will find that the words Christian or Christianity do not appear. If you see them there, then you have placed them there. Do you see them there? Do they fit into the descriptions of the cult? It's your call, not mine.

In the mean time, to everyone who has posted here, thank you.


eovery profile image

eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Thought provoking hub,

Isn't reprogramming same as brain washing?

Keep on Hubbing! and keep on thinking on your own!


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 7 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

All programing, including self programing is brain washing. The key is knowing that fact. You'll never stop the programing. But you can be more involved in the selection of what goes in. The Buddhists teach a wonderful process called observing the world around you. Interestingly, when you begin to pay attention, you will begin to notice how asleep you are. You will notice what you allow to go into your mind, sometimes willingly, sometimes not. It is really quite simple: just observe your world. You will be surprised at the muck coming your way. Once you notice, you are free to accept or reject--by choice, not chance. Fun, eh???


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

Richard: My apologies I was basing it off of another article that we had a similiar discussion on. I realize you are a minister and I am simply trying to understand your teachings and principles. In regards to what I see I cannot place them there as I based my response off of your conflicting information and your beliefs written on wandererh's article.


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 7 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

AEvans:

No apologies necessary. Actually, what may be throwing you  is the fact that I do not believe in a literal devil, nor a literal hell. No eternal damnation. Because of that, I feel free to take what I want or need from any of the great holy books. I simply discard the rest. That flies in the face of people who believe their holy book is the literal word of their god.

I am what is known as a 'spiritual atheist.' It sounds weird but it means that I do not believe in the gods described (and that is an important word) in the various books and teachings of religion. Described gods have boundaries, limitations. I find my God or Spiritual Connection within myself, within the world, within the natural universe. There is no separation between Spirit and me. Jesus himself said that the kingdom is within us; he told us we were gods; he told us we would do even greater things than he did. He knew. So did the Buddha who was clear when he said, in essence, that we should accept the teachings that resonate with us and reject what doesn't--even of his own teachings. Now that is open minded, don't you think? In the mean time know this: you are on your own path. If you truly believe what you claim, then you will allow no one to knock you off course. When you stay true to your personal convictions, there is a great payoff. My only caution is that you do not judge anyone else for doing the same thing. Ultimately, we are not wise enough to condemn someone for believing differently from ourselves. There is always the possibility that we might be wrong. Recognizing that possibility can be quite humbling, as it should be.

We are one in spirit and in substance. Blessings to you always.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

I apologise for the frivolous comment too RichardSpeaks! That was so out of line!

I love the descriptor 'spiritual atheist' - it is so all-encompassing instead of being divisive. Maybe so many are so caught up in religion that they fail to capture the joy of being spiritual!


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 7 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Shalini Kagal: Again, no apologies necessary. Only this: to everyone who responds to my hubs, I am a serious student of things spiritual. I have no ax to grind with any particular religion. The only thing I will take a stand against is ignorance and mean spiritedness. I ask that when you respond, be considerate of those reading. I will survive it. Being outside the mainline of religion, I have received criticism for years, decades even. But the readers here are looking for guidance and entertainment. So, with that in mind, any mean spirited comments from this point forward will be denied. I know you all understand. Many blessings.


eovery profile image

eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

I hope everyone understand the aspect of what I said as we are getting reprogrammed, and what is going on in the political scene today.  Everyone is after the right conservatives, who generally are spiritually, and want to reprogram them to what the rest of society is after. 

We need to be able to think for ourselves and not be programmed as what people think the norm is.  Public education is on the level that they tell you what to think, but not how to think.  

I follow my religion because of faith and freedom I have, not because of brainwashing and can't think for myself.  I have and I will continue to sacrifice for my beliefs.  Which being able to think for myself, I know I am blessed at least ten fold in return.  I choose, I am not forced.  I believe, I obey. No government of society will brainwash me or force me to do anything.   I do it on my own free will and conscience on that which is right.  The day someone forces me I will quote the old saying "Give me liberty or give me death!" and proceed from there.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

I already have a hub on this. Richard I will send it you by PM.


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 7 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

eovery: With all due respect, I have read the exact same words on posts throughout the internet. When you read it as many times as I have, you begin to wonder if a little brainwashing may have occurred. What do you think?


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

Richard, I see the same things. What they say doesn't change, not the thoughts, the wording. That is what gives me a redflag like yours.


