It's a simple proposition really:
Glen Beck is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a pseudo-religion designated as a cult by many religious and secular organizations and fitting many, if not most, of the classically designated characteristics which define cult activity.
If you want to get your news and have your opinions shaped by a member of a religious cult, that's fine by me. But I know that many of you simply like to get the information and then "research it" for yourselves, so here you go.
The term "cult" in modern connotation has evolved to include those religions which have demonstrated characteristics which are detrimental to the individual, society, or government.
Various groups within the anti-cult movement have similar concepts about what defines a cult. They often list a group of factors that a cult exhibits.
In their list of "Characteristics of a Destructive Cult", the cult recovery group reFOCUS (www.refocus.org) lists five. They do not say how many of the 5 must be present in order for a faith group to be called a cult but Mormonism hits all five on the head:
1) An authoritarian power structure, with control concentrated at the top.
2) Charismatic or messianic leader(s) (They define Messianic as meaning that the leaders identify themselves as God or state that they are the only persons capable of interpreting the Bible properly.)
3) The use of deceitful methods in recruitment of new members and/or raising of money.
4) Isolation of their membership from society, filtering of information.
5) The use of mind control methods on the membership.
*Mind control can involve many techniques. Robert Lifton describes eight of them in his book "Thought Reform & the Psychology of Totalism:"
• Milieu control: control of the group environment and communication.
• Manipulation: Leaders are perceived as being chosen by God, history or
some supernatural force. Salvation can only be attained through the cult.
• Purity demands: An us vs. them mentality is developed, in which cult
members are the only pure and good.
• Confession: group confession and self-criticism is used in order to
produce personal change.
• Sacred Science: The cult's doctrines and ideology are considered sacred
and must not be doubted or questioned.
• Loading the language: Conventional words and phrases are given special,
• Doctrine over person: Members are conditioned to feel guilt if they ever
question group doctrine. One must conform to the "truth," as taught by
• Primacy over life, death and eternity: The group contains the elite;
outsiders are evil, unsaved, and may not even have the right to exist.
Leaving the group will have devastating consequences.
Tim Miller in the Fall of 1995 issue of Communities magazine identified thirteen characteristics that would classify a religion as a cult.
Using these thirteen criteria, the LDS, Mormon religion qualifies in all thirteen categories as a cult.
Characteristics of a Cult:
1. "The group focuses on a living leader to whom its members appear to be extraordinarily committed."
2. "The group focuses heavily on recruiting new members."
3. "The group focuses heavily on making money"
4. "Members who question, doubt, or dissent with the group's beliefs are discouraged or punished."
5. "The group uses techniques that numb the mind to suppress doubts about the group and its leaders. These include long work routines, denunciation sessions, meditating, chanting, or speaking in tongues."
6. "The group's leaders tell members how they should act, think, and feel. For example, members must get their love life and jobs okayed. Leaders may tell them what kind of clothes to wear, where to live, how to raise their children, etc."
7. "The group sees itself as especially and uniquely blessed; for example, the leader is believed to be a Messiah or avatar, or the leader and the group have special orders to save the world."
8. "The group has an us-versus-them outlook, which puts it in conflict with mainstream culture."
9. "The group's leaders are accountable only to themselves and are not guided by or disciplined by any higher authorities as are, for example, military officers, and the ministers, priests, and rabbis of mainstream religions. The group believes its goals justify methods that members would have considered unethical before joining, such as raising money for fake charities."
10. "The leaders manipulate the members into feeling guilty in order to maintain control."
11. "Because members become subservient to the group, they cut ties to friends, families and the personal goals and activities they had before joining."
12. "The group expects its members to devote inordinate amounts of time to it."
13. "The group encourages or requires its members to live or socialize only with each other."
Believe what you want to believe and get your news from whomever you like.
Just don't doubt for a second that, as Glen Beck tells you what you should be thinking, he meets just about all authoritative criteria for classification as a cult member; one who wears magic underwear and believes that he is going to become God of his own planet when he dies.
If you can know that and still take him seriously, great. Just don't expect to be taken seriously.
Click to view image: 'It's not a cult!'
Click to view image: 'Magic Underpants'
Click to view image: 'Moon mission'
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