The article about Diamond Mountain and Mr. Thorson as well as the rest of the group missed a lot of points. One main point being that spiritual groups tend to be a good hiding place for people who can't cope in normal society. From decades of working with various spiritual groups, I have noted they tend to have a higher percentage of people with personality issues than most groups. It sounds like Mr. Thorson had had psychological counseling over years and so it is probably unlikely that the meditation was what caused him to end up making bad decisions and dying. They had a transmitter with them to call for help even though they had left the group.
This is not to say that the group leader could not have been at fault in some degree. However even leaders of mainstream companies, like banks and hospitals often have quite bizarre personalities and their own "cult followers". From what I can tell, often people call something a cult if they just don't like it or understand it. When I was in college, one of my friends disliked what I was doing and so claimed the spiritual group I was in was thus a cult. He and his wife went on to become alcoholics and even though I have the genes for it, I have managed to escape that problem. I relate my strong spiritual practices (and beliefs), some of which I learned in college, to be one of the main reasons I escaped that.
However, to be "Fair and Balanced", another point is that sometimes increased meditation is not what is needed, but psychological counseling and development. Too much meditation and not enough grounding in psychologically challenged individuals can be harmful and some meditation leaders are not aware of this. However, this is merely another example of a psychologically underdeveloped leader causing potential harm to their followers. We see it all the time. Some of the biggest sociopaths/preditors are millionaires and even billionaires, since if one has the requisite IQ and talent, becoming rich isn't that difficult. It doesn't take a balanced personality. However, we tend to adulate the richest people since they have what we think or know we want. Isn't that also a cult? Isn't the followings of most pop stars or athletes cults?