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Suicidal Cults

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Suicidal Cults:

As a religious cult progresses towards a more destructive and more oppressive group mindset, each and every one of its members is at risk. Especially for groups based around a charismatic leader having apocalyptic theology, the fear of the leaders' destructive predictions is often the catalyst for disaster. When a group of people are trained to believe that the world around them will be destroyed, and the cult itself is the only means to escape, any outside forces threatening the integrity of the cult can create the deadly mentality that all options for survival have expired.

One means of escape that has in recent decades resulted from this scenario is mass suicide. Left with what members believe to be no other option, trained to view the outside world as an inevitable threat, the only means to escape the central figure's description of the "things that are to be" is to take their own lives, as well as the lives of their children.

Catherine Beyer explains suicidal cults:


Suicidal cults often have a strongly apocalyptic theology. In some cases, the apocalypse will be worldwide. In other cases, it will mean the destruction of the community at the hands of its enemies, which might include, death, imprisonment, or spiritual slavery, forced to accept ideas counter to that of the religious community. Like other destructive cults, suicidal cults generally center around a single charismatic authority figure whose word is accepted as something akin to scripture. Often these figures are described as saviors or messiahs. Some even describe themselves as an incarnation of Jesus Christ.

- Catherine Beyer, May 9, 2018. What Cult Suicides Are and Why They Happen