Essay The Manson Family

Essay The Manson Family

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The word “Cult” has not always had such a negative connotation attached to it. Many religions would’ve been considered cults when they first began. By the end of the 19th century many visionaries had revealed radically new religious systems, claiming immunity to the impurities of the old ones (Powers, 1997). These were no more than a group of people organizing themselves in worship and devotion for a person, object, or movement. They practiced rituals different to other “mainstream” religions, and were therefore considered cults.
Nowadays when people hear the word “Cult” they immediately think of brainwashing, bombings, murders, and people who have turned away from our society. This is primarily because of what has happened with cults in the past. Cults like the Ant hill kids, the serpent handlers, the people’s temple, and one of the most famous, the Manson Family. Some, like the serpent handlers, had odd and dangerous rituals. Others, like the People’s Temple, ended with mass suicides. And then there are those like the Manson Family, who brutally murder innocent people. They all started out with a leader, who preaches their extreme beliefs to others. From this, a group of members is formed, and the cult is created. To lure people into their dark world, both violent and nonviolent cults often prey on people who are emotionally confused or distraught (Fennel, 1993). Linda James, a Montreal clinical psychologist, says that in some cases, cults become families for the vulnerable while offering to fulfill an individual's fantasies. Explains James: “They can offer wealth or the perfect relationship.'' (1993). The conceptualization of affiliation as brainwashing has been an influential theory of involvement in nontraditional religious ...


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...nt in a New Religious Movement: From Discovery to Disenchantment. Retrieved from: Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, 13:2–21, 2011

Spence, J. C. (1975). Helter Skelter (Book Review). Retrieved from: American Bar Association Journal; Aug75, Vol. 61 Issue 8, p928, 2p

Fennel, T. (1993). Nightmare Tales. Retrieved from: Maclean's; 2/8/93, Vol. 106 Issue 6, p26, 2p, 2 Color Photographs.

Sanders, E. (2002). The Family.

Donald, C. & Robbins, T. (1982). The New Vigilantes. Deprogrammers, Anti-Cultists, and the New Religions (Book Review). Retrieved from: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion; Mar82, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p80-81, 2p.

Powers, R. L. (1997). Cult, Culture, and Cultivation: The Contribution of Individual Psychology. Retrieved from: Individual Psychology: The Journal of Adlerian Theory, Research & Practice; Mar97, Vol. 53 Issue 1, p9, 14p

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