Cults flourish in the field of health and disease, which gives them a context in which to expound their doctrines, as well as to conduct their research and to present evidence in support of the claims they make. The function of a cult is to lead the follower toward a model of personal fulfillment that fits in with the general theme of the group. Cults use disease as a proof of some form of deviance, of error, or even as the price of errors made in a former life. Through their doctrines and the resulting practices, the group tries to return the follower to the state of equilibrium that he is supposed to have lost. The teachings are thus reinforced by the individual’s healing; the healing becomes proof of the doctrines’ validity.
Medical concerns are the main focus of some groups’ doctrines (instinct-therapy, Zen macrobiotics). Others derive some medical techniques from their general theories and teach them to all the followers or to a particular group (such as drug addicts). And others (Scientology, Grail) develop elaborate doctrines that arise from the leader’s “medical” vision. Some groups are satisfied with spelling out an all-encompassing theory on the nature of man and his place in the
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Publication information: Book title: Healing or Stealing: Medical Charlatans in the New Age. Contributors: Jean-Marie Abgrall - Author. Publisher: Algora. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 159.
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