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I'm not sure counts as a reputable source. Furthermore, the United States government recognizes the LDS church and Jehovah's witnesses as religions and neither exemplify cult like behavior. ColinR 20:26, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

Cultwatch is a non-profit watchdog and counseling group. I'm not sure what disqualifies them from being considered reliable. I respect your position as an administrator, though, so if you deem it unsuitable for citing, I'll find something else. As for whether JW and LDS are cults, be careful not to conflate the two usages. Both churches meet the definition of "cult" in the Christian sense of the term. They're not under the "secular usage" section for a reason. SavedByGrace 21:28, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
The usage of cult wasn't recently adopted by secularists. And this website is not here to provide "Christian definitions," but rather true and verifiable definitions. Why would Mormonism be considered a cult and Islam not? ColinR 21:35, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
The Conservapedia article on Kangaroo gives the Christian baramin definition in the first paragraph. Is this not a legitimate precedent? Also, as far as I can tell, Muslims do not pretend to be Christians. We would just say that they follow a false religion, not that they're cultists. SavedByGrace 21:46, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
Fair enough. I do feel like listing Mormonism and Jehovah's Witness as cults is a bad idea, especially considering they are some of the most conservative people, but if you want to keep it, I think qualifying them as considered cults in the Christian sense of the word would be a good idea. ColinR 21:52, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
I feel that at least Mormonism should be removed from the article. I was brought up in the church and though I am no longer a member, I feel that the church is still a Christian church and in no way resembles a cult. All different christian faiths have different practises. If Mormons are to be considered a cult, why not Lutherans, or Baptists, or Anglicans, etc?Nsmyth 22:01, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
I agree. I have deleted this section.
Boethius 22:10, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
Considering what I just read on the Mormon entry on Cultwatch, I will be removing The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints because I know firsthand that that is NOT what they teach. Nsmyth 23:08, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

Nicene Creed

If the Nicene Creed is key to determining a cult, then are original Baptists a cult? There are some branches of the Baptist church and Lutheran church that are sola scriptura and as the Nicene Creed does not appear in the Bible, these would make those branches cults by this definition. --Mtur 20:43, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

I'm not a theologian or historian, but it seems their rejection of the Nicene creed was not a rejection of any of the particular statements found in it. Rather, they wished to distance themselves from any religious texts other than that which is Divinely-inspired. I should hope that all contemporary Protestant churches are sola scriptura, but this just means that we don't place any doctrine or interpretation of doctrine on level with the Bible itself. On the other hand, again, looking at the creed itself--anyone who finds something disagreeable in it most likely also finds something disagreeable in the Bible. The creed isn't partisan--within Christianity. SavedByGrace 21:28, 14 March 2007 (EDT)


The definition seems rather narrow. It is my understanding that the etymology of the word dates it to about 1610 and was first used to describe specific (though pedestrian) veneration of Saints within Christendom.

The pejorative use of the word, I believe, only came into fashion in the last 70 years or so. But then I could be wrong. Crackertalk 21:46, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

Non-Christian cults

Seems to me this entry is very limited in its views:

1) It only seems to deal with Christian cults

2) It gratuitously insults major Christian denominations such as the Mormons and Jehovah's WItnesses, from among whom many conservative Christians hail

3) The stuff on the Nicene Creed is both useless and misleading.

Oddly enough, the Wikipedia has a fairly decent definition that avoids these problems:

"In religion and sociology, a cult is a term designating a cohesive group of people (generally, but not exculsively a relatively small and recently founded religious movement) devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture or society considers to be outside the mainstream or reaching the point of a taboo. Its status may come about either due to its novel belief system, its idiosyncratic practices, its perceived harmful effects on members, or because it perceived opposition to the interests of the mainstream culture. Non-religious groups may also display cult-like characteristics."

-- sounds like a better start to me! I would also strongly urge that the "Common examples" section be removed.

Boethius 21:56, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

I'll respond to your items as you have them numbered:
1) I agree. It's only a skeleton of an article. The secular usage section can surely be filled out more.
2) Mormons are definitely often Conservatives (I've been a big fan of Orrin Hatch). Jehovah's Witnesses, on the other hand, are certainly not: they're explicitly anti-political. However, this is a separate issue from what they belief spiritually. Many Muslims are conservatives, and I would not rule out voting for one running for political office. This wouldn't force me to suppress my knowledge that his religion is false, though. Likewise with Mormonism and their status as a cult.
3) I suppose it's not absolutely necessary for inclusion in the article, but the creed is a helpful guide. It gives the reader more detailed information on what it means to say "This religion is a cult." SavedByGrace 22:13, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
Ok, I take your point. But whatever value the Nicene Creed may have in helping identify cults, this would only be valid for Christian cults. I think an entry on a broad term like this should address the question broadly, and then give more particular information later in the article.

Boethius 22:17, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

I support the Boethius version of the entry, subject to further editing. I think it's the least biased and provides an example of a group widely regarded as a cult. ColinR 23:05, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

Just a note this is up as an AfD, (Articles for Deletion). Crackertalk 23:10, 14 March 2007 (EDT)
I submitted it for deletion based on a early entry. ColinR 23:12, 14 March 2007 (EDT)

How can any denomination ever start...

...without, at its start, being "of recent origin" and small? It wouldn't start at all unless it had a difference of opinion with the existing denominations. The chances of it succeeding are low unless it has a charismatic leader, and unless it has a reasonably intense focus on winning new members.

So, it seems to me that whenever a denomination starts, it is almost certain be "of recent origin," to have a charismatic leader, and a focus on prosyletizing. The difference between that and the definition of "cult" in the article is a matter of degree.

It seems to me that most denominations must look an awful lot like a "cult" when they are starting. Dpbsmith 18:58, 20 March 2007 (EDT)

In one sense, a "cult" is just a new religious movement on its way to becoming a "sect" or "denomination". Every major religion started small, and I've heard Christianity referred to as "the cult of the Nazarene".
My favorite dictionary definition of cult is "A religion regarded as spurious". This leads to the comment that "One man's religion is another man's cult".
There is no objective standard capable of distinguishing a "cult" from a 'real religion'. Even within Christianity, many sects call one or more other sects "unChristian". It's common with Protestantism to distinguish between "Christians" and "Catholics" - implying that the Roman Catholic Church is non-Christian. --Ed Poor 20:28, 20 March 2007 (EDT)


For some reason, "L Ron Hubbard" is locked, so I can't add him to Category:Cult Leaders. Why's that?