Scientology: Cult or Religion

Katarina - posted on 05/14/2010 ( 63 moms have responded )

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I'm bringing this debate over from my Placenta topic.



What are your thoughts?



PPD and other mental illnesses don't exist?



A celebrity fad?

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Jenny - posted on 05/17/2010

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Athiest are simply non-beleivers. How does one have a cult with a group of peope that are not even organized? There's no set of rules, no building to meet in, no leadership heirarchy, no membership. It doesn't fit the bill.

As far as being the loudest. Hell ya! There has to be a voice to counteract the policies being put forward by the religious and they are aplenty. It is all part of a functioning democracy.

Jodi - posted on 05/14/2010

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Definitions of Cult:
1. A specific system of religious worship.
2. A sect devoted to the beliefs of a cult.
3. Devoted attachment to a person, idea or activity
4. Any popular fashion; craze.

Definition of Religion:
1. Belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny.
2. Any formal expression of such belief.

So technically, it is both :) But technically, so are all religions!!!

Jana - posted on 05/19/2010

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Being naturally curious about all things....I looked into Scientology after someone tried to recruit me. I found there to be many helpful practices and philosophies within Scientology, however, they were simply regurgitated ideas from other "religions" and "new age" philosophies. Nothing new or noteworthy there. Plus, it's extremely elitist. It costs a fortune, which is clearly designed to keep out the "riff-raff." I also had an issue with their lack of transparency. If there's nothing to hide, why all the secrecy? Many Scientology "defectors" have been the victims of character assassination in their communities. Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. can leave their churches without being bullied and threatened like that. All religions ask for some kind of donation or tithing to keep things running, but nothing is more expensive or Mandatory than Scientology. That being said....if whatever you choose to base your faith on makes you happy, or just keeps you sane, then all the power to you, however, I have a friend (whom I cannot name for obvious reasons) who is a Scientologist. She was doing an audit and lost her way down a hallway. She went into a room, and realising it was the wrong room, turned to leave. Suddenly 6 men came through another door and asked her to remove any articles of clothing she had recently purchased. Luckily it was her sneakers and not her bra. They took her shoes and magically "produced" a tracking device which they claim Adidas puts in their shoes. Now I have to ask, why the hell would Adidas care where all their shoes are located on the planet? Now my friend, being recently married to the head of our local Scientology Centre, is now being tracked by Adidas? Or does it make more sense that the Church of Scientology would be more interested in her whereabouts? Over the last few years we've all (her friends and family) seen her move further and further away from all of us. And she's systematically going broke and is completely in debt now. Debt, in my opinion, equals slavery. So you do the math. Personally, I don't see a need to go bankrupt, be followed/spied on, have my choice to leave be met with abuse in all forms, just to be a Scientologist. Now I'm sure I'll have an FBI....oops, I mean Scientology file for saying all this so publicly. So I'm warning you now...if you see a bunch of hateful responses tearing my character apart....you'll know who the Scientologist are in this thread.

Sara - posted on 05/17/2010

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Christina, I'm kind of shocked to see you say that this religion is a cult because you are a very religious person. Just seems like dismissing another religion as a cult is kind of harsh from someone with such a deep and devout belief system. I'm not trying to pick on you here, I'm just honestly curious as to why you think they are a cult and how you can reconcile that with your own beliefs?

ME - posted on 05/16/2010

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So...I'm a practicing Catholic...and I gotta STILL agree with most of you ladies...all religions are capable of becoming Cults (not in the dictionary sense, which clearly all religions are, but in the contemporary understanding of these groups). When I was a very small child (probably about 8 or 9 years old), I looked around my church one day, and realized most of the people there were brainwashed...especially the children. I think that whether or not one joins a religion is a personal decision that ONLY an adult can make (maybe 16 years plus old). I have had my babies baptized catholic, but I will not be making any other choices for them. In the Catholic Church...you don't actually "join" as an adult until you begin taking communion at age 8 or 9, and then still not fully until you are "confirmed" at age 14-15. Those decisions will be up to my kids. I will make sure that they are introduced to all of the major religions, as well as to atheism. If they choose something else (or nothing) I will know that is because they are doing what feels right to them, and not because I've forced them, or made them feel guilty. I will not be introducing my children to scientology, Jehova's Wittness (LDS), 7th day adventists, fundamentalist Christianity, or Mormonism...I believe all of those groups are equally Cultish in so far as our contemporary understanding of the term goes.

