What is a cult?
As a Christian-based organisation, at Cultwatch we have two main definitions of what a cult is.
First, a group that uses manipulative psychological “mind control” techniques to recruit and control their members. These techniques might be “love bombing”, instant friends or emotional blackmail. At extremes it might include keeping people away from their friends and family and isolating them both physically and emotionally.
The second definition we use (when saying a group is a cult) is any group which claims to be a Christian group yet teaches something that is not primarily a Christian belief. For example, a group that teaches that Jesus was an alien from another planet but claims to be Christian.
Note that other mainstream religions (such as Buddhism) are not cults under either of these definitions but may contain cults within them.