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Religious Cult Leaders

QUESTION: Who are some religious cult leaders?


A study of religious cult leaders will help us understand how people are deceived into adhering to cultic philosophy or doctrine.

Here are some religious cult leaders from history and modern days.

  • The Bab (1819-1850) and Baha'u'llah (1817-1892) serve as the founders of Baha'i. "The Bab" stated that he was the greatest manifestation of God. He was followed by Baha'u'llah who supposedly brought even greater revelation to light. These leaders believed God to be ineffable and unknowable. Their history is filled with failed prophecy.

  • Guy Ballard (1878-1939) based The Mighty I AM cult on the spiritistic revelations of him and his wife.

  • Charles Fillmore (1854-1948) is credited with founding the Unity School of Christianity. His writings are highly regarded, as is the Bible, when interpreted by Unity.

  • Joseph Smith (1805-1844) based Mormonism on supernatural revelations that he received.

  • Sun Myung Moon (1920- ), the founded of the Unification Church claims that Jesus visited him, charging him with finishing the work that Jesus came to do. Moon claims to succeed where Jesus failed.

  • David Keresh (1959-1993) led the Branch Davidians authoritatively. He has been accused of sexual abuse and of harming young children.

  • Victor Paul Wierwille (1917 -1985), founder of The Way International, claims that God audibly spoke to him, telling him to interpret the Bible in a whole new way.

  • L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) is listed as the founder of scientology. He claimed his writings are the only source for solving the problems of mankind.
Religious cult leaders are often very charismatic and considered to be unique in some way. Often times, the leader claims to be a god, angel, or a messenger for God assigned for a specific mission. He or she is held in high reproach and gradually becomes the center of worship. It is often very dangerous to contradict or criticize the cult leader. Members who do so are often excommunicated or severely punished. Ultimately, the leader gets his way, no matter who he tramples in the process, including government authorities, etc.

Leaders are often preoccupied with making money and bringing in new members. Once members are added, the leader will dictate how they should think and act. Day-to-day decisions are often brought to the leader for approval.

Learn More about Religious Cults!

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