grungy old yellow brown vintage parchment paper texture

April 29th, 1978… I Woke Up.


Groups, Orders, Havens, Sects and Cults

white robes -
img. source:

We move, in everyday life, in many, many circles simultaneously, we inhabit various organisations both online and offline and we come to recognise, over time, sometimes disastrously, what our chosen associations actually stand for and mean. At that point we have a choice. The choice is whether we can continue calling our chosen “friends” and associates family or whether it has been a product of our hope that there is something that can give us answers we have been searching for or whether we have simply fallen in with an idea, or set of ideas, that seem to give us that integral piece of our personal jigsaw.

So, what do we see when we look around us?

img. source: flingmile

We all know what “Groups” are, collectives of people that come together to discuss ideas, debate ideas – be they the quintessential “heated debates” or sensible, calm and orderly discussions. In general groups, in this sense, contain many different views and opinions and are representative of the general manner of things that give the participants a certain sense of social involvement. Such organised gatherings may, or may not, ascribe to one of several viewpoints or they may be “focus” groups of people who come together for a specific purpose and, in this respect, foster often productive discussion. It’s an ideal that many look for but, unfortunately, don’t always find.

Beyond these “general population” groups we find a strata of gatherings that comprise Havens, Covens, Houses and the like. The change in identification will generally indicate a more secular and focused approach and ideal. The rules become a little more stringent and designed to preserve the peace, calm and order within the body for the benefit of all the members – again an ideal. It’s not a bad idea to have a set of governing regulations which members agree to abide by. This provides for the body to focus more directly on specific ideas and hypotheses, to focus more directly on the welfare of its members and, very often, you will read that the members refer to each other as family, as brother and sister, thereby engendering a closer knit unity between the members which for many can enhance the feeling of actually belonging somewhere in a world that no longer focuses on what’s best for the “family unit”. Again, not a bad thing at all… as long as it doesn’t slide across the next line.

img. source: SlideShare

Sect is not a dirty word…!

Sect noun [ C ] UK   /sekt/ US   /sekt/ (usually disapproving)

A religious group that has separated from a larger religion and is considered to have extreme or unusual beliefs or customs.

Hmmm… curious thought. Generally we can find solid reasons for a schism in religious orders… differences of opinion in interpretation, in practice, in application of religious tenets and a whole gamut of others. I would, and do, take the view that everyone talks to their God/s in their own way, in their own time and within their own framework of belief. The thing about that is that there is No One who has the right to tell them otherwise.

The only thing that I do object to, and I think many will agree, is any religious organisation, or institution, that causes harm to anyone in the name of their beliefs. The definition above, from the Cambridge English Dictionary, asserts that these “Sects” have either “extreme” or “unusual” beliefs or customs. Well, the Bantu Tribesmen in Africa have strange and unusual customs and beliefs… DON’T MEAN THEY’RE WRONG…just different to, say, Orthodox Jewish beliefs, Catholicism or the Anglican faith.

Don’t get me wrong here, a “Sect” that does bad things to people is just as bad as a cult but if a sect doesn’t hurt anyone aren’t they allowed to believe that the sky is green if they want?

80s UFO cult california- Atlas Obscura image
A 1980’s California UFO Cult (img. source: Atlas Obscura)

Cults… an ugly truth?

In referring to “cults” many people will, automatically, associate the word with likes of Jim Jones and Charles Manson but is this necessarily the case?

I have long held the belief, about any structured belief system, that whatever gets you through the hard times is fine. What about the not hard times? What about the groups, societies and organisations that we choose to belong too? Why are we in them? What do they offer? What do we derive from them? Are they beneficial or toxic to us?

All questions that have been widely raised about a wide range of well-known institutions. The web resource Religious has an extremely well written discourse on the matter that clearly spells out the differences in both accepted most used terminology and the concepts behind the terms. It is, it seems, a matter of some confusion and discussion when it comes to defining a cult.

I would suggest that a good number of people have seen at least one of the television documentaries that have been made about L. Ron Hubbard’s Church of Scientology, we, on the outside, may see it as a cult but if you talk to anyone from within they will swear up and down that it’s not that at all… it’s only when someone comes out from the controlled “within” that we can begin to get some rational and real perspective on the subject.

One resource that has been widely applied within the Pagan communities is the The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (Version 2.6, 2.7)[1] which can be found at

The evaluation framework clearly defines the questions that need be asked in order to demonstrate whether a group is actually a “cult-like” entity or not. The results are yielded on a sliding score scale with the lowest score possible being 18 and the highest score possible being 180, therefore the mean is 81 – the cutoff point between, say, sect and cult. If we break down the possible range between 18 and 180 we might say that from 18 to 54 is a “group”55 to 109 is a “sect” and 110 and above is a “cult”. Of course, you may wish to break it down further but as long as you honestly and accurately evaluate what you’re looking at and apply the evaluation clearly and in a totally unbiased way that’s fine.

