Cults in America - Assignment Example

The widely accepted definition of a sect is a religious group with characteristics, which distinguishes it from either a Church or a denomination. Over the last fifty years, sects have become linked with brainwashing, mass suicide, and even a murder. One of the examples is the suicide of 900 members of the People’s temple. A popular concept of a cult is one of groups that are to be avoided, hated and feared and they are therefore a social problem.

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They bring up the images of destructive doomsday religions and thus groups thousands of New Religious Movements in the same category as the small minority of groups that have been the cause of suicides and murders. The term “New Religious Movements” has been used to replace the terms cults as it is a more neutral term. There is no one, generally accepted, current definition for New Religious Movements.

Cult Evolution There are some steps of making a cult . 1, a leader must find or have a god or based religion. , a leader must be persuasive and have a point. 3, a cult must have a form of communication or propaganda to obtain more members. 4, a leader must have a form of mind to control over people. Violence and Death is not always a part of a cult. (Barker, 123-148) Most people in cults don’t even know it. Like Mormons, Jews, and Protestant members. These are examples of well based religions, beliefs that on person preached. One idea brought by a single element and man to make such a religion. Cult is a word over exaggerated all over the world.

Classification of Cults Most cults, regardless of size and history, deal with religious beliefs and practices, pursue common ambitions and typically have their own doctrines. Today, however, an updated definition is used to describe blasphemous, sacrilegious groups that follow a leader who initiates unconventional beliefs and practices. Religious cults link back to a long history and countless variety, as people enter cults under an assortment of circumstances and succumb to the strict instruction shortly after entering.

Sects or cults are not a new phenomenon and they have always attracted controversy. Throughout History, humanity has formed secret societies and secular groups to try to make sense of the world. Most of the time, their strong beliefs have sprung from dissatisfaction with mainstream religions, although the influence of Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism can be seen in many of today’s sects. (Barrett, 69-75) Sects mainly depend on the qualities of the ‘charismatic leader’, if there is one.

A dictatorial sect leader is as potentially dangerous as a dictatorial political leader; perhaps even more so, because members are subjected to their guru’s every whim, they are often portrayed as being inspired by some form of “higher power”, and are told that they will only reach salvation if the obey his or her word, Sects are small religious movements. They always keep a strong distance between themselves and the world outside. Some people through out of the world get a whole different idea about religion.

Some may go as far as starting a church or a religious group. But most of the cults and religions break off of the ideology of Christianity. The right to practice and believe whatever you want is actually in the establishment of America, complimentary religion and speech. So this means that all cults aren’t about murder and total control over ones mind. Most cults are actually today’s most popular religions. Like Mormons, Jewish, Presbyterian. Later day saints, Baptist, and these religions have different prerogatives towards religion.

Religion majors are usually targeted by cult leaders. Young and confused men and women are brought in to the cults by being brainwashed. Parents by now know the dangers and practices of cult. They tried a new technique called deprogrammers. Privet detectives actually kidnap members and try to undo the brainwashing done by leaders. This was the only solution to fix the problem of runaway cult members. Families pay about $10,000 to do this task. This system did not work because it was too costly and was illegal. (Richardson, 143-168)

In 1978 the most horrifying suicide was ever performed by any sadistic cult. Jim Jones, a middle aged preacher from Indianapolis, started a movement that would put much more limitation and guidelines on cult movement. The Peoples Temple, situated in the jungles of Guyana was a town called Jonestown. A place that fooled the world, and cover up one of the biggest plots of this century. Televised as a happy, peaceful and loving place, in fact it was a center of mind and physical torture, starvation and sexual abuse.

Jones told his follower that the government was after them and was going to kill them eventually. He all so mentioned that the world was going to be destroyed by nuclear war and the whole world was going to die. On November 19, 1978 an estimated 1000 people perished. As a result of poisoned Kool-Aid, Jones succeeded in his mission and the world was left in shock People today call a well defined cult, a religion. And people wouldn’t even think that Jews, Mormons, and Protestant didn’t sacrifice, killed, and abused.

