Does that above introduction sound a little harsh? Are cults just a radical form of religion? I would have to say NO on both counts. Furthermore, a cult does not have to be a religion, as Scientology shows.
I wrote this page after concern at the number of cults in the London area, but especially after encountering the London Church of Christ (more on them below). This is not so much to provide my own, not particularly original, thoughts on the subject as to link you with better and specific sites that deal with these cults. If by linking to these sites you get comfort or strength to help either yourself, a friend or a loved one, then this page will have done its job.
So what is a cult? Volumes could probably be written on the subject, but I offer a thumbnail sketch below.
For the purposes of this page, an organisation will have to meet all of the above conditions to be classified as a cult. Thus, while both Christianity and Islam claim to offer the only way to salvation, by and large their churches or mosques do not meet the others. Similarly, while Jehovah's Witnesses could be considered a cult in theological terms, they are quite open in their evangelism and door-to-door visitation - I'm sure most of us in England would recognise their patter by now. Nazism meets some conditions for a cult, but is fairly open about its aims.
Jesus Himself said, "By their fruits you shall know them", and nowhere is this more true than in the lives of people tragically caught up in cults. Often young or vulnerable, new recruits are often sucked dry of their resources, treated as slaves or cannon fodder and then condemned in the most frightening terms or abandoned when they question the practices they have been caught up in. Truly my prayer for anyone facing this predicament is "Deliver us from evil". But there is also hope, as a look at some of the pages below will show. Freedom and dignity are possible, and an abandonment of a cult need not mean walking away from God. If anything, leaving a cult usually brings the individual to a greater knowledge of Him.
Triumph over London Cults - deals particularly with the London Church of Christ and its related organisations. Very helpful and includes many stories and reports from ex-members.
Carol Giambalvo's Cult Information and Recovery - good source of general information and help. Carol has been active in the area of cult research since 1978 and is now a consultant.
Please note that this page will be an ongoing affair, with fresh links added as we find them.