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Interest in Cults

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:21 pm
by Red
I'm inventing a new word and discipline: Latreology (latreía from Greek meaning 'Cult' and ology). The study of Cults.

Last month I was assigned to do a report on a cult known as The Holy Order of MANS, which made me pretty interested in cults.
Cults are interesting case studies into human behavior. The more obscure, the better. I think I'm just fascinated by the macabre of it all, and how people manage to have insane beliefs even more crazy than a lot of mainstream stuff. I do think they are pretty harmful towards society in general however.

I'm getting a new book about it, albeit it's very expensive:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/502 ... -religions

Thoughts on cults?

Re: Interest in Cults

Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:34 pm
by PsYcHo
Couldn't any group of people sharing a particular belief be considered a "cult"?
Depending on their beliefs, they could be harmful to society, or they could be benign.
Interesting that cults are usually deemed to be cults by persons outside of them.

Re: Interest in Cults

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:33 am
by Minos
I'm very interested in this topic. A few years ago, I've read book about cults, their psychology and how few specific ones works (e.g. scientology).

It is very complex system of psychological manipulations. Cult leaders are often very clever and have strong personalities. One almost have to admire, how they are able to manipulate other people and keep it running for years. In most cases leader starts a cult to gain something, which he is unable to get under normal circumstances (money, power over others, sexual relationships etc.) or what is forbidden by law (bigamy).

Unfortunately book is in Czech, otherwise I would be glad to share it with you. But I'll try to write down, what I remember from chapter about Church of Scientology.

Maybe it's operation is different now (the book is about 10 years old).
First, they give you their psychology test, which, in fact is Oxford Capacity test. After evaluation, they offer you free consultation, but the results are rigged. The most prevalent weakness and things most important to you came back as "bad" (even though in reality they might, or might not be bad). After few free sessions you make significant progress, but another session costs money (and the next one more, and more and more..). When you have no money left, they let you work for them in exchange and in time slowly lure you in. At the end, you have no money and big debt towards the church. You give them all your possessions and work for them full time. At that point, they have complete control over you (they still know your real results from Oxford tests) ant all aspects of your life. Even working full time, your debt is becoming bigger and bigger, as they give you food, work, place to sleep, clothes etc. And that is why is so hard to get out.
On top of that, there is army of lawyers suing anyone speaking bad about them and army of computer specialist to help them control what is happening on web. Also interesting is, that Anonymous had "Project Chanology".

Your book looks very thorough, I hope you will share your findings.

Re: Interest in Cults

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:14 pm
by PsYcHo
Sounds like religious socialism...

Re: Interest in Cults

Posted: Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:18 am
by Red
Minos wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:33 am
Your book looks very thorough, I hope you will share your findings.
I actually found an updated version:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/403 ... -the-cults

I'll see if I can get my hands on it.

Re: Interest in Cults

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:20 am
by Minos
@Red What are your expectations of that book?

I found an excerpt from the book on Google books and authors approach to subject, what discouraged me from buying it:
  1. historical analysis of the salient facts connected with the rise of the cult
  2. theological evaluation of the major teachings
  3. apologetic contrast from the viewpoint of biblical theology
Only first point is relevant for me as an atheist and that makes about 1/3 of the book. But to credit author, he was very thorough in this part, concluding from what I was able to read about Jehovah's Witnesses.