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  • Joe

    I really enjoyed the Heather Matthews article on Cults. Great research, and well crafted!

  • Heather Matthews

    Thanks so much! I love writing and I really care about what I write. Your nice comment made my day and I hope to add more lists in the future 🙂

    Heather

  • Erik

    Very informative list. I'd like to suggest Aum Shinrikyo (sp), another doomsday cult.

    • Didi

      “Death is just over your head. Therefore, remove your attachment to everyone”. Brahma Kumaris also being exposed! Here is another quote from their so called god. “Unless you experience everyone to be already dead, that is, unless you experience this world to be a graveyard, you cannot become one who has unlimited disinterest”. And this is a world peace org, their teachings and true agenda are hidden for public.

  • Troy

    I remember hearing like a jillion times the Kool-Aid was actually Flavor-aid.

    Cheap jerk! Everybody knows you gotta get brand-name!

    • sockpuppet

      maybe that’s why they had to force so many of them to drink it at gunpoint

      • Anna

        HAHAHA yes!!!

      • marc

        DRINK THE POISON OR I’LL SHOOT YOU

  • one word for you – HALO – 15 million strong and growing

  • sean

    What about Christianity and the catholic chuch???

    • jon

      they lasted too long to be a cult, and they make too much money for the higher ups..theyre just a religion..$$$ thats the number one religion/cult/faith..everybody follows and believes in $$$ whether people wanna believe it or not…we all need it/want it/have it/desire it..

  • Dano

    Mormons? Jehovah's Witnesses? And anyone else who shows up on my doorstep uninvited to preach "the word."

    • How about the definition of a cult: followers of an unorthodox, extremist, or false religion or sect who often live outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

      Neither of those religions live outside of conventional society. They have beliefs that vary from each other and from other groups such as Catholics and Muslims but they are not a cult like some of those listed above.

      • psychokittyd

        actually if you wanna know why jehovah’s witnesses are a cult look at this: http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/fear-cult-mind-control.php
        paste that website into your browser and read what it says. there’s a good reason why people think jehovah’s witnesses and mormons are a cult and it goes much deeper than the shallow dictionary definition.

      • Rose A Patton

        Jehovah’s Witness’s do live out side the norm of society, you are discouraged from having friends outside the Orig. you are to only associate with others of this religion. They hold there Overseers (they will deny this) in awe. They disfellowship those who do not follow as they are told and seperate them from family members , they have killed many because of there beliefs on blood, witch have changed many times over the years. They have made predictions over and over that have been disproved and then they deny they ever said it. And they especially do not like any one doing any research that is not in the Watchtower even that is not allow past a certain date because of the predictions they made that never came about. I could go on with a list about 5 miles long of the things that make them a cult. They just dont drink Kool-aid but you better believe if the the Governing Body in Brooklyn thought they could make money at it they would all do as told by them.

        • Just the Facts

          Jehovah’s Witnesses strongly believe that God speaks through the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn Headquaters. What they say is law and must accepted as of from God or they will be disfellowshipped and lose all friends & family that are in the religion.

          Practices and doctrines that have brought much pain & suffering to JW’s:

          * In 1938 marriage was forbidden. (see the book children)

          * Until 1954 JW’s were forbidden by the Governing Body to vaccinate their children.

          * Until 1996 JW’s were forbidden to accept alternative military service and hundreds of thousands of young men & women went to prison throughout the world.

          * Until 1980 organ transplants were considered cannibalism & forbidden by the Governing Body.

          * They have predicted the end of the world for 1914, 1918, 1925, 1940, 1975 & most recently in 2000.

          * Youths are strongly discouraged not to pursue a college or university education.

          * Until 2000 JW’s were forbidden to accept blood fractions.

          Whatever the Governing Body says is what they JW’s accept without any question as coming from God. The Governing Body is constantly changing it’s mind and policies and anyone not agreeing with them is seen as an evil person from the devil that will be destroyed in Armageddon.

          • marc

            I bet the change in position on organ transplants came about when a leader’s friend or family member, or the leader himself, needed a transplant.

      • Hann M

        If a cult is something that is believed to be false, who’s view point is this from? I’m pretty sure people in the cults believe they are right, and many believe ‘religions’ like christianity to be false, so in that deffonition, are they not cults too? perhaps not as harmful as recognised cults, but they are a group that have a radical underlying belief.

    • jon

      u right bout that my friend!

  • mommy g

    @ dano: here's a tip that worked for me (off topic,kinda…) two men came to my house and were not pleased that i wouldn't welcome them inside. i explained that i was not a church-goer, but i didn't come to THEIR houses, interrupting THEIR day, to tell them, hey, I don't go to church and i don't think YOU should, either. Word got around, evidently, because i had no more visits from jehovah witnesses, baptists, mormons, etc.

  • lynstly

    Small correction to the Jim Jones entry… the government was indeed going to come get them for the murder of Congressman Ryan. He and two others were gunned down at the Georgetown airport by members of the cult. Ryan had been there to investigate the cult's activities for the US government. Shortly after this Jim Jones realized he was out of options because you can't kill a congressman and not expect severe consequences. Being the lunatic he was he led a ritualistic mass suicide of the cult.

  • Andy

    Very good article. Only suggestion is to cite some sources for numbers and such… gives your piece more credibility. Great read though!

  • G-man

    You forgot the biggest cult in the world, Religion. I mean come on, everyone knowns the bible is just a book, as are all the other "sacred" texts. Seriously, get you facts right.

    • jon

      you got that right my friend!!!

    • Gerry

      Nonsense. If religion is a cult as you say, then this list would have only one entry. Besides, only secretive groups with bizarre practices centered around a charismatic, leader that inspires a certain type of mindless fanatical devotion in their followers can qualify as a cult.

      • Candice

        Obvioulsy you have never know a Jehovah Witness my grandparents were and my parents were till I was 15 and let me tell you…just like every other cult in the world the goal of the church was to control its followers, take away there right to think, and cut of anyone who tried to stop that. Eventually my parents realized this and left the church…but not without consequences. They got death threats, my grandparents disowned my parents, they tried to make my parents into drug addicts and dangerous people to gain custody of me, and they eventually ended up cutting my parents and I out of the family. Their church told them we were walking with the devil now that any assocation with us would lead them down the road to hell. So yes “Orgainized” religion is a cult.

        • taramarriee

          The Roman Catholic church did the same thing in the town that I live in. I was doing my Holy Communion and they tried to emotionally separate me from my mother because I was young (8) and believed in God, my mother was a divorced, single mother. They didn’t think it was right and tried to control me so I’d continue to believe. When I decided to leave the church, I got a name as a sinner around town… a few of the farmer’s kids wouldn’t talk to me at school. JW is a religion, not a cult.

          • Kilgor

            lies

        • vesey

          Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in hell Candace. So i doubt your assertion that they said associating with you was going to lead “down the road to hell”. Me thinks your story is a bit o’malarky lass……………..

          • Ryan Kent

            They believe in Hell. Just not the one described in the scriptures. JWs believe Hell is the common grave of man, and since they believe leaving the Organization leads to death, it wouldn’t be far off for an old school J Dub to refer to it as a road/path to hell.
            If you are a Witness, you’re immediately disqualified from saying anything. Cult members don’t know/won’t believe they are in a cult and it’s natural that they would abandon common sense and facts to stand up for their cult leaders.
            So next time, try not to spread lies in the hopes that someone educated enough won’t come along. Someone educated ALWAYS comes along. The truth about the Cult of the Governing Body (Jehovah’s Witnesses) will ALWAYS be revealed.

    • Anthony Wright

      have you actually read this “BOOK”(bible) and understood it’s teachings and accounts,or are you just a skeptic?

  • Heather

    Hi,

    There are many religions: for example, Buddhism would never qualify for cult status, as it is a cheery, peaceful religion. I can certainly understand that religion has led to terrible violence i.e. The Crusades and other efforts to convert people who should have been left alone. Nonetheless, I was focusing on cults with a strange or bizarre twist, and I knew if I put Catholicism on this list I would offend many people. I wanted to list the top ten as it exists in my own mind. We all have our our mental top ten lists 🙂 Everything is open to interpretation and argument, and I appreciate the feefback.

    • Josh

      You also need to add in that the most blood shed by any religion is atheism (Hitler was born catholic but had evolutionary beliefs, Stalin was an athiest, Mao Zedong an athiest) Not to mention many others in the 20th century. More blood shed from those three than all the crusades by the catholics and muslims put together.

      • Heather Matthews

        hmmm…I don't necessarily agree with your logic on this one. I'm afraid we'd need to debate the whole thing over a few drinks to sort it all out 🙂 thanks for reading the list.

      • Gerry

        Yep. Atheism is the most murderous religion there is. Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot would make the crusades look like amateurs.

        • Heather Matthews

          but these sick dictators weren’t necessarily fighting under one banner – Atheism. They were power-hungry and malevolent, but they had agendas beyond a bloody Crusade (of sorts) for Atheism.

          • marc

            This is an ill-informed and flat out incorrect argument. Pol Pot, Hitler and Stalin were leaders of a cult of personality. Their problem with religions was that competing religions asked the people to believe in something OTHER than Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot, same goes for all the other dictators.
            They were not evil, sadistic and megalomaniacal because atheism (which is really just a lack of belief in ANY god) told them to be. They were that way because they genuinely thought they should be in complete control and that they were inspired by a truly divine calling to be the one who got humankind’s sh*t together.
            Atheists have not started any grand wars, acted out genocidal plans or raped children because their lack of religion said it was what they should do. It’s the religious nuts who go running off on missions for God.

      • PJ

        Atheism-not believing in any gods
        Religion-a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects
        Cult-a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader
        Antitheism-seeking to end of the practice of religion

        Atheism is not a cult, nor a religion. Get your facts straight. How do you feel when people call your religion a cult? Bald is not a hair color, not collecting stamps is not a hobby, and atheism is not a religion or a cult (and glad not to be).

        Second of all just because someone is atheist doesn’t make whatever they do a conquest of religion. That is antitheism. All those dictators sought wealth and political power. In fact, Hitler made references to a “creator” in his speeches. Besides, regardless of Hitler’s religion, most of his soldiers that committed the horrendous acts were religious, Christian to be exact. The people who tortured “heretics” and burned them at the stake were Christian. If anything, Christianity is the religion with the most evil history of all. Even their sacred text glorifies the genocide of cities.

        • Hello

          Atheism sure seems like a religion…They have a following…most of the following believes in big bang theory as the cause of existence, I guess you can call that a fundamental belief…They also believe that there is no God, another fundamental belief which they have no proof of…I could definitely see it turning into a type of religion where there are leaders(most likely physicists or scientists) who develop these “theories” which basically make up the scripture of Atheism…I think maybe the term you were looking for is Agnostic…They don’t care if God exists or not…

          • Chuck

            There is one big significant difference in that scientific theories are backed up by verifiable evidence whereas religious theology theories are not. Also atheist don’t “believe” there is no god, they simply say that there is no evidence to prove that there is. Therefore there is no good reason to believe that there is. If you or anyone else came up with scientifically verifiable evidence that there was a god then all of us would believe you and you or who ever came up with that evidence would get the Nobel prize. Good luck with that.

            • Amy

              “If you or anyone else came up with scientifically verifiable evidence that there was a god then all of us would believe you…”

              Uh huh. And yet there are still some who dont believe we landed on the moon…..