Although there is no actual “result table” offered by the framework it tells you how far toward the “danger zone” you are treading.

The biggest problem with utilising this framework is that you can only do it if you have a completely clear, logical and unbiased view of the thing you are assessing… let’s assume, for example, if The Framework had been given to Susan Atkins [2] in 1969 when she aided Manson in the Tate-LaBianca murders would she have returned a clear, logical and unbiased result? Don’t believe so myself…

So, if you were asked to sit down with The Framework and apply it to a group that you are in would you be totally objective, clear and logical about it or would you give the answers that you have led to believe?

Could you take The Framework and apply it, in the same fashion, to a group that you were a member of in the past? If you had good experiences I would suggest that the result might be skewed in that way, if you had bad experiences – which are usually remembered far longer than good ones – could you give an accurate and completely unbiased response?

Let’s look at a couple of examples;

Isaac Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Framework (Ver. 2.6)

In a nutshell you will see, from the two examples given, that one represents a group with very few cult-like traits whereas the other example, at the “Cult” end of the spectrum, exhibits many of the major characteristics required to identify a cult.

Arrrrrgh…! (img. source:

What sort of groups are you in?

If you can stop for a couple of minutes, sit down, clear your mind of everything else and just think about the group you are in. Think about what happens in the group, how is it run? Who runs it and why? How do you feel when you are interacting within the group? (No matter what medium) Do you feel safe? Unsure? Comforted? Guarded? Is it something you would rather not be involved in but don’t know how to break with the group without losing all your friends?

There are many things that a group should be, controlling, dominating, censoring, disapproving and forceful… well, maybe it’s not a group at all… maybe it’s a “sect” or a “cult” but the ONLY way you’re going to know that is if you are prepared to be open minded, brutally honest and completely unbiased.

In conclusion

Cults, sects, organisations, social groups and specific interest clubs have been around since dawn of mankind pretty much, even though the word “Cult” originated with the ancient tongues, and was defined, early on, and still today, as the worship of a divine being or beings, whether that divinity be accorded by the worshippers or by mythology makes no difference, a “divine being” is not necessarily a mythical being, it can be a person, a psychological construct simply a fixation with someone or something… hell, I know people who pray to the God of Football during the English Premier League Football season… just a quiet word here, there actually isn’t a God of Football but you can find him regularly referred to in the pubs or at Finals time.

Wherever you have a focused and fixated system of recognition of an object or person as being divine you run the risk of finding a Cult. Get informed, stay informed and watch for the danger signs. The Cult Education Institute provides a clear and concise listing of the warning signs.

As I said, the big trick here is to be honest, clear headed, objective and unbiased when you do it. If you think you can do that why not give it a go? See how your “group”, “Order”, or other organisation fares under scrutiny?

Hey, you may not want to believe what comes of it, you may not want to accept what comes out of it but at least you’ll be better informed on what to watch out for in order to avoid coming unstuck and that has to be a good thing – right?

Copyright TB 2018

  1. The Advanced Bonewits’ Cult Danger Evaluation Frame (Version 2.6) Copyright © 1979, 2008 c.e., Isaac Bonewits.
  2. Oxy Gen Crimetime

    NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

    For further information please see the Website Disclaimer


Where’s the “social” in social media?

the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press) defines social media, a noun, as being;
“websites and computer programs that allow people to communicate and share information on the internet using a computer or mobile phone”

I think we can all agree that this doesn’t really, except in the basics, cover it.


“I’ve created a monster!”

Who said that? An actor? A playwright? A music mogul? Or, might it have been the head of a social media empire upon reading about something terrible happening, ostensibly, due to social media.

Yesterday, out of the blue, it occurred to me to do a web search and the search terms were going to be “social media benefits” and “social media damage.

It’s not that I am a technophobe, not that I have issues with people being able to keep in touch with each other easily and quickly, not that I am against families in different countries being able to keep in touch at very little to no cost, not at all… what I am against is the uncontrolled flood of damaging material and activities condoned in the name of profit.

cyberbullying1 Hive Pittsburgh The Sprout Fund
Img. source: Hive Pittsburgh – The Sprout Fund

Now, everyone has a cause, a particular ‘thing’ that they feel they can do to improve the world, maybe you have a crisis shelter in your neighbourhood, a soup kitchen, somewhere you can volunteer and help some folks who are less fortunate. Perhaps you have an animal shelter that you spend some time volunteering at. There could be any number of things that fit these sort of activities, me, I don’t have anything like that around here and besides… I am a writer, my words are the strongest thing I have to use to fight things that are wrong, and so, I write.

