The people who run this site are just as much of a “cult” as all of the groups they hate. However, any one of the groups on this list could likewise be the basis for intentional communities for folks who share common beliefs and values.
This Index contains brief definitions, descriptions or cross references on over 1,200 religious organizations and beliefs, as well as world religions (including Christianity) and related doctrines. Watchman Fellowship is a Christian apologetics and discernment ministry; thus, many references (“Jesus,” “Gospel,” “Christianity,” etc.) contain definitions that reflect the beliefs of Watchman’s staff. While Watchman Fellowship does not hold to the beliefs of non-Christian religions and doctrines, we also attempt to describe these beliefs factually, fairly and accurately. Readers are asked to assist in this effort by suggesting corrections or improvements.
This is by no means a complete list of cults and religions. Watchman Fellowship maintains over 10,000 files and a research library of over 25,000 books and periodicals on religions, cults, new religious movements and related teachings. The absence of a religious movement from this index does not mean that Watchman Fellowship endorses the organization.
By its primary dictionary definition, the term cult just means a system of religious beliefs or rituals. It is based on a farming term in Latin meaning cultivation. Sociologists and anthropologists sometimes use the term cult to describe religious structure or belief patterns with meanings (usually non-pejorative) unique to their disciplines. In modern usage, the term cult is often used by the general public to describe any religious group they view as strange or dangerous. Thus, cult can describe religious leaders or organizations that employ abusive, manipulative, or illegal control over their followers’ lives.