Will they suck you in and brainwash you?
David Koresh, Jim Jones, Joseph di Mambro, and Charles Manson: these are names that we associate with cults, those frightening groups that take normal people just searching for a higher meaning in life and turns them into mindless murderers or they willingly take their own lives thinking that they’ll all move on to a higher plane of existence. Whatever the case, in their wake, cults can leave a trail of destruction, chaos, and incredible sadness. But are all cults actually that bad? And what makes it a “cult”? These Redditors think they have the answers you’re seeking.
I joined a soccer club as a way to meet friends in a new city (Seoul). This ‘great’ organization never mentioned religion. They also offered free cooking classes, free language classes, free dance classes. All the expense of ‘helping’ foreigners and to practice their English. That was until they were exposed as a front for the SJ Church. They mainly used foreigners as propaganda with our t-shirts and cult signs that we, foreigners, were clueless about at that time. It was scary how caught up you can become. A friend of mine had a similar situation except she joined a bible study only to find out it was also that cult. 6 months after she found out and tried to leave, they harassed her both at her work, at her house to point of having to leave notes and call the police on them. Too many crazies out there.. (Kimchikitkat)
Really depends on the cult and your degree of awareness about what’s going on. It’s trite, but it’s true, some cults are really really good at not seeming like cults and usually your introduction to them will not be in the form of a meeting at all, but a one on one interaction or a group setting that is not clearly related to an organization. They’ll introduce you to the beliefs first in a very egalitarian way and the actual power structures won’t emerge until much later, with the “leader” or “leaders” of the cult actually blending in very well with the group when they want to (as opposed to the very cliche portrayal of the exalted messianic leader and the obviously crazy and adoring followers). Everything that’s going to set off the alarms in your head isn’t going to come until much later and you’re going to be made to feel like you were a participant in it’s creation somehow even though everything about it predated your involvement. (ezra_sinclair)
Give me all of your worthless money
I was 16-17 at the time and me and my friend saw online this ad for “meetings to discuss life and what is money worth” at our local restaurant’s hall. I’m from a small town in Lithuania and once we sat down I realised I know some of these people, they were just regular folk and some guy was playing a weird instrument at the front. Me and my friend are these 17 year olds in a room full of 40-50 year old people and some guy lecturing about how money is not important and does not extend your time on earth. The main guy says that donations are accepted but not necesary, well, I had about 2 litas (around 0.5$ maybe) and just put it in the basket, I see some other people spending 50-100 litas (minimum wage was 800 litas) on books and CDs and s**t and I realise those guys honestly believe in the main guy.
I go for one last time and then it clicks, the main guys says he will be doing these meetings in people’s houses that agree to it (lots of volunteers at that point) and he will sing more, talk more and all that stuff. As soon as I realise he is now invading other people’s houses I left it after the meeting and never come back. (cukrus)