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Jessica - posted on 10/02/2010

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Cult,but I think all organized religions are cults with a certain degree of lacking the ability to think for yourself. (sorry to those that offends, just my opinion)

Jessica - posted on 10/02/2010

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Quoting Carol-They both require absolute faith that you can know THE TRUTH.


Just saw this and again, no. Atheism requires no faith/belief at all. It is a LACK of faith/belief. No athiest I have EVER talked to has ever claimed to KNOW that god/s don't exist.

Most atheists don't assert that no gods exist; only a subset of all atheists are also "strong" or "positive" atheists. In fact, most atheists identify primarily by their lack of belief in gods, rather than the belief claim that none exist.

http://www.reddit.com/help/faqs/atheism

This is basically an FAQ sheet on Atheism.

Jessica - posted on 10/02/2010

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Quoting Carol-I've got to say that I find it no end of amusing when religious people call other religions/philosophies cults. But then again, I even think atheism is a cult, lol.

Atheism cannot logically be a cult. A cult requires a common belief in someone/thing.

followers of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices
fad: an interest followed with exaggerated zeal; "he always follows the latest fads"; "it was all the rage that season"
followers of an unorthodox, extremist, or false religion or sect who often live outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader
a religion or sect that is generally considered to be unorthodox, extremist, or false; "it was a satanic cult"

Since Atheism is a LACK of belief, regardless of how many people agree, is illogical to say it is a cult and I find it offensive.

Ava - posted on 10/01/2010

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But that's where we disagree: a lot of people who are living in polygamist compounds or Scientology residencies are NOT of sound mind making a choice, they're indoctrinated, brainwashed, or forced to (children). I don't consider them as capable of making their own choices either because of such internal forces as being brainwashed or outside, such as intimidation, legal force, or threats.

[deleted account]

I agree with Petra, I view all organized religion as a cult. I don't attend church very often because of this.

Petra - posted on 10/01/2010

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Societally accepted religious groups engage in forms of brainwashing and programming as well - any religious group that offers de-gayifying (no, not a real word) is actively doing this. Tithing is basically a euphemism for paying your way to heaven - being obligated, even forced, to do so is a common theme among a lot of religious sects. The Mormon Church played a huge, huge role in funding anti-gay propaganda during the Prop-8 debacle - church members were sent letters demanding a predetermined, scaled monetary amount for anti-gay advertisements and political funding and told that if they did not comply, they would effectively be kicked out of the Church. Many people mortgaged their homes, spent their children's college funds, emptied their retirement savings, and were essentially willing participants in church-mandated extortion. Yet, the Mormon faith is a recognized religion with only its extreme subsets (polygamist groups) accused of being cultist.

I think that most religions require a rejection of other faiths in order to indoctrinate followers into their idea of the "one, true" God. In Scientology, it happens to be Xenu. Not a whole lot more far-fetched than a guy in the clouds having an immaculately conceived child who had to die to save everybody, and then came back to life. If you want to look at Christianity or Catholicism historically, its also not much more extreme and certainly not as violent.

You can view all religions as cults and all cults as religions. They're all contingent on relatively similar tenets. I think Scientology is a religion. I also think religions are no more than societally accepted cults.

[deleted account]

Oh I agree with you Ava. The people who use unlawful tactics to intimidate members need to be prosecuted, but I don't see how a whole cult can be shut down because of it. The fact is that people of sound mind make a choice to live in polygamist compounds or subscribe to scientology and there is no law in the land that can tell these people what to do or how to live. I'm morally outraged by these groups too, but the law is not there to impose a morale code onto people. Obviously there are situations where the law can interviene because the cult has done someting unlawful, but brainwashing isn't one of them.

Ava - posted on 09/30/2010

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The problem is that current members are actively being brainwashed, and brainwashing as a psychological matter doesn't make them being there of their own free will very convincing. Very similar to Elizabeth Smart being brainwashed when she was abducted and staying willingly. There's ample evidence to show that some members have been brainwashed, and even more evidence and testimony that shows they're actively being intimidated with threats of death or disconnection from their family if they leave; they also don't let members leave unless they pay a horrendously expensive fee that leaves them completely in debt, else such ex-members are harassed on a consistent basis. This is no more a religion that deserves tax exemption as Satanic cults that cram children in barrels, make them perform strange rituals, and teach them having sex at their age is okay. I'm an Atheist and it's a moral outrage to me that this group is allowed to exist, the same as Mormon polygamist compounds not being completely shut down either.