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 7 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Lady Guinevere: I know you will understand this. Most people do not recognize the brainwashing they have received over the course of their lives. It takes an incredible effort, not to mention the desire, to break free. But if you have accepted something as absolutely true, you won't be motivated to challenge it. You remain programmed. Not that it's a bad thing, but it is a closed thing. Not many people choose to examine all of their beliefs. But it is necessary if you really want to find out what's going on. Tough road. I applaud those who choose to travel it.


eovery profile image

eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Darn, I had a long rant, and my modem acted up and I lost it.

Well, I think I can do it a lot short on the second time.

My red flag goes up when I see comments like we are being reprogrammed. This make me ask and wonder just what is going on.

Then I see, to show an example, where morals values are being programmed out and so people can be free. Any one with brain knows when you lose you moral values you lose you freedom. Instead they say, go have open sex, and don't worry, if anything happens, There is always abortion. You have the right and liberty to do this. Yet those with the morals values to practice abstinence and sex only within married vows, do not need to worry about these, and are free from the consequences.

Laws and rules are for those without proper values. I do not need to pay attention to many of the laws because I know my moral values will not let me break these laws. Therefore, I do not nead many of these laws.

So as for your programming question, You also said remained programmed. So I take it you feel you can be unprogrammed, too.

I agree, but how?

Sociologist and Pyschologist would say everything is programming/brainwashing. This may be true except then there the factual stuff that is knowledge and truth. I.e. 2+2=4. That is not programming but factual, and it can even be called an eternal truth. And only a hippocrite would deny the truth of it.

God (sorry he has to be brought now) has given us freewill and the capability to think on our own. He has also given us the Holy Ghost to teach and testify the truth. Once you have the truth you are no longer programmed in that area, if you remain loyal to the truth. And as above, only a hippocrite would deny the truth of it. Know ye the truth and it will set you free, John 8:32. I learned the understanding of this scripture here.

The big problem I see, how can one come to know of this knowledge and truth. And I claim, just as the disciples mentioned above, I know Jesus is the Savior because of the burning the Holy causes in my heart from the witness of the Holy Ghost. It burns for my Lord. Therefore I have knowledge of this truth. One would be a hippocrite to deny it.

If you have the truth you are not programmed in that area. I do not agree with you question that you brainwashed. If it is pure knowledge then it has set you free and unprogrammed/unbrainwashed you. We have and can gain knowledge of many truths. And therefore as we do gain this, we unprogram that part and replace it with truth.

Also, by logic, if you do not have the truth, you will clam, those that do, to be programmed. So when you ask, isn't there any programming in there? You have my answer. Or do you still question and challenge that God is God, and that Jesus is the Christ. If you know of this truth, then you better not challenge it.

I just asked people to ask God with a sincere heart and desire for the truth and let him reveal it into them. I can't, nor can any other person reveal to or convince another about this.

This is where we differ. You call them beliefs. Well, without the conformation of The Holy Ghost, they are only beliefs. I am talking about knowing from revelation. One has to challenge his beliefs, and find the truth of them by asking of the Lord. And receiving the testimony by way of The Holy Ghost.

As for other on hubpages and blogs, we do not have all of the truths. Many have some and partual truths, (which is sensible since many disagree and teach opposite things, so at least one of them to not have the truth, and possible both.)

It is to build on that truth and knowledge in order to develop more truth and knowledge. And to purge the untrue beliefs.

And one cannot make the mistake of calling it a truth, when it is only a belief and not confirmed by The Holy Ghost.

But yet with all this rant I did, it will be in vain for many will still see it as brainwashing and programming. I leave it for the one who feels it in her/his heart and goes into the Lard with a contrite heart and asks of the Lord of the truths of his/hre beliefs, and asks to be taught the truth. This is for that person, if they by chance to read this here. We are hunters of men, looking for that one that they find it. Setting the bait to obtain that one sole that he/she may learn of the truth that he/she can come closer to God.

I am not any better than any of you. I am a man trying to serve the Lord by letting my light shine on a Hill, and not in a bushel. I have received a talent, I must go and invest it or I will lose it and all others that I have. I am under obligation to the truth that I know be known to others so that they may learn of it Once you have eaten, go and feed your fellow man. There are truths out there, and we can know them.