            • Terminator

              And Can you state what is that evidence which you are looking for?
              Do you know what you are looking for to get convinced?
              If not … then first get educated about the piece of evidence itself…

              Also get the facts right … that there are lots of axioms and facts in day to day life which are beyond any scientific verifiability, yet you accept them and go along with the word of mouth…

  • I agree that Christianity should be listed as a cult, but if not then definately some of it's offshoots like the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons.

    • Josh

      By the way Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons are not Christian. Jehovah Witnesses believe Jesus is Michael the arch angel. And Mormons believe dark skinned people are evil (mark of Cain is dark skin) and that any Mormon can become a god with his own planet of children.

      • Tim

        Actually JW’s are about as Christian as you can get.. they believe that Christ was Michael before coming to the earth Yes. But that does not preclude them from believing in Jesus Christ being the only begotten Son of God. Which they do. They also believe that he died as the ransom that paid the price for all sin. And that he rose again to take a new and greater position in heaven and is currently at Jehovah’s (God’s) right hand. The word Christian means to be a follower of Christ, I.E. Believing his teachings, and imitating of his actions. JW’s try to do exactly that. So labeling them as a Cult simply is not a correct use of the word Cult.

        You really should take the opportunity next time they knock at your door to talk to them. That way you will be able to discredit them correctly for what they actually do believe.

        • psychokittyd

          as i said before, look at this website, and the truth goes much deeper than what you think
          http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/fear-cult-mind-control.php

          • vesey

            The best place to get accurate info about somebody is from that person not someone else who may be tainted by bias or false info. I have talked to them when they come to my door and they are nothing like some are trying to portray them in these comments.

            • Amy

              Wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are probably very nice people with good intentions, but OF COURSE they arent going to lay it all out for you…that is assuming they are even aware of their doctrine in its entirety. The TRUTH is out there for those who do their own research.

            • Ryan Kent

              The first act of a cult to get you to join you is to love bomb you. Once you join, they don’t care anymore. They treat you according to the cult and redefine the word “love.” So when they cut you off from your outside friends and family, have people turn you in for wrong doing, and use every action you commit outside the beliefs and policies as a reason to ruin your credibility with the only friends you have left (the ones inside the cult), they define it as being loving.

              Jehovah’s Witnesses call their love “agape” love: Godly love.

              They’re going to be nice to you from the getgo. You want to see the kind of love they offer? Tell them your views and adhere to them. They won’t come back to your house and when those particular Witnesses see you again, they won’t talk to you because you’ve distinguished yourself as the enemy. And all you did was refuse to believe what they did.

              Maybe you need to start learning from those who actually experienced it instead of those trying to sell it to you. My brother in law lives with me and he’s a Jehovah’s Witness. He tried selling it to me until I took someone’s advice and absolutely refused one of his beliefs. He only talks to me now when he wants something.

              It’s inane to think it’s better to talk to the used car salesman when buying a car, than to talk to the guy who owned it that knows the ins and outs of it. So why would that methodology be good with your life on the line? And I’m not talking about your soul, I’m talking about your life.

        • psychokittyd

          i’ve actually gone to their kingdom hall many times and have seen first hand the crap they try to brainwash people into thinking; their version of the bible is incorrectly translated (and they won’t even say who did the translations or wrote it, so how are they supposed to trust an anonymous source), they discourage free thought, and i don’t label my beliefs or faith, but i do believe in jesus and God and Jesus’s sacrifice and i have studied much on the bible and how people have added and taken things out of it. however the way they believe is by brainwashing and manipulating members into thinking that their religion is the only right one, that only 144,000 are going to heaven (btw nowhere in the bible does it say ONLY 144,000 are going to heaven) and that if you refuse to follow their beliefs, you are turning against God and even your own FAMILY won’t talk to you if you leave their belief. luckily my family isn’t part of that belief *sigh of relief*

          • jack p.walker

            i have had the opportunities of being a member of many chuches, catholic, episcopal, pentecostal, before attending the kingdom hall now for five years and is not yet a member.because i had to married my fiance before baptism.but i tell you one thing for free take or u leave, if jw is a cult then the world will not be save those people follow christ step more closely leaving this political world that is killing us all because the bible says goverment will be judge,that bible you was translated to give the lay without being educated to know how to read the bible themselve.it is command to evangelize for the world to end.jw withness don’t need money to evangelize.make your way over those people read the bible from coverpage to coverpage every year that is why you people don’t able those people.

            • Ryan Kent

              They don’t teach grammar and spelling, though. You’d figure reading a book cover to cover would better your reading and writing skills.

              First, about you: the fact that you acknowledge you’ve had many faiths over your life is an enormous tell about you. It tells us you wouldn’t know God if He was standing in front of you. I’m an agnostic personally, so I won’t ever dare say which church is right, but I can verifiably tell you which is wrong.

              The Witnesses can go over their bible a thousand times a year, and all it means is they know THEIR version of the bible cover to cover. Their own Kingdom Interlinear Bible Translation (which they don’t publish or update anymore, hmm…) disproves the wording of the New World Translation. It translates word for word the original Scriptures and because of it, you can easily see where the Society took liberties with it (in 1954, 1984, and 2011/2012) with a side by side comparison.
              Since they claim Jehovah as the editor, those two books should be intensely close in content but are very different scriptures in reality.

              The issue with Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they (and this is an analogy) are told all balloons are red. And they believe this because their leadership hid all the other balloons of various colors except the red ones. So all balloons are red, as per the divine decree of “His earthly Organization.”
              But if someone outside the Organization shows some inside a bouquette of multicolor balloons, the Witness crumbles and says it’s a lie. That those balloons are red but were painted another color to trick them.
              They can’t know there are other things if their leadership only tells them there is one thing.

              And you’re technically correct that the “Witnesses don’t need money for their preaching work.” The individual Witness doesn’t. He can walk from home to his territory and knock on doors free of charge.
              However, since there is an assignment for the donations at the Assemblies and the Kindom Halls to fund the worldwide preaching work, you’re actually more wrong than you are right, and that just means you’re wrong.

              Jehovah’s Witnesses take in almost $1 Billion a year in solicited donations. Your writing tells us you don’t know that word. A solicited donation means you asked for a donation. People didn’t give out of the kindness of their hearts. They were asked to give.

              And since asking for money without a reason is not asking for a donation, the Witness is given a reason for the request: to held fund the worldwide preaching work. So every Witness who goes out on service knows they are collecting to fund an effort YOU ARE TELLING PEOPLE YOU DON’T NEED MONEY FOR.
              So now either you’re a liar, or 7 million other Witnesses are and they’re being led in a massive charity scam. Which is it?

              You Witnesses must hate discussions of Watchtower policies with Agnostics. You can’t discredit us as “apostate” since most of us were never Witnesses. Our points aren’t as biased as yours because we take no stance FOR or AGAINST God. AND because we can’t keep kept in line with guilt or the fear of damnation, we can do more research about religion (especially yours) without being disfellowshipped or marked.

              So a cover to cover understanding (minus the part in Deuteronomy about prophets) of a tainted translation of scripture might make you smart concerning your own beliefs, but those outside can be smarter about your whole religion.

              And the WTS is a cult. They call their followers Jehovah’s Witnesses. Cult means “worship.” When you call something a “doomsday cult,” it’s considered bad. Like when a cult publishes monthly reminders that the world is going to end soon, or celebrates the death of billions, or spends more time trying to convince its followers that whatever is going on in the world today coincides with scriptural prophecy that signals the end of the current system than teaching its followers to be loving and merciful independent thinkers…THAT is a doomsday cult.

  • Too bad there was no mention of The Church Universal Triumphant / Summit Lighthouse. They are far bigger today than a lot of these organizations are.

    And no Church Of The SubGenius?! 🙂

  • philip

    saying that the Mahabaratha is a novel is like saying that the Bible is a novel and Jesus is one of the characters….fyi

    • Audiofader

      If you look at it the bible is a novel and Jesus is a main character. I'm not atheist just agnostic but I think the Bible is just a really long dry novel.

    • jasmine

      Thank you… so true. Saying the Mahabharata is a novel is completely offensive to any and all Hindu sects… in fact the Hare Krishna’s shouldn’t even be on this list.

  • heather

    It just depends on your beliefs, I guess: many people don't believe that Vyasa dictated the book to the elephant god Ganesh, which is also part of Mahabaratha lore. Many people I know don't believe the Bible is a sacred text, either: religion is such a personal issue, isn't it? I'm sorry if you were offended, and thank you for the feedback.

  • blake

    i would like to thank evrey one for not

    picking on atheists:)

  • Dano

    Add to the list: Atheists. LOL.

    • Gerry

      Atheism is a cult. Though of course they claim they don’t believe in God. Let’s just say they are a godless cult.

      • Heather Matthews

        I don’t think Atheism is a cult. I wouldn’t put a mind like Steven Hawking (an atheist) in that category. Atheism is about facts and proof, it dismisses faith. But I don’t think it’s a cult.

        • Hello

          It is impossible to dismiss faith…Even scientists must have faith in their instruments to gather “facts and proof”…Also it isn’t fact that there is no God nor is there any proof of that statement, therefore Atheism falsifies itself if it believes in facts and proof….

          • Chuck

            Faith is simply belief without evidence. You don’t need faith when the evidence before you is proof unto itself like the instruments which you can see and touch. And I agree it isn’t fact that there is no god however there is also no proof that there is. Atheist simply believe that because there is no good evidence for believing that a god exists then there is no good reason to believe that one does. Atheism is belief with evidence big difference. Just because atheist don’t believe there is a god without evidence does not in any way state that they would not believe if there were any. As soon as a believer like yourself can show some verifiable evidence that your god exists then we would have no choice but to believe you as we follow the facts and the proof. So far none of you have been able to back up your arguments with any real evidence. So keep trying and as soon as you do you could win the Nobel prize.

    • mike

      atheism a cult.. that is rediculous.. they dont ask for people to join or donate a thing (unlike many “religious circles.” They have their own understanding of the way things work. I feel more pressure from organized religions than any atheist ever. Maybe religion needs to take its own advice and not push your beliefs on people that dont want it. That seems more “cult like” to me.

      • Honesty2

        Atheists now hopdl meetings and ask to donate money for charity, and they are actively fighting religion. It is a cult nowadays.

  • Bonnie

    The FLDS should have made this list. They are the most recently mentioned "cult" in the news.

  • Heather

    When I made the list, I was focused on people who live together in the same compound, who've given over their whole lives to their beliefs. I guess the KKK is the only cult on my list that doesn't meet this criteria, but they are so evil that I felt compelled to add them here. I would have to agree with a lot of your comments about certain other religious organizations qualifying for cult status – sorry there was not room for everything 🙂

  • Ukulelemike

    Most don't know that Moon of the unification church was actually crowned King of Peace by members of the United States Congress along with many main-stream Religion leaders, in a US Senate building. You can find it on the web-it's real! As goofy as it sounds. Bear in mind, the video is, I believe, some of the Moonies' propaganda, but the footage is real.

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/f08clPMODw8&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/f08clPMODw8&hl=en&fs=1&quot; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

  • Heather Matthews

    Ukelelemike – thanks for the info. That is really something – I was shocked 🙂

  • 8rustystaples

    I'm having a little trouble with your definition of a cult. From your responses in the comments section, you seem to believe that cults are "evil" or prone to doing bad things. That's not the case. From a sociological standpoint, a cult is a religion or sect that is considered extremist or false usually under the guidance of a charismatic (often authoritarian) leader.

