There seems to be a lot of confusion about what makes a group a cult. Some of the most dangerous sects out there claim to be as far away from a cult as possible (*cough*theta healing*cough*) but clearly fit into that category, other people claim that the major religions of the world are cults. Let me clear things up for everyone; here are five surefire ways to find out if you’re in a cult; you probably won’t have all of these, but an extreme form of even one should be enough to make you want to get out of there.
1. Are you encouraged to isolate yourself from family members and friends that are not part of your group, having been encouraged that the group is your true family? This can follow attempts to convert those close to you, and can be followed by the threat of being kicked out of the group if you don’t set yourself free from those you love. This can also take the form of institutional hate of a group or groups, such as a race, a subset of society or an industry.
2. Is your wallet empty? Pouring your money into promises that have yet to be fulfilled should not precede pouring more of it away because it still hasn’t. If you’re paying to get something that promises results beyond what you yourself are capable of, and requires multiple, large payments, run away. If you’re paying to learn the central dogma of your group, then you’re in a cult; religious groups are at least upfront with their beliefs. If you’re a member of a church but are not permitted to know what you’re supposed to be believing in until you’ve donated by the thousands, you’ve made a mistake; they’ve been hiding their beliefs from you, that should be a pretty big sign.
3. Are you/is your partner encouraged to have sex with the cult leader? No, I’m being serious. This is much more common in smaller cults where people can more easily get away with this, but in certain messiah cults the messiah can call upon followers from whom God has demanded they have sex with. Do I even have to point out that this should be an alarm call? Amazingly enough, some stay in cults where this has happened multiple times to their wives. If this happens to you, get the hell out of there.
4. Have you been told that your group can solve all your problems? Nobody can solve all your problems, even Jay-Z had 99 problems when his life was at his peak. Be wary of anyone who offers a cure-all solution to anything. Look around you and see if anyone in the group still has those problems, it’s more than likely that they do, not matter how much they believe they are freed of them.
5. Do your group know something that nobody else does or could possibly know? No, you don’t, that’s just really unlikely. There are seven billion people in the world, someone’s going to have figured it out. If this is a doomsday thing then think seriously about the possibilities, consult experts in the fields your apocalypse is supposedly of, and you’ll probably find that it’s not coming. If this is some sort of power or gift, then, even if you dismiss the science that prevents something like curing disease with a thought, then look to the other members of the group. They will still suffer from physical ailments, and no one’s knocking on your door to get help with the millions of victims of disease in your country alone. If this gift is explained by quantum physics, its 100% wrong, quantum physics is not what you think it is.