Postby cassandra » Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:03 pm

For a group to be a cult in the social sense, many of the following characteristics would have to be present.
1. Submission:
1. Complete, unquestioned or almost unquestioned trust in the leadership.
2. Leaders are often seen as prophets, apostles, or special individuals with unusual connections to God. This helps a person give themselves over psychologically to trusting someone else for their spiritual welfare.
3. Increased submission to the leadership is rewarded with additional responsibilities and/or roles, and/or praises, increasing the importance of the person within the group.

2. Exclusivity
1. Their group is the only true religious system, or one of the few true remnants of God's people.

3. Persecution complex
1. Us against them mentality. Therefore, when someone (inside or outside of the group) corrects the group in doctrine and/or behaviour, it is interpreted as persecution, which then is interpreted as validation.

4. Control
1. Control of members' actions and thinking through repeated indoctrination and/or threats of loss of salvation, or a place to live, or receiving curses from God, etc.

5. Isolation
1. Minimizing contact of church members with those outside the group by segregation. This facilitates a further control over the thinking and practices of the members by the leadership.

6. Love Bombing
1. Showing great attention and love to a person in the group by others in the group, to help transfer emotional dependence to the group.

7. Special Knowledge
1. Instructions and/or knowledge are sometimes said to be received by a leader(s) from God. This leader then informs the members.
2. The Special Knowledge can be received through visions, dreams, or new interpretations of sacred scriptures.

8. Indoctrination
1. The teachings of the group are repeatedly drilled into the members, but the indoctrination usually occurs around Special Knowledge.

9. Salvation
1. Salvation from the judgement of God is maintained through association and/or submission with the group, its authority, and/or its Special Knowledge.

10. Group Think
1. The group's coherence is maintained by the observance of policies handed down from those in authority.
2. There is an internal enforcement of policies by members who reward "proper" behaviour, and those who perform properly are rewarded with further inclusion and acceptance by the group.

11. Cognitive Dissonance
1. Avoidance of critical thinking and/or maintaining logically impossible beliefs and/or beliefs that are inconsistent with other beliefs held by the group.
2. Avoidance of and/or denial of any facts that might contradict the group's belief system.

12. Shunning
1. Those who do not keep in step with group policies are shunned and/or expelled.
2. In some cults to be expelled is, or may be, to be killed.

13. Gender Roles
1. Control of gender roles and definitions.
2. Severe control of gender roles often leads to sexual exploitation.

14. Appearance Standards
1. Often a common appearance is required and maintained.

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