Can You Really Call IFB A Cult? You Decide.

I'm sure you've had this debate before. Is IFB a cult or simply a religion? Outsiders looking in might not be sure one way or the other but those who have lived it would give you a resounding "YES!" to being a cult.

Below is a great list on the differences between a religion and a cult.

  • Religions respect the individual's autonomy.

  • Cults enforce compliance.

  • Religions try to help individuals meet their spiritual needs.

  • Cults exploit spiritual needs.

  • Religions tolerate and even encourage questions and independent, critical thinking.

  • Cults discourage questions and independent critical thinking.

  • Religions encourage psycho-spiritual integration.

  • Cults "split" members into the "good cult self" and the "bad old self.”

  • Conversion to religions involves an unfolding of internal processes central to a person's identity.

  • Cultic conversion involves an unaware surrender to external forces that care little for the person's identity.

  • Religions view money as a means, subject to ethical restraints, toward achieving noble ends.

  • Cults view money as an end or as a means toward achieving power or the selfish goals of the leader.

  • Religions view sex between clergy and the faithful as unethical.

  • Cults frequently subject members to the sexual appetites of the leaders.

  • Religions respond to critics respectfully.

  • Cults frequently intimidate critics with physical or legal threats.

  • Religions cherish the family.

  • Cults view the family as an enemy.

  • Religions encourage a person to think carefully before making a commitment to join.

  • Cults encourage quick decisions with little information.

Source: Rev. Dr. Richard L. Dowhower

So, if you ever start to wonder if you were really in a cult or need to explain what a cult is to someone trying to understand where you are coming from, read back over this list. This will help you on your path towards healing to see IFB for what it is, what it did to you, and how to overcome it all.


IFB Overcomers is an online resource for those who have left Independent Fundamentalism and are looking to heal and discover themselves. With a podcast, webinars, forum, blog and resources, we hope to help retrain your heart and mind from the mindset of the IFB and help you not only survive but overcome and then thrive!

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