20 Characteristics of a Cult?


By Dr. Ken Matto


But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  (2 Peter 2:1)


I am sure that many people are familiar with the cults since they have been around as long as man has been on the earth.  Yet, even though false religions and cults have been around for millennia there are still millions of people who still get caught in their traps and are not armed with the information to avoid them or to help them get out if they are stuck in one.  It must be understood that all cults are not stationed in a compound but many are in church buildings, on the radio, on TV, and definitely on the internet.  This is why it is so important that Christians know the warning signs of a cult so they may avoid them for their own spiritual well-being and the eternal souls of the unsuspecting.  The cults trap people by using mind control over them and that is why it is important to know that a cult is just as dangerous on the radio as it yields the same effect as if a person was in a compound behind barbed wire.  I wish to present twenty characteristics of a cult which will help you identify a cult or a cultic church.  Yes, that is correct, churches can be as cultic as the non-church cults can be.  Here is an example:


The following is from the Doctrinal Statement from Grace Baptist Church of Smyrna, Delaware - http://www.pilgrimway.org/doctrinal-statement/


ARTICLE 23: “WE are not a Protestant church but are a Baptist church.  We believe that Baptist churches pre-dated the Reformation, tracing their origins to apostolic times. We remember how Protestants persecuted Baptist peoples in the Reformation era and how they brought many errors from Rome into their churches, such as infant baptism and State-Church establishments.”


If you notice in article 23 they are claiming the Baptist Church goes back to Apostolic Times which basically means they are the true church descended from the twelve Apostles.  This type of belief system qualifies them as a cult and if you are familiar with Baptist churches, then you know that it is either their way or the highway.  By the way the Roman Catholic Church claims the same thing this church is claiming that they are the original church dating back to the twelve Apostles.  The Moravian Church formed in 1477 which was 40 years before the Reformation.  To tell people they are the only true church is to foster a cultic mindset.


The Overlap of Cults and Culture

Cult, first time word appeared was in 1613 and shares an origin with culture and cultivate, comes from the Latin cultus, a noun with meanings ranging from "tilling, cultivation" to "training or education" to "adoration." In English, cult has evolved a number of meanings following a fairly logical path. The earliest known uses of the word, recorded in the 17th century, broadly denoted "worship." From here cult came to refer to a specific branch of a religion or the rites and practices of that branch, as in "the cult of Dionysus." By the early 18th century, cult could refer to a non-religious admiration or devotion, such as to a person, idea, or fad ("the cult of success"). Finally, by the 19th century, the word came to be used of "a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious." – From Merriam Webster


There is a great exodus today from the churches by the youth and it affects all denominations.  Who do you think will attempt to capitalize on that problem?  The cults will come in and find these young people and will then listen to them and then tailor their offers to be commensurate with their needs.  Then by time they find out they have been lied to, it is normally too late for them to do anything about it or else they will be too deep into the cult.


Cult members are not just behind a compound but they also go out and try to find people by pulling them out of the true Christian church.  In Summer of 1981 at the Family Radio Bible Conference at Tuscarora Inn in Mt. Bethel, PA.  A person approached me and told me I should read the Urantia Book and that I should not be afraid of truth.  Below is a description of what the Urantia Book is all about.


The Urantia Book portrays our relationship with God the Father. All human beings are the sons and daughters of a loving God and therefore brothers and sisters in the family of God. Urantia is supposed to be the name of the Earth. The book provides new spiritual truth for modern men and women and a pathway to a personal relationship with God.


Building on the world's religious heritage, The Urantia Book describes an endless destiny for humankind, teaching that living faith is the key to personal spiritual progress and eternal survival. It also describes God’s plan for the progressive evolution of individuals, human society, and the universe as a whole.


Many people around the world have said that reading The Urantia Book has profoundly inspired them to reach deeper levels of spiritual growth. It has given them new meaning to life and the desire to be of service to humanity.


If you notice some of the cultic terms used to describe this book such as “new spiritual truth,” “pathway,” “progressive evolution,” deeper levels of spiritual growth.”  These terms are all used by the New Age Movement as they seek to see people evolve on to the higher spiritual planes, which of course, do not exist.  For the Christian, the only book of truth we need is the King James Bible and not the modern versions since they are permeated with false, gnostic doctrines.


