Exit and Support Network

How Do I Know if It's a Religious Cult
or Healthy Spirituality?

  • Healthy spirituality respects the individual's autonomy.

    Religious cults enforce compliance.

  • Healthy spirituality tries to help individuals meet their spiritual needs.

    Religious cults exploit spiritual needs.

  • Healthy spirituality tolerates and even encourages questions and independent critical thinking.

    Religious cults discourage questions and independent critical thinking.

  • Healthy spirituality encourages psychospiritual integration.

    Religious cults "split" members into the "good cult self" and the "bad old self."

  • Conversion to healthy spirituality involves an unfolding of internal processes central to a person's identity.

    Cultic conversion involves an unaware surrender to external forces that care little for the person's identity.

  • Healthy spirituality views money as a means, subject to ethical restraints toward achieving noble ends.

    Religious cults view money as an end, as a means toward achieving power or the selfish goals of the leaders.

  • Healthy spirituality views sex between pastors and the faithful as unethical.

    Religious cults frequently subject members to the sexual appetites of the leaders.

  • Healthy spirituality responds to critics respectfully.

    Religious cults frequently intimidate critics with physical or legal threats.

  • Healthy spirituality cherishes the member's family.

    Religious cults view the outside family as an enemy.

  • Healthy spirituality encourages a person to think carefully before making a commitment to join.

    Religious cults encourage quick decisions with little information.

~From an article sent to Exit & Support Network™ (original title: "How Do I Know if It's a Sick Cult or Healthy Spirituality?")

Related Articles:

Identifying Marks of an Exploitive, Abusive Group

Setting Boundaries

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