Let’s take a look at some definitions. First, according to the “Cult” entry on Wikipedia:
A Cult may refer to a cohesive social group devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding population considers to be outside the mainstream. In common or popular usage, “cult” has a positive connotation for groups of art, music, writing, fiction, and fashion devotees (see Cult following), but a negative connotation for new religious, extreme political, questionable therapeutic, and pyramidal business groups. For this reason, most, if not all, non-fan groups that are called cults reject this label.
Second, see FACTNet’s own page: What is a Destructive Cult?
Third, according to the “cult” entry from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:
1: formal religious veneration : worship
2: a system of religious beliefs and ritual ; also : its body of adherents
3: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious ; also : its body of adherents
4: a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator [health cults]
5 a: great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book) ; especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b: the object of such devotion c: a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion
Aside from the myriad of opinions concerning the negative connotation of the word “cult,” the fact that some cults eventually become mainstream religions (Christianity, Mormonism) makes the term ill-suited for describing the Community of Jesus on this site because (1) it has not been around long enough, and (2) it is not trying to become mainstream.
Basically, the view of this site is aligned with what Leona Furnari, L.C.S.W. states in her paper “Born or Raised in High-Demand Groups: Developmental Considerations”:
Much has been written about how to assess whether a particular group or relationship is abusive or cultic, and just what these terms mean, including work by Singer & Lalich (1996), Tobias, Lalich (1994) and Langone (1993). As a former member of a “closed high-demand group” (CHDG), I often struggle with terminology and prefer not to use the term “cult,” though it sometimes is unavoidable. Langone and Chambers (1991) found that many former members have similar feelings and prefer such terms as “spiritual abuse” or “psychological manipulation.” In this paper I will primarily use “closed high-demand group(s)” (CHDGs) when speaking of cults or abusive, manipulative groups or relationships in which deception and mind control are used to gain power over members.
However, the kind of psychology used for groups like the Community of Jesus is commonly used to describe cults. Specialists in this field are mostly known as cult experts. Because the purpose of this site is not to push members of the Community away, it shall refer to the phenomenon as domination psychology. (Yes, it still sounds formidable, but there would be no point in sugarcoating the subject.)
To continue, go to the next page: What Is a Dominated Group?
Leona Furnari’s full article: Born or Raised in High-Demand Groups: Developmental Considerations.