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Signs of a Cult

Updated on January 8, 2022
Rodric29 profile image

Comments sometimes deserve their own article! The provocative and humorous ones have a story to tell. Each story is different.

Comments make some of the best articles themselves! Have you ever read a comment and had the bright idea to go ahead and make it into an article? A comment is what birthed this article. Sometimes, we throw accusations at each other when it does not fit into the mainstream culture. This article covers what a cult is and several signs of a cult.

The Comment behind the Story

Wow.... you sound like a wife who gets beat up by her husband and still tries to defend him. They still sound racist. Let's try one more, if it is used out of context.

Brigham Young. in a sermon given on March 8, 1863, Young stated,

"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so" (Journal of Discourses, 10:110).

Courtesy of Jan.

This is what I communicated to Jan prompting that response above from her:

Jan, you are correct that those leaders said those things, but if you put their words in context they sound less harsh. I have read the source of these quotes you give and reading the entire transcript makes a world of difference.

We had a discussion regarding The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints not allowing people of Black African descent the priesthood or the right to worship in the temples.


The Offended

It was not the fact that I'm a Latter-day Saint and Jan said something that disagreed with my faith accusing it of continued racism because of its past that caused offense.

Jan said that I sounded like a battered woman making justifications for an abusive husband. That comparison hurt more than I would like to admit.

Mother's (Rest in Peace) second husband was an abusive bloke. The image of him hurting Mother came to mind when Jan mentioned how it appeared to her I justified the Church for not treating people of Black African ancestry in the past with the same equality as with the other members of the church. She called my church an abusive husband! Was she right? Isn't that cult behavior?

Cults start because of the psychological hold that the leaders of a religion have over their followers. There are signs of cultish behavior. The first sign is making excuses for the abuser to justify the behavior.


Why Cults Start

Cults start because of the psychological hold that the leaders of a religion have over their followers. There are signs of cultish behavior. The first sign is making excuses for the abuser to justify the behavior.

Jan accused me of justifying the words of a dead prophet. Luckily, since the person is deceased and the Church I belong to does not follow his opinion regarding Black people, it is safe to assume that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cult.

However, what about those people out there who do end up in a religious setting where the dogma suggests something offputting? How would someone know they are getting involved in an abusive cult?

Cults and Real Cults

The definition of the word cult describes every major religion!

I define a cult as a group venerating a leader to the point of worship. Adolph Hitler and the Nazis are a political cult. Who disagrees with that?

If the leader tells you to believe in him or her and not the common God you started out worshiping it is time to run! Jan has a valid point when she said I sounded like a battered wife. No, I disagree with her sentiment towards me, but there are those out there who will do anything their church leaders ask them to do without question.

That is a dangerous place to be! Any religion that suggests sublimating free will with the will of a man or woman can cause serious harm if the man or woman is truly evil. In cults, the people usually end up insane! Jesus was considered the leader of a Jewish cult. Turns out, however, that it became a world religion larger than the Judaism that birthed it!

Does Christianity tell people to follow a man? Yes, Jesus. He is deified. He also encouraged people to pray directly to God and get a relationship with Him! Religion has a dark history, but for the most part, it leads people to do good. When leaders start having agendas besides saving souls, then is when the careful follower needs to learn the difference between his or her faith and the leader supporting them in that faith.

The definition of the word cult describes every major religion!


Recipe for a Cult

I have seen a formula in the development of some cults. After adding all the ingredients, let it bake at hellfire and it's done!

  1. First, the leaders tell the members they are special--more special than the other people in the world.
  2. Second, the leaders try to isolate their members from the rest of the world because of some impending doom.
  3. Third, the leaders of the organization are not able to do wrong and are the only ones who can speak to God.
  4. Fourth, sexual perversions appear, anything from polygamy to sex trafficking. All women married or not victims.
  5. Then the killings of justification can occur. By this juncture, the followers in some sense have abandoned the religion and are letting authorities know what is happening.
  6. Stockholm syndrome has set into the adherents who are willing to give their lives for the leaders of the church or religion, not God.
  7. The ultimate and final step is that the leader of the religion then deifies and becomes either a god or Jesus Christ.

Battered Wife

Seeing the signs of cultism is important. Is that what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints looks like today? No, but it was pretty close during its early years. Usually, cults fizzle out after some years. I can say happily that the racist views of some of the leaders of the Church are dead and buried with them in the past.

Besides Jan's comment being sexist, it is true. There is a syndrome that abused people have when they fear authority but do not want to leave it because they also love it. I call it being stupid but I have suffered from it in an abusive relationship as a child.

The key is to learn the symptoms and avoid the lessons in the first place. Self-experience in this instance is overrated. Also, don't go tossing the word cult out without knowing what one is. It can cause problems.

All commenters' names will be changed if used during articles.


This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2018 Rodric Anthony Johnson


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