Biblical much more complicated than at first glance,

Biblical hermeneutics
are elucidations of the Holy Bible of which Christians use. Knowing there are
multiple branches of Christianity makes it simpler to understand that any individual
whom belongs to a different denomination has a different interpretation of the
Bible and what they portray the text as. When an individual hears the term cult,
many stereotypes arise within context of the term. Cults reached their peak of
popularity in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, carrying a huge negative connotation
due to the events and activities of some clans such as the “Ku Klux Klan” and “The
Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God”. The definition of
the specific term is much more complicated than at first glance, due to the
fact that there are numerous opinions on the matter. “The origin of the word
‘cult’ comes from the Latin word ‘cultus’, which is a form of the verb ‘colere’
meaning ‘to worship or give reverence to a ‘deity’,” (Gomes, 1995).  As defined by a separate author, James
Richardson explains that cults are “usually defined as a small informal group
lacking a definite authority structure, somewhat spontaneous in its development
(although often possessing a somewhat charismatic leader or group of leaders),
transitory, somewhat mystical and individualistically oriented, and deriving
its inspiration and ideology from outside the predominant religious culture,”
(Richardson, 1978:31) thus beginning the controversial journey in determining what
a cult is and how dissimilar the usage of explanations upon Christianity can be.
It is important to understand how and why are cults are formed, who as
individuals join them, and why some end up becoming violent. When looking at
the broad spectrum between the two categories, both are based off of
traditional religions but adapt to different civilizations and rituals within
their communities. Cults use their own personal biblical hermeneutics
in order to create a radical interpretation of Christianity.

            To
begin, one must understand how and why cults have been maintained over the
years. One reason for this is who they attempt to target. Doctor Adrian Furham
discusses in his article at there are specific “studies on those who have
signed up for all sorts of cults and extremist groups … have similar and
sophisticated recruitment promises, induction techniques and social influence
agendas. They use methods of ‘indoctrination’ and ‘mind-control’ no different
from all groups, though they maybe a lot more intensely applied” (Furham,
2014), resulting in the resemblance of why some scholars believe that cults and
religions are the same. Individuals who join cults may partake for multiple
reasons. Julia Layton states that although those who join cults are from all
ages, all walks of life, and all different personalities, there is one
particular similarity being that “a majority of people who end up joining a
cult were recruited during a particularly stressful period. This could be the
stress associated with adolescence, leaving home for the first time, … People
undergoing significant stress can be more susceptible when a person or group
claims to have the answer to all of their problems.” Other prevalent factors
that play an effect include those who are desperate to belong to a specific
group, individuals who are unable to say no and are susceptible to what people
say, as well as those who believe they haven’t fulfilled their full potential. (Layton,
2006). Hermeneutics are even more influenced when a person is going through
such hardships within their lives, making those people even easier for cults to
try and retrieve. 

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Formed initially after the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan
boasted nearly four million members at one time. Famous for their white robes
and hoods, the Ku Klux Klan is a religious group of zealot Christians whose
tactics of terror are directed at anyone who attempts to rise against them. Although
over the years the cult is believed to have altered into less of a devout group
and into more of an intensified malicious group. Remarkably, many of the members
making up the cult were previously ordained ministers whom believe it is there
duty to fight for the greater good, as well as taking a literal interpretation
of the Holy Bible. Researcher Michael Fisher looked into the church of Reverend
Bailey Smith in the 1980’s who described to his parish “the fact that God cannot
possibly hear the prayer of someone who does not believe Jesus Christ is the
true Messiah,” (Fisher Maclean’s magazine released an article claiming that in
2016, dozens of residences in Chilliwack, British Columbia received pamphlets
from the clan stating multiple examples of white supremacy. Even causing Justin
Trudeau, Prime Minster of Canada, to make a statement involving the fact that
Canada is not unrestricted of terror and cruelty (Sismondo, 2017). Although the
origins of the Ku Klux Klan are based off of what are believed to be
traditional beliefs of Christianity, individuals within the community have come
up with their own biblical hermeneutics. This has caused an unrealistic and
debatably incorrect view on Christianity, leading to the misfortunate
incidences of the clan. The individuals whom succumb to these dangerous groups
of radicalism end up struggling through tremendous amounts of trauma if or when
they get out of the cult, causing a particular difficulty for the loved ones of
those effected by the horrific acts of the Ku Klux Klan.

            Comparatively,
the New Religious Movement referred to as “The Movement for the Restoration of
the Ten Commandments of God,” (MRTCG) based in Uganda, Africa, based their
hermeneutics off of the New Testaments in the Bible, leading to a mass suicide
on March 17th, 2000. The MRTCG was officially legitimate
in 1994, and a private school was certified by the leaders in 1998 as a branch
of Catholicism. Italian sociologist Massimo Introvigne discusses that self
proclaimed members of the MRTCG preached that they had visions of Jesus and the
Virgin Mary in Uganda after “Specioza Mukantabana, a Rwandan girl … moved in
1986 to the Ugandan diocese of Mbarara and later to the diocese of Masaka,
starting MRTCG in Mbuye. Among the new Ugandan leaders were Paul Kashaku
and his daughter Credonia Mwerinde, a barmaid with a reputation for sexual
promiscuity. Mwerinde later claimed to be a former prostitute … replicating the
role of Mary Magdalene. Kashaku had a past as a visionary and claimed to have
seen, as early as 1960, an apparition of his deceased daughter Evangelista.” Close
to five thousand members of the MRTCG were told by their leaders of the MRTCG,
to not participate in any form of sexual conduct due to the commandment based
on not bearing false witness against their neighbours. The members of the cult understood
that on March 17, 2000, the Final Judgment of Virgin Mary would begin, and she
would appear and take members of the MRTCG to Heaven. The organizers told their
followers they personally saw Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in variations of which
were believed to be of Catholic history from the literal meaning of the words
in the Bible. On March 17, 2000, “the subsequent discovery, in various
locations, of mass graves containing the remains of people believed to be
murdered (most of them stabbed) raised the death toll to 780 and possibly more,
the largest such incident in recent history at that time,” including husbands,
wives, grandparents and even young children (Introvigne, 2005). The leaders of
this unique Catholic movement manipulated their followers into a specific
sanction of beliefs and values in order to commit a violent act against
innocent people who had been led in the wrong direction. This causes
differentiation between the Ku Klux Klan and the MRTCG, but also causes them to
be interpreted much similarly, despite that they stand for different
reasonings, both became the group of zealots they are because of their own
personal explanations of what was said in the Bible. 

            No
matter what culture any individual lives in, religious or not, they are
subjected to various forms of hermeneutics. The religion of Christianity in
particular has developed into multiple different meanings to everyone within
the community of Christianity due to hermeneutics. Comprehensively, these
viewpoints are given based on the understanding of how one decides to interpret
their beliefs and values. Although biblically speaking, it is strictly a text
given to those who want to try to make sense out of the purpose of life as well
as a less complex way of explaining very complex situations in life. Sometimes,
this can be construed in negative ways that end up resulting in destruction and
hatred such as the Ku Klux Klan. On other occasions, the members themselves
many not even necessarily know what they are involved with, even if they do
they possibly do not know the extent of how dangerous the cult they are in is,
such as the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God. Comparatively,
the two organized groups have caused tremendous trauma to those whom have been
influenced and effected by the consequences of these cults.