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Research resources

This is the CultFAQ.org section of research resources on cults, sects, ex-cult counseling and support, and related issues. Use the menu to the right to navigate through this section.

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Characteristics | Definitions | Warning Signs

Secular Checklist of Cult CharacteristicsOff-site Link Article on the American Family Foundation site. More focused on sociological than religious aspects
Secular Characteristics of a Destructive CultOff-site Link An article on the ReFocus site
Christian A Cult Recipe?Off-site Link Just what do you mean when you say "cult"?
Christian Cult: A Theological Definition by Alan Gomes, given from an evangelical, Christian perspective. Excellent, clearly-worded outline from his book Unmasking The CultsOff-site Link
Christian Cult Recruiting TechniquesOff-site Link by David M. Williams.
Christian Do Cults Follow The Same Pattern?Off-site Link Though the doctrines of the major cults vary widely, their roots as well as their pattern of development are strikingly similar. By Randall Watters
Christian Eight Distinctives of an Aberrational Christian GroupOff-site Link Article on the NEIRR site
Christian Eight Marks of a Mind-Control CultOff-site Link As outlined by Robert J. Lifton in "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism"
Christian How Could Anyone Join A Cult?Off-site Link by an ex-member of an abusive communal group
Christian How To Identify A Dangerous Religious GroupOff-site Link Online booklet
Christian How to Identify Counterfeit, Manipulative, and Controlling SystemsOff-site Link Twenty-three differences between Biblical and totallistic teachings
Christian How You Can Identify A CultOff-site Link by Norman Olson, Baptist Press
Christian Identifying and Defining SectsOff-site Link Provides a documented overview of the major "Christian" sects. Specific attention is given the essential biblical doctrines which they deny. Article on the Crossroads Project site
Pluralistic Religious Cults, Sects, and DenominationsOff-site Link Points out the various - often mutually exclusive - definitions of the term "cult." Article on the "Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance" site. (Many of the articles on the OCRT site are written from an anti-anticult perspective)
Christian Thought Reform in Cults and Abusive RelationshipsOff-site Link Adapted from Robert Lifton's book Thought Reform and the Psychology of TotalismOff-site Link
Christian Why is a Cult a Cult?Off-site Link On the CARM site
Christian Words Cultists Use Don't Mean the Same Thing.Off-site Link On the CARM site
Christian You May Be Involved In A Cult If...Off-site Link by Jim Watkins.
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General Information

Christian Cults and DeathOff-site Link Timeline - Three decades of crimes and confrontation by cults and cult-like extremist groups
Christian Cults! An outline analysis of cult practices, brainwashing, techniques, etc.Off-site Link On the CARM site
Christian Cults: What To Say When The Tacks Are BrassOff-site Link By Eric Pement, reminding Christians to deal with cult members in love.
Christian Does 2 John 10 mean we shouldn't allow cultists into our homes?Off-site Link by Ron Rhodes. Of interest to Christians. What do you do when cult members knock at your door?
Christian How Cults RecruitOff-site Link by Rafael Martinez
Secular Ideological Totalism A chapter from Robert Jay Lifton's book, "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of 'Brainwashing' in China." Lifton, a psychiatrist and distinguished professor at the City University of New York, has studied the psychology of extremism for decades. He testified at the 1976 bank robbery trial of Patty Hearst about the theory of "coercive persuasion."
Christian Myths and Facts About Cult InvolvementOff-site Link by Randall Watters
Secular What Messages Are Behind Today's Cults?Off-site Link By Philip Zimbardo, PhD. Former professor of psychology at Stanford University and a former president of the American Psychological Association (APA).
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Leaving Cults / After Effects

Secular Coming Out Of The CultsOff-site Link By Margaret Thaler Singer
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Students and Cults

Secular Campus Chaplains: Cult Training and PerceptionsOff-site Link by By R. Elleven, K. Greenhaw, K. and J. Allen, College Student Journal (USA), June 1, 2004
This article examines the perception of 43 college chaplains across the United States with regard to cult training and perceptions of college and university cult activity. Campus chaplains are in a unique and challenging position on college campuses to assist students and confront cult issues. The results of the survey indicate that most campus chaplains have had surprisingly little formal training with regard to cultic groups and often perceive faculty, staff, and students as requiring additional education regarding cult issues on college campuses.
Secular When Spirituality Goes Awry: Students in CultsOff-site Link Professional School Counseling (USA), June 1, 2004
Adolescents are objects of recruitment for religious cults. Identifying new religious movements, cults, and dissenting religious groups, understanding their practices, and discovering reasons for their attractiveness to some students are helpful to the school counselor. Suggestions are offered as to how to identify which cults are destructive, and how professional school counselors can assist students involved with such group.

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About This Page:

• Subject: Definitions of the term 'cult'
• First posted: Dec. 9, 1996
• Last Updated: Sep. 1, 2004
• Editors: Anton and Janet Hein-Hudson
• Copyright: Apologetics Index
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