Mar 4, 2022

CultNEWS101 Articles: 3/4/2022 (Cult Definitions, SGA, Events, Shinto, Japan)

Cult Definitions, SGA, Events, Shinto, Japan

" ... Indeed it is derogatory. Undoubtedly some — but not all — groups considered to be cults have sinister track records; deceive outsiders; abuse their followers physically, psychologically, sexually, and/or financially; damage family and other relationships; and even resort to violence. The Guy [Adnan Oktarsays such allegations should be fairly pursued on the basis of secular criminal or civil law without judging whether a group's teachings measure up to some cultural standard. After all, the Constitution's Bill of Rights enshrines a religious freedom guarantee.

The U.S. Supreme Court famously settled this in its United States v. Ballard ruling of 1944. The case involved fraud convictions based upon the unconventional New Age beliefs of the "I Am" movement (still extant) and associates of its founder, the late Guy Ballard. He taught that "ascended masters" uniquely authorized him to transmit divine truth and to perform healings. In a 5-4 decision the Court stated, "The religious views espoused by respondents might seem incredible, if not preposterous, to most people," but the "truth or falsity" of a religion is no business of the American government or courts to decide.

Merriam-Webster's phrase about separation from "a larger and more accepted" faith explains why a "cult" differs from the definition of a "sect," that is a direct offshoot from an established religion. Examples would be "Mormon" polygamist cells or snake-handling churches as opposed to mainstream Pentecostalism. "Sect" is not appropriate if the breakaway is sizable, for example 16th Century Protestantism when it left the Roman Catholic Church."

June 24th (12:00 PM-12:50 PM EST)

"As therapists/counselors, we sometimes assume we know what clients/patients want and need from therapy, especially after leaving and recovering from being in a cult or high demand organization. However, two recent surveys of 414 Second Generation Adult Cult survivors (2019) and 112 counselors/therapists who work with former cult members (2019) showed us this may not be the case that we know what is best for our clients. These research surveys specifically pointed out that clients want to cover different topics/areas than what counselors/therapists want to cover in therapy. This information session will cover not only what SGA clients want from therapy, but also give specific and realistic activities/resources that are helpful in discussing and working through these topics in therapy. The information presented will be based on actual data from 414 SGA individuals who have been clients and their lived experiences from being in therapy."

"American Kit Cox, 35, works as an electrical engineer and enjoys biking and playing piano. But what some might consider surprising about Cox, who was raised as Methodist, is that she practices the Japanese religion known as Shinto.

While Cox's interest in Shinto was originally sparked by her love for Japanese popular culture and media, Shinto practice is not just a phase or fad for her. For over 15 years, she has venerated Inari Ookami, a Shinto deity or "kami" connected to agriculture, industry, prosperity and success.

After several years of study, Cox received a great honor from Fushimi Inari Taisha, one of Japan's most popular Shinto shrines. She was entrusted with a "wakemitama," a physical portion of Inari Ookami's spirit, which is now housed in a sacred box and enshrined in her home altar.

What's more, Cox has emerged as a leader within a relatively small but growing community of Shinto practitioners scattered around the world. Her goal: to help Japan's "indigenous" religion go global.

As an anthropologist of Japanese religion studying the spread of Shinto around the world, I met Cox where most non-Japanese people interested in Shinto do – online. Over several years of studying social media posts, participating in livestreams and conducting surveys and interviews, I've heard many people's stories of what draws them to practice Shinto and how they navigate the difficulties of doing so outside of Japan.
What is Shinto?

Shinto has many faces. For some, it is a reservoir of local community traditions and a way of ritually marking milestones throughout the year and in one's life. For others, it is an institution that attests to the Japanese emperor's divine status as a descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu or a life-affirming nature religion.

But at its core, Shinto is about the ritual veneration of kami."

News, Education, Intervention, Recovery to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement. assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice. news, links, resources.




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Selection of articles for CultNEWS101 does not mean that Patrick Ryan or Joseph Kelly agree with the content. We provide information from many points of view in order to promote dialogue.

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