Cults employ mind control and fraudulent recruiting techniques. In other words cults trick people into joining and then bully them into remaining with them mostly using fear tactics.  They also use something called “shaming” where they bring the offending party in front of the rest of the cult members and shame them for some type of infraction of their contrived rules.  So to prevent themselves from being shamed, people will just avoid that by being an obedient zombie.


A Cult is any religion or church that does not adhere to the orthodox teachings of Scripture, not tradition because a church or cult built on tradition can be corrupted over time and become even worse. We read about how corrupted the tradition of the Jews became in Mark 7.  Since the true Bible is never changed, every generation who adheres to its teachings will be as faithful as the past generation or the future one.  This means that if a church uses the true Bible and then passes that belief on to the next generation, then they will be as faithful to the Bible as the generation who handed it down to them.


Now before we get into the twenty traits of a cult, let me ask you if you would consider Alcoholics Anonymous a cult based upon their history.  Whenever you investigate any religion, church, or cult always remember to start where they started and when you know their beginning, you will almost instantly know what their authority is and whether they are in line with the Scriptures or have departed from the truth.


Would you consider Alcoholics Anonymous a cult?

1. Bill Wilson received the 12 steps through spirit dictation or automatic writing.  He was an occultist.

2. It has diluted Christian theology by letting people create their own higher power.

3. It removes and rejects Christ as the only healer of troubled souls.

4. It neutralizes the authority of Christ.  It has placed Christ in a modern day pantheon of gods.

5. You must attend meetings almost non-stop.  Attending meetings keeps reminding you of your past even for years.  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth

     unto those things which are before,  (Philippians 3:13) 


Based upon what we read above, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) definitely has the qualifications of a cult.  Their beginning was satanic as Bill Wilson received the 12 steps in ½ hour through automatic writing.  So we know AA did not have a godly beginning but a satanic one.  Instead of them pointing to Christ as the Higher Power and healer of souls, a person can make anything they want their higher power even a dog or a car.  It takes Christ and brings him down and places him on equal footing of all false gods throughout history.  The fact you must attend meetings continuously means even after 25 years you are still being told you are an alcoholic.  Philippians 3:13 above negates the idea of continuing to bask in the past life of sin.  It tells us “forgetting those things which are behind” and God would not put that in Scripture unless he planned on giving you the strength to fulfill that task.


The 20 Characteristics of a Religious Cult or a Cultic Church:


1) Strong Central Figure who dominates:

a) The Pope – Roman Catholicism

b) Sun Myung Moon – Unification Movement

c) Joseph Smith and now their twelve Apostles – Mormonism

d) David Koresh – Branch Davidians

e) Ellen White – Seventh Day Adventists

f) Charles Taze Russell – Jehovah’s Witnesses

g) Their Successors


Every single cult has a central figure who is their conduit to God and supposedly receives all the divine information for the cult or church.  They are never to be questioned or opposed because they are God’s vessels.  The idea that God only speaks (verbally or non-verbally) to these people is nothing more than a method of mind control.  If the leader wants something to be done or wants something for himself, then he comes to the people and tells them that they should heed his words because they came directly from God.  In this way he or she maintains total dictatorial power over their people. 


2) No analytical thinking allowed:

a) You must relegate all thinking to the leaders.  In his early years in the Augustinian Order of Monks founded in 1244, the Prior (second in command to the Abbott) wanted to expel Martin Luther because of his analytical thinking.  In many churches you must think

      like the pastor or you are out.

b) Ahab and Elijah dialogue:


(17) And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?  (18) And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.  (1 Kings 18:17-18)


If there is one thing that scares cult leaders and cultic pastors, it is Christians and even unsaved people who can think for themselves.  Martin Luther started studying the Scriptures and God was opening his eyes to truths which were not taught by the Roman Catholic Church and that is frightening to false religions.  This is why they wanted to expel him.  Many times Christians come into a church and find the pastor is teaching an error so they raise the issue and the next thing you know the truth-bearer is out the door and the Pastor’s kingdom continues unabated.  We can see that situation in the dialogue between Ahab and Elijah.  When Elijah confronted Ahab, immediately Ahab accused him of being the troubler of Israel.  Elijah was the truth bearer and Ahab was the apostate.  Then Elijah responds that it was the house of Ahab that troubled Israel because they forsook the commandments of the LORD and followed Baalim.  This is the major problem in the churches today.  Many pastors follow the teachings of their seminary professors or some media celebrity pastor and are troubling the house of God because they have forsaken the teachings of scripture and have exchanged those biblical teachings for the teachings of man.  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  (Mark 7:7)  Then when a Christian confronts the false teachings, they are the ones accused of upsetting or troubling the church.  Biblical truth has become the enemy of many churches.  We expect that from the cults but the church is supposed to be a place of truth, not one man’s kingdom.


