Three Popular Cults: A Comparison Comparison Essay by scribbler

Three Popular Cults: A Comparison
An examination of the similarities between the Unification Church, the Church of Satan and Heaven's Gate, three popular cults.
# 153476 | 1,256 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Jun 04, 2013 in Religion and Theology (Christianity) , Sociology (General)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


The paper examines three cults that grew in popularity throughout the 1970s until the 1990s, specifically, the Unification Church, the Church of Satan, and Heaven's Gate. The paper notes that these three cults had nothing to do with one another and they differed in their central belief systems, however, they demonstrate remarkably similar structures and modes of recruitment. The paper explains that their historical context shows that both sociological and psychological factors impacting their growth and development were similar and they used webs of complex and politically expedient lies to foster the willing suspension of disbelief and recruit new members while solidifying the loyalty of existing ones. The paper also identifies other features common to these three cults that include charismatic leadership, the use of creative marketing tactics, and the employment of theatrics, ritual, and costume, all of which symbolize conformity and belonging to a fringe group.

From the Paper:

"Not all points are shared in common among the Unification Church, the Church of Satan, and Heaven's Gate. However, the Church of Satan seems to stand apart more from the other two than they do from the trio of cults. The Church of Satan, for example, did not practice any formal means by which to isolate members from their families or the community at large. The Unification Church and the Heaven's Gate cults, on the other hand, systematically prevented their members from fraternizing with non-cult members including friends and family. The cutting off of the member from social networks was a core strategy, designed to create a more cohesive cult community and ensure conformity. Moreover, cutting off people from their community and loved ones creates a strong in-group versus out-group mentality. The cult becomes the new family, which is to be trusted far more than any other network in the outside world. The Church of Satan did not use isolation as a strategy in the same way that the Unification Church or Heaven's Gate did.
"Another issue that makes the Church of Satan stand part from the Unification Church and Heaven's Gate is its core belief system and ideology. Unlike either the Unification Church or Heaven's Gate, the Church of Satan promoted a self-centered and self-indulgent ideology that promoted carnal desires."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Gleick, Elizabeth. "It Was the Marker We Were Waiting For." Time. Retrieved online:
  • History Channel. Satanism. Television documentary.
  • LaVey, Anton Szandor. Satan Speaks! Port Townsend: Feral House, 1998.
  • Wolf, Ole. The Emperor's New Religion. Retrieved online:
  • Yamamoto, J.Isamu. Unification Church.Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Three Popular Cults: A Comparison (2013, June 04) Retrieved December 02, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Three Popular Cults: A Comparison" 04 June 2013. Web. 02 December. 2020. <>