Sociologists D. Bromley and A. Shupe once described what they called the Tnevnoc Cult. Membership was open only to women, who were required to shave their heads, change their names, and wear specific clothing once they had entered the group. They lived communally so as to protect them from the corrupting influences of the wider world while they focused on their own growing spirituality within the group. They were forbidden from owning personal possessions, and they were given with minimal provisions for comfort. Initiation included ritually marrying the dead founder of their religion.
People were outraged and demanded to know where this group was located. Eventually, the sociologists revealed that Tnevnoc is simply convent spelled backwards. They were describing the traditional lifestyle of a Catholic nun.
Few people would compare the life of a Catholic nun to the life of someone living under, for example, David Koresh or Jim Jones, yet a quick (and accurate) description of the traditional life of a nun does read very much like what people imagine defines what can legitimately be called a dangerous cult.
Readers are strongly encouraged to educate themselves thoroughly about any group before labeling it as a dangerous cult. Religions and belief systems different from our own are often threatening to us, but we should refrain from highly derogatory labels unless they are truly deserved.