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Cults: Would you recognize a local CULT?

Cults exist in South Africa: would you be able to spot the signs of a cult as a victim – or friend of a victim? Here’s what you should know.

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Get your daily bible verse and prayer here to start you day with hope, EVERYDAY. You are deeply and eternally loved. Photo: PEXELS

Cults are big in the news, with pseudo-religious groups often in the headlines when they are closed down by the authorities – or when someone tells their story of escaping from the clutches of a group with nefarious or dark intentions.

Would you spot one if you saw it, and would you know what to do?

What are the signs of a cult, and how can you tell the difference between what’s healthy and what isn’t?

Here’s what you should know about cults, and how to recognize a group’s intentions when they aren’t for the benefit of their followers.

What are CULTS?

According to Britannica, the definition says that “a cult is a small group devoted to a person, idea, or philosophy. The term can also refer to a religious movement that engages in questionable activities or practices.”

Questionable means that the group uses religious motives and ideas, but engages in practices that would be considered against the law. Some behaviour that cults might engage in includes cutting their followers off from their friends or family.

ALSO READ: ‘Air Lords’ cult members arrested by Hawks, Interpol in Pretoria

Sometimes people who are part of a cult might not recognize it themselves, or might want to escape it after years of acceping the ideas of the cult.

ALSO READ: OBITUARY: Gaston Glock, inventor of cult guns, dies at age 94

Groups such as this can make escaping (or cutting ties) difficult for their followers.

Signs of a CULT

According to the website Learn Religions, signs of an extreme religious group includes “a leader who is infallible,

deceptive, exclusive, isolating, illegal, or dogmatic.”

ALSO READ: Pastor Lethebo Rabalago fined for spraying followers with insecticide

Leaders don’t like to be questioned, and often cuts followers off from their friends or family members; this can be a sudden, or a slow and gradual process.

Heaven’s Gate is a famous group mentioned in this article, whose follower convinced its devotees to commit mass suicide via ingesting poison.

“Intimidation, fear, and isolation” are more warning signs associated with these groups, as well as illegal activities and religious dogma.

ALSO READ: ‘Same Cult’: Die Antwoord’s Yo-Landi Visser about Russell Brand

South African groups called cults

There have been several South African groups and religious leaders accused of being cults, or of being cult-like in their motives or behaviour.

The South African pastor who sprayed Doom at his followers has drawn comparisons to overseas pseudoreligious groups.

KwaSizabantu Mission has also been accused of being a dangerous group associated with illegal activities, and the Kwazulu-Natal Premier has welcomed investigation into KwaSizabantu Mission.

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