Is it a Cult?

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gardengirl
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Is it a Cult?

Post by gardengirl »

Here is some information I ran across today.
I have done quite a bit of reading over the years in the area of philosophy and religion.
I was off work for about 6 months and pretty much worked my way through the whole section in the library. I read about everything from palm reading & Wicca to Mennonites, to the Koran to Jehovah's Witnesses. It is interesting to compare and constrast different belief systems and to look at similarities between them.

http://www.religio.de/cudef.html

Below are some excerpts from the link provided above.

The group will have an ELITIST view of itself in relation to others, and a UNIQUE CAUSE. e.i. THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES RIGHT - everyone else is wrong


# There will be great emphasis on loyalty to the group and its teachings. The lives of members will be totally absorbed into the group's activities. They will have little or no time to think for themselves because of physical and emotional exhaustion. This is also a vital part of the mind control process.

# There will be total control over almost all aspects of the private lives of members
. This control can be direct through communal living, or constant and repetitious teaching on "how to be a true Christian" or "being obedient to leadership". Members will look to their leaders for guidance in everything they do.

# Any dissent or questioning of the group's teachings is discouraged
. Criticism in any form is seen as rebellion. There will be an emphasis on authority, unquestioning obedience and submission. This is vigilantly maintained.

# Members are required to demonstrate their loyalty to the group in some way
. This could be in the form of "dobbing" on fellow members (including family) under the guise of looking out for "spiritual welfare".

SOME ABUSES OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS:-

1. ABUSE OF INDIVIDUALITY They adopt a "groupness" mentality. They are not permitted to think for themselves apart from the group and only accept what they are told.

2. ABUSE OF INTIMACY Relationships with friends, relatives, spouses, children, parents etc are broken or seriously hampered.

3. ABUSE OF FINANCES Pressure to give all you can to the group. In non-communal groups, members usually live at the lower socio-economic strata, not because of a lower income level, but because they are always giving money to the group for some reason.

4. "US VERSUS THEM" MENTALITY Isolation from the community in general. Anyone and everything outside the group is seen as "of the devil" or "unenlightened" etc. Their enemies now include former friends; the Christian church; governments; education systems; the media - the world in general. Those who are involved with these in any way see such involvement as a "means to an end".

5. ABUSE OF TIME AND ENERGY The group controls and uses almost all the members time and energy in group activities. They are usually in a constant state of mental and physical exhaustion.

6. ABUSE OF FREE WILL They must unquestioning submit to the groups teachings and directions and their own free will is broken. Their "will" actually becomes the groups "will" without their realizing it. This is done either by coercive methods including low protein diets and lack of sleep, or over a period of time through intimidation. Both methods make heavy use of "guilt".

RESULTS OF THIS ABUSE

1. PERSONALITY CHANGES
Relatives will say they no longer recognize the person. From a warm, loving personality will come heaped abuse, rejection and feelings of hate. The cult member sees himself as "righteous" in comparison and this comes across in their attitude toward all outsiders.

2. LOSS OF IDENTITY
They cannot see themselves as individuals apart from the group. Some even change their name as a rejection of their former life.

3. PARANOID - WE ARE BEING PERSECUTED
Any time you say anything negative about the group, whether justified or no, it is regarded as "persecution". Any criticism of the individual is also seen as persecution only because they are the "true Christian" or "enlightened" one - not because they, as an individual, have done the wrong thing. However, at the same time they will feel free to criticise whatever you believe, say and do because they are "the only ones who are right".

4. SOCIAL DISORIENTATION
They lose their ability to socialize outside the group. This can go so far as to not being able to structure their time or make simple decisions for themselves when they leave.

Their world-view alters and they perceive the world through their leaders eyes. They become very naive about life in general.

5. SEVERE GUILT COMPLEXES
They are made to feel guilty of everything they did before entering the group and are to strive to be "good" and "worthy" for "eternal life". Misdemeanors are made into "mountains" so that members are in a constant state of guilt for infringing even the most minor rules. Guilt comes because they aren't doing enough; entertaining doubts or questions; even thinking rationally for oneself.

This guilt is piled upon pile with new rules constantly being laid down about what is sinful and what is not. Illness may be seen as lack of faith - more guilt. Emotional illness may be seen as proof of sin in your life - more guilt.