Keep on Hubbing.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

eovery, I second that as why argue should we not all love one another and just get along? :)

Richard I can also respect that you are a spiritual athiest and I also believe in my Lord and Savior. Mark Knowles is Athiest and is the religious forum maybe you should jump in and started a discussion it could be interesting.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Hmmmmmm


Jewels profile image

Jewels 7 years ago from Australia

I like your 'spiritual atheist' standpoint. we have things in common. The Buddhist teachings on awareness need to be taken more peripherally and deeper. We are all asleep, some more than others. Our conforming tendencies make us lazy and it's not just via religious dogma. It's society, it's family, schools. Memes in general keep us sleepers. In essence goldentoad is on the mark, it's all a cult. Very few walk in their own shoes and hold their head high. Seeking ones truth only comes from going inward, yet we are constantly bombarded by external influences, including the wants and needs of family, friends, church, commercial ventures, etc. etc. etc. etc. Ones true identity only comes from introspection and the minefields are treacherous.

Spiritual atheist - think I'll use that.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

Hmmmmmm and I didn't bring my superpowers! :D


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

That is the ONE thing that those who are programmed into the cutl thing always says and are always afraid of---no morals and free to do whatever you want. That is not true at all, period, ever, not even close. What is an Athiest exactly? Do you know Oevery or Aevans? You seem to think that it is just not believing in a god or your god or Jesus. That is not true. That is what you have been programmed to think.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

Here are two of muy hubs about this and I am not trying to promot them for business or anything of the like nor take away from Richard's hub but just to add knowledge:

http://hubpages.com/hub/What-Are-Cults

http://hubpages.com/hub/Th-Long-And-Winding-Road


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 7 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Interesting group of comments. Let me see if I can address some of them to everyone's liking (Ha! Now that's an impossibility, right??) First, the word hypocrite is used to identify those who claim to believe or practice some particular path or ideal and then do everything opposite, especially in secret. Someone who doesn't agree with you or challenges you is not a hypocrite. Second, living for the Lord is not an emotional state; it's an active state. Ask yourself this question: is my presence on this planet helping more than it's hurting? Will what I have to say be less damaging than remaining silent? Am I willing to put my hands where I say my heart is? If so, I am living for the Lord. Otherwise, I am a hypocrite. See the difference? You wouldn't even know to use the term Holy Ghost if you weren't programmed with someone else's thoughts and words on the subject. You didn't come up with it. It's not a particularly good term, yet you have bought it as truth. Programming. (But I'm not saying it's bad. It's how we function.)

We are all brainwashed. We come into this world a clean slate (unless you believe in some kind of reincarnation) and our culture brainwashes us to believe we are in the right and best place. Not everyone in the world believes that the US has the best lifestyle. We Americans would go to the grave to defend it, though (or many of us anyway). Still, we are more like dueling bacteria, programmed to do what we do and defend our position. No one is free from that unless...

We'll save that for another time.


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 7 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Jewels: Here's something that I hope will spark a new discussion. The difference between the authentic words of Jesus and the teachings of St. Paul are striking. Jesus speaks of loving one another as oneself. He speaks of the kingdom within. He tells us how powerful we actually are. He tells us that living in the expectation of blessing will produce blessing. His teachings are profound when you tease out the nonsense that was added later by church apologists. Paul, on the other hand, teaches subservience of women, subjection to governments, and other social restrictions that the church used (and still uses) for centuries to control the masses and the Mass. Paul was an organizer; Jesus was a spiritualizer. I like Jesus; I'm not so keen on Paul. 

Now, here's the controversy. The story goes that Jesus traveled to India during his years between the ages of 12 and 30 in order to study with the great Buddhist masters. He became enlightened and then returned to Judaea to spread the Good News that all is well, everyone is a part of the whole, and that the God of the universe is Love. He speaks of forgiveness and service to our fellow creatures. He never rebukes women, but he does rebuke the men who insult them. He walks the talk. And he is killed for it.

(Whether Jesus actually traveled to India is debatable, but his teachings definitely reflect the character of Buddhism rather than the religion that professes to believe in him.)

All the stuff about heaven and hell as actual places was added later during the 2nd century when the Committee was putting the Bible together, accepting some books, revising others, and rejecting some outright. In other words, it was like Congress deciding the moral code of the US. What a joke.

