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What Makes a Cult a Cult??

What are some of your opinions? I have been hearing a lot of people accusing LDS and JW of being cults, and I am just wondering what would make those two religions in particular a cult?

By definition, a cult will generally force the person into isolation from the outside world - specifically from their family. It will have very charismatic leaders that claim to have direct contact with the divine and/or ARE the divine. It will bring emotional and sometimes physical harm on those that are not obedient (specifically children).

Looking at this, and knowing what I know about LDS and JW, I can say with full conviction that neither of those religions fit the description of a "cult".

And what about Islam, Judaism, or "mainstream" Christianity? If LDS and JW are cults, why aren't those three considered cults?

Or, for that matter, every other religion?

In your opinion, what makes a cult a cult?

Answer Question
 
jennijune_21

Asked by jennijune_21 at 1:40 PM on Jun. 10, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 4 (56 Credits)
Answers (21)
  • the actual definition of it....pretty much boils down to any religious organization is by literal definition, a cult...

    the society definition.....a religious organization that is radical in its actions,dangerous and discriminating
    moki1984

    Answer by moki1984 at 1:43 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • "By definition, a cult will generally force the person into isolation from the outside world - specifically from their family. It will have very charismatic leaders that claim to have direct contact with the divine and/or ARE the divine. It will bring emotional and sometimes physical harm on those that are not obedient (specifically children)."
    I agree with the above statement. This has been the experience with a local cult here that people I know have been sucked into. They are forced to basically shun friends or family who will not join their church. Children have been abused, and a couple have even died. They have a charismatic leader who believes herself a prophet and she believes she is beyond sin and speaks for God. Pretty creepy and very sad for the people who have lost family and friends to this group of people. :(
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:48 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • http://www.4witness.org/jehovahs_witness/jw_lds_cults.php
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:49 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • Anon :48 - that sounds a lot like the "Children of God".

    What led me to this question was a show I was watching on E yesterday - it was about cults and the affects they have on society.
    jennijune_21

    Answer by jennijune_21 at 1:50 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • any straying from the original King James Bible meaning is a cult!
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:50 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • i dont feel like typing the dictionary definition......but one part of it does say "an organization brought together by religious thought" something like that...tahts any church in the world.

    but when we thinko f cult, we think of the bad stuff........the mass suicices, the isolation, the forced lifestyles
    moki1984

    Answer by moki1984 at 1:50 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • Anon :49.
    Sorry, biased religious propaganda has no place in this post. Besides, that is someone else's opinion, not yours. What is YOUR opinion - YOURS, NOT what you've been told or taught. YOUR thoughts.
    jennijune_21

    Answer by jennijune_21 at 1:52 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • Anon :50
    . . . er. Ooookaaayyy . . . Whatever floats your boat . . .
    jennijune_21

    Answer by jennijune_21 at 1:53 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • moki, you have a point. Do you think then, that ANY religion that fits the dictionary definition is, therefore, a cult? What about a Coven of Witches? Would they, then, also qualify?

    And I agree about the mass suicides, forces lifestyles, etc. Perhaps the dictionary loses something in its intellectual design?
    jennijune_21

    Answer by jennijune_21 at 1:55 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

  • Actually, the definition of a cult is a religious group of a certain size. There are cults, sects, denominations and religions, and the ONLY difference between them is how many members they have. Think of it like a pyramid scheme - the more members they get, they get a promotion. Every denomination of every religion on earth started out as a cult. And for the record, JW and LDS are too big to be considered cults.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 1:56 PM on Jun. 10, 2009

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