3) Salvation is found only in their group:

a) Christadelphians do not mingle with other Christians, maintaining that they possess the truth.

b) Pope Pius XII (A.D. 1939 – 1958): “By divine mandate the interpreter and guardian of the Scriptures, and the depository of Sacred Tradition living within her, the Church alone is the entrance to salvation: She alone, by herself, and under the protection

    and guidance of the Holy Spirit, is the source of truth.”

c) Pope Francis reiterated that outside the Church there is no salvation


If each group is the truth, then how come each group claims distinctive salvation?  Which one holds the true way of salvation? None of the cults have any understanding of salvation.  The only way a person becomes saved is when they receive salvation by God the Father and are given to the Lord Jesus Christ.  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  (John 6:37)  No group or church can guarantee anyone’s salvation especially by the false notion that people are saved when they join their particular cult or church.


4) Christ is not the Son of God or Savior:

a) The Christadelphians say Christ was only a man and not God because God cannot die.

b) Islam states he was only a prophet

c) Judaism states Jesus is in burning excrement in hell according to the Talmud.


April 1, 2015 Barna Group and the historicity of Jesus may not be in question for most Americans, but people are much less confident in the divinity of Jesus.


56% believe Jesus was God

26% claim he was only a spiritual leader like Buddha or Mohammed

18% aren’t sure Jesus was divine


Among Millennials

48% do not believe Jesus was God

35% claim Jesus was just a spiritual leader

17% aren’t sure what he was


Generation-X born 1965-1980

55% believe Jesus was divine


Baby Boomers born 1946-1964

58% believe Jesus was divine


Elders born before 1946

62% believe Jesus was divine


Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (John 14:6)  When we look at these surveys you will see a variety of opinions and man’s opinions mean nothing in light of what the Scriptures teach.  If a person does not believe that Christ is the Savior and Son of God, it has no effect upon the truths of Scripture.  If a person’s opinion differs from what the Bible teaches, then the Bible is to be believed and not a person.  Nowhere in the Bible do we read that man is the standard of truth. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  (2 Timothy 3:16)


5) The Holy Spirit is only a force:

a) Jehovah Witnesses teach that the Holy Spirit is an active force from Jehovah

b) Mormons teach the Holy Spirit is different from the Holy Ghost.  He is an influence or electricity-like emanation from God.

c) I remember filling in a pulpit at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Brooklyn around 1994 where they were doing a pastoral search.  They interviewed a candidate who preached the week before and the church secretary sent me a copy of his message where he

    likened the Holy Spirit to the force in Star Wars.


April 13, 2009 Barna Research found that most Christians in the United States do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living force. 58% strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement that the Holy Spirit is "a symbol of God's power or presence but is not a living entity."


And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  (Ephesians 4:30)


Quench not the Spirit.  (1 Thessalonians 5:19)


There is no way that you can grieve and quench an impersonal force but you can grieve and quench a living being.  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  (John 16:13)  Notice in John 16:13 when the passage speaks about the Holy Spirit, the passage refers to him as “he” six times.


6) Doctrines which are peculiar to their group:

a) Bahai Faith – For salvation living and knowing by Bahá’u lláh’s principles and teachings.

b) Kabbalah teaches after death a person climbs the tree of life back to God, and thus return to paradise and “restore Eden.”  Kabbalah basically means “mysticism or occult knowledge.”  It is otherwise known as Jewish Mysticism.  They also believe in and

     use astrology. https://kabbalah.com/en/

c) The Roman Catholic Church has been around for about 1700 years. With each passing year they continue to grow more apostate. They are not a Christian denomination but instead could easily be categorized as a cult.  In the Latin, the word "Vatican" means

