I have read that people in the Mormon Church really do not like the church to be called a cult. I have avoided this label recently because I did not want to have people stop reading because I use this word. I am going to make a list of the traits of a cult and let you decide.
There is a group called International House of Prayer. A group within the very large group became a cult over time. A girl (college age) was killed and then it was made to look like a suicide. The leader of this cult had asked one of the members to kill the girl. The man who confessed (college aged) said that he and other men in the group had sexual relationships with the leader, and those men had ritually assaulted the girl. She had been killed, because the men were afraid she would tell her therapist.
“The Seven Signs You’re in a Cult” by Boze Herrington June 18, 2014
“Several years ago the founder of IHOP… created a list of seven ways to recognize the difference between a religious community and a cult. Written down, the signs seem clear. (My words – International House of Prayer or IHOP)
- Opposing critical thinking (this can just be asking a question)
- Isolating members and penalizing them for leaving
- Emphasizing special doctrines outside scripture
- Seeking inappropriate loyalty to their leaders
- Dishonoring the family unit
- Crossining Biblical boundaries of behavior (versus sexual purity and personal ownership)
- Separation from the Church
But when it’s your friends, your faith, your community, it’s not so obvious.”
CBS News with a report by an expert on cults when he was talking about a cult called The Family. From “48 Hours producer Paul LaRosa. Watch ‘48 Hours:’ The Family: A Cult Revealed
“So what constitutes a cult? Eichel listed several factors:
- Beware of any kind of pressure. That’s probably the single most important advice I can give anyone. Any kind of pressure to make a decision about becoming involved in any intensive kind of activity or organization.
- Be wary of any leader who proclaims him or herself as having special powers or special insight. And, or course, divinity.
- The group is closed, so in other words, although there may be outside followers, there’s a usually an inner circle that follows the leader without question, and that maintains a tremendous amount of secrecy.
- The group uses deceptive means, typically, to recruit new members, and then once recruited will subject its members to an organized program of thought reform, or what most people refer to as brainwashing.
- Typically cults also exploit their members….mostly financially. Within the group, they’ll exploit members financially, psychologically, emotionally and, all too often, sexually,
- A very important aspect of a cult is the idea that if you leave the cult, horrible things will happen to you. This is important, and it’s important to realize. That people outside of a cult are potential members, so they’re not looked upon as negatively as people in the cult who leave the cult.
Another point or two by The Guardia. “Watch out for tell-tale signs” by Rick Ross:
”… – No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement.
- Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions. …
- Followers feel they can never be “good enough”.
- The group/leader is always right.
- The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing “truth” or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.”
Others that I have seen mentioned: Shunning as a punishment. In the outside world, shunning is considered a horrible practice. Most people are shocked when they hear that any practice like this still exists. It is a form of psychological torture.