[deleted account]

I'm not a fan of scientology at all, but I don't think anyone has the right to tell these people that they don't have a religion. I consider them a cult, but they have as much right to call themselves a religion as any social group with a religious structure. I think more should be done to protect ex members and children from harm, but those members who are not being harrassed or harmed in the legal definition are subscribing to this of their own free will. They have a right to believe in every bit of this nonsense if they choose.

Heather - posted on 09/30/2010

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BTW, facts don't support that there is no God. Only that the world has order and is far more complex than, "God made the world and said it was good". Science doesn't disprove God, just as God doesn't disprove science. ;)

Kimberly - posted on 09/30/2010

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Cult.

"You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion."

"THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN CONTROL PEOPLE IS TO LIE TO THEM."

"Scientology ... is not a religion."

~L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the church of Scientology

Heather - posted on 09/30/2010

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I don't really think Christianity was ever meant to become what it is today. When men take it upon themselves to interpret the word of God it's huberis and fallable. Men's egos have perverted and distorted what God originally meant for our lives and his teachings. I believe history, science, and God are not mutually exclusive, but can coexists to those with open minds and a willingness to believe we humans can't possible know or conceptualize how the universe works.



Edited: Well, maybe Stephen Hawking, but who can understand him anyway. ;P

Ava - posted on 09/30/2010

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The exposed bones of Scientology are dirty little secrets. It's a horrible cult that needs to be eradicated. For anyone that doesn't know, Scientologists worship someone called 'Xenu', some kind of intergalactic warlord/deity thing that they believe is imprisoned somewhere in the universe right now. Oh, Scientologists won't tell you that, because in their orders of involvement, you have to be to a level III to hear about Xenu; they rope you in with everything else before they lay that stupid bit down on you, because any person who isn't brainwashed would laugh and walk away. As they say 'only people who have completed the rest of the program are ready for that kind of knowledge', or they can suddenly die, supposedly, upon hearing it. What it means is, 'if you're not brainwashed, you'll know we're full of shit.' Not only is it a cult, but it's a dangerous cult. It steals peoples' life savings, it's been accused of (with ample evidence) murdering its own members (try the Scientologist that was thrown into a boiling hot bathtub and died from burns in the church residency building, and they claimed it was 'drowning', but his head was above the water, his lungs were dry, and he obviously died from burning; or the girl that they starved and hit and locked away from her parents in an institution, denying her medical treatment, until she died a horrible death; or when they had the Cadets Org when Sea Org members were allowed to have children, an untrained woman who would act as a babysitter would arrive in a room with thirty cribs lined up across the room and ALL of those kids would be under her supervision, when she's never watched a child in her life--- and she was only allowed to let them out once, three months later, after filing and waiting for permission, and by then the children were too frightened of the outside to move more than a crib space away from where they stood. Abuse!). I absolutely believe they should all be locked up and the church should be vandalized and physically and conceptually dismantled, permanently, and all of the suffering families compensated every penny they put in, plus damages.

Jenny - posted on 05/19/2010

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I agree Gillian, athiest do not have faith. I follow facts. The facts support that their is no god. So that is how I can say that I know there is no god. Should stronger facts be discovered that supports the existance of a god, I'll be the first to jump ship.



I don't think Scientology is any different than other religions. I think people of other faiths find it weird so they label it a cult when in reality all religions are cults.

ME - posted on 05/19/2010

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Christopher Hitchens (and the rest of the four horsemen) typically argue that atheists don't have to prove anything...they can take scientific theories for what they are...the best explanation we have based on facts that have not been disproven...

Lady - posted on 05/19/2010

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The difference between religious people and athiests is that religious peoples beliefs are based purley on faith and they have to actually deny the eveidence to the contrary, athiests beliefs are based on evidence and fact so the opposit to religion really.

Emma - posted on 05/18/2010

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O Carol im an Atheist and ive met some of these Atheists you describe on line, and i know what you mean i was not Atheist enough for them LOL

Johnny - posted on 05/18/2010

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Relax atheists! I was being facetious. But honestly, as an agnostic I find atheists equally as interested in converting me as Christians. (Don't worry, I don't base my assessment of religion vs. cult on the # of people trying to convert me, otherwise I wouldn't be able to consider Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc. to be cults/religions, since none of them have ever tried to convert me). Christians are always telling me about how I have to believe in God/Jesus and atheists are always telling me that I shouldn't. Just reading online discussion groups, I see all the Christians rattling on about God and all the atheists ranting about how there is no god, both absolutely certain of their own superiority and correctness. They both require absolute faith that you can know THE TRUTH. To me, that's what religions and cults are all about. Self delusion.



So have I managed to offend everyone equally now?



