As a former religion writer, I struggle with the whole idea of branding any particular religion as a "Cult."
You know the old saying comedy equals tragedy plus time? Often religion equals cult plus time. Late 19th century America was a breeding ground for religious movements, many of which have settled in fairly comfortably during the ensuing 100 years. Mormonism, Jehovah's witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists and Christian Scientists -- they all seemed a little odd in their early stirrings. Some were actively persecuted. But, with varying degrees of success, they've found acceptance and a place on the American religious continuum.
The 1970s were, for some reason, a comparable era. The Unification Church, Scientology and, the Divine Light Mission were among the new movements I covered as a journalist. But really, the only one people still talk a lot about is Scientology.
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