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5 Ways to Realize You've Joined a Cult

Updated on September 11, 2013

Pay attention, you may be in a Cult.

Sooner or later, we see the tanks rolling in on a compound, the BATF flitting from tree to tree, or the pitchers of grape Kool*Aid on a table and go, "how did those people end up joining that nutty cult?"

Even if you don't feel like strapping on your Nikes and catching the comet, you should be aware of what's going on around you. Here are ways to determine whether you are in a cult or not:

1) Everyone dresses the same way. It's pretty basic. You get a uniform. You may all look like you're refugees from an episode of Little House on the Prairie or you may go more for the onesie, but everyone looks the same. If everyone around you dresses pretty much the same, you may be in a cult.

2) Everyone says the same things. Whether it's a mantra chanted in unison, some sort of short-hand used in front of others, or merely technical jargon, most cults use special language. If you find yourself speaking differently than the rest of the population, you may be in a cult.

3) You have a highly visible, charismatic leader. He or she may be fairly widely known. Generally the leader will inspire love or loathing. You'll either want to be with them or far away from them. If you are around someone like this for several days a week, you may be in a cult.

4) There are penalties for straying from the path. There are clear cut do's and don'ts. If you comply with the rules, you get rewarded (now or later); if you fail, you get penalized. If you're in a place with specific rules day-in and day-out, you may be in a cult.

5) Your family isn't allowed to be with you. If you find yourself where your family isn't welcome for more than brief visits, you may be in a cult.

So, if you are somewhere where everyone dresses alike, speaks the same jargon, is led by a charismatic person, you have specific penalties and rewards lined out, and they don't want your family there, you may be in a cult.

Here are four examples of leaders of organizations such as I've described:

1) Ronald McDonald (McDonalds)

2) The King (Burger King)

3) Mickey Mouse (Disneyland and Disneyworld)

4) Chuck E. Cheese (Chuck E. Cheese's)

Quick Check: Do you know these guys? They lead huge cults.

Cults can creep up on you.
Cults can creep up on you. | Source
Famous people, Enrique Iglesias in this case, join cults, too.
Famous people, Enrique Iglesias in this case, join cults, too. | Source
Some famous people, such as the late Michael Jackson, may join or start more than one cult.
Some famous people, such as the late Michael Jackson, may join or start more than one cult.
Some cults last longer than others and have millions of visitors to their temples.
Some cults last longer than others and have millions of visitors to their temples. | Source


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    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 

      9 years ago

      Very funny...I was thinking to myself..who do I know that may be in a cult or am I in one and do not know it..I am very relieved that I am not..however that clown fellow is one to watch out for..In the past he has called me a few times as I passed by his house... I have come close...hahaha Thanks for a great hub.


    • DougBerry profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Abilene, TX

      It's mainly my commentary on the corporate world, whether it's Wendy's or Microsoft, they want us to all look and act the same. The policies that large corporations force on their workers actually do, when looked at cynically, resemble the actions of a cult.

      That said, I'm such a cynic and individualist, I'm not likely to join you for lunch, let alone a cult. I've never understood the state of mind or mentality that gets you there and probably never will.

      Also, I intentionally put my pictures at the bottom to leave you hanging. I was a little disappointed when The King appeared next to my summary on LinkedIn and Facebook.

    • Meisjunk profile image

      Jennifer Kessner 

      9 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I see the allure of making fun of cults and the idea that someone may not know what they've joined, but I'm hesitant to join in. Is there a way to make it obvious from the beginning of the article that this is satire? Maybe put the word "accidentally" in the title? Cults can be seriously dangerous. You're right in that the leader is usually a highly charismatic person, and manipulative. And the leader of a cult is the best of the best at manipulation, which is why it isn't so funny to think that people do actually fall for their wiles without knowning what they've signed up for. I think if I'd known from the beginning that this was satire, I wouldn't be so hesitant to join in. XD Most of the writing IS light-hearted, so you've got that!

    • JBBlack profile image


      9 years ago from California

      Haha Hubpages as a cult. I liked the twist when I got down to the images. voting up!

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      9 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thank goodness HubPages isn't a cult. I'm not sure who its leader is! Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • DougBerry profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Abilene, TX

      I think I work for one of these cults, but I can neither affirm nor deny it.

    • alipuckett profile image


      9 years ago

      HA! This is awesome. I'll have to pin this article to my refrigerator and check it every day to make sure I didn't accidentally join a cult. :)


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