I see there is a movie coming out, "Holy Hell," about a cult in LA. When will people learn.
An enormous desire to fit in, be a part of something? Weak self esteem or sense of self? Charismatic leaders? Even low intelligence - an inability to distinguish truth from lie even when obvious?
Of course, "cult" needs defined - many declare the Mormon religion a cult and it has millions of members.
Definition is definitely needed. I should have thought about that. Now I gotta rethink my question.
I agree with you on basic points!
Thank you Wilderness!
I consider Mormon to be a cult. Just like Jehovah Witnesses. They definitely have some outlandish beliefs. But, they are all (for the most part) incredibly nice people who do want to be good people. I think the sense of community and caring these sects show for one another is a big draw. I've studied with both and sort of wish I could buy into the bs but I just can't quite swallow the weirdness enough to hang out with them.
Both have many of the attributes of what I consider to be a cult. It's not just the (to me) weird beliefs espoused, it's the near total control and removal from everyday society.
What do you think about kids that are gothic? Maybe they just feel like outcasts or something. I noticed kids forming groups based on perception as outcasts. The sense of insecurity possibly make them susceptible to cultic influence.
The people joining? Feel disillusioned with life; don't feel they belong or the group offers them goods and powerful connections in life that can either make their lives more bearable or more fun. They then think they are the top dogs.
The so called leader? Would be very charismatic. The leader of the cult knows skilfully the Achilles Heel of each person and manipulates them to reward and punish. The leader develops a "us and them" mentality; and skilfully applies the divide and conquer technique ruthlessly and relentlessly. The leader manipulates the weaknesses as well as understand their long term desires.The leader in my eyes could very well be a psychopath or a sociopath.
What I have never understood on so many of these Diane is that they are an offshoot of the bible, even ISIS today. Some man has taken the bible and twisted it to suit themselves and really even the Catholic religion has. The pope telling us things that those of us who study the bible know are not true but you know that is exactly what brought us to America, escaping Catholicism which was being forced on us and trying to erase Jesus, who we know is all about salvation, from us.
We fought and made America all about being allowed to worship how we wanted but somehow it all got twisted and now many churches are throwing Jesus out with the cross not to offend anyone.
God help us.
Others not allowing Jesus into their buildings wouldn't be the issue as long as we could keep Him in our churches. It looks like the religious freedom sought was an impossibility.
I found a couple of definitions of cult that don't address religion
a. Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing.
b. The object of such devotion.
6. An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest.
Interesting use of the word "cult"
Lawsuit: Fox News Is a Misogynistic Cult
http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/201 … ce=copyurl
Most cults I've heard of seem to have a cultic element.
1. A sense of belonging ("fitting-in")
4. Security (or a facade of such)
5. Escape from reality/An alternative solution to common life struggles
My favorite cult to study is Jonestown. Great cult leaders tap into people's insecurities (emotionally or mentally) and desperations to reel them in.
There are movie cults, celebrity cults, money cults, religious cults, atheist cults, comedy cults, zombie cults, internet cults, music cults, political cults, conspiracy cults, ufo cults etc etc etc.
So what makes a "cult" a cult? A sense of belonging. Is a fraternity a cult? Probably.
Are there good and bad cults? Yep. Look at the Charles Manson cult. That's bad. Compare that to the Grand Order of Elks. That's funny.
Do cults have a quasi religious character? If a cliquey adherence to a quirky one off idea is a cult then we could say the Spaghetti Monster atheist group is a cult too.
Christianity was once described as a cult (in 50AD). Usually when one group wants to denigrate another they call the others "cults".
So the word cult has now become a power word of denigration.
Anthropologists do not see the word cult as either good or bad. It's simply definitional.
Good thinking Oztinato! Wilderness caught me on this one too.
Some of the things common to the "cult" I think you're speaking of:
Little or no recourse once a decision is handed down to a member. If you disagree there is nothing you can do - no appeal process.
Tight control of finances, with no accountability to members, who are not privy to where the money goes.
Tight control on members as to whom they associate with. Marriage outside the cult is forbidden or strongly advised against. Families are often split apart, with members not allowed to have a relationship with their family members.
Leaving may be literally impossible, and if it IS possible no remaining members will associate with a "lost one". The result is an almost complete destruction of any kind of life if the member leaves the cult.
Sometimes require all possessions to be turned over to cult leaders. Very common to require large "donations" on a periodic basis.
Strong sexual control by leaders is sometimes a factor.
Children are often allowed no or almost no contact outside the cult. No school, for instance.
That would make 1940s Hollywood studios a cult as the studio moguls did all of those things.
The word cult is used far more loosely. Trekkies are regarded as a cult phenomena. Elvis is now part of his own cult.
Cult has become a pop word.
LOL You're right about the studio moguls: they did all but the forbidding of familial relationships and contact. Not so much the trekkies or Elvis worshipers.
Yes, it's become a pop word, but I don't think that is what the OP is talking about.
If you're saying this is just about religious cults there needs to be a seperate discussion.
It is incorrect for one religion to call another a cult. The term in such discussions is just a negative power word devoid of any substance.
It might also be used by certain atheists to obfuscate the topic or intentionally create disharmony.
The word cult is a Relative Term only.
A cult is a cult is a cult be it Trekkies or early 1st Century AD Christianity.
While it is often disguised as religious, it is not always about that. Even with Jim Jones, although he couched his group in religion, it was about something else entirely.
But to me, one giant key is the isolation from others, and that's something that the trekkies (as an example) do not do. Whether it is a cult depends on your definition, and they do not fit my definition of what a cult is.
I don't know much about other cults, but in scientology, they start out new victims in so-called communication classes, which recruits are lead to believe will improve their communication skills. The classes include sessions which are actually meant to break down the recruit mentally to the point that they are very suggestible. For example, one "TR" (training routine) has recruits sitting and staring at each other without blinking, for hours. Other TRs are equally as mentally or physically exhausting. L. Ron Hubbard took many of these techniques directly from the Russian military, IIRC.
Some other control techniques scientology uses include withholding food and water, sleep deprivation. violence, threat of violence, withholding basic needs such as a bed, medicine, clean clothes or even toilet paper. Then there's physical exhaustion (forcing victims to run for hours or dig rocks for hours, clean the bathroom floor by licking it, etc). Bullying and prolonged yelling right up in someone's face are also common.
In between mind-breaking sessions, recruits are whipped into a frenzy and told how they are saving the world. They are also "love-bombed" and made to feel special and welcome.
All failures are blamed on the individual, while all success is credited to the cult. Scientology also makes a huge spectacle out of presenting awards for success and doling out cruel punishment for failure, for all to see.
It starts off slowly, so that the recruit is unaware. There is a lot more to it, such as isolating people from gamily and friends, discouraging higher education and banning most internet use. However, the above is how it all begins. Some recruits are highly idealistic, and some are very intelligent but vulnerable in some way. Others are born into cults and know nothing else.
More info: https://cultnews.com/category/brainwashing/
by rhamson 9 years ago
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