In this post, we take a look at cult groups and how you can identify a cultist in Nigeria. We will be looking at both confraternities as well as religious cults.
So what exactly is a cult?
A cult is a community of people held together by some religious dogmas. Although joining a cult is a voluntary act, members are often made to carry out mandatory responsibilities once accepted.
Typically, these communities of people have an authoritarian leader whom they unconditionally obey. An example of religious cult is the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” which is a Christian sect that particularly focuses on the missionary activity. Other religious organizations that have the characteristics of a cult include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormonism), the Church of Scientology, the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (Unification Church) and the Family (Children of God).
Being a part of a cult comes with both advantages and disadvantages. An advantage is the fact that member has a community of people that s/he can run to when you need help. However, the major danger of cultism is that leaders tend to “brainwash” their members. Consequently, the members may give up their most prized possession just to please the cult. In some cults, there is also the problem of abuse with leaders raping, torturing or sometimes killing the members.
So how can you identify a cultist?
Although every cult is different, there are some key features that characterize them.
Cults are always looking to recruit new members. They are actively involved in the promotion of their doctrine through phone calls, emails and messages with suggestions to freely attend a seminar on spiritual growth or awakening.
Also, cults often use charity concerts, festivals for children, or psychological training to attract new adherents. The leaders of the cults usually disguise their doctrine under the accepted values and they never tell the beginners the whole truth about the ideals of their cults.
Often times, new members don’t get to know everything about the cult until they attain a high place in the hierarchy. This allows the cult to keep the entire organization under strict control, as well as to encourage participants to be active in order to get to the next level.
Most cults are able to grow as a result of the contributions of their adherents. At a certain stage, the cult leaders begin to demand contributions and donations from their members. Often times, the cult leaders use a variety of methods of suppression of consciousness, hypnosis, and psychological pressure, or even threats to life and health. The doctrines of the cults usually claim the uniqueness and invincibility of their leader. Moreover, all the knowledge the “supreme teacher” has he usually received in a supernatural way, for example, through the communication with the spirits, nature, or alien intelligence. His level of “enlightenment” is unattainable for the followers, so his orders cannot be discussed. This is a kind of a “dictator,” and obedience to him through the hierarchical levels is totalitarian in nature. Even if the beginners think that their participation is voluntary and democratic, the truth is the structure is strictly regulated.
- Books and meetings
Cults usually provide beginners with all kinds of information to put them into the religious spirit. They can give you books, CDs, films, booklets, etc. The beginner is usually invited to the meetings of the cult, during which “miracles” happen to prove the righteousness of the cult’s beliefs.
The meetings of the members of the sect are often mandatory especially for newcomers. Depending on the nature of the cult, these meetings can either be small (when there are only a few participants) or quite massive to make the beginner understand how many people believe in this teaching.
- Antisocial behavior
In many cases, members of religious cults are constantly inspired by a kind of “elitism” of their status among other people. As a rule, they are told that they will be saved and will achieve the incredible heights of consciousness, or in some cases will be able to save the lost humanity when the time comes.
Many of these religious cults, especially the radical ones usually have a particular goal of existence. It may be the Apocalypse, and consequently the salvation of the souls of the members. It may be a “point of enlightenment,” the conquest of power and wealth or even vengeance. This explains why in many cases, religious cult members live secluded lives which is a way of avoiding being corrupted by the ‘people of the world’.
In addition, most of the problems that exist in the world, according to the cults, can be solved after achieving the ultimate goal of the community. The common purpose unites the members of the sect and separates them from the outside world.
- Identification symbols and uniforms
For the members of the cult, it is important to see the difference between themselves and the other world. Therefore, they invent special symbols that can be applied as tattoos on the body or worn as amulets hidden under the clothing. They can use a special language that is understandable only to the initiated or has some special non-verbal signs. The members can wear a specific item of clothing, a particular hairstyle, or jewelry. This is usually done to form a connection with the cult even when they are outside of it.
If you are a student and you observe that friend on campus enjoys wearing a particular colour, there is a high likelihood that he is a member of the cult group that flaunts the colour. The common colours among campus cult groups are black, blue, red and yellow. Apart from the colour code, cult group member may have handkerchiefs and hat as part of their fashion accessories.
Cult members in many cases are usually bound by blood or an oath covenant and you can’t know their secrets even if the cult member is your roommate. Also, many of these cult groups use a specific lingo which only members understand.