I realize this is an older posting on JW.org, but I’d come across it again after reading Holden’s thread. Quoted below, so no need to visit the website.
No, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not a cult. Rather, we are Christians who do our best to follow the example set by Jesus Christ and to live by his teachings.
What is a cult?
The term “cult” means different things to different people. However, consider two common perceptions regarding cults and why those perceptions don’t apply to us.
Some think of a cult as being a new or unorthodox religion. Jehovah’s Witnesses have not invented a new religion. On the contrary, we pattern our worship after that of the first-century Christians, whose example and teachings were recorded in the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) We believe that the Holy Scriptures should be the authority on what is orthodox in matters of worship.
Some think of a cult as being a dangerous religious sect with a human leader. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not look to any human as their leader. Rather, we adhere to the standard that Jesus set for his followers when he stated: “Your Leader is one, the Christ.”—Matthew 23:10.
Far from being a dangerous cult, Jehovah’s Witnesses practice a religion that benefits its members and others in the community. For example, our ministry has helped many people to overcome harmful addictions, such as the abuse of drugs and alcohol. In addition, we conduct literacy classes around the world, helping thousands learn to read and write. And we are actively involved in disaster relief. We work hard to have a positive impact on others, just as Jesus commanded his followers to do.—Matthew 5:13-16.