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Doomsday cults

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  1. Introduction
  2. Heaven's gates: Human Individual Metamorphosis by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles
    1. The meeting in the hospital in Houston
    2. Focus on an assortment of ideas
    3. Nettles' death
  3. Aum Shinrikyo
    1. Attracting young graduates from Japan's elite educational institutions
  4. Conclusion
  5. Works cited

Of over ten thousand new religious movements across the globe, less than twenty are considered destructive cults. The contemporary definition of cult refers to a relatively small group of people whose religious beliefs and practices depart from the conventional standards of society. Most cults that have surfaced in the United States since the 1960's have been indicated by a revived interest in mysticism and Asian religions, while others have Christian origins. They appear to suit the needs of urban, middle-class youth and are often associated with the counter culture. Amid sociologists, religious groups are pigeonholed as ecclesiae, denominations, cults or sects, though this sorting of course depends on the society in which the group exists, particularly the location and time period. By this standard, a cult is a group with a high degree of tension with surrounding society merged with novel religious ideas.

[...] Furthermore, Asahara promised members heaven on earth, saying he would free them from society's evils, parental pressure and having to work for conventional corporations. Aum attracted a considerable number of young graduates from Japan's elite educational institutions, coming from sound middle-class backgrounds, though entire families and the elderly also joined, appeared to be a masterful storyteller who was quite adept at assessing the emotional needs of his audience and, in turn, delivering to them exactly what they sought? (Rinehart 98). [...]

[...] Moreover, they've both had problems with the law, even before they founded two of the most notorious doomsday cults. It's clear that they were able to gain the trust and attention of many people, but the reasons why remain uncertain. Aum's methods of recruitment were certainly more forceful and successful, but Heaven's Gate still remains a fascinating mystery that will never be completely understood. Violence has always played a huge role in religion and this trend certainly continues on in [...]

[...] Applewhite and Nettles insisted that their human bodies were merely vehicles meant to support them on their voyage and once physically being taken aboard the flying saucer, members would enter a cocoon like state, eventually being reborn in a renovated physical body. This coincides with a widespread belief among UFO groups that extraterrestrials have no vocal cords, an atrophied digestive system and no sex organs, which is symbolic of three common religious practices: silence, fasting and celibacy. Finally, they believed that Earth was about to be destroyed and the only chance to survive was to leave it at once. [...]

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