But in reality, they did just that and more. Cults will always be around; they make people to believe in something sacred, some thing real. Religions will always be icons of the world around us. Mind control is the predominant characteristic of coercion, which has many different aspects: Peer-group pressure, hypnosis, creating a sense of family and belonging love bombing, rejection of old values, privacy removal, uncompromising rules, guilt, fear, and replacement of relationships are all included in these tactics.

Leaders of cults have a set of traits all their own. Megalomania, which is the belief of entitlement to rule, is predominant, as is charisma to entice followers, an authoritarian personality to imbalance power in their favor, a one-sided scale of values to favor the one in power, the tendency to view others as inferior, and paranoia. Not all of these attributes are negative. However, it is the psychopathology of the leader, not his charisma that causes the systematic abuse and exploitation typically found in cults.

In this respect, Dr Anne Eyre’s opinion is worth mentioning as she affirms that “The events at Waco perhaps teach us as many lessons about the intolerance and suspicion amongst influential sectors of American society with respect to religious minorities as about the potential for religious ideologies to produce harm as well as good. ” (http://www. americansc. org. uk/Online/cults. htm) Scientology is indeed a cult by every definition of the word.

Ms Goodman is however a hardcore Scientologist—a modern day version of the reported 6 million members of this nefarious cult, who have been forged by a Satanic theology tempering for 50 years in the kiln of founder L. Ron Hubbard’s blasphemy and heresy. Some of the warped and twisted beliefs are the practices of this money-making scam cum religion, finishing with a few thoughts about how Christianity, especially the Sword of the Spirit, is the obvious antidote for Scientology in a vulnerable world.

Scientology slipped rather inconspicuously onto the American scene, with the establishment of its first church in Los Angeles, and began its recruiting. According to the Scientology’s premise is that 75 million years ago, billions of human souls (Thetans) were transported to earth from outer space by the evil Galactic Federation ruler Xenu. He dropped the Thetans into volcanoes in Hawaii and in the Mediterranean, and blew them up with hydrogen bombs.

Xenu then implanted these disembodied Thetans with false hypnotic “implants”—images of God, the devil, angels, space opera, theaters, helicopters, a constant spinning, a spinning dancer, trains, and various scenes very like modern England. These invisible Thetans still exist today and Scientology refers to them as “Body Thetans,” which cling to every human body, infecting them with their warped thoughts.

On the surface, this doesn’t sound much different than the claims of some of the world’s great religions, but when you dig deeper into modus operandi of the training and influencing tactics used by cults like Scientology you see a much different and sinister picture In fact many victims of Scientology’s theology lost their families, their life savings, their sanity and/or their very lives. Most importantly, however, they lost their opportunity for salvation.

Given our previously stated definitions of a “cult,” and in light of the evidence just stated, there can be no question that Scientology is in fact a cult. And, given the manner in which its members are recruited, trained, used and abused, neither can the reality of the negative secular and theological impacts be argued The leadership setup of the International Churches of Christ has a setup closely resembling a multi-level marketing system where every disciple is responsible to report to someone in higher authority.

The cultish behaviors include the ICC’s highly enforced beliefs that the International Churches of Christ is the only body of believers in the world, thus having a monopoly on salvation, the ICC is the only ‘Kingdom of God’, negating of previous salvation experiences and baptisms, mind control tactics, spiritual abuse of members, financial misrepresentation, compulsory tithing, and the act of leaving the ICC is to fall away from God negating the ICC’s salvation and baptism experience.

It is because of these practices the ICC is banned on over forty-five college campuses including Oxford, Berkeley, M. I. T. , Yale, Harvard, and Duke. Statistics today say that “twenty-five percent of the members of cults worldwide will suffer enduring, irreversible harm that will affect their ability to function adequately in emotional, social, family, and occupational domains. Many more people are impacted by cult members’ involvement. Additionally, entire societies are susceptible to large-scale tragedies by being numbed by coercive, psychological influence. If left unchecked, mind control of this magnitude would destroy all basic human freedoms and ruin democracy. ”