There has been a resurgent of discussion of cults in the media lately. I thought it would be interesting to research the subject. Wikipedia states that "the word cult in current popular usage refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre." The article continues with the origin of the word and how it morphed into how we use the word today. It states that, "Sociologists still maintain that unlike sects which are products of religious shisms and therefore maintain continuity with traditional beliefs and practices, "cults" arise spontaneously around novel beliefs and practices."
I have pasted two paragraphs below from Wikipedia:
In the early 1970s, a secular opposition movement to "cult" groups had taken shape. The organizations that formed the secular "Anti-cult movement" (ACM) often acted on behalf of relatives of "cult" converts who did not believe their loved ones could have altered their lives so drastically by their own free will. A few psychologists and sociologists working in this field lent credibility to their disbelief by suggesting that "brainwashing techniques" were used to maintain the loyalty of "cult" members. The belief that cults "brainwashed" their members became a unifying theme among cult critics and in the more extreme corners of the Anti-cult movement techniques like the sometimes forceful "deprogramming" of "cult members" becoming standard practice.
Wikipedia went on to describe the practice of mind control before debunking the idea:
What is interesting is not necessarily what is being said about mormonism, but what is currently going on in our government.
What do you think?
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Studies performed by those who believe that some religious groups do practice mind control have identified a number of key steps in coercive persuasion:
- People are put in physical or emotionally distressing situations;
- Their problems are reduced to one simple explanation, which is repeatedly emphasized;
- They receive what seems to be unconditional love, acceptance, and attention from a charismatic leader or group;
- They get a new identity based on the group;
- They are subject to entrapment (isolation from friends, relatives and the mainstream culture) and their access to information is severely controlled.