Cult Definition and Behavior Essay by KatiaK

Cult Definition and Behavior
An overview of the definition of a cult and its place in society.
# 111133 | 1,328 words | 6 sources | APA | 2004 | CA
Published on Jan 12, 2009 in Religion and Theology (General) , Sociology (General)

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This paper discusses how the word cult refers to a group of individuals who participate in ritualistic behaviour based on a set of spiritual beliefs, which are viewed by mainstream society as being unorthodox and not accepted by any orthodox form of religion. It examines how in today's society, cults are associated with very negative connotations and how they are viewed as being highly exclusionary, isolated groups of individuals who practice ritualistic behaviour and believe spiritualism is often a form of direct contact with some form of divine entity. It also looks at several notorious cults such as Heaven's Gate cult and the Mormon Church of Latter Day Saints.

From the Paper:

"It is easier to differentiate extreme organizations and cults from mainstream religions based on their unorthodox and ritualistic practices and often-blatant disrespect for the law. However, the issue of determining what qualifies as a cult becomes much more difficult when faced with questions of long established, yet historically recent religions, such as the Mormon Church of Latter Day Saints. There are a number of Christian Groups who call themselves crusaders who believe that the Mormons and Jehovah-Witnesses qualify as cults and not as religions. One of the reasons religions such as Mormonism are accused of being cults is their relatively short historical history. Joseph Smith Jr founded the Mormon Church of Latter Day Saints in 1830, only 174 years ago. Smith claimed, at the age of 15, to have been introduced to Christ himself by God, and that he had been told not to join any churches because all of the churches were wrong. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • "cult." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2004. (December 8, 2004).
  • "[Cult]." The Columbia Encyclopaedia, 6th ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001-04. [December 8, 2004].
  • Reavis, D.J. (1995). The Ashes of Waco. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • Olp, Susan. (1999). Christian Group Calls Mormons Cult Church. Bilings Gazette, September 30, 1999.
  • Mormonism: Christian or Cult?

Cite this Essay:

APA Format

Cult Definition and Behavior (2009, January 12) Retrieved April 20, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Cult Definition and Behavior" 12 January 2009. Web. 20 April. 2021. <>