The term "cult" refers to a group, usually of a religious nature, that adheres to a strict set of beliefs and practices. Often used a pejorative term, it is frequently used to describe groups that have novel or unusual practices and/or beliefs and are under the control of leaders that are extremely charismatic and persuasive. Although many alleged cults are benign, in recent decades several others have made the news through mass suicides, murders and/or criminal activities such as weapons stockpiling and biological attacks.

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