In this case I look at the social media moguls and I imagine that all the money they make off their empires being used to compensate the victims of the things that go on “on their watch”. I try and imagine what it takes to simply blow off the hate, the discord, the damage and, yes, the deaths that can be attributed to the social media explosion.
Examples you cry, certainly I respond…
At the foot of this presentation you will find the pages on which I listed the results of the searches I made yesterday, examples of the for, the against and the ultimate worst… feel free to check on any one of them. (They were all working as at 1800 hours USCDT Feb 9, 2018.)

DI-Phone-Graphic-01-The Daily Illini
(img. source: The Daily Illini)

In addition, as if that isn’t bad enough, I came across a spectacular example of the rampant stupidity that prevails on social media yesterday. A friend posted, on their own timeline, a story of how Elon Musk’s Space project had managed to place an automobile into space but more than that had managed to autonomously land the delivery vehicle back on earth.

The first, non-manned retrievable… that’s brilliant, amazing and awesome… kudo’s to him and his teams.

My friend commented that the extraordinary cost of the mission might have been better spent on helping the homeless in America. I agreed with him as I followed another person’s comment that said, something to the effect of, “That will save NASA billions in the future”…

Of course it will, then I asked, innocently enough I thought, “So where can all those savings go then? Homeless shelters? Rape crisis centres? Children’s cancer research?…” et al.

Within minutes the timeline, and post, were being bombarded with messages accusing us of being  socialist and accusing me of wanting the power, how could I think I had the right, to say how Mr. Musk spent his own money…

I never said that, I asked where the NASA savings could best be spent.

As I said, terminally stupid people infest the internet and more than that hateful, vile, predatory, bullying people do too. What are the social media corporations and moguls actually doing to protect the people that make use of their product?

If you have ever wondered who actually owns that social media account of yours, take a look at this link;
[Img. source:]

Let’s look at a reality or two that can well be applied in this situation.

If a toymaker produces a dangerous toy and it gets out into the market it is recalled.

If a car maker discovers a potentially lethal danger in their cars they recall them.

If food producers or preparers discover a contaminated batch of stock has made it into the marketplace they recall it…

Social Media can be just as damaging, can be just as lethal but there doesn’t appear to be anyone in control of recalling that except the people making vast sums of money off it – and you can bet your left one they’re not going to do jack about it.

In Memoriam – Rebbeca Ann Sedwick [img. source:
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said that Sedwick was, “absolutely terrorized on social media,

Now, you’re saying to yourselves, right about now, “Well, hold up, they can’t be held responsible for what people do with the product… that’s like blaming a gun manufacturer because someone used their model gun for a murder…

My counter argument is YES, they can be held responsible if they don’t monitor and control the activity on their service and that activity causes a death. That’s tantamount to “aiding and abetting a crime”

How many suicides, for example, could have been avoided if the social media operators installed algorithms that blocked any form of bullying or hate based terms? It can be done, heck, you can even set your own accounts to do that. What do you think might happen if the social media giants got together and put algorithms in to prevent any racist terms being used? Algorithms to ban any terms invoking violence? Violence against women? Violence against anyone?

Arrrrrgh…! (img. source:

Now…aha… I see you reaching for your copy of “The First Amendment” (if you’re in the U.S.) or whatever constitutional instruments you may have in your native country… “Freedom of speech”… yes, an important concept indeed but “freedom” to incite violence, hatred, racial unrest, DEATH by suicide… I don’t think you’ll find that shit covered in there and I’m pretty damn sure you won’t find it is allowed, or has been allowed, in any judicial proceedings either.

Talk about it among yourselves, come up with reasons why and why not, and if it leads to just one person out there widening their field of perception a little, just one person realising that we are being led by a technological nose-ring, if just one person realises that the social media moguls are profiting from people’s misery and loss, well then, I’ve done my work… for now.

One needs only to look at the Wikipedia entry for Mark Zuckerberg for further demonstration of the damage that social media, and its “Captains of the industry”, can invoke.

FBook Buggery
Really, is it a case of just kicking back and saying, “Yeah, I don’t gotta worry ‘bout that shit, don’t matter to me, I’m good with my Facebook…!” That makes you part of the problem too…

This is about social responsibility, conscience and morality, that’s what we should be focused on…It really makes you think doesn’t it? And, if it doesn’t, it damn well should…!


