The Rosicrucians: a low-pressure, less expensive version of Scientology

AnonOrange

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http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4164

What do you get when you mix alchemy, The Da Vinci Code, Nazis, Christianity, mysticism, the Knights Templar, Shakespeare, The Secret, and ancient Egypt? No, not a bad movie about Ben Stiller working late at a museum; you get the Rosicrucians. Who are they, what are they up to, what do they believe, and what the heck's the deal with all the historical imagery?

In San Jose, California, stands an Egyptian obelisk, covered in heiroglyphics. Nearby is a statue of Caesar Augustus, outside a planetarium in classical Islamic architecture. In the midst of this historical montage, surrounded by living papyrus plants, is the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, actually quite a good museum filled with authentic Egyptian artifacts. The rest of this city block is taken up by the world headquarters of AMORC, the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis. The name Rosicrucian comes from Rosy Cross, an ancient symbol that's been adopted by many religious and pagan groups throughout history. To the modern Rosicrucian organization, the cross with an unfolding white rose in the center represents the human body and its consciousness opening up, carefully steering away from its more common traditional connections with Christianity. The Rosicrucians downplay any religious associations with their symbology, claiming not to be a church, and welcoming members of any religion or no religion. (Here's a hint: When you're taking peoples' money, don't turn anyone away at the door.)

According to tradition, the founder of Rosicrucianism was the none-too-improbably named Christian Rosencreutz, born in 1378, the last surviving member of an assassinated German noble family, secreted away to a monastery where he grew to found the order that bore his name. Rosencreutz traveled throughout the Christian, Muslim, Dharmic, and pagan lands, amassing his knowledge and acquiring a small but tight group of followers. Of his death, all that is known to Rosicrucian tradition is that his body lies somewhere in a geometrically proportioned cave, incorrupt, and bathed in white light from an unseen source.

Rosencreutz's story is told in the Fama Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis, an anonymous manifesto published in Germany in 1614. The following year, another manifesto appeared, the Confessio Fraternitatis, which declared the existence of a secret society of alchemists and sages following pious Christian principles and planning an intellectual enlightenment of Europe. Then in 1616, the third and last of the Rosicrucians' three major manifestos was published, The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, an allegorical tale of Rosenkreutz using alchemy to assist in the wedding of a king and queen in a strange and magical castle. The three manifestos made quite a splash in certain circles. Leaders of the occult and science tried to make contact with the secret society described, including Rene Descartes, William Shakespeare, and the philosopher and scientist Sir Francis Bacon. In fact, by some accounts, Francis Bacon was not only actually one of the secret society members, he may have written the first two manifestos; and some Rosicrucians claim he wrote Shakespeare's works as well. Another hint is that Bacon was also a member of a Templar society, and the Knights Templar bore the same rose-colored cross as the Crusaders. Some believe the third manifesto was written by the Lutheran alchemist Johannes Valentinus Andreae, whose name was also claimed in a 1960's hoax as one of the Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion, which figured so prominently in The Da Vinci Code.

So suffice it to say that there is enough pop-culture quasi-history to adorn Rosicrucianism with as much illustrious intrigue as you wish. Our task is to see if we can connect the dots, and find out what links there are, if any, between all those legendary characters and the people who sit in offices in San Jose today, depositing checks and doing the books. Exactly what are they up to? What do they do, and what do Rosicrucian members do? Here's the answer.

If I were to summarize the modern Rosicrucian organization, I'd compare it to a low-pressure, less expensive version of Scientology, based on New Age beliefs instead of L. Ron Hubbard's science fiction. You send them a few hundred dollars a year for your membership, and they send you printed lessons for self study that teach you all about their mystical belief system, the "keys to universal wisdom", as they put it. Like Scientology and Freemasonry, Rosicrucians reach various levels, or degrees, based on how much of the self-study material you've purchased and read. You can even perform your own initiation ceremonies into each new degree at home. In your first five years as a Rosicrucian, you'll cover the three "neophyte" degrees from First Atrium through Third Atrium, and then the "temple" section from First Temple Degree through Ninth Temple Degree. By this time your teaching will include topics such as:

* Mental Alchemy
* Telepathy, Telekinesis, Vibroturgy, and Radiesthesia
* Cosmic Protection, Mystical Regeneration
* Attunement with the Cosmic Consciousness

