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One of the major aspects of the PMCC 4th Watch Truth project is to educate the public on cults and to explain why the 4th Watch church is a cult. Before we can get into the full details of the 4th Watch and why it is a cult, we will first explain more about cults in general, including what they are, what features cults might contain, and how to identify a cult. This piece of the project is very important so that everyone can know and understand why the 4th Watch is considered a cult. So let's start with what a cult is.

What is a Cult

So before we get into the specifics of the 4th Watch cult, let's first start by understanding what exactly a cult is. Actually, the word "cult" has many possible meanings and is a word like many English words that started out meaning one thing and evolved to mean something slightly different. Originally, a cult referred to a group which practiced rituals, but not necessarily strange or unusual ones. At one point, it evolved to identify an unorganized religious group, small in size, which held personal beliefs, perhaps different than that of other mainstream religions. Later, this would grow to include groups which consisted of weird and deviant beliefs and behaviors.

Various dictionaries today associate cults with unorthodox beliefs and practices, falsehoods, fraud, religion, bizarre rituals, and charismatic leaders. So what is the best way to explain what a cult is? Today, the most common understanding of a cult is a group or organization that portrays most of these properties. However, what is most significant about many cults is not so much their characteristics but the danger that such characteristics can impose on both its members and society. In addition to this, there are some features of cults which are so common, that almost every cult contains them. Cults are usually religious, but this is not always the case. If such an organization is a religion, it can be theistic or non-theistic. In addition to religion, a common feature of cults that remains is the special attention paid to rituals. In addition to that, another common understanding of cults is that along with their unusual beliefs, such beliefs are false and are believed under fraudulent scenarios. This is often done through a charismatic leader, which is one of the most characteristic of all features for cults. Cults, along with their leaders, also often employ the typical use of psychological programming, such as brainwashing and mind control, to have total power over members. Understanding all of this, the best definition of a cult in our opinion is this:

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spacer Any organization, usually of a religious and fraudulent nature, whose beliefs, which are often false, and practices, especially their rituals, are considered to be highly strange, unorthodox, weird, and/or unusual and highly dangerous to members and society, which often include psychological programming, and all of which is often led by a charismatic leader. spacer
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Though a shortened definition may also work:

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spacer An organization whose beliefs and practices are highly unusual and dangerous. spacer
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The Pentecostal Missionary Church of Christ (4th Watch) fits these definitions of a cult.

Unfortunately, some persons really have the wrong idea about what cults are.

Many persons assume that cults are always religious. This is not always the case. It is true that most cults are of a religious nature, as most of the highly unusual and dangerous beliefs and practices come from religion. But an organization does not need to rely on religion to meet those characteristics. In addition to this, cults that are religious can be either theistic or non-theistic. While most cults do worship some sort of deity, this is not always the case. Sometimes, it is the cult leader who is worshipped. And other times, there is no worshipping of anyone.

On a similar note, cults are sometimes thought of as any religion which is not your own. This is especially true among Christians. After all, many Christians are taught that their way is the only way, and they always feel that their religion is the only true religion, and that anything else is a cult. This often goes for denominations within religions as well. While certain Christians see Islam as a cult, certain Protestants might see Catholicism as a cult, or even a specific church within the Protestant church might see any church, even if they are Protestant, to be a cult if they are not a part of this one specific church. One of the main problems with defining a cult this way, is that every religion and church becomes a cult. In this case, a cult is relative to the individual, when a cult is supposed to have an absolute definition.

On a related note, there is also a popular misconception within Christianity that cults are churches which do not teach the Bible or certain Biblical concepts, or they teach unbiblical concepts. The Holy Bible is the main source of Christian knowledge, but many have different opinions about it. Some believe that the entire Bible is the absolute word of God and is to be believed in its entirety. These are called fundamentalists. But others might feel that some of the information in the Bible is not really the word of God, or that certain parts do not apply in today's world, and they teach what they believe is most important. For many of the fundamentalists, those churches which do not teach the entire Bible as they do are considered cults. One of the problems with such fundamentalist churches is that because the Bible is so open to interpetation, it is extremely rare that any two fundamentalist churches will teach the Bible the same way. But of course, each one feels that their church is the only correct way, so to them, even other churches that claim to teach the entire Bible are considered cults. And again, here cults become relative to the church, so this is not the correct definition.