    For that reason, Christianity is not a cult (it's not extremist, nor is there an authoritarian leader), but offshoots of Christianity can be (Branch Davidians, for instance, as well as some of the more extreme branches of Mormonism).

    The KKK is not a cult since it's not a religion. It's a white supremacist organization, a hate group. As twisted as it sounds, the members are almost exclusively Protestant Christians.

    A better inclusion on this list would perhaps be the Rajneeshpuram in Oregon in the 1980s or the Aum Shinrikyo that someone mentioned in a comment above.

  • Heather Matthews

    I don't think most people here would question that the groups included on my list are cults. I do beleive that cults are generally a bad thing – absolutely. I also never said that Christianity should qualify for cult status, and I didn't put it on my list. The KKK practices all the most negative characteristics of a cult, and I think they belong here: they have killed people who don't fit in to their tightly constricted ideas about who belongs in society.

    This wasn't meant to be the definitive list of all time: rather, it was meant to entertain and educate people about the cults that were most interesting to me. I hope you enjoyed reading the list, even if you don't agree with my choices.

  • 8rustystaples

    Sorry for the confusion…the Christianity comment was a response to others in the comments section that thought you should include Christianity, Catholicism, or religion in general in your list.

    Two points, though:

    Cults are not inherently bad (although a follower of any other religion may immediately brand them so simply due to a difference in beliefs, but that's a different discussion altogether). The major religions began as cults. Christianity began with a man and twelve disciples and grew/evolved to what it is today. And for all the problems that religious conflict has caused (and is still causing), the promotion of peace, goodwill, and tolerance is never a bad thing.

    Inclusion of the Ku Klux Klan in a list of cults because of their negative characteristics and their killing of others that don't fit their ideas opens the door to any number of hate groups or gangs such as the Aryan Brotherhood, Hell's Angels (and other biker gangs), Bloods, Crips, and Latin Kings.

    Again, I think it's just a difference in our definitions of the word "cult." But, in either regard, it's a fascinating topic, and your list was very interesting and informative. I enjoyed both reading it and the subsequent debate.

  • Heather Matthews

    Thanks 🙂 It's a fascinating topic, isn't it? I really do enjoy debating the whole thing, and I appreciate your thoughts and feedback. 🙂

  • bigbottom

    Cult is generally used to describe a negative group. The Backstreet Boys are a nice group. The Jackson 5 were a cult lead by the evil Joe Jackson. The logic is rock solid. We all have our own opinions which is what this excellent top ten list brings out. I am a master debater!

  • 8rustystaples

    bigbottom, where does The Cult fit in?

  • YouForgot

    What about Mormons?

  • Hair Splitter

    It wasn't Kool Aid they drank in Jonestown, it was Flavor Aid

  • Barb

    I really enjoyed your list, but I feel that your comment about Buddhism being a ‘cheery, peaceful religion’ is misplaced. All religions have militants and fanatics. Buddhism is no different.

    • Tim

      I ‘d like to make one correction on your comment that “ALL” religions have militants.

      Jehovah’s Witnesses are not militant in anyway. They will not kill due to actual adherence to Gods command to “tho shall not kill.” It is because of this that will not serve in any military anywhere in the world. There are over 1000 in jail right now in S Korea alone for this reason. Nice to know you never have to worry about being shot by a JW. Nor do they condone any form of killing. It is not unfair to say that they would rather die themselves then take another human life. They place their faith in God’s ability to resurrect them into his perfect new world, especially if they die because of serving him, not in men’s millitary force.

  • Jei

    Krishna is a Hindu god, although in some sects merely relegated to an avatar of Vishnu, there are many other Hindu sects in which he is the main god. The Mahabaratha is not considered a novel but a Hindu Religious text or epic myth. He has been worshiped since at least the 4th Century BCE. He represents virility and creativity, and is often depicted surrounded by adoring women or playing a flute. Rock star.

  • Heather Matthews

    thanks for the information about Krishna. I believe our culture and upbringing have a great effect on what we do or don't believe is sacred. It's a very personal thing, tied up with our family's values, and our ancestry. I always appreciate reading the thoughts and views posted here 🙂

  • XUSNLT

    Some of these comments remind me of Emo Phillips' stand-up when two people meet, go through five or six levels of their churchs' histories and finally arrive at a difference. "Die, heretic!" cries Emo. If you'd like a decent reference, there's a book caled "Kingdom of the Cults"….

  • Jim R

    Actually, Sharon Tate was married to Polanski for a year and a half when she died.

  • Heather

    thanks Jim.

  • Zephyr

    I think Scientology should probably be looked at as a little bit more dangerous than it was in this article. http://www.whytheyaredead.net

  • heather

    I understand that Scientology is dangerous. I've watched those videos as well. However, when you get into accusations of murder etc. on an entertainment website, based on Web videos, it's a little sketchy. Believe me, I'm no friend of Scientology. Thanks for your feedback.

  • Jean

    I think you should check your facts on how Krishna was introduced. I am a religious studies major and can verify that the statement regarding Krishna originating from a novel is false. In the Vedic Religions (also known as Hinduism) Krishna is a very well-loved demi-god who is mediator in many stories and parables. This religion has been around longer than Buddhism, dating back over 2000 years. So if you're going to write about a religious cult, just make sure that you note in this case that Hare-Krishna is a branch off of the original Vedic Religion of the far east.

    • Jean, thank you for this information on Krishna. Your comment, knowledge and expertise are appreciated.

  • Don't harp on u

    Why all the talk about adding Mormons into the top ten list of cults? I can see how back when it began it could be considered one, but nowadays the LDS Church preaches nothing but goodwill and love and families. It doesn't treat it's members bad and it doesn't kill people in the name of christ… It is more extreme than basic Christianity only because it offers more teachings. Not different necessarily, but more! Just because you hate it does not mean that it has to be a mean and evil cult.

    • Sarah-Ann

      Um, no. Mormons don't kill people in the name of Christ. It just supports mass brainwashing and manipulation of children into breeding machines. Girls are led to go to college just until they can find a husband to marry them and "save" them… Bring them across the veil so they can live forever in the celestial kingdom. On their own, girls/women have no hope for their own salvation. On their own, without a man to lead them, be the head of their family and save them, they are less than second class citizens and no matter what they do, they are wasting their lives.

      I could go on, but it's usually worthless when talking to a supporter of "the Church".

      Good article though. Thank you for taking the time to research and write it.

      • Don't forget that the man also needs the woman as the woman needs the man. The message is about families. (see the Family a Proclamation to the World

        • ptboat

          You mean THEIR definition of family.

          • Shaune

            Yes. Their definition of the family. I would ready the Family Proclamation to see what it is in full.

            I’m just curious. How is mormon ‘brainwashing’ any different than any other form of education?

          • PTBoat

            Well, their definition of the family is not the only one. Heck, their definition of the family has changed drastically since the founding of this very new religion.

      • mike

        i would like to meet one of them

  • Heather Matthews

    There are positives to having faith. The sense of community and the ideals of certain religions can be inspiring. My grandparents were devout Christians and they were the kindest people you would ever want to meet. Fanaticism is the problem with some cults: member lose perspective and tolerance. If Mormonism is positive for you and your life, then that's great. When religion separates, it can be very negative.

  • Great list. Very informative. It's fun to look back at these hall of famers. Kinda expected to see Amway or the Girl Guides in there somewhere, but there can be only 10 in a top 10.

    Only sad my Common Sense based group, Dawn of the Annointed Awakening, didn't make the cut this time around. But this list reminds us of why we got into the business.

    http://www.sourceoftheword.com

  • My attempt to explain how one defines CULT. And how YOU may be willing to join one!

  • As a converted Mormon (plus eight years now), my opinion is that "the Church"–such is how it is called by its "members," itself another common appelation among the LDS to refer to those on the rolls of the Church–is cultish at the least.

    Note: Jan Shipps, one of the foremost non-LDS historians of the LDS Church, also refers to it in its origins as a "cult" (Shipps, Mormonism, pp. 47-51). Unfortunately, Shipps' definition of "cult" is entirely academic, sociological, and external: She sees successful cults as those that develop and become dominant or mainstream traditions, a fate she sees as shared by the LDS Church. Thus she refuses to judge her subject and proceeds with her narrative with archival pleasure and ambition.

    However, living the faith is another matter: The prospect of living in a "part-member" family really brings the cultish character of the faith into relief. If children are involved, then one parent not being "active," i.e., going to church regularly, can easily end a marriage and divide a family. (This seems more destructive to me than what one finds in mainstream religions.) The whole emphasis on being "sealed for all time and eternity" to one's spouse and children, and the heavy indoctrination of youth through all manner of expected activities outside of the three regular Sunday church hours, lends great force to the bind that the Church keeps "weak" members (those in need of "strengthening") in: to split from the Church creates a serious threat to one's family and great pain and confusion to one's children for not having a parent of "integrity" (I'm quoting all the buzz words here.)

    Add to this the expected annual "tithing settlement" with the Bishop (he–always he–is like the head preacher of a given "ward" or church community–usually numbering from 300-400 people). One must go with one's family to answer the Bishop's question, "Do you pay a full tithe?" As invasive as this may sound to mainstream protestants, this "interview" setting is quite common in the Church, extending to regular "worthiness" or "Temple" interviews with youth and adults. Waywardness is watched for vigilantly, and to me this seems cultish. In fact, now the Church puts barcodes on "Temple recommends" and the Bishop of each ward gets a weekly report of who in the ward has been faithful in going to the Temple (another expected outside-regular-Sunday-Church-meeting activity of "faithful," "valiant," "worthy," "active members").

    Connected to "Temple worthiness" (imagine being a member of a church where you are formally considered a less worthy member than someone else), there also are levels of acceptance and prestige in the Church as well: If one has a genealogy that goes back to the original members of the Church (1830s), that is quite special. If one has ancestors who were part of the 19th century "Pioneers" who traveled across the US to Utah, then one is certainly pedigreed. Being a relative of one of the Church leaders in Salt Lake is certainly a way into the Church aristocracy, and there are various other ways to ascend in this informal Church hierarchy, including perhaps most importantly the attending of BYU or one of its satellite campuses in Idaho or Hawaii.

    I don't have time presently to talk about the importance of "sacrifice" and "service" in the Church. Suffice to say that the emphasis on these can be quite overwhelming in terms of (voluntary) time commitments from the faithful.

    • j jones

      Well, all I can say…is..you just described a cult…whether it is listed in the top ten here or not..plain as the nose on my face..CULT

  • heather

    Hi Phyllis,

    Wow. Thanks for that information. I appreciate your taking the time to share all your experiences and insights. It is certainly interesting to read about these faiths from an insider's perspective.

  • Dakota Johnson

    what about the Illuminati

    • Fabhavz

      exactly my point

  • CJHD

    I disagree with people who call ISKCON a cult.They just want to give ISKCON a bad rap.

  • CJHD

    I disagree with people who call Scientology a cult.They are just trying to give Scientology a bad rap.

  • Heather Matthews

    Hi CJHD,

    I do see both ISKCON and Scientology as cults, I'm sorry you don't agree – particularly with regard to the Church of Scientology, which requires grave financial sacrifices on the part of its converts, and tends to seal members off from non-Scienos (even their own families, in some cases). Thanks for your comment.