So, there you have it. Jesus taught in the manner of the Buddha. Paul taught in the manner of the Committee. Two separate and distinct approaches to Spirit.

I'll take the path Jesus taught.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

Richard--Hear, Hear!! Me too.


eovery profile image

eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

Everyone, I am not mad at any and appreciate everyone. I see point to teach on and try to help. Richard does a lot of great things and I can see it in his writing. I do not mean to come across mad or argumentive, but to let other know thing I feel and hold dear.

And I dearly apoligize to Mighty Mom, I hope you understand I have nothing against you and I really enjoy you and your writing. But instead I problems with thing going on with the current congress. So if it appeared different or confrontational, I apologize.

AEvans, I was in the forums once and they are ruthless, so I stay out. I cannot argue on these principles and convince any one. Argueing is not spiritual. All I can do is present and let be. I am not the best writer so my points are not flowering as sweet smelling at others maybe.

AS for Athiest, My Lady G, which and who's definition do you want? how about this website http://www.mwillett.org/athiest.htm, or try Wikipedia. If this is not right, then please tell us what you thing athiest means. With all the grap and opposite thing taught in religion, I would not believe any of it either, if I did not have what I have.

And to Richard, sorry if we may side-tracked your hubs any.

You all keep on Hubbing!


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 7 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

You all are doing fine. Just a couple of things:

Jesus argued in the temple; in fact, he had a bit of temper. Passionate people often do.

Also, as far as atheists are concerned, I am more interested in what they DO believe than what they don't. That's where the trip-ups are. MMMMMM!!! Fun!

And what forums are you referring to? (Which categories?)


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

The Religious Form, of course! At the top of your screen, click on Forums. Religion is near the bottom as they are alphabetized.


sandra rinck 7 years ago

Hi, I agree. I actaully started writing a piece called the Spiritual Athiest, though I had not realized it was already coined.

There is another great hubber his name is Shahid this is just one of his hubs, though it may not be my favorite but they are pretty impressive I think.

http://hubpages.com/education/In-Redefining-the-Co...

With the same thinking I have had many different realizations about things written and find them even more fascinating when taking in the world around me which sends my mind into different spaces and excites me to the core.

I have actually viewed cult in one way.. when they say as either an individual or a group that "this is the only way" meaning their way of indoctronation and stuff, that if it doesn't allow me my own thoughts and inpire me to good and think in good things then there is something wrong with it.

Even though I am a bible enthusiast, I often get a bit of retaliation from people who either A) are too afraid to think for themselves or B) fear they might be wrong so cling to the "norm" and deny themselves what is true and right in their hearts; which I can only equate to making liars out of people who don't follow their own hearts but place harmful burdens on themselves that could otherwise be very enlightening and useful.

All in all it is tragic and I agree there even unbrainwashing is brainwashing but at least it can be your own. Which I think is what I love about good ole JC- he said, "go your own way", though I think he said it more like the sheep that strayed he loved the most.

Anyways, great hub.


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 7 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

You make some interesting points. Consider this: many who thought for themselves went out and started new denominations. Then, they become like the ones before them. They believed that they now knew the REAL truth. So what's the answer? Love? What does that mean?


sandra rinck 7 years ago

Certainly I see what you are saying. I do believe that the only real truth is what you yourself believe. I couldn't imagine even in the world around me to know "exaclty" what another person understands and sees yet when I do hear or read or learn something that is especially enlightening or offers me some warm fuzzy feeling than I like to take it.

Like you said, take what you need and leave the rest... not the first time I have heard that via buddist or j witnesses. Sometimes I think, that if we could also get passed the idea that believing in anything old or new is a cause of brainwashing or cult like behaviors at the utterene of certain aspects such as Jesus or Islam, Bible or Koran, Angels and Devils etc.. than maybe we could learn so much more.

though I say that with a slight emphisis on athiest beleifs that all people who believe in a God are just dillholes or something. Does that make sense?


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

Have those who are not in society also brainwashed? I am talking about those who isolate themselves from the world and other people...hermits and the like.


sandra rinck 7 years ago

LOL LG, people can brainwash themselves. :D People who live outside of "society" do things their way as well.. I think it is called curlture. :D


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

What would hermits brainwash themselves to believing? They don't have anyone else to talk to or learn from. Do they believe in a God and whose God would it be? If they don't believe does that mean they are sick or dememted or are going straight to hell because they have not been told what they are to believe?


sandra rinck 7 years ago

Well I don't know but I am pretty sure that whatever they believe is true for them. We know that by what we in believe ( in light of Christ) that they already know and it really isn''t something for us to determine as if they don't know because they already do.

