Madonna was photographed Saturday, exiting the LA Kabbalah Center wearing a T-shirt with “Cult Member” printed boldly across it reports the New York Post.

Well aware of the paparazzi’s penchant for hanging out at her haunts for photo-ops, this was obviously a well-planned ploy to “send a message” to her fans.

Madonna’s T-shirt logo is an apparent attempt to mock the notion that her cherished “Kabbalah Center” is a “cult” and therefore she is a “cult member.”

Of course a “cult member” rarely thinks he or she is in a “cult,” and such denial can be seen as simply a part of the ongoing process of indoctrination within the group used to dismiss criticism and reinforce its mindset.

The group may even choose to define the word “cult” as anyone deeply devoted to almost anything in an effort to obscure its real significance.

Another apologetic tactic is categorizing the word “cult” itself as a form of “persecution,” put forth by “jealous” detractors engaged in pejorative labeling.

Madonna’s Kabbalah Center has used these strategies.

However, the most obvious question remains, “Has Madonna joined a ‘cult’?”

A red flag for the public is the very fact that the group and its foremost benefactor have a need to dismiss and/or denigrate the term.

Another thing is also becoming increasingly evident, don’t expect Madonna to snap out of it any time soon.

The former “Material Girl” who reportedly now goes by the name of “Esther” has largely cast has her lot with the controversial group.

Madonna’s ego has evidently entwined with her religious mentor Philip Berg the founder of the Kabbalah Center. And it seems the star is so deeply invested she feels her personal equity is at stake.

In this sense Madonna is not unlike a “cult member” in a group like “Heaven’s Gate” or the “Waco Davidians,” trapped in a mindset that doesn’t allow the star to see the extent of the group’s influence and control over her life.

Fortunately the Kabbalah Center appears to be more focused on earthly assets and cash rather than stockpiling weapons or escaping this world in some spaceship.

But from her CD “Ray of Light” to recent children’s books and her decision not to perform on the “Sabbath,” each move in Madonna’s life increasingly seems to reflect “cult member” thinking.

The 1980s pop diva’s new persona can be a lesson though to her fans.

That is, if a strong, independent, “street smart” woman like Madonna can become a “cult member,” perhaps almost anyone potentially could.

And as for the Kabbalah Center, its missionary Madonna has made it the “‘cult’ du jour” for celebrities, arguably eclipsing its predecessor the Church of Scientology.

Scientology stars like Tom Cruise and John Travolta are aging and/or fading, but the Kabbalah Center is increasingly the “new religion” chosen by rising young stars and celebrities that seem to crave achieving “cult member” status just like their childhood icon Madonna.


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