    • jasmine

      I’d like to know why you believe ISKCON is a cult and what do you even really know about it? ISKCON isn’t a religion but more of a separate church within Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Vaishnavism being one of the oldest religions in the world – far older than even Judaism or Buddhism.
      Yes it did have it’s problems but so did the Catholic church and many other Christian groups. I feel like these were not very well researched at all.

  • pnkjmn

    9 position hare krishna was wrongly writen without much research. krishna is a very famous hindu god. and it is not known as "a character created for a novel, Mahabaratha". mahabharat is also not a novel.

    • Heather Matthews

      thanks for the info. Sorry for any misunderstandings about the writeup on Krishna. The sources I checked all gave the same information, but I should have checked more. I appreciate the feedback.

  • Nite Mayor

    The United Nuwaubian Nation Of Moors had a larger following than the Branch Davidians, and people will still to this day will tell you that the word of their leader, The Supreme Grand Master Dr. Malachi Z. York, is the truth. Here's an old article written before the demise of York. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,…

    • Heather Matthews

      Thanks for posting the article, I look forward to reading it in the near future 🙂 Have a great day.

    • Tony S

      Thank you for posting the article after reading it the final statement stuck me as interesting

      “They’re the nicest people,” says a young white waitress at Rusty’s, a small diner in downtown Eatonton. “But I’m afraid they are trying to take over the town.”
      Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,27708,00.html#ixzz1jAm0SScp
      This was said after the article made mention of Nuwaubians becoming involved in the local NAACP enroling their children in the local schools one thing the article did not mention was the charitable foundations spearheaded by Malachi Z. York and the Nuwaubian Nation. If you were to take the tiem to do a bit of research there are varying opinions about Dr. York his teachings his followers and the trial that has ensued one thing is for certain there are many thing about the trial of Malachi York that do not add up whether you believe in his teachings or not. There are some links that I will post here for you to check out. I try to remain objective about the situation and many nuwaubians base themselves on the pursuit of objectivity one of Malachi York’s favorite sayings was don’t believe me check it out for yourself. I think the fate of the Nuwaubian nation and Dr. Malachi York was sealed directly based upon what the youg waitress said vocalizing the fear of Nuwaubians taking over not through violence and coercion but through ideas and lifestyle. You can look at the information for yourself and make up your own mind. In my opinion I see Dr. York treatment as the equivalent of what happened to Nelson Mandela. Dr. York never taught violence to his followers he championed the ideas of the pursuit of facts independent thinking and a trust in one’s soul. Yes he said things like white people are the devil. But he also said things like no one wins the race in racism. In the model of Dr. York don’t take my word for it. Look at the evidence and make up your own mind. You will notice that the info below is not put out by the media and the only question I ask is hmm I wonder why not.

      http://nuwaubianfacts.com/Federal%20Criminal%20Cases.htm
      http://www.sooperarticles.com/business-articles/press-release-articles/did-rev-dr-malachi-k-york-receive-fair-trial-292972.html
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJdJRf5h_Pk&feature=related
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNn-n0e05-k&feature=related
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bCKQ4R-mas&feature=related
      http://savannahnow.com/share/blog-post/2009-07-15/truth-dr-malachi-kobina-york%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-case
      http://eotm.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/dr-malachi-z-york-and-the-nuwaubians-from-the-inside-out-on-eotm-radio/

      I have posted quite a few links here but objectivity demands source documentation. I urge you all to look at it for yourselves. I will admit a certain bias as I have listened to read and followed many of Dr. York’s teachings for over 20 years but this is not about me and my bias this is about source documentation and getting down to what either did or did not happen.

      One last insight, Since Dr. York was convicted of child molestation on allegedly over 100 victims and received 135 years. There have been numerous catholic priests that have also been convicted however, to date my research suggests that non of them have received more than a 25 yr sentence, none of them are serving time in Supermax isolation in florence colorado, and 7 years after the conviction of malachi york, that children that he allegedly mosted some of them are probably adults by now however to date I have not seen one official statement by Dr. york’s alleged victim if he molested 100 children you would think that children would have come forward in the seven yrs since dr. york’s conviction and say yes he molested here is my story I want a book or a movie, however this is the case with quite a few catholic priests. I am not judging just doing a comparison and contrast.

  • Mike Sanders

    You forgot the include the biggest cult of all time.

    That cult is Islam.

    You liberals at Time Magazine must be totally blind.

  • Heather Matthews

    I was dealing with smaller cults (in general) where people lived on a compound together, as a group. But thanks for your comment.

  • Paul F. Villerius

    Ever heard of the Church of Ed Wood?

    • Heather Matthews

      The Church of Ed Wood…at last, a cult I can get behind 😉 .

  • Jess

    Scientology is just plain nutty cult

    • Heather Matthews

      Nutty, but not harmless…they are dangerous…

  • Claire

    What about the Theosophists behind the Lucis Trust who counsel the UN?

  • Pat

    What about the Taliban?!

    • Pat

      Or, The Aum Shinrikyo?!

  • Kennypo65

    As far as religions go,I personally am agnostic,(Which simply means,"I don't know and neither do you.") but after what happened a few years back when that lunatic held some Amish schoolgirls hostage. Eventually killing them and then himself, I was pleasently suprised at the reaction of the Amish(they forgave hm and even helped his widow and children), The Amish really put their money where their mouths are in terms of being forgiving and being pacifists. They have my respect. I live in Pennsylvania and have known a few Amish. They were, to a man, very kind and giving people.

    • Heather Matthews

      That's an interesting story – thanks for sharing it with us, and thanks for reading the list.

  • Jebus

    You forgot the largerst one of them all:

    CHRISTIANITY!

    • Heather Matthews

      Hi Jebus,

      I didn't FORGET anything, but thanks for your comment.

  • Some of the facts you placed under “The Unification Church” is at least partially false. You obviously did not do thorough research. I appreciate the fact that you have made this post in honest good will and more for it’s entertainment value than true information. However, the spreading of rumors about the religious beliefs of real people is a serious matter. Unificationism is a huge religious movement that is not going away any time soon, and we do not all live together is small remote communities. You may have a Unificationist as a neighbor, or even your representative in State congress and not even know it.

    False information about Unificationism has lead to serious evils, including the kidnapping and torture of members – especially in Japan but also in the United States.
    Kidnappings in Japan: http://www.familyfed.org/news/index.php?id=67&page=1
    Kidnappings in Paraguay: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/18021/unification-church-3
    Kidnappings in the US: http://www.skepticfiles.org/cultinfo/fre-abdt.htm
    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1980/10/25/student-remains-in-unification-church-after/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deprogramming#Controversy_and_related_issues

    The following are the statements I take issue with, accompanied by an explanation.

    1. “Moon expects to be treated as God, because he believes he is God, or so he has led his many followers to believe.”

    Father Moon does not teach he is god, nor does any Unificationist I know believe Moon to be God. Sun Myung Moon is the Massiah, but not God himself. This means that he is a human being just like the rest of it, and he has gone out of his way to reassure his followers of this in many ways – such as describing how he conserves water when using the toilet and keeping himself clean, and his tips on how to get enough sleep even with an extremely hectic schedule. We are taught that all humans are capable of reaching perfection, which we describe as becoming under God’s direct dominion.

    2. “Other belief systems of the Moonie cult are that an actual kingdom of heaven exists on Earth, not solely in the afterlife, as Christians believe.”

    The kingdom of Heaven, which we call “Cheon-Il-Guk” does not truly substantially exist yet. Our mission is to create it.

    3. “Korea is the chosen realm of this kingdom”

    That’s not the wording I would use at all. Korea is the Father Nation of Unificationism, just as Israel is the Father nation of Judaism and Christianity. However, Cheon-Il-Guk is not really a physical place. It’s more like the idea of Islam or Christianity as nation. This means that CIG is more like in our hearts and we all strive to make ourselves good citizens of Cheon-Il-Guk and our familis True Families of Cheon-Il-Guk. Our physical location matters not.

    4. “Moon, who has earned millions and millions of dollars from Koreans”

    While this may be correct in a way (Though Moon does not claim to truly own anything – all that he “owns” belongs to God), I don’t think it is a bit silly to emphasize. The Unification Movement has earned millions, if not billions, of dollars from membership *worldwide*. In fact, the greatest contributers have never been Koreans, but Japanese. I’ve never been to Japan so don’t quote me on this, but I believe many Japanese members feel guilty over the WW2 occupation of Korea and feel a need to repent through excessive donations. Also, Japan has been given the title of “Mother Nation” and therefore the task of acting as the mother for the entire “world providence” just as the USA is called “Elder Brother Nation”.

    5. “while preaching that Christian churches are the devilâ??s instruments.”

    I literally was born into the Unification Movement in 1986 at a hospital in Washington DC and I have never heard this. Satan’s tools have always been lies, and Christianity is one of God’s expressions of truth. However, any church (including Unification Church), nation, or individual is susceptible to invasion by Satan’s lies. Father Moon does teach that Satain’s biggest tools of late have been Communism and Capitalism, with only slight emphasis on the former.

    I’d also like to say a little something on this little gem: “It is believed that the cult lures in young people and separates them from their loved ones by making them feel a part of a new and more loving family.”

    I am thankful that you inserted “It is believed” part in, truly I am. However, more needs to be said. Young people were targeted at first in order to capture their energy – Moon is a strong believer in that it is always young people who truly change the world. And indeed, when a person gets caught up in a movement (weather religious or political) they can tend to forget to call home. Finally, I have heard stories where members were encouraged to keep away from their old friends and family for a time as to keep away from their fallen influence. However, complete separation from your former family and friends has never been a goal. In fact, Father has encouraged members time and again to whiteness to their biological family. He also encourages us to live together as 3 generations: grandparents, parents, and children.

    That’s all I had to say. Sorry that it’s so long, I hope you have the time to read it.

    Centering on True Love,

    Christopher D. Osborn
    Siggerud, Ski, Akershus, Norge

  • Heather Matthews

    Hello Christopher,

    He is the Messiah, but not God? You are meant to create a Kingdom of Heaven on earth? It does not "substantially" exist yet? All that Moon owns (billions, of course) belongs to "God"? Young people are "targeted", then "forget" to phone home?

    You were born into this movement. I don't wish to argue with you, as I realize it's pointless to do so. But the fact remains that Moon was banned from Germany because that country did research into the Church's policies and recruitment tactics and found them dangerous. I noticed you did not address that part of my article in your response. Why?

    Here is a quote from your leader:

    "Looking at the Moonies from the normal, common-sense point of view, we certainly appear to be a bunch of crazy people!"

    and another:

    "God chose me to be the Messiah, and during this time He has been performing His work of salvation. I have fulfilled my mission as the Lord of the Second Advent, Savior and the True Parent." (Rev. Sun Myung Moon, "The Reappearance of the True Parents and the Ideal Family," from the Unification Church magazine, Today's World, September 1992, p.6.)

    and this particularly shocking statement, where he derides Jesus as a "failure":

    "Abraham was the father of faith, Moses was a man of faith, Jesus was the son of man, trying to carry out his mission at the cost of his life. But they are, in a way, failures." (Sun Myung Moon, "Victory or Defeat," translated by Won Pok Choi, from Master Speaks, March 31, 1973, p.1.)

    *end of quotes*

    I don't think my research is inaccurate; these facts are everywhere. The Church has evolved from compounds full of followers: its message has spread. That's fine. Well, maybe not fine, but that's a fact. You are correct.

