A cult is not just a religious sect but it is a group of people who try to deceive others into believing exactly what they do in exchange for nurturance and support for what is not being given elsewhere. And it will often take the money and freedom away from an unsuspecting victim.
I feel that cults are inherently dangerous. They prey on people who are very vulnerable and lonely or people who have a lot of money. The problem is the cults often isolate their members and make them cut ties with any families and friends. The cult leaders often are power hungry and just want a group of vulnerable people to follow them.
The usual stereotype of a cult is indeed a dangerous group, but not all cults are dangerous. In the 1500s, the Anabaptist movement was considered a cult, despite the fact that most sects refused any forms of violence that were not discipline as stated in the Bible. While I am not up to date on 'cults' in modern times, who is to say that there is not another similar movement out there today?
I do not feel as though cults are inherently dangerous. This is because of the fact that there are many relatively harmless cults that are alive and well that do not have agendas that involve violence or suicide. Although most cults are dangerous, they are not inherently dangerous because of this.
Whatever you call them, cults or religious groups, It's the people in them that determine the path of the group. It just seems like the word cult is used as a negative stigma. You can have a positive cult as long as the members are positive and lead by someone who is positive and has their best interests in mind.