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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Jan > Jan 11

Re: UFO Cults - A research question...

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark@frontiernet.net>
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 99 14:12:53 PST
Fwd Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 10:12:19 -0500
Subject: Re: UFO Cults - A research question...

>From: John W. Ratcliff <jratclif@inlink.com>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
>Subject: RE: UFO UpDate: Re: UFO Cults - A research question...
>Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 10:46:23 -0600

>>From: Scott Carr <sardonica@erols.com>
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
>>Subject: UFO Cults - A research question...
>>Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 12:51:14 -0800

>>I am beginning to devote a great deal of time to studying the
>>cult phenomenon


>I guess it's just my queer perspective, but I always begin to
>get a little uneasy when the term "cult" gets bandied about.
>Not that I don't believe in cults, and not that I don't think
>they are worth paying attention to, but rather how this
>derogative term is used demonize one person's belief system
>against another's.

I agree entirely, and I'm glad you made the point.  Elsewhere in
the posting you're responding to, the term "cult" is followed by
"threat" in parentheses, as if to imply that the terms are
synonymous. In fact, the vast majority of small religious
movements -- which is what I assume our correspondent means by
"cults" -- are no more sinister than mainstream religious
groups, which themselves were dismissed as "cults" in their
formative years.  My experience with UFO "cults" -- most
recently, I spent time with the Unarians at their headquarters
in El Cajon, California -- convinces me that they are benign,
well-intentioned, and sincere, however esoteric or outlandish
their beliefs may appear to outsiders.

My friend J. Gordon Melton, an academic who has written
voluminously on new spiritual groups, defines "cult" as any
religious movement you don't happen to like.  It is a word to be
used rarely and carefully, if at all.

Jerry Clark

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