SUMMARY

Not all these points will be found in every cult, but all cults will have some if not most of them, although these may vary to some degree.
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Mr Danksworth
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by Mr Danksworth »

No one's touching this one. :skippingsheep:
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NoOne
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by NoOne »

not with a ten foot pole. according to gardengirl, by working in the advertising industry, i belong to a cult. :7500:
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gardengirl
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by gardengirl »

NoOne wrote:not with a ten foot pole. according to gardengirl, by working in the advertising industry, i belong to a cult. :7500:


I don't recall ever saying that, please enlighten us.
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by gardengirl »

soulra wrote:No one's touching this one. :skippingsheep:


Perhaps they are thinking deep thoughts. I imagine most people have encountered something which could fall into this category at some point in their life. They may not have recognized it at the time.

When I was in highschool, my best friend's family was involved in a church which appeared to be mainstream. That is, until I found out they were burning books which they considered unsuitable.
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by Glacier »

gardengirl wrote:
The group will have an ELITIST view of itself in relation to others, and a UNIQUE CAUSE. e.i. THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES RIGHT - everyone else is wrong


Zeitgeist?
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by kelofornia »

Using a "Loose " definition Elvis and the Stones could be considered a 'CULT' considerring they have a "following" and people do worship them.
It's interpretation to a degree.
Narrowminded and less educated would be more inclined to use the word cult.
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by Glacier »

Reading some of the other definitions it looks like Unions are cults as well. Heck, it looks like I belong to the Castanet Forum Cult.
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by gardengirl »

That could indeed be true. Some cults are benign, others are not.
It is knowing the difference which is important.
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gardengirl
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by gardengirl »

kelofornia wrote:Using a "Loose " definition Elvis and the Stones could be considered a 'CULT' considerring they have a "following" and people do worship them.
It's interpretation to a degree.
Narrowminded and less educated would be more inclined to use the word cult.


I don't think Elvis and the Stones could be considered cults. Their followers, however, could.
By that definition, the best example would probably be Deadheads.
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gardengirl
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by gardengirl »

Glacier wrote:
gardengirl wrote:
The group will have an ELITIST view of itself in relation to others, and a UNIQUE CAUSE. e.i. THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES RIGHT - everyone else is wrong


Zeitgeist?


Perhaps. It seems to fit the definition. That definition alone would probably not determine if it is a cult, but add to it some of the other factors described above.

Another example: Scientology.
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NoOne
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by NoOne »

this list (edited for clarity) fits advertising, governments, parents, sports teams, employers and others.

just as those in a cult will deny they are so do all of us. the human race is a cult.

enlightened people know this. but then being enlightened is a cult to. :sunshine:



gardengirl wrote:
The group will have an ELITIST view of itself in relation to others, and a UNIQUE CAUSE. e.i. THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES RIGHT - everyone else is wrong.

There will be great emphasis on loyalty to the group and its teachings.

The lives of members will be totally absorbed into the group's activities.

They will have little or no time to think for themselves because of physical and emotional exhaustion.

This is also a vital part of the mind control process.

There will be total control over almost all aspects of the private lives of members.

This control can be direct [b]through communal living, or constant and repetitious teaching.

Members will look to their leaders for guidance in everything they do.

Any dissent or questioning of the group's teachings is discouraged.

Criticism in any form is seen as rebellion.

There will be an emphasis on authority, unquestioning obedience and submission.

This is vigilantly maintained.

Members are required to demonstrate their loyalty to the group in some way.

They adopt a "groupness" mentality.

They are not permitted to think for themselves apart from the group and only accept what they are told.

Pressure to give all you can to the group.

In non-communal groups, members usually live at the lower socio-economic strata, not because of a lower income level, but because they are always giving money to the group for some reason.

Anyone and everything outside the group is seen as "of the devil" or "unenlightened" etc.

Those who are involved with these in any way see such involvement as a "means to an end".

The group controls and uses almost all the members time and energy in group activities.

They are usually in a constant state of mental and physical exhaustion.

They must unquestioning submit to the groups teachings and directions and their own free will is broken.
Their "will" actually becomes the groups "will" without their realizing it.

This is done either by coercive methods including low protein diets and lack of sleep, or over a period of time through intimidation.

Both methods make heavy use of "guilt".

Relatives will say they no longer recognize the person.

From a warm, loving personality will come heaped abuse, rejection and feelings of hate.

The cult member sees himself as "righteous" in comparison and this comes across in their attitude toward all outsiders.

They cannot see themselves as individuals apart from the group.

Any time you say anything negative about the group, whether justified or not, it is regarded as "persecution".

However, at the same time they will feel free to criticize whatever you believe, say and do because they are "the only ones who are right".

