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Good Cults?

 
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Forgive my wandering mind, but “ So apparently I got Pie today” triggered a memory.  Years ago I was working with a young woman who used an electric wheel chair. She had pretty severe CP. She desperately needed an adaptive device added to it that was very expensive.  All efforts to obtain funding for it had failed.  I tried a long shot.  I loaded her up in a van and drove her to the local outlaw motorcycle club.  You can imagine how thrilled they were to see me, but I persisted…showed them pictures of the device…and asked for their help.  They examined the pictures and examined her chair. Finally one pipped up and said, “ Hell  yes we can do that!”

The device they created was professional and worked perfectly.  They even gave her a club jacket. Their charge was to have a picture taken with her.  And, being aware of the risks, I published a thank you letter and a copy of the picture in the local newspaper.

The newspaper photo got the results I was looking for.  I got a call from a state social worker accusing me of enrolling the young lady in a motor cycle gang.   I contacted the newspaper.  The next issue ran the headline “ Motorcycle Club Comes To The Rescue When State Social Services Fails”.
 
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I've never heard of biker gangs/clubs labeled as a cult. On Kauai where I'm from though we have some experience with kicking cults out of the community. Never heard of a good cult.
 
pollinator
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Location: West Linn Oregon, USA zone 8b
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Some biker gangs might verge on the cult label, and yes, some of them do good things sometimes.  I suppose that all humans do some good things sometimes and some bad things sometimes, because we're all human and thus we are complicated, we're not just one thing or other.  So could there be a good cult?  Well that depends on how we define cult, which is generally defined as being in a group with extreme beliefs which isolates people from their families and friends from "outside" and which often has either an individual leader or a small group of leaders.

There's also "gray area" and several familiar groups sit in that spot.

Side note, my MIL was best friends with a Hell's Angel when she was young, he was like an uncle to her, taught her cars, and he saved her life.  She lost touch with him when he moved away, but she will always have love and gratitude for him.
 
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I think the term cult gets widely overused, and also underused depending on who you're talking to. I have a friend who is very anti-religious, and has accused me of being in a cult because of my religion. If going to church potlucks and sewing for humanitarian aid is a cult, I'm not sure how bad cults really are. On the other hand, when talking with my therapist, we determined that my very same friend is in a cult if you use the BITE method of determining cults. BITE is behavior, information, thought, and emotional control.

My friend, when trying to convince me that I was in a cult of compassionate and kind Christians, told me that if I didn't support something that her community believed in, she wouldn't be friends with me anymore. It's a community we are both in, but I haven't centered my life around it like she has. I've had other friends say similar things to me from that community, and it concerns me how volatile they have become.
 
John F Dean
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While I certainly believe that bad cults exist, I find that the use of word “cult”, as is so with many words, falls into the category of name calling. Name calling is something that children are taught not to do but too many adults engage in.
 
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