Term Paper on Cults

This essay has a total of 777 words and 5 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 members of the cult until death. Any attempt to
leave the cult will mean physical harm (Singer).


In some cases when the cult leader feels that their power is threatened they might order a
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