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Cults Essay

765 words - 3 pages

Cults


Many people feel that cults are nothing more than a nontraditional religion, because of beliefs, organization, and interest. Cults are much more than just little religions. They are a dangerous, and in the United States there is little we can do about it.

The term cult has many different meanings. According to Jan Groenveld, a cult researcher and author, Christians define a cult as anything that differs from traditional orthodox teachings, but the general definition is that, a cult is defined as a pyramid structured group with a single, often charismatic leader. If the cult is religious in nature then often the group will claim to be the one true religion (Groenveld).

In order for cults to continue to exist they persuade people to join, at any cost. In trying to persuade people, leaders use both physically and emotionally techniques. Margaret Thaler Singer is a clinical psychologist and professor of the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. She has been a cult researcher and teacher for fifty years. According to Dr. Singer’s investigations, members of cults are often subjected to unhealthy persuasion techniques.

Excessive physical activity is used and leaves the person tired so that they don’t have the time or the energy to think for themselves. Former members of one particular cult have said that the cult leader would pass among the followers pressing on their eyes until the optic nerve caused them to see flashes of light. This was called "bestowing divine light" by the leader. In this same group members were told to push on their ears until they heard a buzzing sound, which they thought it was “divine harmony“ (Singer)

Other forms of persuasion are used to keep a member in the cult from leaving. Often, members of certain cults are made to refuse outside medical treatment. It is believed by experts that this is done out of fear. Cult leaders fear that they seeking treatment will be “brainwashed” away from the group. Refusing medical treatment can allow a little illness to become a major one. If left untreated the illness may affect other members of the cult, thus allowing disease to run rampant within the cult (Groenveld). In some cults, members are made to sign that they will be...

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