One of the benefits available to modern Rosicrucians is magical assistance to those in need of actual assistance, which they provide to successful petitioners via their "Council of Solace". Their web site describes how this works:

The Council does this by putting certain spiritual energies into motion and directing them in accordance with mystical law and natural principles. Metaphysical aid is thus directed to individuals ...with health, domestic, economic, or other problems, and aid is also directed to those who are attuned with the Council. The aid of the Council of Solace operates on the cosmic plane. Its activity is solely metaphysical and in no way interferes with any professional or health-care assistance being received on the physical plane.

So at this point you're probably yawning at this yet-another "spin the wheel and invent a New Age philosophy". So it's a good time to introduce William Walker Atkinson, an author who wrote about 100 books in the early 20th century under many pseudonyms. He is credited with being one of the principal architects of the New Thought movement, which evolved into today's New Age movement. His book The Law of Attraction in the Thought World is one of the primary influences of Rhonda Byrne's book and movie The Secret, and in fact the word "Rosicrucian" appears subtly on screen throughout the movie's title transitions. Many of the principal writings of the Dharmic movement of the 1960's, so popular with the Beatles and attributed to various swamis and yogis, were in fact written by Atkinson. But one of Atkinson's books broke the pattern and was written not to promote the New Thought mysticism, but rather to expose it. Published under the name Magus Incognito, its title was The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians. In it, Atkinson claims that the true Rosicrucian order does not accept fees, has no formal organization, and is in fact secret. He then gives away all the contents of the Rosicrucian degrees. Why would he write this book?

AMORC, the modern formal Rosicrucian group, was launched in New York in 1915. The original founder, Harvey Spencer Lewis, and its first leader (or "Imperator" as they call it), is said to have borrowed quite heavily from the works of Yogi Ramacharaka in developing the Atrium and Temple Degree series. Who was the real author behind the name Yogi Ramacharaka? You guessed it, William Walker Atkinson. Apparently annoyed that his work had been so broadly and obviously "borrowed from" (to put it politely) without attribution, Atkinson quickly produced The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians by retitling some of his own earlier works that contained the material used in the Rosicrucian lessons, and adding a few jabs like "real Rosicrucians would never take your money the way AMORC does".

Atkinson also reminded us that the term Rosicrucian and the rosy cross symbol have both been in the public domain for centuries, so nobody has any exclusive right to use them; and in fact that there are many competing Rosicrucian groups out there. Although AMORC has clearly won in the marketplace with its expansive San Jose headquarters, you might also choose to join the Ancient Order of the Rosicrucians, the Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua, the Lectorium Rosicrucianum, or any of a dozen others, all based on essentially the same occult New Age mystical traditions.

Ever since the original manifestos were published by the first in this long line of clever authors, it seems everyone's been trying to get in on the Rosicrucian action; either directly by name or by rebranding it the way Rhonda Byrne, and in fact William Atkinson himself, have done. It's even been borrowed by whole nations in search of a defining philosophy. In his book The Occult Roots of Nazism, author Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke found that Nazi symbology was inspired by an 18th century German Rosicrucian order called Gold und Rosenkreuzer.

And thus we have a ten-cent tour of the history of Rosicrucian mysticism. It was invented in the early 1600's by European intellectuals who wrote allegorical tales blending alchemy with Protestant Christianity. It was revived in the early 1900's by the New Thought movement seeking ancient forms of mysticism that appealed to the notions of a population just beginning to learn that such a thing as a cosmic universe existed, and searching for meaning within it. And a century later, Rosicrucianism remains just one more flavor of for-profit New Age products, leveraging claims to ancient wisdom into bank deposits. It professes that the "keys to the universe" were known to a handful of Europeans 400 years ago, they just never managed to do much with them, since recurring credit card billing hadn't been invented yet.

I will close with the phrase that Rosicrucians like to put at the bottom of all their written communications. It means "So it shall be" and is often used to mean "Amen" or "In the name of God":

So Mote It Be!
 

AnonOrange

Gold Meritorious Patron
You can listen to this in podscast form if you don't like the wall of text. See the link at the top of the first post. Brian speaks well and he's got a sense of humor.
 