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While it is a popular belief that unbiblical churches are cults, this is just simply not true. Certainly, there are non-biblical religions which are indeed cults, but the use or non-use of the Bible has nothing to do with the actual defining of a cultic organization. However, while that is true, using the Bible can have an affect on how cultic an organization is. Ironically, using the Bible in most cases does not make one innocent of being a cult. In fact, it is the other way around. The Holy Bible itself is practically a cultic handbook, fitting the definition of a cult perfectly. It teaches highly unsual things, and can be dangerous, to both those who read it and to society. So naturally, the more a church uses the Bible, the more likely it will be considered a cult.

As you will see, all cults are different and there are a vast number of characteristics that ultimately make certain organizations cults. The key to understanding cults is that they are highly unusual and potentially dangerous. Cults are almost always established and/or headed by one charismatic leader. In an effort to achieve a fellowship, the leader often makes fantastic claims, usually one of them being that they were appointed by God and that some sort of salvation can only be achieved through this leadership. Typically, the leader assumes glorious titles and makes outrageous promises to its members, often for money. Money, power, and/or fame are ultimately the goals desired by so many cult leaders. And in an effort to make sure these goals are achieved, very characteristically, many cults incorporate psychological programming such as brainwashing and mind control which manipulates the minds of others. With such mental attacks on them, cult members become nothing more than servants to the leaders of the cult. Money, fame, and power are achieved at their members' expense. Most of the time, they are not even aware of the fact that they have joined a cult, and they rarely ever recognize that they are being victimized. Many innocent persons have had their lives ruined and even taken away by the dangers of cults.

Identifying a Cult

Now, understanding the definition of a cult will help you understand what a cult is, but since knowing and understanding what is considered cultic is highly based on opinion and belief, identifying certain organizations as cults can be somewhat challenging. But, clearly there are very definitive features of such organizations, as well as prevalent features that almost all cults have, which we will get into. And additionally, the more such features a group portrays, the more likely it is going to be classified as a cult. Understanding these features and knowing which groups contain them will help persons identify which ones are really cults.

But with all that said, persons generally have a good idea as to what a cult is and they will usually be able to tell if such a group is a cult or not. There are certain definitive features that most cults possess, and persons often get that "creepy" feeling when in the presence of such a group. In other words, persons "just know". However, few persons realize that they are in a cult at the time when they first enter it. Such an organization can appear legitimate at first, but then becomes clear later on as to the truth behind it. What we are going to do is make an attempt here to give you a better understanding as to what it really means to be a cult.

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Cults portray certain features that help classify them as such. Before we explain exactly what features the 4th Watch portrays, we have to first explain which ones are truly cultic, and how those features make up an actual cult. Many features of a cult are truly what define such an organization. Such features are reflective of the cultic properties we just explained. Such features portray properties that are unorthodox, unusual, bizarre, false, fraudulent, religious, ritualistic, and dangerous. If a feature portrays even some of these properties, then it is considered cultic. An example of a true cultic feature is brainwashing. It is unorthodox, unusual, employed through fraudulent activity, a requirement of certain religions, ritualistic, and is dangerous.

But there are many characteristics of cults that are not necessarily cultic features, but yet are still associated with cults. It is just that certain features are so commonplace within cults, that most cults do not exist without them. These features cannot be used to classify a cult, but they can still help identify them. A good example of this type of feature is having a leader. It is not unusual or dangerous to have a leader, it's just that virtually every cult has one.

Now, with that said, some features of certain organizations are not generally to be considered cultic, but they can be if they include certain properties. Take the previous example. As we stated, having a leader in an organization is not cultic. It might be common for cults, but simply having a leader does not make an organization a cult. However, if this leader is self-appointed, if it is a supreme ruler, if it makes bold and outrageous claims such as God talks to them and that God made it your leader, and that salvation comes to you by giving it money, and that their way is the only way, among others, then you are dealing with more than just your average leader, and having a leader then becomes cultic.

