What makes a religion official?

This week we learned about the differences between official and non-official religion.  In addition to learning about mysticism and cults.  The cultic stance vs the churchly stance have some main differences.  Society views cults with relative negative tension, much more so than other groups such as churches or larger denominations.  Cults do not claim to have the truth and are tolerant of other groups and other beliefs.  Often the larger society will hold dissent to cultic groups, vice versa, cultic groups can hold disdain for the cultural shallowness and distractions that the greater society provides which takes away from members achieving higher spirituality.

The churchly stance on the other hand is widely recognized by society and in fact, some countries still do not have a separation between church and state.  Also, unlike cultic groups, they do not recognize the legitimacy of any other religious groups. In relation to society, a churchly stance tends to support the societal status quo.

I found these things interesting to learn about, but I still find it difficult to understand the role of cultic groups and how they are formed or recognized as such.  In relation to religious collectivity stances, McGuire also discusses with individual religious orientations.  “The two key characteristics for conceptualizing individual orientations are: the extent to which the member’s role as a religious person is segmented into a separate role or is expected to be diffused throughout every aspect of the person’s life, and the extent to which the individual judges self and others according to standards of ‘mass’ or ‘virtuoso’ religiosity.” I personally would fall more into a churchly/mystical orientation.  I don’t believe there is one truth and am open to the claims of other religious groups, however I have an intrinsic religiosity that stems from my upbringing. McGuire shed a lot of light on the many ways religion can express itself in an individual and society.