Roan

Patron with Honors
Francois,

Judging from the totality of your posts, it's easy to conclude that you are a pure atheist (nothing wrong with that) and further: that anyone who is not a pure atheist (in your view) somehow holds cultic beliefs (automatically equating them with Scientology).

OK.

Pity that books like The Field by Lynne McTaggert are articulating and collating the evidence that science is actually confirming as real, the phenomena of unity claimed by some religions (principally Hinduism and Buddhism) for millenia.

I find it very ironic that after all this time and all the bragging by atheists and humanists that it is actually pure atheism that may end up unequivocally in the dust-bin of history. :yes:

And BTW: I hope I'm there someday when you're "struck down" on your "road to Damascus." It should be a beautiful sight. :wink2:

:)

Regards,

Roan
 
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csp

New Member
I wouldn't group the Lectorium Rosicrucianum with other Rosicrucian groups. Their teachings warn against any occult, mystical or new age practices and consider themselves as part of the Gnostic Christian tradition preceded historically by the Cathars of southern France.
 

AnonOrange

Gold Meritorious Patron
Hi Roan,

I knew there was something wrong with you but I could not pin-point it!

So I went to Mrs. McTaggart wikipidiea:

Lynne McTaggart (born 1951) is a journalist and author, most famous for her popular books The Field and The Intention Experiment.

She and her publisher/husband Bryan Hubbard :) are directors of a public company called "What Doctors Don't Tell You Ltd.", which publishes newsletters that critique mainstream medicine.

As well as continuing to write about alternative medicine and editing the "What Doctors Don't Tell You" publications, McTaggart has also developed a program called "Living The Field", based on an understanding of the zero point field as applied in quantum mechanics. McTaggart's program is not accepted by mainstream medicine and not supported by scientific evidence, although references to mainstream scientific concepts are made. Despite references to quantum mechanics, McTaggart is not a physicist and her ideas are not supported by mainstream physicists.

She is head of the Intention Experiment, a large scale web-based investigation to discover whether intentions can affect the physical world. She also appears in the extended version of the movie What the Bleep Do We Know!?.


Yeah, I am an atheist and damn proud of it. I didn't fall for the religion con like the other 85% Americans.

But, if there's a group of people that actually need to be shut down, it's the pseudoscientists that oppose medicine. These people are really dangerous, mainly because they convince people to forgo known cures and treatments. Cancer has to be acted on quickly, with the best methods we know. Failure to do so will result in an early death. We almost lost Steve Jobs that way, but he wise'nd up in time.

People such as McTaggart generally have no science education, have failed at trying or have any understanding of it at all, yet will quote science to fit their delusions and convince people. Generally, they'll use the more esoteric topics such as Quantum Mechanics giving their nonsense an air of respectability.

Roan, are you a fan of the movie: What the Bleep Do We Know!?. That is the #1 stupidest movie I have ever seen. Some Buddhist friends invited me to see it. They're not going to do that again!

This is a FAILED experiment. It didn't work. Get over it.
http://www.theintentionexperiment.com/

Roan, remember why you got into scientology. You failed to read critical info about it. You're repeating your mistake with this con.


Here a quick review of a book of her's:

Lynn McTaggert's "Proof" of Psychism

A book which gives scientific proof of the paranormal. Psychic activity, remote viewing, the power of prayer and homoeopathy are all discussed. The energy found in the vacuum - or the zero point field - seems to be the key to all sorts of unexplained phenomena: ESP or remote viewing, homeopathy, energy medicine, spiritual healing, and even the homing instincts of animals. Lynne McTaggart follows the life and work of disparate physicists, pioneers in the area where the paranormal meets quantum physics.
Zero point enregy? Woo woo woo!

The basic argument goes something like this:
Paranormal activity is mysterious.
Quantum physics is mysterious.
Therefore, paranormal activity is due to quantum physics. QED. If you can't tear a hole in that you don't deserve to call yourself a skeptic.

The lack of critical reviews probably reflects the fact that no one in their right mind takes this seriously.

