Yes, it does seem that cults have been with us for some time. But your choice of how to define the word "cult" is rather selective and does not reflect the way it is actually used to describe certain groups.
Note the various definitions provided.
When most people use the word "cult" they mean a destructive cult and not a benign one.
Note the definition of cult as outlined by Robert Jay Lifton, M.D. noted researcher and author once associated with Harvard Medical School.
A living totalitarian leader that has little if any meaningful accountability typically defines the group. Note the three specific criteria Liftons lists.
1. A charismatic leader who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose their power;
2. A process I call coercive persuasion or thought reform;
3. Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.