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The Three Signs of Cult Formation

Seek The Truth Blog

The Three Signs of Cult Formation:

Religious cults often begin under the disguise of a "non-denominational" or "inter-denominational" group. When attracting new recruits is the priority, everybody is welcome. No matter the doctrinal differences, as long as visitors claim to serve the same God, they are received with open arms. Over time, however, as the group becomes established with familiar faces, this attitude changes significantly.

When people think of a religious cult, they often think about the established version and seldom give any thought to its formation. Since religious cults are only labeled as such after a tragic event, the public is seldom made aware of the conditions that enabled the destructive group to mature. Unfortunately, tragedies like the Jonestown Massacre or publicized cases of abuse such as Warren Jeffs' FLDS compound lead people to believe that they can recognize a cult by its obvious destructive nature. Sadly, it is not so obvious until a tragedy occurs.

There are patterns that can easily be recognized to assess the level of danger. By comparing histories of destructive cults before their climactic event, we can easily determine the direction a group is headed:

* Did the group start with an "everyone is welcome" attitude, and gradually shift into an "only 'believers' are welcome" mentality?

* Does the group give scriptural authority to a single "prophet", "seer", or "teacher", and has that person become the center of focus for the group?

* Can non-members be considered "true Christians" without believing in or accepting the central figure?

If the group meets these three patterns, there is a great chance that it is headed down the pathway to destruction.