Poorly sourced quotes, moved to talk page from main quote pageEdit
A central issue confronts[ed] at the outset is the definition of a cult. As he rightly points out, one person's cult is another's religion; all religions begin life as cults. An alternative definition is that a cult is a religion which you happen to dislike. . . . "cult" is a four-letter word.
Anthony Campbell, review of David V. Barrett's The New Believers
The most dangerous lie is that which most closely resembles the truth.
Despite all the elegant rhetoric about the Pilgrim fathers...Amerian has not set an exemplary record in the area of religious freedom. The English Calvinists who settled in Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay did not come to found a society where spiritual liberty would reign supreme. They came to found a theocracy, as the four Quakers...who were hanged on Boston Common between 1659 and 1661 soon found out. Unpopular and unconventional religious beliefs and practices were not only unwelcome, they were not tolerated. Roger Williams, a Baptist, was hounded into the frozen wilderness. When Henry Dunster, the president of Harvard College, decided not to have his fourth infant baptized because he had come to accept adult baptism, he was forced to retire. Later on, in other parts of the country, Mormons, Jews, Masons, Jesuits, and ordinary Roman Catholics felt the hard edge of harassment and discrimination because of their religious convictions. A couple of generations ago, Jehovah's Witnesses were the main target of prejudice. Now we have the 'cults.' It seems Americans are never really happy unless there is some unfamiliar religious group to abuse. The spirit of theoracy lingers on.
Harvey Cox, Thomas Professor of Divinity, Harvard University
Actually, it's all quite simple. Like many dramatic terms, "brainwashing" is a metaphor. A person can no more wash another's brain with coercion or conversation than he can make him bleed with a cutting remark. If there is no such thing as brainwashing, what does this metaphor stand for? It stands for one of the most universal human experiences and events, namely for one person influencing another.
When you meet the friendliest people you have ever known, who introduce you to the most loving group of people you've ever encountered, and you find the leader to be the most inspired, caring, compassionate and understanding person you've ever met, and then you learn the cause of the group is something you never dared hope could be accomplished, and all of this sounds too good to be true -- it probably is too good to be true! Don't give up your education, your hopes and ambitions to follow a rainbow.
Jeannie Mills (aka Deanna Mertle), early defector from the People's Temple and co-founder of the Concerned Relatives and the Human Freedom Center
Poorly sourced quotes, above, moved to talk page from main quote page. Don't add back unless fully cited. -- Cirt (talk) 19:12, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Missing source info, moved to talk page
We conclude . . . that the vast bulk of scientific findings — whatever clinical, field observation or survey methodologies used — never supported the ACM [anti-cult movement] perspective that most "cult" members were duped or psychologically shanghaied into membership, coercively maintained in subservience as slaves or impaired in any meaningful way through their membership.
Shupe, Bromley and Oliver, The Anti-Cult Movement in America
Missing source info, moved to talk page from main quote page. -- Cirt (talk) 19:48, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Moved quotes to talk page that don't mention "cult"Edit
Whenever there is an absolute truth at stake, the manners become careless. This applies both to the owners as well as their opponents of that truth and to all people involved.
It is both disquieting and even embarrassing that scholars supposedly studying the same phenomenona could have such strong differences of opinion.
James T. Richardson, Ph.D., J.D., University of Nevada professor of sociology, "The Psychology of Induction: A Review and Interpretation"; Cults and New Religious Movements (1989), Marc Galanter, ed., American Psychiatric Association
Who has or was given this authority to decide what beliefs or practices are orthodox or genuine, and what are unorthodox or spurious? In the realm of religion and belief, one person's or group's norm is another's anathema, and what is regarded as false or counterfeit by one person or group is regarded as genuine and authentic by another.
Lloyd Eby, testimony before the Task Force to Investigate Cult Activity on the Campuses of Maryland Public Higher-Education Institutions, June 1999, 
We often seem most comfortable with people whose religions consist of nothing but a few private sessions of worship and prayer, but who are too secularized to let their faiths influence the rest of the week. This attitude exerts pressure to treat religion as a hobby.
Stephen Carter, The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion
I have been a victim of it, despite my rigorous scientific and philosophical training and reams of critical writings. I have published about the methodological failings of various sciences and others systems of thought. So come on, you are not alone.