      "Hill of Divination." Actually, they are a cult of the virgin. Mark 6:3 gives a list of the children Mary had with Joseph.   Heathen cultures have always been fascinated with the idea of a virgin goddess.   Let me list a few:


1. Isis - Egypt

2. Shing Moo - China

3. Parameta - Hindu (many others also)

4. Diana - Ephesians

5. The Celestial Virgin - Blavatsky - New Age

6. Mary - Roman Catholicism

7. Ishtar – Babylon

8. Hestia – Greece

9. Vesta – Rome


Each false group has doctrines or teachings which are peculiar to their group.  However, when you compare these false doctrines to the Scriptures they can be negated.  Sometimes cults will have doctrines that are true because they are careful not to be totally false since they know some people will check them out.  For example, the Roman Catholic Church continues to teach that Mary was a perpetual virgin but Mark 6:3 refutes that heresy.  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.  (Mark 6:3)  The reason why they are so successful in continuing this heresy is because their members do not check anything out in Scripture plus the official Roman Catholic teaching is that Mark 6:3 is speaking about cousins or extended family and not brothers and sisters as the text plainly teaches.


7) Loyalty to the leader is demanded:

a) Heaven’s Gate Marshall Applewhite son of a Presbyterian Minister launched his study of prophecy and then founded Heaven’s gate.  The followers remained loyal to him and 39 of them committed suicide on March 26, 1997.

b) Jim Jones founder of people’s temple founded by Jim Jones in 1955.  Moved from Indianapolis to San Francisco and the Guyana.  November 18, 1978 all 918 followers committed suicide.

c) Cult Leaders are pathologically narcissist which is considered a personality disorder which means they feel superior to other people.  A quote by Joe Navarro who is a 25-year veteran of the FBI where he served on the National Security Division's

    Behavioral Analysis Program:


“Having studied at length the life, teachings, and behaviors of Jim Jones (Jonestown Guyana), David Koresh (Branch Davidians), Stewart Traill (The Church of Bible Understanding), Charles Manson, Shoko Asahara (Aum Shinrikyo), Joseph Di Mambro (The Order of the Solar Temple a.k.a. Ordre du Temple Solaire), Marshall Heff Applewhite (Heaven’s Gate), Bhagwan Rajneesh (Rajneesh Movement), and Warren Jeffs (polygamist leader), I can say that what stands out about these individuals is that they were or are all pathologically narcissistic.”


Each cult demands extreme loyalty even to the point of death.  As we saw above with Applewhite and Jim Jones who led their people to eternal death.  If there were any true believers among the Jim Jones cult, then they completely quenched the Holy Spirit and supplanted him with the heresy of Jim Jones.  Not only do we see this loyalty bond in the cults but also in many churches.  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.  (1 Corinthians 1:12)  The majority of Christians follow certain preachers and some of those churches have cultic tones.  If you think I am making this up, walk into Chuck Swindoll’s or John MacArthur’s church and say they are wrong about something and see the “loving” reception you get.  Go into T.D. Jake’s, Potters House and say he is a false teacher, see how much love you get.  Here is the link to a video by John MacArthur who is attacking the true Bible and at the end all his sycophants stand and applaud him like a good cult leader.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmudwnVPQ7A

The problem is that he gets up there and states that Mark 16:9-20 does not have any manuscript evidence.  LIAR!  Mark 16:9-20 is found in part or in full in 618 extant manuscripts which means there is massive evidence for it but the people in his church would rather walk in ignorance and stupidity than search out the truth for themselves.  If you notice on that video, the comments are turned off because they will not have anyone challenge their god-man.


8) Special revelations to the leader resulting in new information to the group:

a) Harold Camping claimed new information about the return of Christ on May 21,  2011. He called it Progressive Revelation. I saw Camping as a cult leader because his followers would not listen to any preacher or any Christian except Camping.  At present there

     is a splinter group in Darby, PA which claims that May 21, 2011 was really not the return of the Lord but it was the end of salvation and right now we are living in a time of Judgment.  It is headed by a man named Chris McCann who was a hyper-Campingite

     and after May 21, 2011 started his own non-salvation cult.  I have spoken to some of their members and they are as brainwashed as any non-Christian cult.  It is known as E Bible Fellowship on line.