Essentially, she met with every ignorant kook around the planet, wrote down their untested, improbable theories and tied it up into this book. She offers no evidence whatsoever that homeopathy works, when in fact, homeo has been tested thoroughly, in the clinic, by homeopathic doctors and miserably failed every time ("Homeopathy and its Kindred Delusions" by OW Holmes, 1847, and others.) Distance healing also does not work, and our perceptions do not create our reality- case in point, the Red Sox are not currently playing the Braves. I suspect this book is full of the usual nonsense- "energy vibrations" reincarnation, acupuncture, homeopathy works despite no evidence bla bla bla. Here's a tip- save your money, the book is not worth it.
 
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AnonOrange

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I wouldn't group the Lectorium Rosicrucianum with other Rosicrucian groups. Their teachings warn against any occult, mystical or new age practices and consider themselves as part of the Gnostic Christian tradition preceded historically by the Cathars of southern France.

I'm glad that made you make a first post!

So what's so great about "Lectorium Rosicrucianum". It sounds like a tool that a proctologist uses.
 

csp

New Member
I didn't make a claim about its greatness ... only that you made an inaccurate generalization about Rosicrucian groups.
 

lionheart

Gold Meritorious Patron
Two historical notes

Two historical notes as regards AMORC and scientology:

1. Hubbard was a member of AMORC at one time - this is documentaed in his history and probably mentioned in Bare-faced Messiah. I can't exactly remember.

2. There is a similarity between
  • the schism in 1982 in Scientology that brought forth the Indie and FZ movements
  • A schism when the AMORC Imperator passed through transition

Transition is the Rosicrucian word for death. H Spencer Lewis' son Ralph M Lewis became Imperator of the order when his father passed through transition. In turn, in 1987 Ralph too passed through transition and Gary Stewart was appointed Imperator.

Everything was ok for a while despite some unsettlement caused by the passing of long-time Imperator Ralph Lewis, who was the author/instigator of the famous weekly lessons sent through the post to members. (He took his father's teachings and formalised them into weekly monographs).

Then there was a power push for control of AMORC. The son of long -time Rosicrucian, and retired former Grand Master Raymond Barnard (a close co-worker with Ralph Lewis), was called Christian Barnard. Gary Stewart, the Imperator who was trained and recommended by Ralph Lewis was accused of financial misdeeds and ousted from the post of Imperator. Christian Barnard led the push and became the new Imperator of the Order.

Lineage is very important in the Rosicrucian world and there was a row over who had the authentic lineage, Gary Stewart or Christian Barnard. Christian moved the HQ of AMORC from San Jose to Canada (he is of french descent) and as far as I know AMORC's HQ is still in Canada with San Jose kept as a tourist attraction and admin centre.

Gary Stewart started his own Rocicruciam orders claiming authentic lineage and authentic rights to the title Imperator. Reports have emerged from members that at the time of the schism Christian Barnard's supporters were carrying guns around the San Jose HQ.

The schism was extremely bitter and many AMORC members left, some turning to Stewart's Rosicrucian Order called the Confraternity of the Rose Cross.

I'm sure you can make your own parallels between LRH, RTC, Pat Broeker, David Miscavige and David Mayo.

"The more it changes, the more it stays the same
And the hand just rearranges the players in the game" Nostradamus, via Al Stewart.

I've just done a Google to check the date that Gary Stewart became Imperator and found this link to a PR piece that gives the impression that there is now peaceful co-existence between the schisms.
http://salemos.tripod.com/index-56.html

I have no data if this is true, my info is over a decade old. Rosicrucianism has a long history of bitter in-fighting between orders claiming authenticity and then some sort of peaceful co-existence or mutual ignoring between orders.

Having studied Scientology to a deep level and them AMORC's teaching to a deep level and then leaving both behind, I can say that the description of Rosicrucianism as "a low-pressure, less expensive version of Scientology" is not correct.

The teachings, practices and exercises are considerably different. Although there is a link between Ron's postulated OT abilities and AMORC's exercises to develop the candidate's psychic and spiritual abilities.

I would say that AMORC's teachings (the Ralph Lewis version) have more direct exercises at developing these abilities than scientology's Grade Chart levels. I understand that Christian Barnard has altered the weekly lessons and taken out much of the psychic and spiritual ability exercises. so I don't think you would get these things if you joined AMORC these days. I understand Gary Stewart's version of Rosicrucian teachings retain Ralph Lewis's monographs unaltered.