My job here is done.

Krista - posted on 05/18/2010

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BTW in those days if any Icelander was seeing worshiping Æsir or Thor, he/she was beheaded.



Man, I would be theriouthly Thor about that happening to me....

Katarina - posted on 05/18/2010

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I was born and raised a Catholic. I've had all sacraments up to date except marriage(I didn't get married in a catholic church). My family is very catholic. My Mom is the Religious education co-ordinator, pianist, organist, accountant. My Grandmother would live at the church if she could. My sister is a volunteer teacher at the Education program. That being said I only go to church on special occassions, Christmas, easter and my Mom's wedding anniversary(they have a mass in their honor every year). My son is not baptised and won't be until he can make that decision on his own. I do believe in god but I don't believe that I should have to go to church to do so.

As mentioned above, my husband in an atheist an is very stuburn. We have 2 crosses in our hours. 1 in my son's room and one above our family picture. That is as religious as my house gets.

Scientology, to my knowledge, doesn't have any symbolism(cross) or religious figures(ie, Jesus, Mary, God,Joseph, the disciples etc), so no they are not a religion.

C. - posted on 05/18/2010

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I have met some Christians who do things out of obligation or they do things to be recognized.. That, IMO, is wrong and I also feel that gives the true Christians a bad name. It should always be out of the goodness of your own heart, not so people will say 'Oh, what a great person he/she is..'

Like I have said on many occasions before, I haven't been going to church as often I feel I should due to several circumstances.. But I do believe in God. I am not here to push my religion on someone else. I just feel that out of many different religions, Scientology isn't a religion, it's a cult.

Iris - posted on 05/18/2010

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Oh, I can give you a piece of a world Christianity history lesson. Christianity wasn't always a choice, at least not for my Pagan ancestors sounds more like a forced religion to me :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianis...

BTW in those days if any Icelander was seeing worshiping Æsir or Thor, he/she was beheaded. We learn more from our history books in Iceland than what is said on the internet..

This is the reason I'm vary of any religion.

Emma - posted on 05/17/2010

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Carol
How is Atheism a cult ? the only common denominator ive found with Atheists is the lack of belief in a god or supernatural being ect
Ive yet to meet an atheist who agrees with me on most things,

@ Christina
Its funny you say Christianity dose not make people obligated to do things as ive had over the years hundreds of Christian's say the exact opposite to me,
I always ask why do you feel the need to try and make me believe as you do ? And i always get back its our duty too
that sounds like an obligation to me.
But saying that i get it when you say its a gut feeling as i have the same gut feeling towards Christianity it freaks me out and feels like a cult so i suppose its al dependent on what side of the fence your sitting on.

I think everyone should just do there own thing as long as no one is getting hurt believe what you like if its working for you who is to say its wrong.

Amie - posted on 05/17/2010

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I do it b/c I WANT to do it, not b/c I feel like I HAVE to do it. If you feel obligated to do whatever, your heart isn't in it.THAT is why I feel it's more of a cult, like these people were brainwashed.



Christina ^ Doesn't that kind of prove they aren't brainwashed though? Brainwashed is more or less mind control. Saying they don't want to or it feels wrong, pretty much points out any brainwashing being done hasn't worked on them. Don't ya think?



As for religion or cult. It's all bunk. /:) I really don't care or am bothered by what others believe. I fully respect their right to do so. I just don't want to join.



Edited: LOL! I forgot the whole quote. Must be getting late.

Katarina - posted on 05/17/2010

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Atheists seem to be the loudest of the "cult" bunch. Funny Story: When my husband and I were dating and getting to know eachother I asked him what religion he was and he said Lutheran which meant he was an Atheist. I giggled and still do to this day. I had to explain to Jason that being Atheist meant he didn't believe in a God where as being Lutheran meant that you do believe in a God. He said "Oh, I'm atheist then" hahaha

Johnny - posted on 05/17/2010

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I've got to say that I find it no end of amusing when religious people call other religions/philosophies cults. But then again, I even think atheism is a cult, lol.

Lea - posted on 05/17/2010

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Well I think everything really falls under the umbrella of "philosophy" at least

C. - posted on 05/17/2010

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AH! Sorry, Katarina.. I just saw that I posted the same site you had posted before.

C. - posted on 05/17/2010

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First of all, there are major differences between Scientology and Christianity. For one thing, it seems that Scientologists are 'selling' the idea to the public, not letting the public see things for themselves, really.. For instance, our church goes on Missions trips and things like that, they do things for the needy.. The public can see for themselves the love of God in those people. I just went to a Scientology website and they seem to be trying to sell me the whole concept of it.



