The first dictionary definition of "cult" is "a system of religious worship." In other words, by the first definition, all religions everywhere are cults. This is different, however, from the way the word is most commonly used today.
The number of cult members worldwide changes radically based on which definition is used:
To make matters even more complicated, some religious groups choose not to collect or to share their membership numbers, for many reasons. Estimating cult membership remains impossible without a widely agreed-on meaning of the term and reliable figures for membership.
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Last updated on Thursday, November 14, 2013.
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