Blog post 3- Inquiry research round 1- ” Why are people attracted to cults?”


Nikki Shahram, Blog post 3- Inquiry research round 1- ” Why are people attracted to cults?”

“ Heres’s an easy way to figure out if you’re in a cult: if you’re wondering whether you’re in a cult, the answer is yes.” [1a] 

-Stephen Colbert 

Hello everyone! 

 My inquiry question is “Why are people attracted to cults?”. Today I will be talking about what cults are, and the different types. 

 The literal definition of a cult is a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious” [1]. Of course, they are much more complex and cannot be explained in a single sentence. Types of cults vary, as does their violence and danger level. The main types are eastern/religious cults, terrorist cults, cults of mass transformation, new age cults, and “black-magic” or satanic cults [2]. Eastern/religious cults are supposed to be based off of a religious text, such as the Ghoran or the Bible. The cult leader, often with a charismatic personality, will purposely distort these texts to their own desire. Despite seeming quite innocent they are very harmful. Terrorist/racist cults usually attack certain groups. They undertake to terrifying crimes, such as suicide bombing. [2] [3]

 How can cults be perilous? It is undeniable that a satanic or terrorist cult is harmful, but what about eastern cults? As I mentioned before, cult leaders will distort a religious text to their liking. All cults constantly exploit their members either sexually or financially. In addition, they make it very difficult to leave. If a cult member manages to quit, they are often left with terrible mental illnesses, such as post toxic shock syndrome (PTSD) [3]. As cult leaders can be unpredictable, they can lead members to pay the ultimate price. For example, the “Peoples Temple” tragedy in Jonestown, where over 900 died in a mass murder-suicide. The leader, Jim Jones, laced a large quantity of punch and ordered all members to drink it. A third of them were children. [4] 

Jim Jones - Son, Movies & Documentaries - Biography [3a]

 Horrific events like these happen in cults. They have been around for ages, yet most teenagers , and adults, do not know much about them. It is only one of the reasons why we must educate ourselves about them to avoid these situations. Lately, people have been forming cults through social media as well. This allows invalid and oppressive ideologies to spread very quickly. Unfortunately, this means that cults are no longer bound to a single area; they become international. Many vulnerable people have social media, and can be easily harmed. Already, there are Youtube channels and sites with cult-like messages.[3] Though this terrifying, taking the correct precautions can prevent you from being drawn into such situations.  

Next research round, I will be talking about the mindset of cult members. This will help me determine the reason for which they joined a cult in the first place.

 Thank you for reading my post! I hope you learnt something:)


Sources for research 


 Sources for quotes and images (“a” next to number)


6 Replies to “Blog post 3- Inquiry research round 1- ” Why are people attracted to cults?””

  1. Hi Nikki,

    Very explorative question. I do like the fine, illustrative details you also have, i.e. “despite seeming quite innocent they are very harmful” and “allows invalid and oppressive ideologies to spread very quickly.” Might I ask what prompted you with the inquiry project? I was surprised to learn us teenagers are involved – quite frightening, but gets the mind thinking!

    Best Regards,


    • Hi Galicia,
      Glad you find this post interesting!
      As for why I chose this question, I was just very interested in cults. My parents were watching a Netflix series about a religious cult, and I found it very intriguing. Because I did not know much about them, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to learn some more!

      I look forward to hearing from you,

  2. Hello Nikki!
    This is a very interesting topic you have chosen! I do not know much about cults, however, this has helped me learn so much already by reading your first round of research! I am looking forward to your second round of research!

  3. Hi Nikki,
    Very intriguing round of research. It is a very interesting topic to me specially because it is the first time that I’m actually reading about it in depth. And i must say i am learning a lot and how we, as teenagers, are involved.

    What was reaction after your first round of research?

    Looking forward to your next round of research 🙂

    • Hi Lokshana,
      Thank you!
      Honestly, I did not know much about cults either, so it was quite interesting to me as well! It was a bit scary to learn about the role of social media in cults. I felt some shock while reading about some of the event that took place in cults. It’s insane to think that such horrific events can be happening right now.

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