Cults Essays

1169 Words 5 Pages

On March 29th, 1997, thirty nine men and women took their own lives in

the belief that they would travel to a space ship hidden behind the Hale-Bop

comet. The "Heaven's Gate" cult planted these beliefs within their members,

resulting in a mass death. It is cults such as these that weave a sense of panic

through society. What defines a cult? A cult is a group that has an intense

devotion to a person, object, or set of usually new ideas. Cultus is a Latin word

translating into "to cultivate" or "to plant". A seed is planted in a garden, as is an

idea in a member's mind, and cared for and cultivated until something, whether it

be a plant or a belief, flourishes. A cult will have two main characteristics.
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Everyone has various needs to be satisfied. Cult leaders find ways to fulfill

these needs through the cult, attracting members. Because of this, almost

everyone is vulnerable. Whether one is rich, poor, educated, uneducated, old or

young, a cult leader is often charismatic and manipulative, and has ways of

deceiving people into following his or her ideas. He or she will use numerous

techniques to attract new cult members. These methods, though not physically

harmful, lead to a misconception of reality, which may result dangerously. A

method known as love-bombing is often used. This is when positive affection is

constantly offered to a new recruit through word and action. The leader will

compliment them, reassure them and make them the centre of attention. Often,

cults use the influence of the Bible to add validity to their philosophy. Then, using

verses taken out of context, they are mixed with the cults beliefs, creating a

system members believe is valid. Another way a cult leader will recruit a new

member is by gradualism, which, through repeated teaching, slowly alters one's

belief system. These new beliefs are constantly reinforced by other members. In

the "Heaven's Gate" cult, the recruitment of new members was done skillfully.

The group would post flyers advertising a discussion about UFO's. They would

discourage recruits from joining on the spot, and insist they come to

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