There are various characteristics of a cult that are evident in America’s most hated families. First, the family displays an unquestioning commitment to its leader and takes his beliefs, ideologies, and practices to be to be the truth and ultimately the law. Other characteristics of a cult displayed by the family include: questioning and doubting their beliefs is discouraged and can even be punished, leaders dictate how members should think, dress and feel. The group has a us-versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with other people in society. Members are expected to devote most of their time to the group and group-related activities. Members are required to live and socialize only with other group members.
In the video, members of the church members are committed to their leaders and take his beliefs to be the truth and the law. A pastor’s daughter even believes that if she was to live the normal lives that other Americans live and she then dies and goes to hell, his father who is the pastor would be happy to see her go to hell. She, therefore, has no authority to question his dad’s beliefs that the life lived by other Americans is not the right way to live. Members believe that the persons they are working for have the real messages, are ambassadors of God and therefore are the true prophets.
Questioning of their beliefs is discouraged, and Louis is branded a devil for asking questions that portray them as not doing the right thing according to the bible. Louis is called a deluded person for questioning what the pastor is preaching. The pastor insists that he is teaching what the bible says and Louis is preaching the dark teachings that his pastor says.
Another characteristic is that members are required to live and socialize with other group members. Members are encouraged only to befriend fellow members. They don’t live communally with other members of the society who hold different beliefs from theirs. Their houses and compounds are detached from other people ’s, and therefore they have their homes and church under one building to minimize interaction with other people in society. Their kids are not allowed to have friends at school and date. They say that the non-members that they interact with are just acquaintances and not friends.
Members of this family have a us-versus-them mentality, and this causes problems between them and other members of society. During their picketing by the roadsides, other members of the society hurl insults at them. Their kids who participate in the demonstrations are hit with bottles from cars. Members believe that they are the only people doing the right thing and that other Americans are doomed and are headed to hell. Holding demonstrations at soldiers’ funerals and rejoicing about their death puts them at loggerheads with other members of the society. All these make them feel that society is against them and therefore it is them against the community.
Members are required to spend most of their time with other group members. We see them participating in the cleaning of their church compounds most of the time. They hold demonstrations together by the roadsides and even board flights to go and picket at soldiers funerals. Members believe that the soldiers are killed by God who thinks that they are protecting a doomed country. They also participate in making of placards that have signs mocking America and other churches.
Leaders of these families dictate how the members live, dress, think, act and feel. The pastor insists that her daughters must dress differently from other girls in their college. This makes them believe that other people who dress differently are going to hell. Parents do not allow their children to enter into a relationship with other children as this will make them fornicate. They are therefore not entitled to date. Elderly members and even children as young as seven years have been brainwashed to believe that America is a nation of fags and is doomed. Members are therefore expected to always picket against other Americans. One time, they came across a church which had burnt and the members, as expected, believed that it was a sign of God’s judgment and therefore a reason for them to rejoice.
Members feel that there is no other way to live apart from the life they are living. Two of the pastor’s daughters had rebelled, and members believed that they were doomed just like other Americans and therefore they are headed to hell. Members even think that if they were to rebel against the group and their beliefs, then they would automatically face certain repercussions for abandoning what they should believe.
Therefore, the above practices by the families characterize what will qualify as a cult. Unquestioning their leaders, interacting only with fellow members, conflicting with other people in the society, controlling what their members engage in and many more.
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