So we've already established that most religions can be classified as high control groups, we can name the WBTS, Church of Scientology, LDS, etc. the list goes on and on. But are there any religions or organizations that aren't classified as a high control group or aren't as bad as the ones I've just mentioned? Are ALL organized religions classified as cults? Would a religion have to lack organization to avoid being classified as a cult?
First, as far as I know it has not been established that most religions can be classified as high control groups. Not sure where the research that supports that is. Please let me know where can reliable support for that statement can be found.
Second, according to researchers in the matter, cult as a label doesn't cover what it is supposed to be addressed. Instead of labeling an organization or group as a cult, it is more accurate to describe a dynamic, and effect, something that occurs as a consequences of certain intended actions. That's where the terms "high demand", or "controlling" groups, or "cultic relationships" come from. The purpose of using those terms is to address and effect, not to label a given group.
The reason that difference is relevant is because a lot of people may be under the negative influence of a group or a person, and not realize it because the idea that people have of a cult doesn't fit with what they are going through.
That "cultic" effect can happen pretty much in every group. If you think of it as an effect and not as a label, you may better understand why you may find that pretty much every religion can have people who have been negatively harmed. Furthermore, thinking of it as an effect includes a whole lot of non-religious groups that cause as much harm.
Keeping that in mind, there are groups which sole purpose is nothing other than their own interest and agenda. Those are set with the intention of using and manipulating people and misled them to believe that they are in need of that group. Not all religious groups fall in that category; some, however, fir the profile perfectly.
The President of the International Cultic Studies Association mentioned to me that he knew of a 12-step meeting that people started calling "The Children of the Corn group". That group was being led by people who had the intention of enticing their members to feel like they needed that one particular meeting to save themselves, and that they should dedicate their entire lives to grow that group. That was not a religious group, and that cult effect was evident in that one particular meeting.
I'd suggest to start rethinking the use of the term cult and start thinking of the harm and the effect that it causes in people, at the same time that some groups can be identified as harmful to people.