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Research paper example essay prompt: Cults Activities - 1113 words

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Cult`s Activities Cult activity has been on the rise over the past few decades. With it there has been an increase in the fear surrounding it. From this fear, society has learned much about cults, how they get members and what to look out for as far as cult recruiters go. Society as a whole has also learned what can be done to deal with cults. Cult activity and the fear that surrounds it Throughout the last couple of decades more and more stories of illegal cult activity or murders by satanic cults appear on the news each night. This surge of reported cult activity has caused a spark in public interest. There has been a large increase in the fear that surrounds cults over the past couple of years.

A cult is "a therapeutic or unconventional religious movement (McBride, 1985, 22)," and the more cults that fall beneath the public eye, the more serious the fear of cults becomes. Much of this fear has been sparked by major cult related incidents such as mass suicide by the Peoples Temple or the murder of Sharon Tate. These incidents, and incidents like them, grab the nations attention and create widespread panic. But as the nation reads about these stories in the paper, the same questions seem to surface. Questions like "How does this happen?" or "What can we do to stop this from happening again?" are often asked. The panic and fear of cult activity in our country seems to continue to grow with the more unbelievable stories that hit the news.

The first big news event that was cult related occurred in 1969. Five dead bodies were found by the maid at 10050 Cielo Drive. Beautiful actress Sharon Tate who was pregnant at the time, and her friends Steven Earl Parent, Abigail Folger, Voytek Frykowski, and Jay Sebring were found butchered thoughout the residence (Bugliosi, 1974, 18). The murders themselves grasped the nations attention, but it was when the murderers and their motives surfaced that the fear began. It was in February of 1970 that the motive of these murders was discovered (Bugliosi, 1974, 283).

Through police investigation, it was discovered that the murders were cult related. Charles Manson and members of his cult, known as "The Family," were to blame. Manson and family lived on a ranch in California. Manson was an avid fan of The Beatles and believed that this rock band spoke to him though their lyrics. He particularly liked The Beatles White Album which included the song "Helter Skelter." Manson interpreted this songs lyrics as a prophecy of a race war that would take place between the blacks and the whites. In this war, he believed the black man would rise up and slaughter all of the whites. So Mansons plan was to take his family out into the desert and hide in a bottomless pit until the war was over.

After the war, he believed the blacks would realize all they ever knew was taught to them by the white man, and if they wanted to survive, they would need a white person to tell them what to do. That is when Manson and his Family would surface from the bottomless pit, and be the rulers of the world as the master race (Bugliosi, 1974, 284-290). The only problem with Mansons prophecy was that Helter Skelter never came. So he sent Family members out to kill Sharon Tate and friends and instructed them to make it appear as if the blacks did it. He tried to accomplish this by writing words in the victims blood all over the walls like "Arise," "Helter Skelter," and "Death to the Pigs." All this was done in hopes of starting the race war (Bugliosi, 1974, 424).

The trial for this terrible crime was so publicized that it played a very significant role in creating cult fear. The next largely publicized cult related incident occurred in 1979 with the mass suicide in Jonestown (Green, 1993, 34). Jim Jones started his cult in California. His cult was referred to as the Peoples Temple, and his followers called him Reverend Jim Jones. Jones operated his cult under the cover of a home for depraved children.

He managed to round up 300 children, some taken illegally, and around 600 men and women who wanted to help these children. Jones then left California, and headed to Guyana (Miller, 1990, 42). It was there that he convinced his 900 followers, made up of men, women, and children, to drink orange squash laced with cyanide. Jones called it "revolutionary suicide (Green, 1993, 34)." This event was such a big deal in the public eye because of the number of people involved in the suicide. 900 people were convinced to voluntarily kill themselves and when this hit the newspapers, fear of cult activity grew.

In April of 1993, the FBI became aware of man named David Koresh and the cult he led which was known as the Branch Davidians cult (Green, 1993, 38). He lived in a house on a Texas ranch with his followers who were known as "disciples." Koresh believed he was Christ reborn, and he would not allow any of his followers to come in contact with anyone outside of the cult. The FBI got involved when they discovered that the cult was stockpiling weapons. When the FBI discovered the Branch Davidians cult was heavily armed, they surrounded the Texas ranch with FBI marksmen and a fleet of tanks. Koresh refused to allow any of his disciples to leave, and the stand off lasted several days.

This stand off ended, however, when a fire broke out in the ranch and twenty-four people burned to death (Green, 1993, 36). This occurrence helped spread the fear of cult activity because a number of the people that burned to death were children who really had no choice in joining the cult. If their parents joined so did they. Big news events like the Manson Family murders, and the mass suicide at Jonestown, only happen every so often. However, events that seem to continuously be in the news are those related to Satanism.

Most of these events are small and isolated, but the massive numbers of them are stirring worry. A highly publicized example of this occurred in Jasper County, in southwest Missouri. Three high school seniors Ron Clements, James Hardy, and Theron Roland II, were convicted of murdering Stephen Newberry. The three struck Newberry over the head with a baseball bat more than 50 times during a satanic ritual and then dumped the body in a cistern, which already had the remains of mutilated cats and squirrels. The three boys used their obsession with Satanism and devil worship as their defense during the trial (Futterman, 1989).

Cases like these from all over the country hit headlines and widen t ...

Related: devil worship, men and women, charles manson, master, texas

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