Now sometimes it can be somewhat difficult to classify features correctly. There are some features which seem cultic, but might not be. The usual reason for this is that the intensity of the properties of the features are not significant enough. Take prayer for example. While praying for something you want in life, to a god no-less, is a rather odd behavior, it would be difficult to consider it cultic. Prayer is such a common thing for persons to do, and even if it doesn't work, it is generally harmless. Of course, praying can lead to persons being overly superstitious, relying on their prayers instead of action, and that is why some might consider prayer to be cultic. But the intensity of this potential danger just isn't enough to justify calling prayer a cultic feature, at least not for most. Now, as we mentioned above, if it was associated with other properties, such as if prayer is taught to be a substitute for medicine, then it definitely becomes a cultic feature. In addition to this, some features are highly debatable as to whether they are cultic or not. We believe evolution is a good example of this. In today's world, it is rather strange to not believe in something so obvious and so verified as being true, and not believing in it can have real dangerous consequences for society. However, is this danger great enough? Plus, while the majority of persons believe in evolution, there are still just too many who don't, and that makes it difficult to call it unusual or unorthodox. In this case, the cult status of such features might depend heavily on the cult they belong to or other properties that come with them.

One more thing on the types of cult features. There is another kind of feature that really isn't cultic at all, but is thought as being so by many persons, and that is unbiblical features. Many persons are under the impression that religions which teach things that are not in the Bible or are against the Bible are cults. We have already explained why this is not the case. However, there are plenty of unbiblical features that are still cultic, such as false prophets, but remember that Biblical features are more often cultic than not. In any case, we have discussed some of these features in this paper as well.

Once again, what is considered to be cultic or not cultic, is very much open to opinion, and we know this. Every feature about cults you read in this project that are considered cultic are the opinions of the producers of this paper. It is very difficult to establish a universal classification on cultic features, but there are several which are accepted by most cult experts. As for the rest, we feel that we've done a pretty decent job at classifying according to our knowledge on the subject.

Now, there are many cultic features. As far as the cult features go, the producers of the project have put together a list of all of the cultic features we have been able to discover and identify. We have listed them, categorized them, and explained them. It is important to know that not every cult has all of these features. In fact, most do not. But most cults portray a great number of them. Having a few of these features will not automatically classify a group as a cult, but the more features that they have, then the more likely they will be considered to be a cult.

We are not going to list and explain every cultic feature that we have discovered. It would make this report unnecessarily long and would take away the focus from the cult which we are trying to educate about, that being the PMCC 4th Watch cult. The main focus in this project is to explain the 4th Watch church and its cultic behaviors. So instead, we are going to list and explain every cultic feature that we know about involving only the 4th Watch.

But now that you know which features can be considered cultic, you must know and understand how these features form actual cults. Now, in the real world regarding cults, organizations can be classified as cults or legitimate organizations. But also in reality, every organization can have a certain measurement of cultic activity, whether it's zero or a hundred percent. The more of these features that an organization has, and the greater that these features are, the more cultic that organization is. How cultic an organization has to be for it to be considered a cult is up for debate, but generally, if an organization contains several of cultic features and/or with great dominance of cultic portrayal, then it is a cult. This means that having just one or a few features does not necessarily make an organization a cult, but if an organization even displays some cultic features, it can be. Again, what organizations are considered cults often depends on personal opinion. When the general public accepts an organization as cultic, it's usually safe to assume that such an organization is a cult.

Additionally, it is not just the cultic features by themselves that determine the cult status of an organization, but also what those features mean for the cult as a whole. Whether or not an organization has a bunch of cultic features or not, as long as the organization itself as a whole is highly unusual and dangerous, and fits the definition of a cult, it is still a cult. Perhaps an organization doesn't do anything cultic except for one thing...and that's brainwash their members. In this case, that's all it takes. Such an organization would be a cult.

Now with all of that said, we would like to make a comment about using the word "cult" to describe religions. Many of us tend to use this term to describe most religions, or even all religions. This bothers us somewhat, and we will explain why.

So we have just explained to all of you what a cult is, or at least how we understand a cult to be, and yet it can still be difficult to understand which organizations are cults and which are not. As we know, the key components of cults are how unusual they are and how dangerous they can be. As mentioned, there are many features of an unusual and dangerous nature that help identify cults. Yet, because these characteristics and features can be subjective, identifying a cult can still be difficult.

Now before we go any further, remember that while we often use the term "religion" to describe negative ideologies and their practices, the truth is, not all religions are the same, and while some might disagree, not all religions are necessarily bad...It just so happens that most of them are. For instance, we do not consider Buddhism to be a bad religion, even if we disagree with it. Christianity however, along with Judaism and Islam, are. So because of this, it might not be fair to call all religions cults.