    Here's a quote about children born into the Unification Church during its initial growth phase (San Francisco Chronicle):

    Durst confesses that, in the early years of Moon's American mission, church leaders erred in assuming God would provide for the children of devotees. The first kids born into the movement, he concedes, did not always get the parental attention they deserved. "We were trying to build the church up locally – we were hot to build the kingdom," he said. "There were times in the early years when the hardest thing was building a church, while being responsible for your family. You wanted to be part of a spiritual community. People would put their kids in a nursery. When it was not done well, there were all kinds of shortcomings. "We made mistakes," he said. "We did dumb things."

    *end quote*

    I didn't write about these cults solely for entertainment value – not at all. I'm not here to hurt anyone, but it must be said that I think you are not even remotely impartial about the Church itself. You are FULLY indoctrinated. I respect your views, and I appreciate your taking the time to write this "rebuttal".

    I wish you could have had the opportunity to embrace faith (or not) on your own, without it being your birthright: but we are all on our own journey. Good luck to you and thanks for your comment.

    • Heather, your comments were caught by the spam filter I must use on this site. Rest assured all of your comments will be shown. I posted both, even though you listed some points twice, because you also made valid points that weren't in both posts. If you would like me to edit these into one comment, please email me the final draft and I will post it online as one comment.

      Excellent work and feedback. I am always impressed with your lists (http://www.toptenz.net/author/heather) and your comments.

      • Heather Matthews

        It's ok to leave them as is – you're right, there are some new points made in the second point etc. Thanks Top Tenz Master!

  • Heather Matthews

    Hello Christopher,

    I tried to respond to your comment in-depth a moment ago, but the post did not seem to go through. I've read your rebuttal of the statements I made about the Unification Church, and certain phrases stand out:

    He is the Messiah, but not God? Yet he describes himself in Church texts as the "Lord of the Second Advent"…

    The Kingdom of Heaven is not "substantially complete?" Do you mean that construction has begun, but it is an ongoing task? In other words, you do believe in the literal Kingdom of Heaven on this earth…

    Reverend Moon's (the Lord of the Second Advent) billion-dollar fortune belongs to "God". Well, it would seem that it belongs to him, if he keeps the money for himself. That is simply common sense, isn't it? Does he share his wealth with his followers, or take their money instead, to support the Church?

    The Church "targets" young people, who then "forget" to phone home? What happens to family relations when these converts fail to also convert their parents, relatives, and friends? Are they then "bad Moonies" for failing at their mission to spread the Church's doctrine…this is what I have read…certainly, that denotes potential separation from family…

    The Church has expanded out of compounds and into communities, but compounds were certainly a factor in the Church's initial growth and development…

    You were born into the Church and I realize it is pointless to debate with you, as you are fully indoctrinated. I am sorry that you could not arrive at ideas and beliefs about life and spirituality through your own experiences and education, rather than absorbing the Unification Church's message from birth. I am sure you are a good person.

    To finish, here are some illuminating quotes from your own leader:

    "I know the established Christian theology… I know the enemy, but the enemy doesn't know me. Thus the enemy has already lost the war. "

    and this:

    "In restoring man from evil sovereignty, we must cheat."

    and this:

    "The whole world is in my hand, and I will conquer and subjugate the world." (Sun Myung Moon, Master Speaks, 5/17/73)

    and this:

    "Of course, in order that the Ministers feel at home, you must declare your love to Brother Jesus, but at the same time do not forget your goal, which is to bring them to the Lord of the Second Advent." (The Victory of Love [New York, N.Y.: The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1992], pp. 65-66.)

    Here is a quote on parenting of American children born into the Cult, by Unification Church parents (San Francisco Chronicle):

    Durst confesses that, in the early years of Moon's American mission, church leaders erred in assuming God would provide for the children of devotees. The first kids born into the movement, he concedes, did not always get the parental attention they deserved. "We were trying to build the church up locally – we were hot to build the kingdom," he said. "There were times in the early years when the hardest thing was building a church, while being responsible for your family. You wanted to be part of a spiritual community. People would put their kids in a nursery. When it was not done well, there were all kinds of shortcomings. "We made mistakes," he said. "We did dumb things."

    *end quote*

    I wish you well, but my list was not for entertainment alone: not by a long shot. Thanks for your comments.

  • Audiofader

    Yeah I'd say the Jehovah’s Witnesses are a dangerous cult. Not in the killing people sense but they pull you in then you give up what you have. Your freewill for example. My girlfriend is/was a Jehovah’s Witness but doesn't want to be she hasn't been baptized by them but with what she's told me they believe it's very very strange and mentally dangerous. I don't know if anyone knows on here but if you leave the church your family (Immediate and extended) and all your friends of that religion (cult) have to shun you for a period of time. How messed up do you have to be to join an organization where you have to shun your child or loved one if they leave?

    • Heather Matthews

      Hi Audiofader,

      You may have a point about the Jehovah's Witnesses…thanks for your comment.

      • Tim

        Dangerous is not a word i would use…here’s why.

        God himself took expelling action in numerous instances. He sentenced Adam to death and drove him and his wife Eve out of the garden of Eden. (Ge 3:19, 23, 24) Cain was banished and became a wanderer and a fugitive in the earth. (Ge 4:11, 14, 16) The angels that sinned were thrown into Tartarus, a condition of dense darkness in which they are reserved for judgment. (2Pe 2:4) Twenty-three thousand fornicators were cut off from Israel in one day. (1Co 10:8) Achan was put to death at Jehovahâ??s command for stealing that which was devoted to Jehovah. (Jos 7:15, 20, 21, 25) Korah the Levite along with Dathan and Abiram of the tribe of Reuben were cut off for rebellion, and Miriam was stricken with leprosy and eventually might have died in that condition if Moses had not pleaded for her. As it was, she was expelled from the camp of Israel under quarantine seven days.â??Nu 16:27, 32, 33, 35; 12:10, 13-15.

        Under the Jewish Law. For serious or deliberate violations of Godâ??s law given through Moses a person could be cut off even put to death. (Le 7:27; Nu 15:30, 31) Apostasy, idolatry, adultery, eating blood, and murder were among the offenses carrying this penalty.â??De 13:12-18; Le 20:10; 17:14; Nu 35:31.

        The Jewish synagogues had a system of excommunication, that had three steps or three names. The first step was the penalty of nid�duy�, which was for a relatively short time, initially only 30 days. A person under this penalty was prohibited from enjoying certain privileges. He could go to the temple, but there he was restricted in certain ways, and all besides his own family were commanded to stay at a distance of 4 cubits (c. 2 m; 6 ft) from him. The second step was che�rem, meaning something devoted to God or banned. This was a more severe judgment. The offender could not teach or be taught in the company of others, nor could he perform any commercial transactions beyond purchasing the necessities of life. However, he was not altogether cast out of the Jewish organization, and there was a chance for him to come back. Finally, there was sham�mat�taʼ�, an entire cutting off from the congregation. Some believe the last two forms of excommunication were undistinguishable from each other.
        Jesus foretold that his followers would be expelled from the synagogues. (Joh 16:2) Fear of being expelled, or â??unchurched,â?? kept some of the Jews, even the rulers, from confessing Jesus. (Joh 9:22, ftn; 12:42) An example of such action by the synagogue was the case of the healed blind man who spoke favorably of Jesus.â??Joh 9:34.

        Even today most widely accepted â??Christianâ?? religions of the word today have this form of â??disciplineâ?? (meaning to be or make a disciple) as part of their â??creedâ??.
        For Example
        Catholics call it excommunication, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excommunication
        O r
        http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2007/5/abortion-and-excommunication

        Although it is seldom used by the Catholic or Protestants Churches anymore. It is a fact, not a fun fact, but it is a fact that it is a Biblical and scriptural teaching and it is for the purpose of helping people that want to serve God do so to the best of their ability. But Just because it doesnâ??t suit an individualâ??s purposes or doesnâ??t â??feelâ?? right doesnâ??t mean it is un-Christian. No form of Discipline (or in this case abiding by â??Godâ??s rulesâ??) is easy.

        Like the Jews, JWâ??s only use this process only as a last resort to try and correct un-Christian activity in the congergation and to try and keep the whole group from becoming â??taintedâ?? by a few peoples deires to do what ever they want. Which is not Biblical.

        I am sorry to hear about your girlfriendâ??s situation. It is not easy for anyone to be in that position. I know I was as well. But it is a grown up world we live in and like it or not there are always consequences to our actions.

      • Brian

        Im just browsing through and would like to say that I’m not surprised. Many people make comments or base their views on how others feel. It’s so easy to believe heresy, however in making comments on certain beliefs it’s a shame that some may base their opinions on others misguided thinking rather than facts. I’ve studied many religions without being partial. So many have stated nasty things about Jehovah’s Witnesses that aren’t true. What I appreciate so much is that God whose name is Jehovah wich you will find in (Exodus 6:3) and (Psalm 83:18) in the King James and or The living bible just to name a few…He created us with free will to make our own choices.( Matthew 24:14) talks about the preaching of this good news wich Jehovah’s Witnesses do. (Isaiah 43:10-12) shows where the name Jehovah’s Witnesses come from. And last I would like to encourage you to read (John 17:1-26) in your bible. If you believe that Jesus came to earth set an example for us as well as died for our sins, well you have that in common with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  • Liberty Above All El

    You forgot the largest and most dangerous cult currently in vogue: The Obama Cult. "Dear Leader" seized power of the United States and his brain-dead followers will do anything he commands them to do. This cult will not end well for anyone!

    • Heather Matthews

      I don't believe in Messiah thinking where politicians are concerned – whether they veer to the right OR to the left. So I understand what you are saying – people need to examine facts and make decisions based on logic, rather than the "cult of personality". But I think the "cult of Palin" would have been worse…MUCH worse. Aside from that, I'd rather not go in to my own political views. I get enought critiques already on this site 😉

      I'm Canadian, and therefore I don't need to choose between Republicans and Democrats. Thanks for your comment.

    • Divinchi Dillardo

      Yes especially for you white people,there will be no more of you finally on this planet,then the universe can get on with its destiny.

  • what is going on with heavens gate? are they dummies lying in a bed?I think they faked it for media exposure the book and all that money that goes with it. LIke 3 others before that comitted suicide same group?who is next cult of ronald reagan? before they get to old they probably should try for more of that money.I dont want to pay for I am a government mule. What trail leads out of the grand canyon?have a nice day.

  • ghoti

    An interesting story: one of the original members of Fleetwood Mac was a guitarist named Jeremy Spencer. One day in 1971 he failed to turn up for a concert in Los Angeles. After searching for days, the band finally found him. He'd joined the Children of God after meeting a member of the cult and deciding to join them on the spot. He's still a member.

    • Heather Matthews

      Hi Ghoti,

      That's a fascinating story…the fact that someone would just…walk away…from success to seek out some higher truth (or whatever this person was looking for) is pretty significant. Thanks for your comment. I find this cult particularly repugnant due to the pedophilia element…I wonder if that part of the cult's doctrine is what drives people to join? The cult tends to justify some pretty dark urges…under the umbrella of God and higher consciousness…

  • i will like to join your cult if only you would make me rich i want to have enough money that would make the world wonder i am in cameroon plese reply back quickly

    • Heather Matthews

      I think we'd need to start a cult from scratch – only "upper management" reap the financial rewards. I would like to start a Cult of Decency – my credo would be "don't be a jerk, and the rest will take care of itself." 🙂

  • SeanP

    Very good list. There was a great song that came out in the 80's by an alternative group called The Judy's. The song was called "Gyuana Punch". When I first heard it I just thought it was a catchy tune. When my mom heard me listening to it she sat me down and explained the lyrics. So that song actually inspired me to do some reasearch on Jonestown. Pretty horrific stuff.