Camping Heresies

1) Christ died twice when the Bible states He died once for the sins of His people - For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of  himself.

     (Hebrews 9:26)

2) From Camping's book "To God be the Glory" (Page 34) - "Thus when Jesus went to the cross, He was not there to pay for our sins"

3) Camping taught that if you believe that Christ can come on any other day than May 21, 2011, this gives evidence that you are unsaved


b) Sun Myung Moon has said that when he was fifteen years old Jesus anointed him to carry out his unfinished work by becoming parent to all of humanity.


Once the Bible was completed in 95 A.D. there was no more revelation to be given after the book of Revelation was completed.  From that point on the Holy Spirit would, instead of giving revelation, would now illuminate the Scriptures to those who were saved.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  (John 4:24)  John 4:24 teaches us that those who worship God must do so in spirit and truth.  This means a person must be saved to do this because they have the Holy Spirit living in them who also leads them into all truth.  The same principle is carried over into understanding the Bible.  Only those who are saved can understand the deeper spiritual principles and teachings of the Scriptures.  Those who are unsaved can only see the Bible as a book or morality and a guidebook for living.  For example:


{13} Thou shalt not kill.  {14} Thou shalt not commit adultery.  {15} Thou shalt not steal.  {16} Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.  (Exodus 20:13-16)


We have laws on the books for murder, theft, and perjury which are applicable to both the saved and the unsaved.  Adultery is used in court when married couples seek divorce.  The unbeliever can only see the surface of the Bible but the believer is given the privilege of going deeper into the counsels of God.  O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.  (Psalm 92:5) 


9) Family ties should be broken to maintain allegiance to the group:

If a person joins a cult and their family is outside the cult, then family contact must be prohibited or else the cult member may be talked into leaving the cult.  By forbidding family contact, the cult can maintain total authority over the individual without any doubts being place in their mind.  Total mind control!


Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)  (Ephesians 6:2)  I used the fifth commandment as is written in the book of Ephesians to show that this command has never been rescinded.  When a person joins a cult and is forced to remain apart from their parents, then they are dishonoring them in violation of the Scriptures.  Children are to honor their parents, not the cult leader or cultic pastor.


And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:  (1 Corinthians 7:10)


Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  (Ephesians 5:25)


Sometimes the cults come between married people but the Bible forbids the wife or the husband to leave each other.  The wife departs from her husband if she shows more affinity toward a cult leader than her own husband.  The husband is not showing love to his wife if he shows more affinity to a cult leader.  This situation can also happen when a married couple are overly involved in a demanding church.  There is nothing written in Scripture that people are to be in church every time the doors are opened.


10) Penalties for leaving the group:

a) The impressive-sounding Order of the Solar Temple was founded in 1986 by an ex–con man named Joseph Di Mambro. The previous owner of The Centre for the Preparation of the New Age, he and his partner, Luc Jouret, finally settled with their followers

      in Quebec, preaching that it was the only city that would survive the upcoming end. Members claimed to be spiritual beings given temporary human bodies to warn of the imminent (but undated) apocalypse.  One member, Tony Dutoit, discovered that

      “visions” cult members were seeing were actually projections from hidden devices. Dutoit’s debunking of the mystic visions—along with his exposure of Di Mambro’s use of cult funds for personal spending—led to the group’s splintering and accusations

      that the Dutoit’s baby was the Antichrist.  On October 4, 1994, Dutiot, his wife, and his infant son were stabbed to death by two cult members.

b) Those who leave Islam receive a death sentence and sometimes it is carried out!


The great thing about Christianity is that you cannot lose your salvation even if you walk out of a church and never go to another one in your life.  I have not been to church since 2003 when I became disabled and I have not lost my salvation, in fact, I have grown consistently in my Christian walk not having to put up with all the spurious views spawned by the majority of churches.  Attending church is not a requirement of the Christian walk.  But what about Hebrews 10:25 where it states we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together?  That objection is answered by Matthew 18:20.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.  (Matthew 18:20)  Even if a small group of Christians meet in a home once a week for Bible study, they are fulfilling the requirements of Hebrews 10:25 and the Lord Jesus is there.  Jesus is closer to a small group of believers learning the true scriptures than a church of 1,000 being led by someone teaching false doctrine to placate his good givers.  Remember, the spawning ground for cults, false teachings, and aberrant Christianity is the visible church itself.


