– There are over 5,000 cults in the US and as many as 2 million people impacted by them at any point in time.
– An estimated 5 to 7 million Americans have been involved in cults, or cult-like groups.
– The total number of these groups ranges from 3,000 to 5,000. It is hard to get a precise number as cults change their names, splinter off into other groups, or shut down in one area only to open back up in another.
– There are approximately 180,000 new cult recruits every year.
– 1994: More than 60 members of Europe’s Solar Temple cult were induced to mass suicide in France and Switzerland.
– 1995: Japan’s Aum Shin Rikyo cult released sarin nerve gas in Tokyo subway killing ten and injuring thousands. Only recently in June 1998, testimonies in recent trials of Aum Shin Rikyo members revealed that for years prior to the 1995 attack, the group released lethal germ warfare in Japan, targeting the Japanese Legislature, the Imperial Palace, and the US military base at Yokosuka. The poisons were not detected at the times of their releases, and apparently caused no deaths. The attacks were intended to spark the apocalypse Aum Shin Rikyo postulates is coming. Meanwhile, about 200 current members met for a fundraising conference in late April 1998, paying up to $1,500 each to attend.
– 1997: 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult including leader Marshall Applewhite ingested a combination of vodka and drugs at Applewhite’s instruction, resulting in what the mother of victim called “one suicide and 38 murders.” Members were convinced that the only way to survive Earth’s being “recycled” in the year 2000 was to be picked up by a UFO flying in the wake of the Hale-Bopp comet.
– 1997: Teenage members of a Vampire cult murdered the parents of one of its members. Self-proclaimed lead vampire received the death sentence.
– 1998: Scientology has faced allegations of member suicides, deaths, and psychotic breaks; when Germany refused to recognize Scientology as a bona fide religious organization, contending the cult is a threat to democracy, the United States accused Germany of “intolerance” and caused international diplomatic tensions.
– Of the 912 People’s Temple members who died in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978, 276 were children, and of more than 80 who died at Waco, Texas in 1993, 25 were children.
– An estimated 5,000 economic, political, and religious groups operate in the United States alone at any given time, with 2.5 million members. Over the last ten years, cults have used tactics of coercive mind control to negatively impact an estimated 20 million victims in the last ten years. Worldwide figures are even greater. [Cult expert Dr. Margaret Singer , Cults in Our Midst].
– The cult problem is so prevalent, the chances of a family member joining a cult are greater than a family member catching chicken pox, four times greater than contracting AIDS, 90 times greater than contracting measles, and 45,000 times greater than contracting polio. [Dr. Paul Martin, cult expert and director of Wellspring Retreat & Resource Center, Ohio, USA].
– 25% of the millions of cult members worldwide “will suffer enduring, irreversible harm that will affect their ability to function adequately in emotional, social, family, and occupational domains,” according to Dr. Martin. For every person who becomes a cult member, many more are impacted; parents, children, other family, and friends suffer personal and often economic loss.
– Entire societies, numbed by coercive psychological influence, are more likely to allow large-scale tragedies. Perhaps the most devastating example is the Holocaust. Cult mind control is totalitarian, and as such is anathema to democracy. Democracy is founded on the principle that humanity is rational; for democracy to work, people must be capable of using their critical faculties. Mind control works by bypassing rationality and eliminating free will. Without free will, all other basic human freedoms, such as freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, become utterly meaningless. Eventually if left unchecked, mind control would destroy all basic human freedoms and ruin democracy.
– According to Dr. Martin, “Compared to other social or medical problems, the havoc created by destructive cultism is the most understudied, neglected, and ignored mental health and social problem in the world… If the symptoms exhibited in former cult members were attributed to a virus, it would be considered a worldwide epidemic.”
– There are over 3,000 destructive cults in the US, with approximately 4 million members.
– At this time there are very few people in the world who have personally spoken with over 3,000 cult victims. Liz Shaw has done that and more. In her nine years as Cult Survivor Advocate and three years as COO at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, Liz fielded dozens of calls from around the globe on a weekly basis from cultists wanting to leave their groups, cult survivors desperate for help, and families of cult members trying to extract their loved ones from the clutches of abusive groups.