  • fanatik

    What is interesting about the Heaven’s Gate cult was the fact that some of the male followers (Applewhite included) had themselves castrated in order to become free from fleshly desires.

  • omar

    How about the cult of cthulu?
    People actually worship cthulu(A mountain sized hybrid between an octupus, dragon and human)

  • Violet

    Great list! The only thing I would mention is that not all of the people that dies in Jonestown commited suicide. It was suicides/murders. The children were force fed the poisoned kool-aid, so in essence they were murdered. And the others who were changing their minds were forced to drink at gunpoint. (This is from eyewitness accounts and survivors.)

    • [email protected]

      Good point, Violet. thanks for reading the list 🙂

  • Jono

    Why is Christianity not on the list. .

    As quoted by this site:

    ‘A “cult” typically refers to a social group devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding population considers to be outside the mainstream. Cults usually expect a large amount of time and money to be devoted as well. And sometimes a cult will ask the ultimate price, your life’.

    As quoted by Oxford Dictionaries:

    Pronunciation:/k?lt/

    noun1 a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object:the cult of St Olaf

    a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members:a network of Satan-worshipping cults
    a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular thing:the cult of the pursuit of money as an end in itself

    2 a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society:the series has become a bit of a cult in the UK[as modifier] :a cult film

    Last Quote for you:

    “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” –Sir Stephen Henry Roberts

    • Heather Matthews

      I actually think the definitions you’ve posted tend to exclude Christianity. It’s hardly outside the mainstream, is it? Not really a small group, either? and not a new fad or craze – it’s been around for a while.

      I stated this earlier in the comments – my grandparents were devout Christians, and they were the kindest people I’ve ever known. They lived a Christian life without hypocrisy – they didn’t force their beliefs on others, either. They were, quite simply, good people. They espoused what the faith should be – love without judgment, generosity, patience…I think there are plenty of Christians who are like that. I know many. However, that being said, I know some real hypocrites, too…

      I’m not a devout anything. I find Buddhism to have many positive elements. While I can certainly understand why you consider Christianity a candidate for this list, I was concentrating on groups that live together on compounds – people well outside of the mainstream.

      thanks for the comment, and thanks for reading the list. I have no issues with Atheists. I live with and love Atheists. To each his own…

      • Anon

        Atheism is not only incompetent but founded on moron logic. You really think atheism is based on facts, try this: One can always ask the question where something else came from i.e in the Big Bang theory. Claims of swirling gas and particles… then boom the universe! But does anyone go as far as to question where the swirling particles and gases came from? Guess that question is avoided for the most part because they don’t have any more lies for it yet.

        • Heather Matthews

          No-one has the answers. No-one knows what happens after we die, or exactly how the world came to be. We’re all equal and all of our opinions are equal as well.

          • Tim

            Really! How do you get out of bed in the morning? Seriously. Becasue in your world there are no reasons to do so. I do not mean that in an arrogant way. I truly sorrow at your coment. It seems to me to be full of dispair and searching. Maybe even hoping that someone will prove you wrong. The thing about it is, It’s not that no-one has all the answeres. It’s just that we don’t always like the answeres we are given. So we reject them or find excuses not to belive them. But that doesn’t make the answeres wrong. If you take the time to read the Bible ( Preferably one with Gods actual name in it) and eliminate all of the manipulation doctrines – you will find the answers you desire. If you want help all you have to do is ask God for it. weather you think so or not he is listening. I think you’dbe suprised how fast you get the correct answers if you really want then.

            You are right however about our oppinions being equal. Equal and meaningless. Mine included. Mens oppinions do not matter. It is what God thinks that does.

            As respects death and what actually happens to you. Look here .
            The Bible. (Ec 3:19; 9:5)
            As to our consciousness at death look here..
            The Bible (Ec 9:5, 10; Ps 146:4; Ps 13:3; Joh 11:11-14)
            As to the hope of life after death. look here.
            The Bible (Psalm 68:20; Joh 5:24; Joh 3:36) as well asmany others.

            The Bible is the one place with all of the answers . Trust what it says. Filter the rest.

            Ask and you shall recieve.

            • Susan

              Finally, an informed reasonable reply. AMEN Brother!

          • Brian

            Amen!!! as well.

  • Anon

    Can Buddhism even be considered a religion? If I cross my legs, shave my head and wear an orange robe can I be a Buddhist to? I knew someone who was an Buddhist once, they were a complete jackass and a narcissist I am begging to think all Buddhists are the same way. Apparently if I fill my head with enough false and narcissistic beliefs I can attain this “enlightenment” too.

    • Heather Matthews

      there are about 376 million Buddhists in the world. What’s so hard about accepting the faith of other people? Why judge them?

      • Heather Matthews

        This reply is meant for Tim, who responded to my comment about no-one knowing the answers about an afterlife, or exactly how the world came to be…you seemed to sense some sorrow or despair in my words. I can assure you that’s the opposite of what was intended. All I meant to say what that everyone’s opinion is equally valid, in lieu of proof.

        I get up in the morning to look after the ones I love. I get up to admire trees, breathe the air, and revel in the beauty that is all around me. I get up for art, music, conversation, hugs…I don’t subscribe to any one doctrine, but I DO believe in the Divine. It’s everywhere I look – and I am very happy. I have my own faith in my own way.

      • Tim

        What was wrong with the teaching that the world was flat?… Just becasue we are accepting of something does not make it right, correct or even ok. There is an issue at stake here far greater than respect for other peoples oppinions or ideals. That issue is Love. That “let’s just all get along attitude” is not Love. Love is truth. Love is letting someone know when what they belive is putting their lives (even their eternity) in jeapordy. Love is like a parrent that teaches a child to make it wiser. Not just accepts that the child is ignorant of the world around him. Love is not just accepting untruthes and letting good truth seeking people perish.

        That issue Love in Truth – is the very essence of your Blog site.

        John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.

        376 million Buddhists don’t care if YOU know that truth. I am not saying they are not good honest hearted people. I am saying that you can be honest hearted and wrong .. only a few hundred years ago everyone thought the world was flat. They were all wrong too.

        Sorry but you did ask.

        • Heather Matthews

          you need to learn tolerance. we are all on our own path.

          • TIm

            I do understand tolerance. Tolerance is.. Letting someone go down a path even though you know the path is headed in the wrong direction. Kind of like a broken GPS. Tolerance is justified by the idea that we are all “entitled” to our own opinion. Tolerance – absolves us of all responsibility to our fellow humans.

            I also understand LOVE. Love is understanding that someone is on that path and kindly letting them know that the path they have chosen will not to get them to where they need to be. Love applies to everything in life, not just religion. If we all had more Love for our fellow man, we would not need tolerance.

            I do understand what you are saying. I am simply urging you to consider your path’s destination. Not because I think your wrong, but because I have a certain kind of affection for you (even though I don’t really know you) and I do want you know the truth about God.

            Take Care Heather,
            I hope for all the best for you .

          • vesey

            I agree with both Heather and Tim on this one. To tolerate someones choice, right or wrong, is not approval. It just recognizes we all have the right to make our own choices in life. On the other hand Tim is correct in defining love as the act of informing someone that the road they are taking is leading to a cliff and if they continue they will fall to their death. Ultimately love seems to be the more humane and edifying of the two………..

  • Steve Barrett

    Just a correction, Sharon Tate was Roman Polanski’s WIFE not fiancee. other than that, great article

    • Heather Matthews

      Yes, you’re right, thanks Steve. 🙂

  • Hakeem

    I see there is one moron here calling Islam as cult. Dude, Islam is followed by 1.5 billion people and it is fastest growing religion. It has very clear and compulsory definite principles e.g. praying 5 times daily, fasting 30 days in year, charity, avoid drugs/alcohol etc. Pick any Quran in any part of the world and they are exaclty the same unlike the bible which has so many versions. Agreed there are some violent fanatics but 99.99% muslims are peaceful.

    To me, any ‘religion’ outside the three monothiest religions (Islam, Xtianity, Judasim) are all cults

    • jasmine

      So any non-Abrhamic religion is a cult? There are much older still practiced religions than those. Such as the ones starting in Asia. Vedic religions, and Buddhism…

  • Hare Krishna Lady

    So….lol You put the Hare Krishna on the list.

    While you go about doing that , you should at least put accurate information down, not some misconceptions and lies without any backing to what it’s really about.
    This isn’t some joke movement, it’s not even a religion.
    It’s based on the Bhagavad Gita which is definitely not some joke. It’s a spiritual (or religious if you prefer to hear) text over 5,000 years old as well as the Vedas which is part of the volumes as well. You should chunk in Hinduism as a cult than too because they consider the Bhagavad Gita their “bible” so to speak and didn’t think Krishna is just some book “character” but indeed God.

    There were no women surrounding any of the “officials” or whatever you like to call them.
    If there were any women serving there would be men serving too because the whole standing belief for the movement is to give service to everyone. Not just certain persons but everyone.
    George Harrison actually did stay with the movement and even donated his mansion after he passed to the Hare Krishna movement and it’s to this day being used as a center.

    Did you even really research any of these “cults” before posting?
    Please, do some actual research before you smut the names of some of these movements.
    While some of these “cults” are definitely deserving to be on this list others are getting taken WAY out of context and just showing you didn’t really do much research on this and just posted whatever.

    Anyways, Hare Krishna and happy life.

    • Hare Krishna Lady

      Oh and to add, where did you get the information about followers stealing etc???
      The belief doesn’t support that as it would be bad Karma on yourself to even do that.
      So if individuals decide to do that well, that’s on their own accord, just like a christian or a catholic can steal but that doesn’t mean the religion is debunk or supports it. That just means there are retarded people out there.
      And Buddism branched off of hinduism actually for those of you who didn’t know.
      Not saying you have too believe the whole Krishna thing but it at least deserves more respect than your giving it. At the least to be portrayed accurately.
      The fact that you’re smutting Krishna’s name is not only a offense to the Krishna consciousness movement but to millions in India. This isn’t based off of some crazy man running around saying he found tablets in the woods that God gave him, these are texts older than the bible itself.
      Research, Research Research! Before you state all of these things. That way you don’t make yourself look ignorant at the least.

      • Heather Matthews

        I researched every cult on the this list. Regarding the Krishna cult, I read Monkey On A Stick (Murder, Madness, and the Hare Krishnas), it’s quite a popular book about the Krishna organization. Have you read it?