11) The Bible is secondary or equal to the revelations or writings of the leader:

a) The book Divine Principle by Moon was said to have been equal to Scripture by his followers.

b) The Book of Mormon is seen as equal to Scripture as it is considered continuous revelation.


For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.  (2 Peter 1:21)  The Bible was written by men who were indwelled and moved by the Holy Ghost who inspired the writing of it.  These modern books like book of Mormon, Divine Principle, Urantia book and others were written by men under the inspiration of themselves plus satanic guidance since they all denigrate the Lord Jesus and lead people away from the true Scriptures.  Any book that leads people away from the truth is of satanic origin and must be totally rejected.


12) Love Bombing you with all kinds of acceptance:

Love Bombing was started by the Unification Church under Moon as part of their conversion process.

Four major principles of Love Bombing you must look out for:

a) Right away they claim they love you

b) They show sympathy with you on anything and everything

c) Everything moves quickly as they want you to come with them right away

d) You are overwhelmed with attention


Many people who are lonely in this world would be willing to accept all the attention that a cult gives them.  People are rejected in this world because of physical unattraction or low financial status and when they finally meet someone who shows them a caring attitude, they normally will allow themselves to answer with emotions instead of cautionary intellect.  In the move Godfather II, Fredo tells Michael about a meeting he had with another mobster and Fredo says “There was something in it for me.”  This is how the cults project their group, that there is something in it for the unsuspecting person and it will benefit them.  Their pandering is their draw.


13) Repetitive mantras, either spoken or sung:

a) In charismatic churches you have 7/11 songs – 7 words sung 11 times

b) In Hinduism A mantra is a sacred utterance, a numinous (mystical or magic) sound, a syllable, word or phonemes (pronounced pho-neem), or group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and/or spiritual powers.  A phoneme is

    a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language.  It would be tonal in nature.


But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  (Matthew 6:7)  Many cults require mind-numbing mantras.  A Mantra is a sacred verbal formula repeated in prayer, meditation, or incantation, such as an invocation of a god, a magic spell, or a syllable or portion of scripture containing mystical potentialities.  It is also a commonly repeated word or phrase, especially for motivation.  As prayers to a false god are said repeatedly it begins to numb the faculties of the mind making it easy for the cult leaders to fill the mind with his or her teachings.  We find this same technique used in the charismatic movement where they will sing a song with 11 words 10 times over.  It has the same effect in reducing the clarity of the mind and replacing them with a mind which is set to accept any type of teaching, right or wrong. 


14) All finances are to be given or bequeathed to the group:

a) Amassing a fleet of 74 luxury cars, however, makes perfect sense to the disciples of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the Indian mystic who lived on a 64,229-acre Oregon ranch bought by his followers in 1981.

b) Herbert W. Armstrong demanded 30% of a person’s income.

c) Unification church held or holds extensive businesses, real estate holdings,educational institutions.

d) New York Times July 2, 1991, Page 13, stated that the Mormon Church yearly income was 4.7 billion dollars.  4.3 from members and 400 million from businesses.  It had at that time a worldwide membership of 6.2 million.


Giving money is an important part of the Christian life because it helps to spread the gospel all over the world.  It is likened to sowing a seed and then watching it bloom.  When you buy a Bible for someone or hand out tracts, you never know the explosive effects that one little gift can have on that person and upon all the others they will reach.  However, if all funds are given to the cult then nothing goes for anything else as many cults are formed for one reason and that is to increase the wealth of the cult leader.  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  (Malachi 3:10)  In Malachi 3:10 the Israelites were to bring the tithe of their income into the storehouse which was a separate place in the Temple if they brought in grain or something other than money.  Many churches today teach that they are the storehouse where all the tithes and offerings should be brought.  That is incorrect because the storehouse in the New Testament is the body of Christ.  If you choose to give to missions or a literature ministry thus reducing the amount given to your local church, then that is not sin because you are actively supporting the gospel going around the world instead of your money being tied up in new carpets or a six figure salary for the pastor.  You want to make sure you are supporting the sending forth of the gospel because you work hard for your money and it shouldn’t wind up in stained glass windows or a Mercedes for the pastor.