When I studied the older AMORC monographs it reminded me at times of some of the OT exercises that were rumoured to exist on Ron's older pre-NOTs OT levels (projecting intention across a distance, etc.)

AMORC's and all Rosicrucian schools teachings are full of cryptic symbolism. They are not a direct simple road to straightforward OT exercises.

I can confirm what csp says that Lectorium Rosicrucianum is distinctly different to other Rosicrusian Orders also has much less symbology in its teachings. Dr Clymer's (a bitter legal opponent of H Spencer Lewis) FRC order is also radically different from AMORC, probably lying somewhere between the Lectorium Rosicrucianum and AMORC. Also Max Heindel formed a Rosicrucian order speciallising in Astrology. So the differences in emphasis from one Rosicrucian school to another can be vast.

AMORC used to be at pains to distance itself from Crowley and OTO (and by inference Hubbard) but there is undoubtedly a common history.

Much of Hubbard's extravagant claims on his tapes about thetan abilities seem to have been directly borrowed from his days in AMORC and OTO.
 
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AnonOrange

Gold Meritorious Patron
A connection between the Rosicrucians and Hubbard! Who woulda thunk!

I hope some people are knowledgeable in both. I bet Hubbard stole a lot of materials from the the Rosies.
 

AnonOrange

Gold Meritorious Patron
A friend of mine lives in San Jose and asked him about the Rosies:

"We went to the museum. The museum proper was great -- lots of old
mummies and stuff. They also had a planetarium show, and it was
weird -- the show seemed to be somewhat religious as opposed to
... well, planetary. and it was boring."

I guess you can all see why he's my friend! :thumbsup:
 

AnonOrange

Gold Meritorious Patron
Francois,

You may call me Orange, AO, or asshole. Thanks.

anyone who is not a pure atheist (in your view) somehow holds cultic beliefs (automatically equating them with Scientology).

Correct. As Michael Shermer put it. The only difference between a cult and a religion is "100 YEARS"

But actually, the fundamental difference between a cult and a religion (and I don't know why people don't realize that) is that cults worship personalities and religions worship deities.

Christianity started a the cult of Jesus. Same for Islam an many other religions. After about 100 years or so, they transform to worshiping a god and become religions.

Mormonism is the BEST example of a cult to religion transformation. Note how they emphasize "Jesus Christ" in the newer versions of the Book of Mormon. (BTW, I only read the first page, which was enough to make me realize Mormonism was crap).

Scientology still has not figured that out. (Don't tell them). The need to start worshiping Xenu! That's the only way they'll become a legitimate religion.


Pity that books like The Field by Lynne McTaggert are articulating and collating the evidence that science is actually confirming as real, the phenomena of unity claimed by some religions (principally Hinduism and Buddhism) for millenia.

NO THEY DON'T. You're talking crap.


And BTW: I hope I'm there someday when you're "struck down" on your "road to Damascus." It should be a beautiful sight. :wink2:

Bring it on!
 

AnonOrange

Gold Meritorious Patron
"at the time of the schism Christian Barnard's supporters were carrying guns around the San Jose HQ."

Guns and religions, like Churches and States don't mix! Keep'm apart.

"I understand that Christian Barnard has altered the weekly lessons and taken out much of the psychic and spiritual ability exercises."

You mean he's a squirrel?

BTW that Barnard guy sounds like another crazy French Canadian! Should be spelled "Bernard".
 
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lionheart

Gold Meritorious Patron
A connection between the Rosicrucians and Hubbard! Who woulda thunk!

I hope some people are knowledgeable in both. I bet Hubbard stole a lot of materials from the the Rosies.

I studied Scn up to Class IV and Happiness RD and later studied AMORC up to the third degree.

There are similarities and also great differneces.

Is there anything in particular that you would like to know?

I was a naive and somewhat desperate young searcher back then. I've matured into a non-searcher now! :D

"at the time of the schism Christian Barnard's supporters were carrying guns around the San Jose HQ."

Guns and religions, like Churches and States don't mix! Keep'm apart.

BTW that Barnard guy sounds like another crazy French Canadian! Should be spelled "Bernard".

