Stark, Rodney, et al. “Cults of America: A Reconnaissance in Space and Time.”
Sociological Analysis, vol. 40, no. 4, 1979, pp. 347–359.,
“Cults of America: A Reconnaissance in Space and Time” explores the reasonings as to why the United States has become a breeding ground for a wide range of cults. Specifically it delves into religious cults and the branches that exist. This article offers us insight on scientology and what makes them possible. The source seeks to answer what characteristics are needed to enable an environment/geographic location for radical cult to exercise their beliefs in addition to survive. It is a sociological study on American society and the commonality of cults in different regions and states. This exploration further delves into the specific communities of cults and their popularity. The readability of the text is simple and clean. Enabling the statistics and content to be easily understood.

Robbins, Thomas, and Dick Anthony. “Cults, Brainwashing, and Counter-Subversion.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 446, 1979, pp.78–90.,
“Cults, Brainwashing, and Counter-Subversion,” discusses the rise of counter-subversive, or anti-cult movement in our society. Unconventional beliefs have always been met with hostility, but the evil reputation associated with cults allows for the ‘moral’ persecution of outlying groups. The purpose of the article is to discuss the rise and function of anti-cult movements in society.

Hughes, Louis. “Cults and Cultism.” The Furrow, vol. 44, no. 6, 1993, pp. 352–358.
Since a cult is formed by the unethical mind control processes that are common to all members, it is not surprising that all cults are suspected to be violent. We hope to address Hughes’ claims about cults and cultism; both which focus more on the mind control involved in cults rather than the violence (which may not even be present). Hence, our focus will be on mind control versus brainwashing and in which cults the latter is present. An easy read, Hughes’ Cults and Cultism gets the reader to start and think: do I really know what a cult is?

Thomson, Judith Jarvis. “The Trolley Problem.” The Yale Law Journal, vol. 94, no. 6, 1985, pp.
It can come to be understood that each and every person faces a moral dilemma in their life. Whether this dilemma be as simple as choosing what cereal to eat for breakfast, or as complex as deciding to take one’s life. Since cults are considered violent, our society considers cults to have no moral dilemma, only the motive to kill. Although “The Trolley Problem” seeks to answer Foot’s previous finding: why we would choose to kill one person over killing five, it fails to do so. Instead, the complex (not in language, but in thought), ethics journal creates one question: “why is it that the bystander may turn his trolley, though the surgeon may not remove the young man’s lungs, kidney, and heart?” This brings us to another question that we, as a group, hope to address: is there a type of person that ignores the trolley problem altogether (fails to address that a human life has meaning); if so, is it necessary that they are a cult member?

Kurzman, Charles, et al. “Celebrity Status.” Sociological Theory, vol. 25, no. 4, 2007, pp.
Celebrities are easily separated from the rest of society. They belong in their own category for they are an ideal. Many celebrities are viewed as role models whether it be for lifestyles, bodies or wealth. They are an unrealistic ideal for many thus making it nearly impossible for the average individual to become the next Brad Pitt. This exclusivism is similar to a cult. They are separated from society and the authoritarian figure of this “cult” is the media or society. The purpose of Celebrity Status is to address that social status should disappear as capitalism develops. The question the source gives emphasizes the need of social hierarchy in capitalism and the introduction of a new class/status and the existence of it relies heavily on capitalism. Max Weber developed a social theory. A theory on social status which explained that in recent years there had been a decline of status under the pressures of capitalism. This decline is social status meant that there would be an increase of importance on class. Celebrity Status was written in a manner that was direct with the developing arguments and explanation. Kurzman explained the flaws clearly in Weber’s arguments and then expanded on his own points.

Frederick Douglass. “Why Is the Negro Lynched?”. 1895,
African americans have been persecuted by an angry (white) ‘mob’. Douglass writes about lynchings of blacks in the south, and why they were allowed to happen. He discusses how whites formed a ‘mob’ against blacks, influencing even those who would, if on their own, claim to disagree with violence or racial persecution to either join or accept the lynching of innocent blacks. The purpose of “Why is the Negro Lynched?” is to show the threat that the white mob has become to innocent people, and challenge the indifference of Northern whites. The mob mentality of whites allowed them to categorize all african americans as criminals, similarly to how the mob mentality of anti-cultists allowed them to persecute innocent groups for being different.

Shewan, Dan. “Conviction of Things Not Seen: The Uniquely American Myth of Satanic Cults.” Pacific Standard. 8 Sept. 2015. Web 30 Apr. 2017.
In “Conviction of Things Not Seen: The Uniquely American Myth of Satanic Cults,” Shewan reviews common misconceptions tied to Satanic cults in our culture. Shewan discusses the major events that have influenced society’s view of cults, like the Jonestown Massacre and Waco Siege, and how they differ from satanic cults. He describes the Satanic panic in the 80s, a moral panic that led to thousands of accusations of satanic cults. The majority of these allegations had little or no proof, or were based purely on the controversial practice of regression hypnosis, and yet they led to the harassment and investigation of many of the accused. Suddenly, the complex and significant issue of child abuse had been reduced to the delusion of cloaked fanatics running around kidnapping children.

Federman, Eliyahu. "When Organized Religion Becomes a Cult." The Huffington Post., 27 Sept. 2013. Web. 30 Apr. 2017. Although it may not seem this way, may even sound as an outstretch, It can be easy to join a cult. Sometimes, actually most of the time, joining a cult is accidental. The most common time that this happens is when a believer joins a religion that chooses to ostracize them once they become a non-believer. Eliyahu’s article (on society’s impact) answers how organized religion can become a cult and how communities can purge themselves of dogma and intolerance in order to avoid “cult life”. An eye-opening source that is easy to read (but not a beach read), it compares Old Order Amish to a restraining cult.

The Huffington Post aims to provide the latest news with an unbiased stance (although the newspaper leans liberal). In fact, their slogan is inform, inspire, entertain, empower. On February 7, 2011, AOL acquired the mass market Huffington Post for US $315 million, making Arianna Huffington editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group. The article aims to explain the difference- if any- between cults and religious organizations. It is a reliable source, with Eliyahu, Civil rights activist, writer, and theology major, as the contributor.

Tyrrell, Ivan. "Exploring the CULT in Culture." Human Givens Institute. Human Givens Journal,
07 Oct. 2016. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.<
The Human Givens Institute is in association with the Human Givens College. The purpose of the website is the shared perception among its members that the human givens approach endeavors to include all currently known implications arising from research into the functioning of the human brain, in conjunction with the body, and the wider society in which we all live. The organization aims to raise general awareness of the givens of human nature – which clarifies what we need in order to live mentally healthy and fulfilled lives, and provides us with the framework for improving all forms of human endeavor and interaction. The information we are receiving from this website is a study of cults in culture. It explains human behavior and characteristics found in society that are commonly escalated in the cases of cults. The information is aimed to educate the general public on the normalcy of individuals in cults and that these desires that drive people to join can be found within each of us. The writer of this article is is a psychotherapist, writer, and lecturer.

The article takes an in-depth look of Arthur Diekman’s work on cult behavior. Cult behavior as examined by Diekman explores common characteristics and different psychological reasonings behind cult formation. The source seeks to identify characteristics and reasons individuals join cults. It also exhibits the similarities in experiences for members of different cults. The source seeks to answer what desires bring people to cults. The sources gives question to freedom as Deikman sees these pervasive patterns throughout society as threats to our rights. It is a sociological/psychological study on society. It evaluates the common characteristics among cults and studies human behavior. It is easily readable with direct statements and explanations.