Kinds of Cults

Take your pick . . .

According to Cults in Our Midst, 3,000-5,000 cults exist in America, with 2 to 5 million involved at any one time An estimated 60 million are in occultism.

But not all cults are religious. According to Margaret Thaler Singer and Janja Lalich in Cults in our Midst, a cult is a group of people that forms around a person claiming special mission or knowledge. The self-appointed leader will share this knowledge with those who relinquish their decision-making to him or her.

Here is a brief list of different kinds of cults and what they focus on:

  • political, consisting of terrorists and racists
  • psychotherapy, offering personal transformation
  • occult, advocating the worship of Satan
  • commercial, offering expensive seminars and promises of wealth
  • New Age, involving astrology and channeling
  • one-on-one, with single individuals assert power over another
  • Bible-based, with rigid requirements
  • eastern groups, teaching altered states of consciousness
  • UFO and others

Those classified as “destructive” (exercising extra-ordinary control methods) consist of 2-1/2 to 3 million active members at any one time.* Membership in the more “benign” groups are in the millions, with some figures suggesting 30 million. This latter group is often comprised of religious groups, designated as such because of their anti-Christian doctrines and fewer controlling methods.

* Cults in Our Midst, p. 80

— Janis Hutchinson