Plus the idea of God is inspired some how and probably from being observant of the world around them which I am feel somewhat sure that this was nature and however they express their understanding of "God" seems most certainly something that idealized cultures would have to understand... not them being made to be like us..

Acceptance I think is a good word to chose.


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 7 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

You guys are kinda going off into weird places. So, let's bring this back to reality. Societies have to set some kind of guidelines or the populations will go off into dangerous directions. Look at Somalia. No central government, no set of guidelines. Just warlords and pirates. That's what happens when there is no central ethic. And when each person decides that his/her way is the only way, hermit or otherwise, society begins to crumble. It's been that way throughout history. God has often been the figure that has kept societies intact. So. even though much wrong has happened in God's name, still, he has been necessary.

Then again, Nazis also created a 'central ethic.' Any comments?


sandra rinck 7 years ago

Sorry for going off into space. In reality the lack of guildlines and governements is the their government is their warlords and pirates. The entire world has already gone in a dangerous direction. But yes, God keeps them in tact even though the current "norm" is that everything associated with God is bad and it's the reason the world is the way it is.

But whatever, the words are useless. Some people would rather everyone die then believe that if they did listen to God the world would be a better place.

So, I/we just get to stew in it until it is all done. I dont anticipate anyone coming to offer me a tissue when I say I told you so. I don't anticipate any good action on behalf of God recieving anymore credit, not to the person who did nor to God.

I do anticpate an even more opressive government with more balls and chains, with more leaninecy on violence, actually I anticipate deliberate violene being a social norm and acceptable in most of the world as long as it is justified against the belief in God.

But again, whatever. It aint my world, I just got a ride it out.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

It is your world and you are a part of it's very existence. God didn't make this world the way it is--people did. Peaople need to be SELF RESPONSIBLE. Religions give them an out to blame Satan or evil r God for the problems of the world, but it is themselves that have contributed to what the world is right now and in the future. Those who are in religion that can only recite scripture upon scripture without ever knowing what it means to them and using that as a sword to tell others that they are wrong are the ones who are put into a fearful state by *allkowing* someone else to do their thining for them. They have become lazy as it were. People look up at the world around you and see that you contribute to it no matter how bad it seems and take responsibility for what you think. Ye shall reap what ye shall sow. There is good in the Bible about how one is to be responsible, but those things are hidden from them that are indoctrinated and then told if they choose to read it that they are reading evil things. Some just ignore them altogether. Those are the ones who are in danger of being in a cult. Those who are tired of their lives going downhill and cannot see what they are doing is contributing to it. Religions and cult leaders love this becasue it gives them the power to control those whom they see as weak and tired and want someone to lead them.

That takes human rights away and all those who are in the cult--all they know how to do is quote scripture.

I watched a Special program about the David Koresh and Waco a few months ago and the way they had those people, I will say, hyptnotized into believing the world was going to end on May 6 2007 oir 8. When the lady was asked what would happen if the world didnt end--all she could do was quote more scripture and each question thereafter, she only quoted more scripture. The world didnt end and so they went back a year later to find out what happened to her.........she wasn't there anymore and a few others didn't make it either. This was all told by, I think it was the ladiy's daughter, who somehow made it out of that camp or area.

I don't know what or how they use these people but they are turned into something like robots. It is sad.


RichardSpeaks 7 years ago

Good comments.

It's important to remember that all cults--religious, corporate, national, athletic, financial--provide something for the members. Usually, that is some sort of cohesion, some kind of group security. Millions are seeking that. When you try to take that away, they fight.

Those of us who call ourselves Free Thinkers have our own kind of cult. No one could ever talk me out of the freedom to think for myself. As long as I know that I am in a small minority, and I realize that those who are trapped in the hold of others will call me crazy, I admit that what I believe can be called cultish. But then, I'm not out to hurt or condemn those who don't believe as I do. That is, as long as they extend the same considerations.

Right?


