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6.10: Doomsday Cults

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    Cults are social groups with radical yet common belief in a goal, religion, idea, on any other unverifiable thing that can be taken to the extreme. its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader. There are, however many meanings to what cults are and these are split into groups of positive, neutral, and negative connotations. Negatively connotative cults usually get the most media attention and these cults tend to negatively attack or veiw others outside of their social group for being different. Positive cults tend to still follow a idolized person or idea, but with no effect to outside discrimination, this can be like a Nudist colony because their ideal is based on positivist towards the earth.

    Doomsday Cults: The term ‘Doomsday Cult’, coined by anthropologist John Lofland in 1966, encapsulates groups who make predictions about an apocalypse, and those who attempt to bring one about. [1]

    Some modern examples of Doomsday Cults [42]:

    • The Church of Bible Understanding: a communal organization, teaching a form of evangelical Christianity.
    • The People's Temple: In the 1950's Jim Jones started The People's Temple. 1971 the church was started being accused of fraud, and abuse against its members. Jones was increasingly paranoid because of this, as well as the fact that he was abusing prescription drugs. He decided to relocate to Guyana and build a 'socialist utopia' he called Jonestown. Many people followed him and began a new life at this camp. Former members of the church became worried for some friends who went to Jonestown, and talked a congressman into investigating the camp. When the congressman as well as a news crew arrived at the camp all seemed fine and well. However before they left members of the church asked for help getting back to America. Jones took this as an act of defiance and panicked. He ordered a firing squad to kill the people investigating the town. He then gathered everyone together in the center of the town and had them all 'drink the kool aid' which was mixed with cyanide. As a result over nine hundred Americans died.[48]
    • The Manson Family: a quasi-commune that arose in California in the late 1960s.
    • Aum Shinrikyo: a Japanese doomsday cult founded by Shoko Asahara in 1984.
    • Restoration of the 10 Commandments: A Christian doomsday cult in Uganda
    • Raëlism: a UFO religion that was founded in 1974 by Claude Vorilhon
    • The Church of Scientology: a multinational network and hierarchy of numerous ostensibly independent but interconnected[2] corporate entities and other organizations
    • The Order of the Solar Temple: a secret society that claims to be based upon the ideals of the Knights Templar.
    • Heaven's Gate: American UFO Cult based in San Diego, California, founded in 1970 and led by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles. The group preached that followers would be able to leave their bodies to attain a higher form of physical existence. In accordance with that, the group made headlines in 1997 when 39 members were found dead in a San Diego suburb.[49]
    • Branch Davidians: a religious group that originated in 1955 from a schism in the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists
    • The Unification Church: a new religious movement founded in South Korea in 1954

    This page titled 6.10: Doomsday Cults is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Wikibooks - Cultural Anthropology (Wikibooks) .

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