Dictionary Defintion of 'Cult' [from Merriam Webster dictionary www.m-w.com] Function: noun. Usage: often attributive. Etymology: French & Latin; French culte, from Latin cultus care, adoration, from colere to cultivate. 1) : formal religious veneration : WORSHIP. 2) : a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents. 3) : a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents. 4) : a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator. 5 a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion. [end dictionary definition]
In some circles it has become fairly standard to use this term for any organization or group which uses mind control on its members, even outside of the true dictionary definition. Cults are not necessarily religious. A cult may form around any theme, such as a political, racial, psychotherapeutic, or even athletic agenda. FACTNet, along with most cult experts today, determines whether or not a group is cultic strictly by the mind control tactics the group uses, not by the group's beliefs."