Cover image for Deadly cults : the crimes of true believers
Deadly cults : the crimes of true believers
Snow, Robert L.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, [2003]

Physical Description:
237 pages ; 24 cm
Cults in today's society -- The danger of cults -- Religious cults -- Occult cults -- Satanic cults -- Millennial cults -- New age cults -- UFO cults -- Doomsday cults -- Suicide cults -- Other cults -- The appeal of cults -- Cult recruitment -- Cult indoctrination -- Combating cults.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL65.C7 S66 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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How does a Vampire Cult differ from a Satanic Cult? How do seemingly normal or ordinary citizens suddenly find themselves committed to a group whose leader promotes criminal activities and isolation from families and friends? What should you do if a loved one becomes indoctrinated by a potentially dangerous cult? This book focuses on various cults and their often criminal belief systems. Most readers are shocked by stories of mass suicides and ritualized cult killings, but few understand how such crimes come to be committed. Snow, a seasoned police officer with experience working on cult crimes, examines those cults that commit offenses from murder and fraud to kidnapping and sexual assault.

By providing specific accounts of dangerous cults and their destructive acts, Snow illustrates how seemingly innocent groups can turn pernicious when under the sway of a charismatic leader with an agenda, or when members take things too far. He offers advice on how to avoid falling victim to cult indoctrination, concluding with chapters on how to identify cults, how to protect yourself and your family, and what to do if a loved one is ensnared by such a group.

Author Notes

ROBERT L. SNOW has been a police officer with the Indianapolis Police for 34 years and is currently a captain and commander of the Homicide Branch. He is the author of The Militia Threat (1999), and Looking for Carol Beckwith (1999).

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In this insightful look at cults and their charismatic leaders, Snow (an Indianapolis police officer) relies far more on previously published material than on first-hand reporting. Although the book contains plenty of quotes from concerned parties (witnesses, experts, etc.), the majority of the material is drawn from newspapers, magazines, and other media. On the other hand, Snow handles his material perceptively, drawing sharp conclusions from his secondary sources and anecdotal evidence. The examples he chooses range from the well known (Jimones, Davidoresh) to the obscure (Roland Robidoux, a religious cult leader whose followers let their own children die). His prose is one or two levels above workmanlike, and he infuses his narrative with enough drama to generate considerable empathy for the victims of cults. The book concludes with a lengthy and quite valuable section on the workings of a cult, laying out methods cult leaders might use to ensnare converts and offering tips on how to avoid becoming indoctrinated. Pricey for public libraries but useful for reports and personal research. --David Pitt Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Many of us have read or heard about cults that have committed horrible crimes. In this book, Snow (The Militia Threat), a longtime policeman and current commander of the Indianapolis Homicide division, provides specific accounts of their activities and how they induce people unwittingly to follow their "rules." Several of the cases described in the book will be familiar to readers: the Unification Church (a.k.a. the Moonies), Heaven's Gate, and the Peoples Temple (Jim Jones). Many others are less familiar, e.g., the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments, the Church of Satan, and the Church Universal and Triumphant. Snow provides nine chapters organized by the type of cult (e.g., UFO, religious), giving excellent examples for each and illustrating practices and beliefs. The heart of the book focuses on how cults recruit their members. Snow also provides a chapter on deprogramming and advice on how to avoid joining cults in the first place. Well written and researched, this book belongs in all public libraries and should be considered in academic libraries where there is an interest in cult history.-Michael Sawyer, Adams Cty. Lib. Dist., Thornton, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.