> The word "Cult" with whatever definition and list
> you care to use is just another way to trash any
> religion you choose.
> If I choose to belong to a "Cult" and buy into it
> that's my choice isn't it?
Yes, it's a person's choice.
But that doesn't make it NOT a cult.
A guy I know is into Scientology and has given them loads of dosh. His free choice, as far as I know.
But that doesn't make Scientology NOT a cult.
The Irish Times states "The manipulative methods used by Scientology to control its members put it beyond the pale of legitimate religion".
I think that's a good definition in general. Of course, most adherents to the group in question don't see it that way. The leaders may be more aware, at least those at the top who presumably are the ones who choose and direct the "manipulative methods".
Here's a University of Alberta article:https://www.ualberta.ca/folio/2018/01/once-thriving-church-of-scientology-faces-extinction-says-cult-tracker.html
It states in part:
"Stephen Kent [described as a "cult tracker"] knew he'd become a threat when the Church of Scientology sent no fewer than 16 letters to University of Alberta administrators demanding he stop disparaging the church.
"They wrote letter after letter to different levels of administration-from the president on down-to curtail my activities, to silence me, to get me somehow sanctioned," said the sociologist and cult expert.
"It's not surprising when you consider Kent has been tracking the tactics of the church since the early 1980s. As a post-doctoral fellow at McMaster University, he began collecting stories of confinement, sexual assault and coercion not widely known at the time.
"Since then he's amassed one of the world's biggest collections of testimonials and documents on Scientology, and last year co-edited a book with former student Susan Raine, now a professor at MacEwan University, called Scientology in Popular Culture .
"Kent has also become a top go-to expert for media commentary. Just last month he was quoted in the Irish Times when the newspaper discovered the church had sent thousands of pamphlets to Irish schools under the guise of a human rights organization-just one recent attempt in a concerted campaign to infiltrate Irish society and promote the doctrine of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
"Some countries, such as Germany and France, have taken a firm stand against Scientology. The German government views it as an abusive sect masquerading as a religion, and France has classified it as a dangerous cult."
There is a most interesting reference to Mormonism in the above article. The writer mentions "fixed revelation" as doom to Scientology in that it's difficult to update with the times if one's belief system is declared infallible (paraphrase).
The writer goes on to compare this stuck-in-the-mud challenge for Scientology with (what Mormons leaders call) ongoing revelation:
"Mired in 1950s beliefs"
"But beyond its image problem-documented in the 2015 HBO documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief -the most destructive seeds of Scientology's demise were sown in its inception, said Kent. Based as it is on "fixed revelation," or the unalterable word of L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology is unable to change with the times and is therefore doomed.
"One case in point is the inescapable homophobia that lies at the heart of the church, said Kent. Hubbard classified homosexuality as a sexual perversion, writing in Dianetics that "the sexual pervert is actually quite ill physically…. He is very far from culpable for his condition, but he is also far from normal and extremely dangerous to society."
"Since then, Scientology has tried to "backpedal and respin its position on homosexuality," said Kent, adding that nonetheless, "Hubbard's statements on it are fairly clear.
"Any group that has a fixed revelation has great difficulty adjusting to change," Kent explained. "What you see with the books is greatly upgraded glamorization of the covers and the marketing. But the content is still rooted in Hubbard in the '50s."
"His doctrine is so fixed, in fact, that the Church of Scientology began transcribing his texts onto stainless steel plates in the 1980s, placing them in titanium capsules in underground vaults. Located in a remote desert location, the vaults are accessible only through a secured tunnel.
"Compare that with the Mormons, for example, who have a doctrine of ongoing revelation," said Kent. In 1890, for example, Latter-Day Saints president Wilford Woodruff received a revelation to ban polygamy, resulting in a policy change that partly made possible Utah's acceptance as a state in 1896. And in the 1970s, the Mormons abandoned their position that black people are branded with the mark of Cain.
"It's been able to adjust to the times," said Kent."
I get the point about fixed vs ongoing revelation claims of a religious faith. But it's difficult to overlook foundational claims that shaped a religion but then accept that they need to be changed. How can a "prophet" be so very wrong, misguided, mistaken, abhorrent even, but then with a few adjustments future leaders can assure adherents that it's all God's will. I wonder.
Same with JWs in a different way: They preached for decades that Armageddon was looming and the generation that came of age in 1914 "would not pass away" before it struck. Well, that ship has sailed. Yet still they persist with their Armageddon doctrines but they've learned their lesson enough that they no longer prophesy about specific dates.
So, of course you're free to join such a group but some basic facts can point to it being a cult or at least cult-like due to various common features of such.
Cult: It's kind of a dread word to me. I've had my fill now of these offshoots that exercise overarching control over their adherents and scorn former members who choose to leave.
But I can live with that kind of treatment. It beats the alternative - staying in and yielding autonomy.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/06/2023 03:20PM by Nightingale.