Luminants Church: What Inspires This Odd Religious Sect?
A religious sect refers to a group of people with different religious beliefs typically regarded as heretical from those of a larger group to which they belong.
A Christian religious sect may share some overarching beliefs with other Christian denominations but has its own beliefs, traditions and rituals as well.
A religious cult or sect can also be broadly defined as formal religious veneration or a system of religious beliefs and its body of adherents or a religion regarded as unorthodox (spurious) or great devotion to a particular person, object or idea as well as group of people united by devotion or allegiance to an artistic or intellectual movement or figure.
A typical religious sect or cult has a charismatic, unaccountable leader, persuades by coercion and exploit its members, economically, sexually or in some other way.
In this present era, many controversial religious groups that have been called cults or sects are seeking to either eliminate that description or ignore it. Some of their religious apologists often prefer the supposedly correct title: “new religious movement.”
Church of Luminants is among the trending churches in this present era and the church originated in U.S.A with number of branches worldwide. The church of Luminants recruit high number of religious adherents every year and it is among the rapidly growing churches globally.
According to its religious apologists, Church of Luminants is based on Christianity and believe on the holy cross, believe in real God, believe that there is life after death, believe in helping poor people, living in peace, respecting each other, development and working towards helping human beings to inherit the everlasting life.
Building of a typical Church of Luminants looks like the images below. Is this truly a “narrow way” (Matthew 7:13-14; John 14:6) church to Heaven and salvation of Lord Jesus Christ?
Religious history is particularly rife with religious groups that many people regarded as religious cults or sects, such as the devoted followers of late Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist and many others.
What are the most common features shared by religious cults or sects?
- A charismatic leader, who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose power. That is a living leader, who has no meaningful accountability and becomes the single most defining element of the group and its source of power and authority.
- A process of indoctrination or education is in use that can be seen as coercive persuasion or thought reform commonly called brainwashing. The culmination of this process can be seen by members of the group often doing things that are not in their own best interest, but consistently in the best interest of the group and its leader.
- Economic, sexual and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.
The destructiveness of religious cults varies by degree, from labor violations, child abuse, medical neglect to, in some extreme and isolated situations, calls for violence or mass suicide.
Some religious groups that were once seen as religious cults have historically evolved to become generally regarded as religions. This occurred because power devolved from a single leader to a broader church government and such religious groups ceased to be seen as simply personality-driven and defined by a single individual.
What are the warning signs of a potentially unsafe religious group or religious leader?
- Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
- No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
- No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement.
- Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
- There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
- Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
- There are records, books, news articles, or broadcast reports that document the abuses of the religious group or religious leader.
- Followers feel they can never be good enough or perfect if they leave the religious group.
- The religious group or religious leader is always right or perfect without any blemish (self-righteousness).
- The religious group or religious leader is the exclusive means of knowing perceived “truth” or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.
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