Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building Bridges: A World Religions Program for 8th-9th Grades

Taking It Home: Cults: Lose Your Will, Lose Your Soul

When theology erodes and organization

crumbles, when the institutional framework of

religion begins to break up, the search for a

direct experience which people can feel to

be religious facilitates the rise of cults. — Daniel Bell, sociologist

IN TODAY'S WORKSHOP... we looked at characteristics of cults. We saw that often they exhibit abusive behavior, and we discussed how to recognize and get out of abusive relationships. We reflected on how to help a friend who might be attracted to a cult-like belief system or community.


Whom do I trust that I can turn to when I need a reality check? Can my friends and family trust me in that way?


  • Rent and watch the movie Join Us (NR, 2007, directed by Ondi Timoner). You can also visit the movie's website to take a cult vulnerability test. After you take the test, you will receive a score and links to more information about protecting yourself from cult recruitment.
  • The Advanced Bonewit's Cult Danger Evaluation Form is a useful online tool for rating the destructive behavior of groups.