The Rise of Cult Activity
Cult activity has been on the rise over the past few decades. With it there has been an increase in the fear surrounding it. From this fear, society has learned much about cults, how they get members and what to look out for as far as cult recruiters go. Society as a whole has also learned what can be done to deal with cults.
Cult activity and the fear that surrounds it
Throughout the last couple of decades more and more stories of illegal cult activity or murders by satanic cults appear on the news each night. This surge of reported cult activity has caused a spark in public interest. There has been a large increase in the fear that surrounds cults over the past couple of years. A cult is “a therapeutic or unconventional religious movement (McBride, 1985, 22),” and the more cults that fall beneath the public eye, the more serious the fear of cults becomes. Much of this fear has been sparked by major cult related incidents such as mass suicide by the People’s Temple or the murder of Sharon Tate. These incidents, and incidents like them, grab the nation’s attention and create widespread panic. But as the nation reads about these stories in the paper, the same questions seem to surface. Questions like “How does this happen?” or “What can we do to stop this from happening again?” are often asked.
The panic and fear of cult activity in our country seems to continue to grow with the more unbelievable stories that hit the news. The first big news event that was cult related occurred in 1969. Five dead bodies were found by the maid at 10050 Cielo Drive. Beautiful actress Sharon Tate who was pregnant at the time, and her friends Steven Earl Parent, Abigail Folger, Voytek Frykowski, and Jay Sebring were found butchered thoughout the residence (Bugliosi, 1974, 18).
The murders themselves grasped the nation’s attention, but it was when the murderers and their motives surfaced that the fear began. It was in February of 1970 that the motive of these murders was discovered (Bugliosi, 1974, 283). Through police investigation, it was discovered that the murders were cult related. Charles Manson and members of his cult, known as “The Family,” were to blame. Manson and family lived on a ranch in California. Manson was an avid fan of The Beatles and believed that this rock band spoke to him though their lyrics. He particularly liked The Beatles’ White Album which included the song “Helter Skelter.” Manson interpreted this song’s lyrics as a prophecy of a race war that would take place between the blacks and the whites. In this war, he believed the black man would rise up and slaughter all of the whites. So Manson’s plan was to take his family out into the desert and hide in a bottomless pit until the war was over. After the war, he believed the blacks would realize all they ever knew was taught to them by the white man, and if they wanted to survive, they would need a white person to tell them what...