15) Teachings are always changing to fit the need:

a) Mormonism taught polygamy from the early 1830’s until the U.S. Government banned it in 1887.  Then one of their Apostles in 1890 had a new revelation which taught that Mormons were to reject it.   The United States Congress passed the

     Edmunds-Tucker Act (1887) authorizing the seizure of LDS Church assets and making polygamy a federal offense. 

b) In 1997 Billy Graham on Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power claimed that one need not know Christ to become saved.  C.S. Lewis also believed that good Buddhists could be saved without Christ.  (Mere Christianity, 1960, Page 176-177)


One thing about cults is that their teachings are never settled but always remain fluid in case they need to change them in response to the law as in the case of the Mormons and Billy Graham showing his traitorous mind by stating that one does not need to be born again to get to Heaven on Schuller’s Hour of Power.  Keeping the teachings “flexible” allows cults to pander to a wider audience, especially those with money.  About 1517 Pope Leo X wanted to build St. Peters Basilica and needed to bring in some money to accomplish this task.  So he ordered his underlings to create a new indulgence which would be broader in scope than the indulgences they sold before.  This new indulgence guaranteed a person never had to go to confession and it offered full pardon of all their sins including those relatives of the purchaser in Purgatory.  It was during his sale of the indulgences that Bishop Tetzel made his famous quote, “As soon as the gold in the casket rings, the rescued soul to heaven springs.”  Beware when any cult or church demands all your money be given to them.


16) Sin is almost always a rejected belief:

a) Church of Scientology teaches there is no sin or need to repent

b) In Eastern Mysticism sin is not defined.  It consists of one’s actions contrary to one’s “dharma” or “duty.”  In Buddhism, dharma means “cosmic law and order.”


In the cults, sin is rejected both in reality and in concept.  This is because everything they are doing amounts to sin.  They reject the concept of sin so they could implant in a person’s mind that they are really good but they just need to be trained to think positively, in other words, according to their dogma.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.  (Romans 3:12)  The Bible is very clear that prior to salvation no one can do good because their lives are bathed in sin, that is, all the acts they do even good ones are tainted with sin.  It is called Total Depravity.  Human kindness is still there but it has a cloak of sin surrounding it.  Not only are the cults rejecting the teaching of sin but many churches are also rejecting it.  This is found in the fact that many churches teach only prosperity, health, or happiness and never touch on the fact that if a person is to gain true happiness, they must be saved because happiness is sourced in joy and is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  They can never gain spiritual prosperity because they are still in their sins.  Joel Osteen refuses to teach on the subject of sin and many false churches are following his pernicious ways.  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.  (Acts 20:27)  The full or whole counsel of God includes the teaching of sin.  If a person does not learn about their sin, then they will never learn about their need of a Savior.


17) The Trinity is Rejected:

a) Christadelphians reject the trinity stating there is one God and not three

b) Oneness Pentecostals found in the United Pentecostal Church teach 3 manifestations of one God, not one God in three distinct persons.

c) The Mormons teach Tri-Theism which means three separate gods.


Many cults deny the truth of the trinity which is one God in three distinct persons.  It is a great mystery but we can see it through the eyes of faith. 


{16} And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  {17} And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  (Matthew 3:16-17)


Matthew 3:16-17 gives us all three distinct persons of the trinity at the baptism of Christ.  Unfortunately, the rejection of the trinity is also creeping into many churches under the name of “Modalism” which teaches that there is only one God and three manifestations of the same person.  In the Old Testament he was Jehovah, then he was Christ on earth, and after Christ went back to Heaven he is manifested as the Holy Spirit.  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26)  If you notice in Genesis 1:26 that there is a conversation going on between the Father and the Son using the words “our image” and “our likeness” and “let us” which denotes plurality.  If there is only one God with three manifestations, then who was he talking to? Questions like that would fall under analytical thinking which is forbidden by the cults and in many churches.  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:  (Ephesians 3:9) Ephesians 3:9 states that Christ and God the Father had a hand in creation which confirms the conversation of Genesis 1:26.  By the way don’t look for the underlined part of the verse in your modern version because it was omitted by Satan’s theologians.