It also just doesn't feel right to me. I know this is a debate and you're not really supposed to be basing your opinion solely on emotion, but I can't help but base some of my opinions about it on emotion.. I have tried doing other things, I've drifted away from God before.. And still now I'm not as close to him as I used to be. It's something that I strive for everyday, to become that person that I used to be, to be a better Christian. But all the other stuff.. I just didn't buy it. And I didn't necessarily buy into the Christianity thing until I went out and did my own thing. I always questioned it when I was younger, always. But I've seen what God can do, I can feel His love, I can feel His presence (not in a creepy way, for those who don't understand what I mean) and that's always brought me back, no matter how many times I've strayed.



This Scientology thing just doesn't sit right with me.. It seems to be more of a mix of other religions and cultures and not just one religion.



Also, they have a 'Purification Center'. Sorry, but God wants you to come as you are, it doesn't matter how many 'toxins' are in your body.. The one woman on the video says that the 'Purification Rundown actually opens the way to the spiritual process'.. To me it just seems like a bunch of brainwashing. Christianity, you don't have to go through all that.. You can talk to God whenever you want to, wherever you are, however you want to (out loud or silent prayer)..



Also, one thing I don't care for.. The video where it's supposed to be explaining the beliefs and practices of Scientology, they're just saying that they help people.. Well guess what, Christians help people, Buddhists help people.. How does helping people explain to someone what the 'religion' (cult, IMO) is? It doesn't.



In one part of that video (Beliefs & Practices, 1 min. 50 sec. into the video), there was a couple on it saying you feel obligated to help, you have to help others.. Sorry, but if you feel OBLIGATED to do something.. That's just not right. With Christianity, I don't feel obligated to do anything. I do it b/c I WANT to do it, not b/c I feel like I HAVE to do it. If you feel obligated to do whatever, your heart isn't in it. THAT is why I feel it's more of a cult, like these people were brainwashed. They're not doing it out of the genuine goodness of their heart, they're doing it b/c that's what they were told to do and that just doesn't sit right with me at all.



Here's the video, for anyone who's interested. http://www.scientology.org/?source=ga&gc...

Krista - posted on 05/17/2010

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I think Sara has an excellent point. EVERY religion was probably considered a cult when it first started to gain followers.

Who's to say that 2000 years from now, Scientology won't be the dominant religion in the developed world, with Christianity having been relegated to the status of "mythology" like so many religions that came before it?

Johnny - posted on 05/16/2010

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I'm actually pretty sure the space ship came and they missed it. It was during the Hale Bop comet visit in 1997 but it only took the people in the Heaven's Gate group. I think the aliens didn't want all those crazy Scientologists on their ship.

Katarina - posted on 05/16/2010

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I'm curious to know when the space ship is going to come and beam them all up?!?

Kate CP - posted on 05/16/2010

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It's a cult. When you have to pay money to learn about the religion and they encourage you to cut ties with your family after you join...it's a cult.

Sara - posted on 05/15/2010

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BTW, has anyone seen that John Travolta movie "Battlefield Earth"? OMG...

Sara - posted on 05/15/2010

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What bothers me about assigning the definition of a cult or craze to a religion is that most religions that are regarded that way are fairly new. Don't you think Jesus' followers may have been regarded as a cult at some point, or Christians in general. People have a lot of things to say about Mormons and how crazy that all is, but is the real issue is just that's it's 150 years old instead of 2000? Just a thought.

La - posted on 05/15/2010

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You know which religion I think is cultish but is pretty widely accepted? Jehovah's Witnesses...my fiance's parents are JWs so I went to a kingdom hall with them once to watch his younger brother's induction into the church...wow...just wow.

Emma - posted on 05/15/2010

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I have to go with all religions are cults.... they all have brain washing to some degree admittedly some more than others,
You get nut job Fanatics in all of them too.

Suzette - posted on 05/14/2010

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I'm with Carol on this one. It's definitely more amusing than others, lol.

Johnny - posted on 05/14/2010

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I'm in the "all religions are cults" camp. I can't really discern much of a difference between them all. Some are more demanding of their followers loyalty and subservience than others, but that is about it. Scientology is just more amusing than some. All those thetans, aliens and such. LOL!

Rosie - posted on 05/14/2010

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all religions are cult like to me. i find it absurd that people believe any of it, but since i was a believer in god before i understand it. so i guess i feel like jodi. there's a line for me, may be a different line for someone else.

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