Is the Episcopal Church a cult?
"'Cult' (from the Latin cultus, worship')
means a system of religious beliefs and observances or the group of persons who
accept a system of religious beliefs. In this sense, each major religion and
every local congregation is a cult.
"In recent years 'cult' has been used
pejoratively about new or unfamiliar groups exhibiting certain characteristics
(including the introduction of novel or esoteric theories having little or no
relation to the beliefs of 'traditional' or 'mainline' religions); these
gatherings quickly and superficially satisfy many human needs for values,
fulfillment, and authority. In terms of values, each cult provides a simplistic
purpose for life and unambiguous moral rules. To gratify needs for emotional,
intellectual, and spiritual fulfillment, cults offer a sense of belonging,
conformity, enthusiasm, resolution of personal dilemmas, protection, credal
certainties, intense rituals, and thorough indoctrination. The need for
authority is met by an absolute ruler who is usually the cult's immediate focus
and on whom members are entirely dependent. Devotees typically regard
nonmembers with suspicion, even as the enemy. Characteristics such as these,
however, are not necessarily limited to new and unfamiliar groups. Some
movements or congregations within a mainstream religion might exhibit the same
traits." - from Nolan et al, Living Issues In Philosophy, 9th
ed., p. 363.