Research links and references as at 2/9/2018:

Search term: Suicide over Facebook

Search settings: Strict safety/ most relevant results.

Scope: All regions

Date: 2/9/2018

“Facebook took 2 weeks to remove video of 12-year-old girl that livestreamed her suicide.”


Search term: Social media damage

Search settings: Strict safety/ most relevant results.

Scope: All regions

Date: 2/9/2018


Search term: Social media benefits

Search settings: Strict safety/ most relevant results.

Scope: All regions

Date: 2/9/2018

Links selected represent approximately 27% of the available search results. Removing common treatment of the same subject, removing commonality in reporting same cases or stories and reducing duplication of items and articles was employed during the preparation of these lists. One interesting observation that was made during the preparation of these lists is that the “Against” Social Media searches revealed the most prevalent area of address was “the individual” and “individual wellbeing”.


Search term: Social media benefits (cont’d)

Search settings: Strict safety/ most relevant results.

Scope: All regions

Date: 2/9/2018

These lists represent approximately 27% of the total available search results. The removal of commonly reported stories or items, the removal of common themed and addressed subjects and the removal of duplications of material nature was employed. An interesting note is that the three most common themes treated in the search for benefits of social media were “business”, “education”, “law enforcement” and “health care”.


Social media or Social mafia?



“Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Facebook has an obligation to monitor for these illegal activities.

“Facebook has a responsibility to the people that they serve to ensure that these type of things don’t go on and quite frankly they haven’t been very friendly to law enforcement to prevent these things,” Johnson said.

The arrests come after police said they infiltrated dozens of secret Facebook groups that require approval by a group administrator to see. Police began their investigation in February after receiving information from a confidential informant.

Chicago Police Organized Crime Chief Anthony Riccio said investigators covertly bought 17 types of illegal drugs and purchased 18 firearms, including some with the serial number scratched off. Riccio said the CPS teacher was arrested at his school for selling drugs on Facebook and had drug paraphernalia on him at the time of his arrest.”




“More than 17 types of illegal drugs with a combined street value of over $40,000 were purchased by undercover officers who arranged meetings on Facebook.”

“Even more troubling was the purchase of 18 illegal firearms,” Riccio said. “Many with serial numbers scratched out, some with magazines capable of holding more than 30 rounds of ammunition, and most fully loaded and ready to use at the time of purchase.”

Johnson’s parting words to the cameras were: “Facebook has a responsibility to the people that they serve to ensure that these types of things don’t go on, and quite frankly, they haven’t been very friendly to law enforcement to prevent these things, so maybe with you all’s help, they will become that.”

The phone call resulted in a commitment to hold a “high-level” meeting between the Chicago Police Department and Facebook shortly after the New Year, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

The investigation, which began in February after a tip from a criminal informant and resulted in 50 arrests over the last few days — including a Chicago Public School gym teacher — could have been much quicker with the assistance of Facebook, Guglielmi said.

“It’s ridiculous it’s taken this long,” he said.

In a puzzling response, Facebook (Policy Communications Associate Manager at Facebook, Facebook McGill University, New York) spokeswoman Sarah Pollack**, reached Thursday, said the company just learned of the situation.
“We are investigating this report now as it is the first time we have been alerted to it,” Pollack said in an emailed statement. “We do not allow the sale of guns or drugs on our platform. We routinely work with law enforcement and outline how officials may submit a request on our site.”

[** Formerly; Director of Press Advance & Press Advance Lead – Hillary for America, Manager Minassian Media Inc.]

Chicago Police released these photos of ads posted on Facebook.


Facebook, in Chicago, and thus presumably elsewhere, makes it possible to undertake these kind of activities in “hidden” secretive groups… wouldn’t that constitute Criminal Facilitation, despite the meaningless T.o.S that gets trotted out?

The fact that Facebook, certainly in Chicago, FAILED in their responsibility to work with law enforcement agencies to curb this activity certainly holds the door open for Obstruction of Justice and Hindering Police.

According to Superintendant Johnson over the ten month investigation Facebook were of NO HELP to CPD which renders Ms. Pollack’s statement an outright lie. Perhaps we can throw in Conspiracy to Pervert the course of Justice?

As if that’s not enough, think on this… if a wrongful death can be traced back to one of those weapons then we could seriously suggest that there should be charges of Accessory after the fact…

None of this, however, is the most troubling aspect of the whole thing… if criminals can get away with this under cover of Facebook’s regular services then what about  sex trafficking? illegal adoptions? organised paedophile rings?



Copyright Trez 2017 (except where noted)

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of WordPress, their officers, assigns or agents. WordPress and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see our Website Disclaimer