        • Hello

          Hi Heather,

          Although being a follower of the Hare Krishna Movement, I do agree with you in certain aspects as to why you would include us as a cult. One aspect being that the Hare Krishna movement was founded in 1966, so it seems to be a very new idea, which would seem true from a western perspective, but it has been practiced in India for thousands of years…Also there was a cultish feel in the beginning since it was against mainstream, which is sad because if it is against mainstream to not gamble, not have sex outside of marriage, not take drugs, and not eat meat, fish, and eggs, then I’m not sure if mainstream is the right way to go…The movement did get a bad rap initially due to some members bringing in their abusive mentality into the movement, but their actions were completely against the beliefs of the movement…Finally, we also had a very Charismatic leader who came from India at the age of 70, on a cargo ship, without any money or contacts in the US….His name was A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, also known as Srila Prabhupada…He wrote/translated over 80 volumes of books, established 100 plus temples, acquired 10,000 plus members, traveled around the world 14 times, wrote 3,000 plus letters, established many festivals which are still being follow(Jagannatha Ratha Yatra), amongst many other exemplary achievements…Now the Hare Krishna Movement has an estimated 100 million plus in followers and supporters, and 400 plus centers worldwide…We are in process of building the largest Hindu temple is the world, called the Temple of Vedic Planetarium, which will contain a comprehensive view of the cosmology of the universe according to the Vedas…All this within 50 years of being founded…We’ll see what the next 50 years has in store…=]

  • anoymous

    t thought the wbc would be on the list at least Scientology is on there

    • Heather Matthews

      this list was written a long time ago. good suggestion! thanks 🙂

  • Gary

    How about a “top tenz” cult coz Im starting to worship this website!

    • Heather Matthews

      I’m glad you love Toptenz – I do, too 🙂

  • Yashodanandan das

    Does Heather Matthews do any research before writing his articles ? I do not think so. He has included Hare Krishna movement in the list of cults. Why because the “Western World” had never heard of it before ! However with a little bit of research we see that it is one of the four main schools of Vaishnavism mentioned in the Vedic scriptures ! How old old are the Vedic scriptures ? Well the Vedas appeared “in written form” at least 5200 years ago and before that it was passed down orally in disciplic succession ! The Hare Krishna movement easily predates all other so called religions of Christianity and Islam etc , which do not even compare. The word “Dharma” conveys more meaning than the word “religion”. Religion means faith and faith can be wrong ! Dharma means the intrinsic , eternal , inseparable , characteristic function of a substance. For example heat and light cannot be separated from fire and liquidity cannot be separated from water. So the eternal function of the soul is the loving service of The Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna and cannot be separated from it. Hare Krishna movement is a bona-fide Vedic dharma authorised by Vedic Sciptures themselves. Whoever calls it a cult has got a rather dubious grip on reality. Thank You. Hare Krishna.

    • Justine

      Well, what you have written is in my opinion partly true. I do agree that HK movement originated from Vedic and have some strong background. But it doesn’t mean the HK may not be considered dangerous. Of course as in everywhere there are some good and bad ppl. There is a lot that can be discussed here but what i wanted to say is that i agree with the whole idea of Vedic background but still the things that happened/ are happening in the movement are faar away from its original form presented in the Vedas. Of course you may argue that its hard to achive perfection schown in the scriptures but im not talking abt perfection im just talking abt some regural stuff that should be followed by every human being.

  • winston blake

    You left out the fact that many of those 76 members murdered by the ATF in Waco were women and children

    • Heather Matthews

      women and men are equal in my eyes. it is devastating what happened to these children…

  • Lachlan

    Sorry, I didn’t get a chance to read all the posts, but I would question the KKK as a cult. To me, a cult has some form of minority religious practice, usually of some intensity and elitism, considered to be out of the mainstream of religion whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bhuddist, etc.

    To me, the KKK has never been a religious cult. My understanding is that it started as supposedly a form of “veterans’ club” of ex-Confederates after the Civil War, but in fact soon emerged as one of several underground organisations determined to remove incomers and freedmen from being part of what they saw as their land and communities. This was done by intimidation and even murder. The masks and sheets were not religious in any way, but were to scare the life out of their victims. Likewise the fiery crosses were pure symbolism meant to terrorise by intimating “God’s vengeance” on those “tresspassers”. After drifting away in the last quarter of the 19th Century, the KKK resurfaced in 1915, mainly on the back of DW Griffiths’ blockbuster “Birth of a Nation”. the rest is history.

    KKK a cult ? I don’t think so. An underground terrorist organisation ? More like it.

  • Lachlan

    Is the KKK a cult ? I thought it’s a white-supremacist terrorist gang, as I don’t see any religious beliefs being followed, other than some trumped-up “God loves white Protestants” platform.

  • Chuck

    Wow Heather it seems as though your list has quite a discussion going on. I read all the comments and learned a great deal about how people think about cults. Personally as an atheist, I see all religions as cults. I mean just because a religion has been around for thousands of years and has millions of followers doesn’t mean it is “True” in any stretch of ones imagination. As a person who grew up in Michigan and where one of the KKK’s Imperial Grand Poobah John Miles lived; I can tell you that you are correct in classifying them as a cult. The main reason they wore those hoods was to protect themselves from being known by those who didn’t belong to their group. Since many were law officers, Judges, and local business owners and in some cases even politicians. And as a side note they also have to profess a belief in god as they pride themselves as doing the lords work by controlling the spread of Jews, Blacks, and other minorities. As for the Hitler being an atheist claim; He was a devout Roman Catholic and during his reign over Germany the Pope had everyone celebrate his birthday every year. The whole of the SS wore a belt on their uniforms with the Cross as their insignia on the buckle. . Hitler wrote: “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord..” from his book Mein Kampf. Thank you for allowing me to share 🙂

    • Heather Matthews

      Thanks for your comment, Chuck. I really enjoyed reading it. I do agree with you about the KKK.

    • Let’s just say atheism is a cult too and then we have everyone covered. There must be some way to determine the truth among all these opinions.

      • Chuck

        Atheism is just the non belief in something so there is no way for it to be a cult. To not believe in fairies you would be an atheist about fairies, to not believe in unicorns you would be an atheist about unicorns ect.

  • Tolerant_human

    Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. Obviously people who follow a religion will regard anyone who doesn’t follow their beliefs as being evil or as following a cult. That being said how can Krishna be a created character when over a billion people see him as a God? Yes the Hare Krishna’s are an offshoot of Hinduism but I find your comments very ignorant (no I’m not Hare Krishna). Further more the KKK was not a cult, it was a radical gang composed of mostly white Protestants. Remember, the ancient Romans could of perceived Christianity as a cult. But over time the Christians came to power and refer to their predecessors as pagan worshippers. Time, power and the number of followers can transform a cult into a religion. But who are we to judge those who follow in what they believe? If they are happy with their religion, cult or even having no religious affiliation. That’s their choice and we should respect that! Peace out

    • Heather Matthews

      it’s all good unless people get hurt; and sometimes cults hurt people. thanks for your comment.

    • Chuck

      “That being said how can Krishna be a created character when over a billion people see him as a God?”

      Like I said in my original post; “I mean just because a religion has been around for thousands of years and has millions of followers doesn’t mean it is “True” in any stretch of ones imagination.”
      it doesn’t matter how many people are wrong just because that many people believe it. Ignorance is way too abundant on this planet. LOL

      • Fabhavz

        He is NOT a created character.. there are a lot of evidence to prove that.http://www.mysticboard.com/spirituality/65757-lord_krishna_existedstrong_scientific_evidence.html

      • Hello

        “I mean just because a religion has been around for thousands of years and has millions of followers doesn’t mean it is “True” in any stretch of ones imagination.”

        Well, it doesn’t mean it is false either…And you are right, ignorance IS way too abundant on this planet, even more so than you think…=]

        • Chuck

          Your right it doesn’t mean that is is false but that would mean that you could provide scientific and historical evidence that it is true. Even some written history of that time that is separate from the religious text that confirm what the religious text proclaims would be helpful.

  • snakestrycker

    If atheism is’nt a religion, then how come there is people that want an athiest church. and want all the other religions gone for believing in fairy tales, when there believing in fairy tales themselves.
    let me spell it out: R-E-L-I-G-I-O-N

    • Heather Matthews

      I don’t think atheism is a cult. I don’t know any atheists who want to form their own church! 🙂

    • Chuck

      I have never heard of any atheist wanting to make their own church. The idea of atheism is the total disbelief in supernatural beings and supernatural claims. Most atheist are quite at home with the truth about life and the evolution fact and have no need or desire to create a religion based on fairy tales. If it is true that you read someplace or heard from someone that claims to be an atheist that wants to start a church then I would agree with you and they are no atheist; the very definition of which prohibits such nonsense. .

      • Hello

        According to your percepetion, Atheism is just as ridiculous as Theism…Atheism believes there is no God…not a fact and no proof…Made up of theories which one can say may disapprove of a God figure, like big bang theory and evolution theory…again they have not been proven as fact, that is why they are called “theories”…I understand if you don’t believe there is a God, but you can’t put down Theism for believing in fairy tales if you believe in one too…=]

        • Chuck

          Atheism is saying that there is no proof that there is a god. A theory in science is based on known facts and reproducible evidence unlike the way most people make up a theory, if you don’t believe me you are welcome to try out the theory of gravity and see where that gets you LOL. Science is the direct opposite of theism precisely because it does not believe in fairy tales. I put down theism because it claims to have answers that it doesn’t. You can’t show me one fact that proves the existence of a god from the perspective from theism that science did not prove wrong already, The more facts that science discovers the less any religion holds true so in accordance with evolution all religions will one day be gone. Thank Goodness.

          • Hello

            There is no verifiable proof of the big bang, yet athiests “believe” in it…Also I don’t understand why Athiests are so opinionated about God…First of all, if you only believe in science, you should have no opinions, everything needs to be fact. The fact is that you cannot prove that God doesn’t exist, therefore you should have no interest in talking about God right? Here’s a piece of advice…It works out alot better when you focus on bettering yourself instead and putting down others…I’ve seen churches and temples do so much charity work…How about you Athiests organize yourselves and do something even better…This way it will be a competitiion in who can do better for humanity and not who is right and who is wrong…In the end, helping humanity is what matters right?

            • Chuck

              On the contrary; it has been shown by mathematics that if you reverse all the galaxies and stars that they invariably begin at one certain singularity. Atheist are so opinionated about God because all though some good has been done in his/her name there has been undeniably much more harm done in his/her name as well. Atheist are against harm and for the greater good and therefore atheist on the whole believe in the truth as far as science can show us. Your right we can’t prove beyond a shadow of doubt that a god does not exist, however on the other hand you cannot prove that one does and it is on you for making the claim that one does to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that a god does exist. It’s not up to us to prove to you that one doesn’t. Considering however that there has been no proof ever shown that one does we simply prefer not to put a god as a factor in our equation. Thank you for your advice but it is a mute subject for the simple reason that most atheist are already doing what you suggest we do. We are not putting down any person whatsoever what we put down is your insistence on believing things that are not true. When science gets something wrong it changes to the right answer when religion get’s something wrong it changes it’s answer to a wrong one instead of and in the face of the facts. Helping humanity is what matters and in questioning and expecting answers from religion we are doing a great service to humanity indeed.

            • Hello

              Well it seems that science may have proven our version of creation as well! According to the Srimad Bhagavatam, when God breathes out, innumerous universes come out(creation), and when he breathes in all the universes go back in(destruction). That was a very brief explanation of what is given in the Srimad Bhagavatam, but you can see how one can arrive at a conclusion that God is the “singularity” you speak of…You know Chuck, you actually seem like you’re honestly trying to figure this out. Are you an open-minded type of person? One thing Athiests claim is open-mindedness, as opposed to Theists who believe in their own scriptures and are therefore close-minded to the rest…Right? Your statement “We are not putting down any person whatsoever what we put down is your insistence on believing things that are not true.” seems pretty close-minded and against the principle of science, which never claims that something is not true until it can claim it with conclusive evidence…And so I advise you to be a little bit more open-minded and humble…I am definitely open to the idea that there is no God, but considering the knowledge I have gained from the Bhagavad Gita, a world without God doesn’t make sense…Until Atheists can offer a better explanation of the world and why things are they way they are, and can give me examples of people who are doing great things for humanity and are Athiests, I’m going to stick with what helps me live a life filled with more love and satisfaction…Thank you and Hare Krishna!

