8 Ways to Avoid Cults: Especially If You Are Susceptible to Cults and Click Bait
Do you ever worry that you are susceptible to cults? Do you read stories of people who “accidentally” joined a cult only to realize the truth when they woke up with a scar over their kidney spot? Do you ever click where you shouldn’t on the internet, even though you know you shouldn’t, just to satisfy the intrigue of learning the teachings or philosophy of an organization that is undeniably a cult, to later find out that they are a much more widespread organization than you thought, and now you are scared and clearing all the cookies on your web browser and writing anxiety fueled run-on sentences? (This one is probably just me. Make sure to listen to Plead The Belly Episode 006 to find out more).
I am not an expert on anything. I am especially not an expert in religiosity or how humans form groups to pray to an unidentified being in order to make sense of their lives. I’m not qualified to tell you how to live your life in any capacity. But, I will tell you a few tricks that I have learned over the years to avoid cults. Some of this is from trial and error, some of this is common sense. I’ll let you decide which is which.
1. When you see the people handing out pamphlets on the street asking you if you know if you’re going to heaven or hell, don’t get in the van. The van will take you to the compound where you will be forced to grow your own food. Don’t grow your own food. What is this, the 18th century!? We all know that food comes from an app on your phone.
2. Don’t smoke the medicine. Look, we all like a little assistance with relaxation and appetite, but they will use our favorite herb to make you feel at home. You will be too chill to see what’s going on around you. Also, you’ll think the garden food is real food when we all know that real food comes from an app on your phone!!!! I cannot emphasize this point enough! Don’t let them take away your gig economy food delivery!!!
3. If someone approaches you at the beach and asks if you know God. Just say, “I am God. But my congregation calls me Shyloh. I am so glad your spirit lead you here. Welcome home. You will be taken care of. Please, fill out this form with your DOB and SSN.” This is called reverse conversion. You should take a minute to lock the idea of reverse conversion in your brain because I just made it up so it is super fresh. You will mirror their attempt to convert you with the same tactics they are using but slightly skewing the message. If they are smart they will realize you are fucking with them and walk away or call you names. If not, you will have just started a cult. Congrats! Don’t mess it up! If executed well this could be a very lucrative opportunity!
4. Don’t put money in the tray at your first service. I come from a Christian background and can tell you, there is always a part of the service called the offering. It’s ok. You can let go of your kitten. It’s not a sacrificial offering. It’s the part where a plate or basket is passed around the whole congregation and people donate money. This happens out in the open, so if you don’t put money in the tray people will notice. If people are still kind to you after not putting in the money, then maybe it’s just a church. However, if you are approached or shamed by a leader of the organization… run! First, they shame you out of your money, then they shame you out of your autonomy, next thing you know the Kool-Aid is spiked and you’ll have a moment of clarity where you ask yourself why you’re wearing a brown jumpsuit, and then it will all fade away.
5. Kool-Aid or communion? Look I said I wasn’t an expert. Lord Jesus knows I’ve consumed plenty of his blood over the years and I’m still kick’n… so as a followup to the above point, I guess Kool-Aid at your own risk. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. Or I guess, don’t say that Heaven’s Gate didn’t warn you.
6. Think before you click. I have never been good at taking my own advice when it comes to web security. But for the love of humanity, think before you click. In Plead The Belly Episode 006 (Out September 15th), you’ll see the anxiety that can be caused by stepping in internet dog shit. My spouse is always telling me to watch where I step so I stop stepping in literal dog shit. But if I can’t get that down to a habit, how am I supposed to avoid virtual dog shit? The point is, cults recruit on the internet. Everyone recruits on the internet. I’m recruiting you on the internet right now! (Thanks for reading please subscribe to Plead The Belly and don’t forget to rate and review!)
7. Notice if there is one main person in charge calling all the shots. This person acts like a messiah and may lack understanding or care of others. No, I don’t mean your boss. Don’t quit your job. Your boss may have narcissistic tendencies, but that is for a different blog. This is like the person worships themselves and subtly manipulates everyone into giving up their lives and family and connections to the outside world for financial or social gain for themselves. Ok… so maybe I am talking about your boss. So I guess, avoid religious leaders that remind you of your boss. Also, get a new job.
8. Recognize attempted brainwashing. Cults use brainwashing and mind control to get their members to stay. During indoctrination, cults will use “Thought Reform” to manipulate members by using deception, isolation, induced dependency, and dread to control people. I know you think I’m still talking about your boss but I’m not. Seriously tho… you should probably look for another job.
There are many intricacies to cults, so this is by no means an exhaustive list. Like I said, I’m not an expert on anything and I am not qualified to give life advice in any capacity. However, this is a good starting point to help you figure out if your boss… *ahem*… I mean your religious organization is really a cult. Also, don’t download files from cult websites and don’t click on sketchy links. If you do, make sure to tell someone so when you go missing they will be able to give investigators a lead. Also, consider Plead The Belly Episode 006 (posting September 15th) my version of telling you that I downloaded cult files and clicked sketchy links. If I go missing you’ll know why. Don’t forget to subscribe, rate, review, share, and follow on social media.