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What is a Cult?

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User avatar
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:05 pm

Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:31 am

I’ve heard some amazing things lately of how some covens think they can tell their coven members what they can and can’t do. And no, I’m not here to tell covens how they should practice their spiritual path or their magic. But there are a few things that I feel would label a coven or group as a cult. One of these things is telling your members who they can and can’t date or love. No one has the right to tell anyone who they can date or love, especially covens. As a mother of 4 grown daughters, I never once thought that I could tell them whom they could date or love; not even when they were teenagers. Such a statement from me would have ended very badly for both me and my daughters. Likewise I say that no one can dictate love. To do so is to bring destruction onto the coven or group. So what does make a coven a cult? Well, Bonewits made a very good list of questions you should ask yourself concerning the coven or group you are in. Pay very close attention to this list. Rate your coven or group.

The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame
(version 2.6)
Factors: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Low to High
1 Internal Control: Amount of internal political and social power exercised by leader(s) over members; lack of clearly defined organizational rights for members. ______
2 External Control: Amount of external political and social influence desired or obtained; emphasis on directing members’ external political and social behavior. ______
3 Wisdom/Knowledge Claimed by leader(s); amount of infallibility declared or implied about decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations; number and degree of unverified and/or unverifiable credentials claimed. ______
4 Wisdom/Knowledge Credited to leader(s) by members; amount of trust in decisions or doctrinal/scriptural interpretations made by leader(s); amount of hostility by members towards internal or external critics and/or towards verification efforts. ______
5 Dogma: Rigidity of reality concepts taught; amount of doctrinal inflexibility or “fundamentalism;” hostility towards relativism and situationalism. _____
6 Recruiting: Emphasis put on attracting new members; amount of proselytizing; requirement for all members to bring in new ones. ______
7 Front Groups: Number of subsidiary groups using different names from that of main group, especially when connections are hidden. ______
8 Wealth: Amount of money and/or property desired or obtained by group; emphasis on members’ donations; economic lifestyle of leader(s) compared to ordinary members. ______
9 Sexual Manipulation of members by leader(s) of non-tantric groups; amount of control exercised over sexuality of members in terms of sexual orientation, behavior, and/or choice of partners. ______
10 Sexual Favoritism: Advancement or preferential treatment dependent upon sexual activity with the leader(s) of non-tantric groups. ______
11 Censorship: Amount of control over members’ access to outside opinions on group, its doctrines or leader(s). ______
12 Isolation: Amount of effort to keep members from communicating with non-members, including family, friends and lovers. ______
13 Dropout Control: Intensity of efforts directed at preventing or returning dropouts. ______
14 Violence: Amount of approval when used by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s). ______
15 Paranoia: Amount of fear concerning real or imagined enemies; exaggeration of perceived power of opponents; prevalence of conspiracy theories. ______
16 Grimness: Amount of disapproval concerning jokes about the group, its doctrines or its leader(s). ______
17 Surrender of Will: Amount of emphasis on members not having to be responsible for personal decisions; degree of individual disempowerment created by the group, its doctrines or its leader(s). ______
18 Hypocrisy: amount of approval for actions which the group officially considers immoral or unethical, when done by or for the group, its doctrines or leader(s); willingness to violate the group’s declared principles for political, psychological, social, economic, military, or other gain. _______

Aussie Lass
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:43 pm

Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:54 am

I agree with the thoughts you expressed entirely.

As for cults or groups, I don't play well with others, nor tolerate dogma, so would never contemplate joining one of any kind.

User avatar
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:52 am

Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:21 pm

This is a side note:

I had a coworker say that religions are cults.

From how I was born and raised, cults were typically associated with negativity. They were associated with a devil/dark spirit or had a non-conforming existence in society.

So, when I think of Christianity, I do not think of it as a cult at all. If religions were a cult, I would have been controlled and asked about my attendance, I would have been interrogated about my whereabouts, I would have been shamed for having certain types of people in my life, etc. I have these thoughts only when I disagree with religions being cults. However, it depends on what religious belief and context everything is being contained in to determine IF a religious belief were a cult.

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