What Are Common Characteristics of Cults?
The first mark of a cult is its manipulation of Scripture. The Bible is twisted to fit the leader or group’s interpretation. Private interpretations are forbidden because the leader of the cult is the only one, of course, who is able to understand God’s voice properly. Their teachings distort the historic, orthodox claims of Christianity.
Second, many times cults manipulate people’s minds. There is little concern for individual thought and development. Education is usually discouraged while the convert is bombarded with the cult’s doctrine and literature. Members are called to leave or neglect their old family and life-style for a brand new one.
A third characteristic is the manipulation of time. Since salvation comes exclusively from the teachings of the group, in many cults members spend much of their time working for their organization. Family, school, leisure, sleep, and even food are most often neglected.
Finally, cults typically manipulate reality. They tend to have an exclusive “us”/“them” mentality in which society and old associates are all out to get them. Anyone outside of the group is suspect.