The guns are not openly talked about. But members did tell each other that story when they were complaining about Bernard's coup.

Sorry about the mispelling - my bad! Funnily enough I was so busy amending my mispelling of Christain that I never noticed my mispelling of the surname!
 

lionheart

Gold Meritorious Patron
<snip>

"I understand that Christian Barnard has altered the weekly lessons and taken out much of the psychic and spiritual ability exercises."

You mean he's a squirrel?
<snip>

It is amusing after some years experience in various schools to see the similar games being played by the players.

You think Scientology's history of disidents and schisms is wild? You should study the history of Rosicrucianism!

Scientology is a johnny-come-lately in comparison and has many schisms to go through yet! :coolwink:
 

bluewiggirl

Patron Meritorious
Actually, AO, the Dalai Lama sent some of his monks off to have their brainwaves measured during meditation and trance states. Whether that "proves" anything or not is up in the air I suppose, but they did show that the methods used by that particular group do create a measurable effect on the brain. Measurable by REAL SCIENTISTS even!

And I have to disagree with your "primary distinction" between cults and religions. The definition that I work with is that a cult will try to separate you from your family, your friends, and your money, whereas a religion will not. There are plenty of small Christian groups that genuinely worship their own weird little Christ but are still creepy cults that do as much damage as any sketchy guru.
 

AnonOrange

Gold Meritorious Patron
Actually, AO, the Dalai Lama sent some of his monks off to have their brainwaves measured during meditation and trance states. Whether that "proves" anything or not is up in the air I suppose, but they did show that the methods used by that particular group do create a measurable effect on the brain. Measurable by REAL SCIENTISTS even!

Hi gorgeous!

Meditation is relaxation. And when you relax, your brain waves are different. BTW, if you're a fan of the Lama, have a look at what P&T and Hitchens had to say about him. The monks in Tibet were a ruthless ruling class that caused horrible lives for their serfs.

The long beautiful flowing robes don't tell the whole story. The Tibetans are much better off under Chinese rule, regardless of what Richard Gere, Steven Seagal, Brad Pitt, and Harrison Ford tell you.

And I have to disagree with your "primary distinction" between cults and religions. The definition that I work with is that a cult will try to separate you from your family, your friends, and your money, whereas a religion will not. There are plenty of small Christian groups that genuinely worship their own weird little Christ but are still creepy cults that do as much damage as any sketchy guru.

Mormons are an example of cult to religion transformation. The primary change is who they worship, but they have kept other aspects of cults. Just try to stop tithing! You are forced to tithe and you will feel the cult's wrath if you stop. They will disconnect your from your family, friends, and ability to make money. I lived in Salt-Lake for a couple of years.

I don't disagree with your definition. I just think the most simple definition is who they worship.
 

AnonOrange

Gold Meritorious Patron
This thread needs a real Llama: (Taken in Hemet!)

IMG_54971280x768.jpg
 

bluewiggirl

Patron Meritorious
Hi gorgeous!

Meditation is relaxation. And when you relax, your brain waves are different. BTW, if you're a fan of the Lama, have a look at what P&T and Hitchens had to say about him. The monks in Tibet were a ruthless ruling class that caused horrible lives for their serfs.

The long beautiful flowing robes don't tell the whole story. The Tibetans are much better off under Chinese rule, regardless of what Richard Gere, Steven Seagal, Brad Pitt, and Harrison Ford tell you.

Woah, who the fuck turned this into a free tibet thing? Roan and you were arguing about religious claims being backable by science, I was giving an example of something that has been really studied by real scientists and come up with some sort of answer. If you wanna argue politics, we can, but the point of this was just to bring up some more evidence for the two of you to discuss. Also way to assume that I get all of my political stances from celebrities, asshole. Heaven forbid I actually happen to be one of the few people who :omg: READS THINGS.

Mormons are an example of cult to religion transformation. The primary change is who they worship, but they have kept other aspects of cults. Just try to stop tithing! You are forced to tithe and you will feel the cult's wrath if you stop. They will disconnect your from your family, friends, and ability to make money. I lived in Salt-Lake for a couple of years.

I don't disagree with your definition. I just think the most simple definition is who they worship.

Your simple definition leaves out dangerous groups though, and includes some harmless ones.
 
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