Then again, we really generalize the term "religion", and so one might think that calling all religions cults is just another generalization...And many might feel that this is justified when you really look at the characteristics of cults and then analyze many religions today, because you will see that the vast majority of them, if not all of them, portray many of these cultic features. So because of this, we might be compelled to call all of these religions cults. Now religionists do not see their beliefs and practices to be unusual or dangerous, and thus do not see their religions to be cults. This is because they have been trained not to. But to us rationalists, we know better. And because we are able to recognize the negative components of religion, we tend to see all religions as cults. But while this might be the case, we encourage caution when calling any religion a cult.

This is because we feel that the term "cult" has a very special meaning, one which can diminish if not used in a proper manner. As we mentioned, not all religions are the same. While it is true that most, if not all religions are unusual and dangerous in some way, there are many different levels and degrees of these negative characteristics, and the term "cult" is reserved for those religions which display a high level and degree of this negativity. Thus, we believe that we should be selective when using this term, even when we are tempted to do otherwise. This is so that we do not unfairly equate all religions and because we do not wish to demean the value of the word.

When we use "cult" to describe every religion, it is like we are saying that they are all equally bad, and this just isn't the case. The truth is, many religions are worse than others, and we have to recognize this. Christianity makes the same mistake with the notion of sin. To the Christian god, all sins, no matter what they are, are all equally bad. This means that something so small such as lying is taken to be just as bad as something much bigger like murder. Can you imagine lying and murder being treated as the same and persons guilty of these sins receiving the same punishments? Even if all religions are bad, there is clearly a difference between your average local church down the street and a small group of individuals who partake in bizarre rituals like drinking blood and who are led by someone who claims to be the second coming of Jesus. But if we call all religions cults, religions like that local church are unfairly equated with the blood-drinking weirdoes.

And so, if we were to call just any religion a cult, then we are left without a word to describe the very special and nastier of the religions out there which this term is supposed to apply to. We have to be careful not to do that, because if we do, the effectiveness of the word gets lost. Consider this; Calling any religion a cult is like calling any soldier a hero. While we might feel compelled to call all of our soldiers heroes, there are those who stand out from the rest. Suppose a person joins the military and that once he puts on the uniform, he is called a hero...while other soldiers have already risked their lives and rescued prisoners from the enemy. Who is really the hero? If we were to call someone a hero simply for putting on a soldier's uniform, then we are devaluing the word "hero" and thus demeaning what it means to be one. Can you imagine if we gave every soldier the medal of honor, just for being soldiers? If we call both the local church and blood-drinking weirdoes cults, then we are downplaying the meaning of what the term is supposed to mean.

Also, it is important to point out that the term "cult" is not simply a word to describe a religion that is bad and worse than others, but it is also a certain kind of religion. A religion can be very bad, but that does not necessarily make it a cult. When you think of cults, think of bizarre rituals, leaders who claim to be Jesus or prophets, brainwashing and mind control, secrets and deception, and other such characteristics. These are the kinds of features that make a true cult.

To give an example of why it is important to use the term properly, consider how even though us rationalists see religion as mainly a negative concept, if you were to "accuse" anyone of being in a religion, they would probably laugh at you, and it would not bother them at all. This is because, while we see religion as a bad thing, the term "religion" is not meant to mean that and most persons do not see all religions as being bad. However, if you were to accuse someone of being in a cult, now that's a different story. No one likes to be told that they are part of a cult. This is because this term has a specific meaning, and it's a negative one. But if we were to keep calling all religions a cult, it might become too synonymous with religion and thus it will one day no longer be effective in relaying its original meaning and intent. Remember that this project is specifically going after an organization because it is a cult. While some of us are atheists and hate religion in general, we are not targeting the 4th Watch because they are a religion, but because they are a cult. But if we see all religions to be cults, it takes away from the meaning and purpose of our project and objective.

Also please keep in mind, that as persons who used to be a part of a real cult, we know what it really means to be in one, and it bothers us somewhat when all religions are identified this way, because we know from experience that not all religions are the same, and that some are worse than others. Unless you were in a cult, it can be very difficult to understand the horror that is involved and the pain and drama that one can experience. Being in the 4th Watch cult, we know by what we went through as to what it really means to be in a cult, and not all religions are cults.

Now with all of that said, when someone calls a religion a cult, or mentions that all religions are cults, we actually might still acknowledge an agreement with them, because technically, all religions are indeed cults in some way, because they all consist of cultic features. Remember, every religion has a certain level or degree of cultic characteristics, and so if any religion portrays such characteristics, that religion is a cult in some way. However, for us, an organization has to portray a certain amount or a certain type of cultic characteristic before we actually label it as a cult. Again, we just want to make sure the term is being used properly and is most effective. So with all that said, if someone talks about how all religions are cults, they're actually right to a certain extent, and this is fine in a casual dialogue, but when having a more serious dialogue, we should remember what cults actually mean.

