Just for the record - the context in which the word "cult" is frequently used on this blog is to denote a destructive group that does more harm than good, which has been proven beyond a doubt to apply to the Church of Scientology.
The defining characteristics of determining if a group is a cult was first established in 1961 by Robert Jay Lifton's seminal work on mind control, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of Brainwashing in China.
Currently, the widely accepted standard amongst cult education experts is the following checklist by Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. A publicly available version of this checklist is also available (outside of Scribd) on the backlink for this post's title compliments of the Cult Information and Family Support network in Australia.
This list of defining characteristics of what makes their so-called "Church" a cult by modern standards may possible help to gently adjust a current member's perspective. And hopefully - enable someone to see beyond the indoctrination PR in order to critically evaluate for themselves whether or not the Church of Scientology is the type of group they want to be an active participant in.
If this list resonants with your own experiences in the Church of Scientology, you might also want to checkout the related text it's excerpted from, Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships, by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias circa 2006.
For further reading on this blog, recommended reading continues under:
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