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

Right!


marinealways24 profile image

marinealways24 7 years ago

Hello Richard, Great article. I believe most cult members are followers. A true individual makes their own path. A follower walks anothers path.


RichardSpeaks 7 years ago

marinealways24: Interesting comment. Your name suggests that you are a marine. Doesn't the US military require followers?

My point is, we're all following something. Most of us do not go out on our own as trailblazers. We learn from those before us and hopefully make wise choices later. But the difference between followers and cultists is that the cultist insists that his/her way is the ONLY way. That includes most religions, and a lot of politics.

It's OK to follow, as long as you know where the leader is taking you. Otherwise, time to strike out in a new direction.

Don't you agree?


marinealways24 profile image

marinealways24 7 years ago

marinealways24: Interesting comment. Your name suggests that you are a marine. Doesn't the US military require followers?

Hello Richard, not to insult you, but you are making an assumption from my name. I am not in the Marines anymore, this however does not mean I cannot have a Marine work ethic in life. I got out of the Marines for the point you made. I am an individual, not a follower, however I believe the individual must learn the aspects of following before becoming a leader.

I believe the point of life is to individualize. I learn from the bad and draw knowledge from the good. I trust no leader, I lead myself. I refuse other paths than the path of my own.


RichardSpeaks 7 years ago

My apologies. You have to admit, your user name suggests that you will always be a marine. I know a lot of former military people who feel that way.

You are right. Each person has the ability to create the most fulfilling life he/she can. And I think that the best use of our gifts and talents is toward the larger community. Sometimes, when we are being of service, it's necessary to play the follower's role.

But what we are talking of here is not about being part of a cult. We are talking about using our best to help the world. It's our call as to how we do that.

Cults are ultimately self-serving.


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marinealways24 7 years ago

But what we are talking of here is not about being part of a cult. We are talking about using our best to help the world. It's our call as to how we do that.

I agree 100% with you. I believe those who sacrifice mind = "followers" are the ones most vulnerable to cults. If a person sacrifices mind, they are vunerable to anything. Thank You


RichardSpeaks 7 years ago

And thank you.


marinealways24 profile image

marinealways24 7 years ago

I have read on Jim Jones, David Koresh, Manson, and The Heavens Gate Cult. It is amazing to me how influence will take over individual mind when allowed.


RichardSpeaks 7 years ago

You forgot to add Hitler and Mussolini. Many MANY people are just looking for a leader that will allow them to keep from thinking for themselves. Unless you're a child, very few are forced into cults. They go willingly. Which, ironically, is a freedom of choice.

Go figure...


Earthscribe profile image

Earthscribe 7 years ago from Tampa, Florida

Great comments on your part Richard, again.

The practice of Mahasattipathana, observing the world/actions, is a potent devotion... one which resolves into some very revealing states of mind. Good to see it mentioned.

Are you a fan of Alan Watts? Robert Anton Wilson? Your style of expression reminds me of them, but with your own unique perspective of course.

Looking forward to more.


RichardSpeaks 7 years ago

I am familiar with both Watts and Wilson. Not a follower but I seek wisdom from wherever it comes.

Indian devotional practices can be quite potent. But I have found and you may agree that the true devotee needs a mentor, some would say guru. The caution is, when the guru becomes a cult figure, he/she must be watched closely. Ego can creep in where it is least expected. There is a wonderful only saying from Buddhism: The moment you think you're enlightened, you're not. I like that. It keeps us humble, for the most part.

Thanks for the comments.


Cher Anne profile image

Cher Anne 7 years ago from Earth

Ditto that.


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 7 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Thanks for joining the conversation, Cher Anne. The others seem to have run out of steam. But, that's usually the course of things, right??


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

informative hub and good discussion in your comments. there are more cults in the world than we would think, as most of them seem very good and helpful to the world, but when someone tells you it's the only way, that should be the only red flag anyone needs.


RichardSpeaks profile image

RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

You make a good point. Unfortunately, knowingly or unknowingly, most of the world allows itself to be manipulated into major cults. For instance, the Catholic Church, Islam, etc. The salvation cult--be good, follow our way, get a reward--is the largest cult on the planet. It touches almost everything. And it's been going on since humanity first walked upright. Stepping into free thinking can be a tough path--and sometimes a lonely one. Takes real courage. Sounds like you're up for it.

Thanks for your comments.

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