Legality of Cults

So, are cults illegal? This is sort of a complicated issue. First of all, whether or not cults are illegal depends on the nation where the cults reside, but many civilized nations share similar attitudes regarding the legality of cults.

In most nations, including the U.S.A. and Philippines, cults are not illegal. However, due to the nature of cults, it is quite characteristic of cults to engage in illegal activity, so while cults might not be illegal, the cultic activities of many such organizations are. So while cults in general are not illegal, certain cults might be. In other words, if such cults promote and/or engage in illegal behavior, then those cults may be considered illegal too.

As an example, it is our opinion that the PMCC 4th Watch cult engages in illegal activity and should be considered an illegal cult. The last time we checked, scamming persons out of their money was illegal in most nations. The leader of the 4th Watch cult makes the claim that God appointed him as the leader of the "end times" and he promises everyone that they will go to Heaven if they give him money. It should be considered fraud because he makes such claims without proving them. It is an illegal scam and therefore an illegal cult.

Unfortunately, even though this is the case, most nations do not recognize these kinds of organizations as illegal. There seems to be some sort of loophole that if you call a scam a religion, your organization is protected from criminal prosecution, and is often even given special privileges. Religious leaders know this and can therefore get away with certain criminal behaviors.

As an example, there is little doubt in our minds that the PMCC 4th Watch engages in illegal activity and should be classified as an illegal organization, but because it is also classified as a religion, regardless whether or not it is a cult, it appears that the government allows such illegal activity to continue. The 4th Watch "church" even gets tax deductions. So not only are they protected from criminal prosecution, but are given tax benefits, even though they engage in criminal behavior, all because they call their cult a religion.

Another question that should be asked here is not only if cults are illegal, but if cults should be illegal. The question is not if they should be illegal for illegal behaviors, but just for being cults, which involve practices that are highly unusual and potentially dangerous.

Well, we want everyone in the world to be able to believe in what they want and do what they want as long as they do no harm to others. We cannot control the lives of others just because we might consider their lifestyle to be highly unusual or even potentially dangerous. Cults are no doubt bad for society and should be avoided, but in a free and equal society, we must never outlaw any organization, just for being a cult. But let's be honest here. How many cults do not promote or engage in illegal behavior? Most cults we have in the world today should be illegal and banned. Again, it is not that cults themselves should be illegal, but certain ones. And it just so happens that most cults today should be considered illegal.

The PMCC 4th Watch is another example of a cult that should be considered illegal, not simply because it is a cult, but because of its particular cultic activity. Take for instance all of the psychological programming this cult engages in, such as the brainwashing and mind control. Take into consideration how the cult transforms its children into superstitious cult zombies. This is not an organization that should be considered legal.

We must conclude that most cults today are illegal, as they promote and/or engage in illegal activity, and that they should be eradicated. However, many governments do not consider cults in general to be illegal, but this should be irrelevant if such organizations are practicing illegal behavior. Unfortunately, the biggest problem we have in this issue is that because cults are often considered religions, few persons tend to see them for what they are...illegal organizations. In fact, government even sometimes provides special privileges to them. Just look at what our great nations allow religions to get away with; Psychological programming, fraud, scams, child abuse...

Because of this, we are not confident that any government would go after cults unless they go way beyond crossing the line as far as the law is concerned. Often times, it takes events such as a mass suicide or the death of a child from being starved to death due to over-fasting, in order for a cult to get any attention. It is very sad, but seems to be very true. Governments need to stop protecting cultic organizations only because they are filed as religions. Cult leaders have been getting away with taking advantage of this legal flaw for far too long, and they need to be held accountable for their illegal cultic actions. Specific cults need to be banned, and the PMCC 4th Watch is one of those cults.

In conclusion, are cults illegal? No, but many, if not most, are illegal due to the illegal practices that they promote or engage in, though unfortunately, are not recognized as being illegal by the government. And while cults in general shouldn't be illegal, certain cults should be due to the harm they inflict on others.

The PMCC 4th Watch is a legal cult according to the government, but illegal according to those who practice common sense, due to its illegal activities, and should be outlawed due to its immoral ways.

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