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Marks of a Cult

  • Authoritarian. There is almost always a central,
  • Charismatic, living human leader who commands total loyalty and allegiance.
  • Oppositional. Their beliefs, practices and values are counter to those of the dominant culture.
  • Exclusivistic. They are the only group that possesses the “truth.”
  • Legalistic. Rules and regulations abound governing spiritual matters and the details of everyday living.
  • Subjective. They emphasize the experiential, the feelings and the emotions. This is usually accompanied by an anti-intellectualism.
  • Persecution-conscious. The groups feel they are being singled out by mainstream Christians, the press, parents, and the government.
  • Sanction-oriented. They require conformity in practice and belief, and exercise sanctions against the wayward.
  • Esoteric. They promote a religion of secrecy and concealment. Truth is taught on two levels, inner truth and outer truth.
  • Anti-sacerdotal. There are no paid clergy or professional religious functionaries.

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