Their world-view alters and they perceive the world through their leaders eyes.
They become very naive about life in general.

Misdemeanors are made into "mountains" so that members are in a constant state of guilt for infringing even the most minor rules.

Guilt comes because they aren't doing enough; entertaining doubts or questions; even thinking rationally for oneself.

This guilt is piled upon pile with new rules constantly being laid down about what is sinful and what is not.

Not all these points will be found in every cult, but all cults will have some if not most of them, although these may vary to some degree.
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by Queen K »

Glacier wrote:Reading some of the other definitions it looks like Unions are cults as well. Heck, it looks like I belong to the Castanet Forum Cult.


You do. Your tin foil hat should be arriving via snail mail any day now. Ship me one hundred dollars so that our good works may continue to reach out and help those in need.
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by Phoenix Within »

keesa wrote:You do. Your tin foil hat should be arriving via snail mail any day now. Ship me one hundred dollars so that our good works may continue to reach out and help those in need.

Firing up the presses as we speak! Do you accept Rupees?
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gardengirl
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Re: Is it a Cult?

Post by gardengirl »

The word cult can have a very broad definition. There is a definite distinction between those which are benign and those which are not.

Here is an article which points out some of the defining characteristics:

http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org ... cults.html

* Craving for followers; seductive recruiting strategies or heavy-handed tactics of proselytizing or conversion
(including “love bombing,” that is, showering prospective recruits with friendly, but strategic, attention). If the spiritual movement is pure and its members are radiant with virtuous qualities and deep spiritual realization, new people will be attracted to the movement intuitively, spontaneously, and naturally. The movement won’t need to pursue anyone with a hyped sales pitch that exploits people’s desires, fears, or insecurities in their quest for meaning and fulfillment.

* Chronic group feeling of righteous anger, revenge, turmoil, anxiety, shame, guilt, self-pity, fear, despair, mindless euphoria, ego-excitement, adrenaline rushes, self-inflated fervor or futuristic anticipation. Authentic spiritual movements are permeated by a deep feeling of genuine love, kindness, peace, freedom, bliss, ease of being, spontaneity, focus on the present situation and trust in Spirit or God.

* Crusading agenda to save the world or convert all souls to “the true way.” A healthy spirituality emphasizes becoming individually transformed so that one is better aligned with the God-Self and involved in a simple, non-grandiose form of service to one’s fellow beings. For a healthy spiritual group, service and giving are defined primarily as charitable assistance and generosity toward one’s community, family, friends, and the world at large, not slavish service toward the narrow, voracious cult.


* Paranoia—either delusions of grandeur by the leader or group, or self-pitying feelings of being persecuted and misunderstood by outsiders
. Healthy, continuing contact and discussion with people and institutions outside the group will usually prevent or obviate any persecution and misunderstanding that might arise.

* Emphasis on quirky, flaky, untested ideas. Obsession with fantasy or mythic thinking. Obsession with “the Evil One” (though an understanding of evil and the psyche’s shadow side is important for mature spiritual persons). Scary apocalypse-thinking, battleground mentality, or construing of events or souls in excessively dualistic categories of “Good” vs. “Evil.” In a healthy spiritual group, the human being is viewed neither as totally evil nor totally perfect but seen realistically as a fallible human whose source and true identity is Infinite Spirit, and whose potential is profound peace, bliss, freedom and love in authentic realization of God/Spirit. Beware excessive talk of heaven and hell, which promotes egocentric, authoritarian thinking about reward and punishment. A healthy group adheres to a time-tested worldview with a balanced theology, emphasizing complete transcendence of the Divine as well as the complete immanence of the Divine: God is beyond all yet within all. That is to say, there is neither imbalance toward an otherworldly, biophobic “ascender” orientation, nor a this-worldly, non-mystical, “descended” position.


* Orwellian double-speak
(Deikman: “manipulating language to suggest a meaning and value opposite to the real situation”). Codewords or buzzwords. Excessive use of slogans to bypass critical thinking. Manipulative rhetoric based on cunning or emotionalism. Reinvention of language—e.g., excessive amount of jargon—to widen gulf between insiders and outsiders and exert mind-control. Adopting new names and titles for members can also be suspect, especially when it is done to create insider group-dynamics. However, we must be aware that, in a positive vein, changing members’ names can facilitate a new sense of identity, less conditioned by former ego tendencies; monastics in major religions, for instance, undergo name changes to help effect a psychological “death” to the old ego-persona.
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