This is a short paper I wrote for school (and likely the only thing you will ever see me write about “religion”) about whether or not I feel that two specific “religions” have cult-like characteristics and why I feel that way. You do not have to agree with me, this is my personal opinion.
These two particular “religions” are most undoubtedly cult-like. Both use illusory correlations to manipulate people into doing what they want. They will go to any length to achieve their goals. They are pure evil, the opposite of what they claim to be. The basis of both these “religions” is control and greed.
Jehovah’s witnesses are run by liars that use reciprocal determinism, using pieces of the Bible and twisting them around to instill fear so they can control people. They force you to read stories with terrifying pictures of Armageddon. They keep you isolated and look down on having friends. If you do not agree with something, they will shun you and possibly even retaliate. They are liars, and they are dangerous.
Jehovah’s Witnesses use cognitive dissonance. They breed their children with extreme beliefs to grow up believing they can trust no one except Jehovah’s Witness elders. In which case, they must trust them at all costs, even to the point of sexual abuse. They teach them to fear the outside world; anyone who does not believe the same as them is evil.
Scientology uses group think, and humans created it; they use personal aspirations to get people into their web. They primarily target people looking for fame, or at least to make a name for themselves. They convince you they can make your dreams come true if you come to one of their unique classes. Once they get you to go to one of their many facilities, you are theirs. Not necessarily because you even want to. They are master manipulators, and they know how to make you feel obligated to do things for the greater good, trap you.
Like Jehovah’s Witnesses, they brain-wash you, using a person-centered approach. You think, with them, you will achieve all your dreams. They use videos and famous people to convince you that working with them will get you to your goals quicker. You feel like they have all the answers. But once they get you to put one foot in their circle, you belong to them.
They guilt you into buying more and more of their products, to give them all your cash, to apply for credit cards so you can provide them with money. They pressure you to sign up for classes that you do not need, and then they stalk you to pay for them by following you around at the meetings you are mandated to attend multiple times a week. They call you in your home day and night various times a day until you find someone to give you the amount of money they are demanding, usually in the thousands.
They gain complete control over you, isolate you from your friends and family. Force you into communal living, usually in inhumane circumstances. They monitor what you do and what you say. If you get too close to the opposite sex, they force marriage upon you. If you get pregnant, even though married, they demand that you get an abortion because it will get in the way of what they want you to get accomplished, which is to make them more money.
Control and greed.