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Cults can be religious, political, health-related, or any number of other categories. One of the identifying marks of a cult is the high level of control that it exercises over a person's life. That's one reason some cult-like groups are labeled "high control" groups by some experts-because it's understood that cults and high control groups are on a spectrum. I think of cults like criminals-not every criminal is as dangerous as another. One criminal might only be guilty of theft, while another is guilty of murder. The murderer is certainly more dangerous than the thief. However, they are both still criminals.

Furthermore, cults do not present themselves as they are. They use a systematic form of manipulation. It's done in a gradual way, so that the person being recruited doesn't recognize it. I heard Dr. Alexandra Stein, a woman who is a cult survivor and today an expert, describe it as disabling a person's critical thinking. It made me think of apps on phones. An app can remain on a person's phone, but if a user understands the steps to take to disable the application, it will no longer function. That's exactly what cults do. I have provided links below to some sites where additional information can be found.

Cult Education Institute

Suggest video by cult expert Rick Alan Ross under the About Us link.

International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA)

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