When is a Religion a Cult?

From Inform Inform believes it is important to recognise that definitions are man-made decisions. Exactly what characteristics are ‘put together’ under a label, and where the distinguishing boundaries are drawn between different phenomena, can vary from place to place and time to time.1 Furthermore, different people may use the same concept to refer to very different things. Sometimes a term is ...

Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups – Revised

Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. & Janja Lalich, Ph.D. Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and ...

Cults: Questions and Answers

Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. Q. What is a Cult?    The term cult is applied to a wide range of groups.  There are historical cults, such as the cult of Isis, non-western cults studied by anthropologists, such as the Melanesian cargo cults, and a host of contemporary cults that have caught the publics’ attention during the ...

On Using the Term "Cult"

Herbert L. Rosedale, Esq.Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. Even though we have each studied cults and educated people about this subject for more than 20 years, neither of us has ever felt completely comfortable with the term “cult.” No other term, however, serves more effectively the linked educational and research aims of ICSA (International Cultic Studies ...

The Definitional Ambiguity of “Cult” and ICSA’s Mission

Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. (This essay is a follow-up to “On Using the Term Cult.”) A central component of ICSA’s mission is to study psychological manipulation and abuse, especially as it manifests in cultic and other groups.  Different people, however, attach different and usually imprecise meanings to the term “cult” (On Using the Term Cult).  Those ...