  • Rebecca

    The People’s Temple drank grape flavor-aid…not purple kool aid.
    They did this because they were convinced that they would all be killed by the government for the recent attack on their political vicitors.

  • Fabhavz

    what the hellll??? i was so surprised to see hare krishne here, and not the illuminati??? i am a hindu and the Mahabharata is a battle field.. Lord krishna is not a character.. you make us sound so gullible… the hare krishna movement has certainly changed from the oldddddddddddddd days… no person suffers, and they chant to keep their mind on god, always… they is a story behind everything they do… i dont know about the robbery stuff, but where i live, there is a lot of followers, includiong half of my family… sorry if i made you feel bad

  • Krishnachandra

    Rather than “Hare Krishna”, I think the write of the article should have named “The International Society for Krishna Consciousness”.

    Numerous people have already pointed out that Krishna is worshipped by over a billion people. Beyond that point, the Gaudiya Vaishnava faith has existed for over 500 years (i.e. the people who sing Hare Krishna). it only started to spread worldwide when Prabhupada founded ISKCON, and once ISKCON started experiencing serious problems (mainly precipitated by its non-Indian leadership that came after Prabhupada’s demise), many devotees left ISKCON to join existing Gaudiya Vaishnava missions based in India, or they created their very own missions. The vast majority of these missions are as benign as any other organized religion.

    I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of ISKCON. But I consider myself a (VERY) casual adherent of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

    • Mahasana dasa

      Saying, “The vast majority of these missions are as benign as any other organized religion,” rests on an assumption (that organized religions are benign). I do not think that the Jews consider Muslims benign or vice verse. If one draws a cartoon satirizing Mohammed, one is in danger. I don’t think most devotees would assault someone for drawing a cartoon satirizing Prabhupada. However, I do think they would be happy to see such a demon disappear and see no need to call law enforcement.

  • skywatcher

    There seems to be a prevailing belief that the word “cult” automatically includes religion. I use the word occasionally for movements that hae nothing to do with religion. How about it, Heaher? Do ALL cults necesarily involve religion?

    I think a good follow-up to this list would be a list of cults that are almost or completely extinct. I’m thinking of the Thugees, Skopzi (White Doves), and everyone’s favorite, the Millerites. Some of the ones you mentioned in this article would fall into that category, but there are lots more. Like, a LOT!

  • Zsazsa Grabort

    Maratreanism is one sick cult – http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Maratreanism – they believe all kinds of crazy stuff. I feel sorry for all those poor children they are brainwashing.

  • Justin

    The KKK is not a Cult, it’s just a hate group. That’s like calling Nazism a form of Cult belief system…

  • chris

    good article but I have one problem with it. Listing the KKK I felt was a mistake, they aren’t a cult. They’re a hate group. And you made an error when talking about the origins of the Klan. Originally they weren’t a group against blacks, they were opposed to northern carpetbaggers (war profiteers) who came south to make a profit. Only later did they turn to hatred of minorities and certain religions.

  • Philip Arlington

    The Mahabaratha isn’t a novel it is one of the two main ancient Hindu epics, and Krishna is one of the main Hindu gods, he’s been around for thousands of years.

  • Scientology isn’t a cult. It’s a parody of a religion. If Scientology is a cult, so is Pastafarianism. Nobody really believes in Scientology. It’s a satirical parody. It’s also not that dangerous, except for the suing everybody which, even if it’s making fun of other religions, is still way overboard.

    Now, I would say the big religions are the most dangerous cults. They’re the ones that affect the most people, but those are alarmingly absent from what is supposed to be a list of the most dangerous cults.

  • ScoooobbbbyyyDooozer

    I think everyone is going to believe what they believe no matter what… After we die and find out what happens after death is where we see any truth. So I say to heck with any “cult “, “religion”, or “belief”, just do you. Because I’ve come to realize that beliefs are the most difficult thing to change. The mind is a crazy body organ…

    • trelle

      WOW! VERY WELL SAID….VERY WELL SAID…ONLY IF OTHERS BELIEVE THOSE WORDS!!?

  • Thommo

    Are you mentally handicapped or are you just ignorant to the rest of the world??
    Hare Krishna is kind of a part of Hinduism, it’s been around for centuries, it’s not just a bunch of hippys made a cult in the 60’s you idiot.

    • Heather

      No, I am not mentally handicapped. Thanks for reading the list.

      Heather

    • Chuck

      well hare krishna is a cult BECAUSE it was introduced in 1966 IN CALIFORNIA! it is a fake religion/cult because the belief is not from its original country (India). It is a fake religion! same as Mormons, Jehovah Witness ETC. Thommo I suggest you read up on your history before calling someone else an idiot.

      • Hello

        *Sigh*…In America, to be considered a non-profit organization/church, you have to register with the government..This is why the Hare Krishna Movement was registered as ISKCON, which was actually done in New York I believe…However, this does not mean that the philosophy didn’t exist prior to registration…If you read up on history (practice what you preach), you will know that the founder of ISKCON is connected to a long lineage of authorities regarding Krishna Consciousness…Their teachings make up the Hare Krishna Movement (ISKCON)…If you want a factual history of the Hare Krishna Movement, please visit http://www.krishna.com/history-hare-krishna-movement….Thank you and Hare Krishna!

  • unknown

    …no more debate just read the scripture carefully,and understand well,..

    JESUS CHRIST, the God of Israel is our long last father that millions of people were blinded,….they never know him…trust JESUS because he is our only one Savior.no one more no one els.

    • Chuck

      I agree with unknown please everyone read your scripture but don’t cherry pick just the good bits read the entire book from cover to cover. Once you do this you will come out of it being an atheist guaranteed,

  • Tim McEvitt

    If this website mentions something inaccurate and offensive about Lord Krishna then maybe it should be in the list of top ten ‘Not-so-great websites’.

    ISKCON (like any organisation) has improvements to make. But then every individual reading this has improvements to make. The United States government, any company you can think of, any charity you can think of, the city council of the main city in Fiji – any group you can think of has (1) Has people associated with it who have made mistakes, (2) could do better as an organisation. So nothing new there.

    Why don’t you spend more time glorifying the good, rather than frivolously fault-finding?

    Hare Krishna!

    p.s. listing ISKCON along with certain other groups on this page is a sad reflection on your lack of information and wisdom. Why don’t you look into it, even a little tiny bit?

    Sincerely, Tim McEvitt (from Ireland) – Have a nice day…

  • Anonymous

    Gospel Halls is a huge organized cult spread across the world, with tons of “halls” in the US, Canada, and Great Britain. They are able to get by and entice so many people into their cult because on the outside they don’t break any laws and just look like conservatives, but once you pledge your loyalty to them things change. Your expected to change your whole life around, isolate yourself from your family, and face humiliation and isolation is do disobey them at all. Girls are married as young as legally possible, sometimes before 18, often to people who they are related to, but far enough away that it’s considered legal. Behind closed doors there is shame and abuse.

  • Liss

    Personally I think it’s nice for people to have a faith to get them through living on earth, but when you look at what a faith really is its a set of rules for people to live by in the name of someone who either lived and died as far back as the start of time or has no proof of existence. What I think is wrong whether a cult or religion is brainwashing their followers, the harm they cause and the profit they make for unknown reason. Everybody has their right to criticise a religion especially if they do not see the logic of it, if they criticise your religion and it makes you question your faith that certainly is not the religion for you. It is nice that people defend their faith but understand that there are hundreds of different faiths and ‘sub-faiths’ so why should people not question or critique them?
    Faith can be a dangerous thing because it can sometimes blind you and forget who you, the individual really is.
    I think it’s also important to look at what the definition a cult actually is! How they target people! And why they do what they do.

  • jim

    So the definition of ‘cult’ (sic) according to most of the posters is any group that you do not agree with. I believe “Abe” Lincoln followers (lovers) are a cult. obama followers (lovers) are definitely a blind cult.
    Besides, most people do not even know that there is not necessarily any connection between ‘cult,’ and “occult.”

  • marc

    You can download the jonestown death recording, recovered by the FBI, at

    http://archive.org/details/ptc1978-11-18.flac16

    Pick your format. It’s about 30 minutes long and has Jim Jones ranting about the coming apocalypse, communism, socialism and other such nonsense. You even get to hear from a few of the followers.

    Pretty interesting stuff.

  • Divinchi Dillardo

    The whole world you come from,has no clue what is like for my race to have to put up with this country and its hatred,you hate black people,you cant help it,that why you are so afraid of the end of your world,this country destroys black families with aristocratical fathers and children supported by superwomen of color,to become a first family,to look up to,but you are correct when you worry about the so-called end of the world,because it will be the end,for all of you and all white people on earth.

  • Atheist

    Can’t understand how someone can add “atheism” there as a cult. Cults are a system of beliefs which atheists don’t have… An atheist can see, can touch, can compare, can approve, can dissprove, can be right, can be wrong, he changes his ideas upon evidences. They don’t “believe” in the Big Band, they research, they are testing, they are approving and dissproving facts and they admit it as being right upon further research BUT NEVER the absolute TRUTH. That’s how it works. Atheism is about researching, constant evolving, putting everything in doubt upon further research.

    • Ukulelemike

      Atheism is considered a religion because the ‘big Bang”, evolution, and the various other standards of atheism and humanism can’t be proven any more than the existence of God or the literal, six-day creation.
      Science must be testable, measurable and able to be reproduced reliably. Dating systems are completly subjective, and are based on an automatic assumption of great age-that’s not science, its assumption as much as assuming ‘God Created”.
      In fact, atheism, which must generally depend upon evolution, can allow NO doubt in evolution-to offer any question of the officially-accepted version is to be reject and cast away by the scientific community: there can be NO question. That’s not science-its religion. There is no proof for evolution, no proof that anything ever produced something not of its own kind-no evidence that life came from, non-life, no evidence for a big bang. In fact, the fact that some moons, plantes and even galaxies rotate the ‘wrong way’, is proof against a big bang.
      Accept atheism is a religion.

      • Atheist

        How can you prove the non-existence of something that never existed ? It’s your job to prove the existence, not mine to disprove it. I can disprove the existence unless you bring over the evidence. As I said, I have the absolute truth of the non-existence until you prove it.
        That’s how Science works. What you’re trying to say now is exactly how manipulation works, that’s what you’re doing right now, that’s what religion is doing. Atheism is not a religion … I don’t believe in the non-existence of a thing, I reject it unless it’s proven. There’s no dogma around it whatsoever.

        • Jim Rasmussen

          “I can disprove the existence unless you bring over the evidence.” Unless you meant to say “can’t” instead of “can”, your statement would be incorrect.

          “I have the absolute truth of the non-existence until you prove it.” So, if you had lived at different times in human history … you would have the “absolute truth” that the earth was flat? … you would have the “absolute truth” that the sun revolved around the earth? … you would have the “absolute truth” that flies were created by spontaneous generation from rotting meat? So much for your “absolute truth”.

          What, by the way, would constitute sufficient proof of the existence of God for you? Anything?

          Finally, you say, “I don’t believe in the non-existence of a thing”. The belief in the non-existence of God is the very definition of atheist.