18) Works is a necessary part of their program:

a) In the International Church of Christ, for example, disciples are scrutinized by their discipler daily to determine if they performed as worthy disciples. Failure to meet the standards may result in discipline. Disciples can never be certain they have done

      enough for salvation.

b) Go down to Philadelphia and when you see the people on the corners selling individual roses, they are the Moonies.

c) Since grace is never taught, then works must take its place.  What works?  How many? Who defines good works?  Who assesses the good works to see if they will be accepted by God?


Since the cults do not believe in grace alone for salvation, they must supplant the true teachings with things that make a person feel good by keeping them.  For example the Roman catholic Church has 7 sacraments which if kept, they guarantee a person’s salvation, they are: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the sick, Matrimony and Holy Orders.  The true works of the believer comes after salvation plus those works are already planned by God for the believer.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  (Ephesians 2:10)  Works are never to gain salvation but only as a result of salvation simply because no work can supplant the cross of Christ.


19) The leader always takes on a Messiah Complex:

a) Sun Myung Moon claimed to be the Messiah

b) Vernon Howell filed a petition in California State Superior Court in Pomona on May 15, 1990, to legally change his name "for publicity and business purposes" to David Koresh. Koresh is the Biblical name of Cyrus the Great (Kurosh), a Persian king

     who is named a messiah for freeing Jews during the Babylonian Captivity.  His first name, David, symbolized a lineage directly to the biblical King David, from whom the new messiah would descend. By taking the name of David Koresh, he was "professing

     himself to be the spiritual descendant of King David, a messianic figure carrying out a divinely commissioned errand.


If a cult is going to fully brainwash their members, then a divine, messianic complex must be adopted by the leader to show he is not a phony but is working on behalf of God who speaks only to him.  After all, who can argue with a person who claims that Christ appeared to them and has anointed them to carry on the work that Christ did not finish even though in John 19:30 Christ states “It is finished.”  If Christ finished the work of salvation, then why would he commission someone to complete a work that is already finished?  This is why analytical thinking is necessary because it could save your soul from eternal damnation.


20) Penalty for dying unsaved:

a) Jehovah’s Witnesses, 7th Day Adventists, and the Darby Cult teach Annihilation

b)  President Brigham Young explained, "We believe that all will be damned who do not receive the gospel of Jesus Christ; but we do not believe that they will go into a lake which burns with brimstone and fire, and suffer unnamed and unheard of torments, inflicted

     by cruel and malicious devils to all eternity. The sectarian doctrine of final rewards and punishments is as strange to me as their bodiless, partless, and passionless God. Every man will receive according to the deeds done in the body, whether they be

     good or bad. All men, excepting those who sin against the Holy Ghost, who shed innocent blood or who consent thereto, will be saved in some kingdom; for in my father's house, says Jesus, are many mansions" (JD 11:125-26).  (Journal of Discourses

    was public sermons by Mormon leaders from 1851-1886)

 c) Hinduism teaches no hell and no such person as Satan.


What the cults have attempted to do is to completely quash the truth that at the end of every unsaved life will come the judgment of God who will sentence the unsaved to eternal damnation.  To keep cult members in a euphoric state of mind, they must eliminate all the negatives and eternal damnation is probably the biggest negative they choose to abolish.  However, the Bible is very clear that at the end of life will come the judgment to the unsaved.  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:  (Hebrews 9:27)  Hebrews 9:27 makes it abundantly clear that it is “appointed” for a person to die not just at random and if they die unsaved, then they will be judged for their sins and cast into eternal hell.



At least four of the fundamental Biblical doctrines are rejected by most cults, that is they are either opposed openly or twisted severely. These are:

1) The trinity of God

2) The deity of Christ

3) The personhood of the Holy Spirit

4) The eternality of the soul


Your King James Bible is your defense against cults and cultic churches.  I name the King James Bible because you cannot witness to a Jehovah’s Witness with an NIV or an ESV since their Bible, The New World Translation is made from the same manuscripts the modern versions are made from.  There are three important understandings you must have so you can be aware of the cults and their methods:


1) Your emotions are susceptible to infiltration.

2) Your intellect is susceptible to infiltration.

3) Your senses are capable of being deceived.


The battle is spiritual and you need a spiritual guide to deflect the satanic arrows being shot at you with smiles and love bombing.  The cults are bold and will deceive you right to your face so it behooves you to be as spiritually astute as you can be and that is only attainable by knowing your Bible.  Your eternal protection is the word of God.