Is there a relationship between sexual immorality and the activities of demonic sects such as cults, the new age movement and even the occult? How do cult leaders use sex as a method of control over some of their members?
Jim Jones, a cult leader of the People’s Temple was one of the most well-known cult leaders in the world. He had so much control over his followers to the extent of causing the mass suicide of more than 900 of his own cult members as he manipulated them into drinking poisoned Kool-aid or Flavor-aid.
The other thing that Jim Jones was also known for was his immoral sexual behavior. According to Wikipedia, “while Jones (hypocritically) banned sex among Temple members outside of marriage, he voraciously engaged in sexual relations with both male and female Temple members. Jones, however, claimed that he detested engaging in homosexual activity and did so only for the male temple adherents’ own good, purportedly to connect them symbolically with him (Jones).”
So Jones’ cultic reason for being promiscuous was that having sex with his followers would “connect” his followers “symbolically” to himself.
Jones is also on record as telling his followers that he was “the only true heterosexual”.
In the religious world, there are thousands of cult leaders that exist. One of the major marks of all cult leaders pertains to their desire to manipulate, control and exploit their members for their own personal gain and also for the gain of the group.
Almost every cult leader is known to be abusive, spiritually corrupt and manipulative by nature (see article: 12 Characteristics Of A Cult Leader).
However, one of the key methods that cult leaders use to control their followers is through sex.
Just like Jim Jones and many false teachers throughout the world, it’s difficult to find a single cult leader who leads a group and yet has never had promiscuous affairs with members of his own group. It’s also difficult to find a cult leader who has not manifested any obvious signs of sexual perversion.
2 Timothy 3:5-6
Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions
2 Timothy 3:5-6 addresses the fact that there are religious men who are predatory in nature and they deceptively desire to “capture weak women”.
These men have the “appearance of godliness” but in fact, they are hypocrites.
They have the “appearance of godliness” but the truth is that they are demonic and ungodly in nature.
These men even enter into people’s homes but their intentions are never truthful or innocent. They seek to seduce, manipulate, control and exploit people.
The cult leader uses his position of leadership to take advantage of his members. He does this to satisfy his sexual lusts and to gain control over them.
Therefore under the guise of “counselling”, “ministering” and “assisting” women with their problems, the cult leader exploits a woman’s vulnerabilities in order to eventually manipulate her for sex.
All over the world many false teachers have been exposed for their promiscuous behaviour. This clearly points to the fact that there is a connection between the unbiblical power that cult leaders give themselves and their immoral sexual relationships.
So the question is this: Why are most cult leaders inevitably sexually immoral? Why do these leaders use sex to control their members?
The answer is found in the fact that the core inspiration behind using sex to control people is simply rooted in demonic doctrines and demonic foundations.
Sex and the Demonic
The demonic concept about sex is the complete opposite to God’s original intention for sex. According to God, sex is an expression of union between 2 married people and it is to be performed only within the confines of marriage for enjoyment and for procreation. Sex is not only physical but it is also spiritual.
However, satan has corrupted the meaning of sex. The demonic concept of sex encourages fornication, adultery, incest, homosexuality and even bestiality. Sexual immorality has a negative spiritual effect in that it causes a person to corrupt his soul and to sin against his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18).
The demonic expression of sex is not related to godly union between married couples but instead the demonic purpose for sex is to express self-gratification, domination, perversion, manipulation and initiation.
Jim Jones hypocritically preached against premarital sex and he banned his members from having sex outside of marriage. Yet ironically, Jones had both homosexual and heterosexual relationships with the very same cult members whom he banned from having sex. What Jim Jones did was an example of him using sex to control his followers.
A cult leader’s motive for having sex with multiple members within his group is also a method of initiating and solidifying the member’s emotional loyalty to himself and towards the group. Jim Jones claimed to use promiscuous sex to “connect” his followers “symbolically” to himself.
Just like Jim Jones, a cult leader does not care if he is behaving hypocritically; he does not care if he has sexual relations with a man or a woman; he does not care if he is committing adultery; he does not care if he’s causing his members to commit fornication or adultery; he does not care if he is disobeying the word of God.
What the cult leader cares about the most, is that he fulfills his demonic sexual appetite and perversions whilst achieving “connection” and control over his followers through the sexual relationships. Therefore sex is one of the tools that he will use in order to accomplish his goal to control.
It’s no wonder that doctrines of demons such as witchcraft, occultism, new age movement and many other sects also include sexual immorality as part of their rites, rituals and initiations.
Even in the Bible, the worship of Baal, a fertility god, had infiltrated the Jewish people according to Judges 3:7.
Baal worship was rooted in sensuality and involved ritualistic sex and prostitution in the temples. Even Jezebel who was a woman associated with sexual immorality, control and witchcraft was a champion for the worship of Baal.
Jezebel married and controlled Ahab who happened to be the King of Israel (1 Kings 16:30-31). Her exploitation and control of Ahab caused the widespread worship of Baal and the demonic doctrines associated with Baal.
1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; Leviticus 20:13 and Exodus 22:19 all speak against sexual immorality. However, whilst these verses might be preached by the cult leader just as Jim Jones may have done, the cult leader will behave as if such verses do not apply to himself.
Anything that is demonic will ultimately meet its destruction before the Lord. The cult leader and every other false teacher will ultimately meet their demise before God’s mighty hand.
Those who willfully practice sexual immorality and seek to manipulate and deceive others will face a predictable end.
1 John 4:1 tells us to test the spirits because of the existence of false prophets and teachers. The reason we should test the spirits is because false teachers are spiritually motivated by the demonic.
It is therefore imperative that those who fear the Lord should always hate what is evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9).