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Danger of Cults is Growing

Danger of Cults is Growing
El peligro de Cultos está Creciendo

[September 18, 1998]

As individuals and societies, we do not have a strong understanding of the phenomenon of cults, nor of the dangers cults pose. Thus, preventative action is rarely undertaken by appropriate establishments, such as our homes, cultural institutions, and governments. Lack of understanding or action persists despite highly publicized cult violence over the last four years, somber statistics of the cult problem, and the upcoming millennium which is predicted to spark more catastrophes. The following overview is provided to alert people to the growing danger of cults worldwide.

Recent Cult Tragedies in the News

  1. 1994. More than 60 members of Europe's Solar Temple cult were induced to mass suicide in France and Switzerland.

  2. 1995. Japan's Aum Shin Rikyo cult released sarin nerve gas in Tokyo subway killing ten and injuring thousands. Only recently in June 1998, testimonies in recent trials of Aum Shin Rikyo members revealed that for years prior to the 1995 attack, the group released lethal germ warfare in Japan, targeting the Japanese Legislature, the Imperial Palace, and the US military base at Yokosuka. The poisons were not detected at the times of their releases, and apparently caused no deaths. The attacks were intended to spark the apocalypse Aum Shin Rikyo postulates is coming. Meanwhile, about 200 current members met for a fundraising conference in late April, 1998, paying up to $1,500 each to attend.

  3. 1997. 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult including leader Marshall Applewhite ingested a combination of vodka and drugs at Applewhite's instruction, resulting in what the mother of victim called "one suicide and 38 murders." Members were convinced that the only way to survive Earth's being "recycled" in the year 2000 was to be picked up by a UFO flying in the wake of the Hale-Bopp comet.

  4. 1997. Teenage members of a Vampire cult murdered the parents of one of its members. Self-proclaimed lead vampire received the death sentence.

  5. 1998. Scientology has faced allegations of member suicides, deaths, and psychotic breaks; when Germany refused to recognize Scientology as a bona fide religious organization, contending the cult is a threat to democracy, the United States accused Germany of "intolerance" and caused international diplomatic tensions.

Somber Statistics

While recent cult tragedies have received a great deal of media coverage, many facts regarding cults are rarely divulged to the general public.

  • Of the 912 People's Temple members who died in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978, 276 were children, and of more than 80 who died at Waco, Texas in 1993, 25 were children.

  • An estimated 5,000 economic, political, and religious groups operate in the United States alone at any given time, with 2.5 million members. Over the last ten years, cults have used tactics of coercive mind control to negatively impact an estimated 20 million victims in the last ten years. Worldwide figures are even greater. [Cult expert Dr. Margaret Singer , Cults in Our Midst].

  • The cult problem is so prevalent, the chances of a family member joining a cult are greater than a family member catching chicken pox, four times greater than contracting AIDS, 90 times greater than contracting measles, and 45,000 times greater than contracting polio. [Dr. Paul Martin, cult expert and director of Wellspring Retreat & Resource Center, Ohio, USA].

  • 25% of the millions of cult members worldwide "will suffer enduring, irreversible harm that will affect their ability to function adequately in emotional, social, family, and occupational domains," according to Dr. Martin. For every person who becomes a cult member, many more are impacted; parents, children, other family, and friends suffer personal and often economic loss.

  • Entire societies, numbed by coercive psychological influence, are more likely to allow large-scale tragedies. Perhaps the most devastating example is the Holocaust. Cult mind control is totalitarian, and as such is anathema to democracy. Democracy is founded on the principle that humanity is rational; for democracy to work, people must be capable of using their critical faculties. Mind control works by bypassing rationality and eliminating free will. Without free will, all other basic human freedoms, such as freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, become utterly meaningless. Eventually if left unchecked, mind control would destroy all basic human freedoms and ruin democracy.

  • According to Dr. Martin, "Compared to other social or medical problems, the havoc created by destructive cultism is the most understudied, neglected, and ignored mental health and social problem in the world... If the symptoms exhibited in former cult members were attributed to a virus, it would be considered a worldwide epidemic."

Despite the human and societal damage caused by cults, few organizations exist to help prevent or lessen the damage. Until very recently, governments worldwide have not created systematic programs to respond to the problem. The work has been done by non-profit organizations and by people working on individual bases, studying the cult phenomenon, counseling cult members and ex-members, prosecuting those guilty of cult-related crimes and abuses, and educating others on the dangers of cults. The cult problem is growing quickly and is expected to accelerate as the millennium approaches.

Fortunately, for all its destructiveness, mind control can be diffused rather easily. Education is vital in helping cult members leave the destructive organizations they feel tied to. According to Dr. Singer, 90% of cult members, given the opportunity to take a few days away from the group to be given full information, consequently leave the destructive organization.

In recent months, other government organizations have also begun plans to address the cult problem. The European Parliament recently proposed solutions to the cult problem which focus on education and prevention. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights brought a Special Rapporteur to the United States in January to discuss dangers posed by cults. In April, the Belgian Parliament approved the establishment of a public Information and Advice Center on Harmful Cults. The center's purpose is to study cults, provide information and advice to the public, and set up a study center accessible by the general population.

FACTNet, as a nonprofit provider of solutions to cult and mind control problems, is extremely pleased that governments are taking initiative to actively address the cult problem, but is concerned that many people are still uninformed about the harms cults are capable are doing to their families and our societies. Please forward this notice to anyone you think might benefit from the information.

For information on mind control and cults, see

This editorial opinion provided by FACTNet, Inc. FACTNet is a nonprofit Internet library dedicated to protecting freedom of mind by reducing harms caused by destructive cults and mind control. FACTNet's web page, which is located at and has received over 2,000,000 hits since January 1997, is now equipped with a unique web crawler-based search engine capable of simultaneously searching every word on most Internet sites on cults and mind control with the click of the search button. For information on cult-related issues, it is no longer necessary to waste time tediously visiting hundreds of individual web sites. If you would like to subscribe to our free letters/FACTNews newsletter please go to ~ Appropriate re-distribution and re-posting of this document is appreciated.


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