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May 2, 2018 / C H Thompson


  • The terms “sects” and “cults” are often used interchangeably. While cults tend to be small groups with extreme practices and ideas, sects are religious offshoots of other groups.
  • Definition of a a sect is: ‘a group of people with somewhat different religious beliefs (typically regarded as heretical) from those of a larger group to which they belong’
  • Sects are found in all religions of the world and are often subsets of religions due to their perceived need for reform.
  • One example of a sect is Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, otherwise known as Mormons
  • They create strong boundaries between themselves and the wider society, with a membership that has to be earned by personal merit
  • The organization of sects generally lack professional clergy and have a complex hierarchy.
  • They are world rejecting meaning that they are generally critical of the wider society and the contact with non-members is discouraged.
  • Their worship tends to have little use of a ritual and is emotional, spontaneous and expressive.
  • Like churches, sects also see themselves as having a monopoly of truth, as well as being the only true religion.

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