DEFINING A CULT
As stated, a cult is not merely an individual leader controlling followers. A cult need not even be religious in nature, although that is perhaps the easiest vehicle to use to get followers to be that devoted. Also, just because followers are very devoted to leadership doesn't make it a cult. Obviously, religions in general call for the express devotion of its adherents, if not to its founders and leaders at least to its principles and teachings. The kind of cult we're talking about is the kind of group that causes its followers to manifest unethical and often illegal behavior in support of the leadership. It is an almost, "protect the leadership at all costs" mentality. Often, no matter how much documentation and evidence is brought to bear that the leadership is corrupt, the followers will still remain devoted and sometimes even become more entrenched. We see this with some political parties, unions, and even yes religious leaders.
Cultists of this sort will often engage in bully tactics to silence critics. They will threaten their critics or use social conformance to try to shut them up. If that fails they will then begin justifying their unethical behavior, claiming the critic deserves it. They may even become so deluded in their devotion to the cultic leaders, that they project onto the critics, things they as the cultist are ACTUALLY doing.
I recently experienced this with a fellow so devoted to his cult leaders that he called my house, somehow used my wife's name on the recorder though her name should not be known to this fellow and is not said anywhere on the recorder. Further, this fellow followed me onto of all places, Christian chat forums simply to try to bully me into silence and he broke the rules of the forum so terribly that he was banned. He even said he hoped he'd be banned. As a side-effect of being in a cult, this fellow thought he was above respecting the community where he was interacting. But it gets worse. This fellow someone how obtained my place of work and called there attempting to get me fired. He has posted my city and state location on the Internet, in hopes that someone does violence to me and my family. He has made a fake email account using my name as the sender name. He has stolen images from my supposedly private Facebook page (yes, I know, nothing is really private on the Internet). My point is, this is the kind of psychotic, stalker behavior of a cultist.
A couple of things here --
- I know this fellow. I have opposed him and his cult leaders by name.
- I don't want to report this fellow to the police/FBI because I try to follow 1 Cor 6:5-7.
My point is, though this fellow is causing me some hardship, I as a Christian want to think the better of him. I want to hope that he will someday see what he is doing is cultic. Call it naive if you want, but this is how I have operated when cultists in the past have attacked me. Have I had to report some of them to authorities? Yes, but as a last resort.
While some people may think, "Well, if you are going to engage in a counter-cult ministry, then you should expect these kind of things to happen" -- and yes that is partly true, but what is unsettling is when faced with the overwhelming evidence and documentation against cultists and their leadership, some people outside the cult will continue to support the cult and its leadership and followers. This creates a cynical effect, that sure it may be better to just leave them alone but then again; look at Islamic terrorism -- the appeasement policy of just "leaving them alone" isn't working. The only time cults; be it political like the Nazis or the Japanese Shinto Imperialists or the religious such as the Jim Jones or the Islamic terrorists of the world...the only time cults have backed down is when people refuse to be bullied any longer. I refuse to be bullied.