A cult is a perversion or distortion of Biblical Christianity and a rejection of the historic teaching of the Christian Church.
Webster's Dictionary defines it as this: "A particular ritual of worship of a god or goddess; the devotees of a person or and idea or and intellectual fad."
The main focus and purpose of any cult is to direct its followers away from God and put their trust and confidence in a man. They are trained very well in most cases and are very clever in how they draw (or prey) on their projected converts.
They seem to have all of the answers that most people are looking for. Unfortunately if these people would search the scriptures they would find the true answers to all of their questions. This is the main reason it is so vitally important for all of the Spiritual leaders of God today to instruct their flocks on the importance of studying the Scriptures. In most cases this will entail showing and instructing on how to study. Once we get the Scriptures implanted in the hearts and minds of our people they will more readily recognize teachings that are contrary.
Obviously it is imperative to lead by example, having the Word at the forefront of our ministries. We as Spiritual leaders must be ardent in the Word to be able to direct our flock in it. Satan is very good at what he does and has many weapons to draw from. We have to ensure that we equip the saints with the ability to recognize the subtle assaults of the enemy. We have to also ensure that we show them and demonstrate to them the power we have over that enemy.
Equipping our brothers and sisters for the Spiritual Warfare that exists around us each day is vital to keep them from becoming victims. We have to take this battle seriously because the enemy obviously is.
Getting someone free from a cult is not impossible but is extremely difficult. Once satan gets his claws dug into a victim it is very hard to pry them loose. It will take large amounts of prayer and intercession.
There are two books that are excellent sources on cults and occult practices;
Handbook of Today's Religions, by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart; and Fast Facts on False Teachings, by Ron Carlson and Ed Decker
Each Cult listed below is not intended to be an in-depth study, rather an overview giving the main reasons of difference with the Christian faith.