13B – Sects and Cults

This topic aims to explore sects and cults and other religious movements to enable you to explore the realities of the religious world and give you the vocabulary to explore the impact of religious movements on society in today’s world.

  1. Defining a Cult or a Sect

    There can be a danger in naming a group a sect or cult because there is a judgement about the religion.  However the terms are used to explain how the group fits within the wider group of Churches.

    Definitions of terms: Sects and Cults.

    Safe Sects? Common features of cults to be mindful of.

    Cult Awareness Resources

    A table comparing different sects and cults in terms of who founded them, their belief in God, their Sacred Text and their literature.

  2. Various Cults or Sects

    Click on the name of the cult to view an overview form an outside perspective:

  3. The Attraction of Sects and Cults

    Destructive mind control can be understood in terms of four basic components, which form the acronym BITE – Behaviour, Information, Thought and Emotional control.

    Common signs within destructive doomsday cults.

    There are levels of belief-coercion within some religious groups.

    Brainwashing within religious cults.

    commentary on the report. by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service into doomsday religious cult movements associated with the year 2000.

    Loved one in a cult? Want to leave a cult yourself

  4. Support Resources for AS90825

    You may be assessed in your knowledge and understanding of Sects and Cults through Achievement Standard 90825.


    Remember that these are resources that fit the generic title of the standard.  You should read the actual standard 90825, the national moderator’s report, and the assessment task that your school has set.


    To meet AS90825 you are required to consider in detail and break down into components essential features of religious expression in New Zealand and to draw and justify conclusion from the information.  Note you are writing about religious expression in NEW ZEALAND. Some material that may help you to respond to the task your school sets includes:

    • Census data on religious affiliation in New Zealand (you might look at the data over a range of years in order to make conclusions).
    • Finding comparitive data about various religious groups might be useful for your task.
    • The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints – New Zealand. What Mormans believe.
    • Jehovah’s Witness -Church in New Zealand official website.
    • New Zealand Encylopdeia infromation about Mormans, Jehovah’s Witness and Seventh Day Adventists.
    • The Destiny Church is a New Zealand formed Church group that has had much publicity since its formation


    FaithCentral would love to know about sites that you have found useful in your preparation for assessment to any achievement standard. We are also keen to know what you would find helpful to have on FaithCentral. Please share your resources and views with us via ncrs@tci.ac.nz. Remember we are not miracle workers and will not be able to help the night before the task is due in.