As I was sitting on the plane Sunday morning the front-page story of the ‘local’ section was about a cult in Minnesota. In typical cult fashion, this charismatic leader gained roughly 150 followers, relocated to a large plot of land in the middle of the state and is now wanted on molestation charges.
The reporter interviewed the now leader-less cult members about the experience and their responses felt so Minnesotan to me making statements such as, “we didn’t realize we were in a cult” “one day we’re part of a regular church and without even knowing it we’re following a leader who has betrayed us by molesting our children” (these quotes are paraphrased). To get my mind off the turbulent flight I decided to make a list for all potential-cult members that may help them realize they’re in a cult before it’s too late:
1. The head of your church will change his title to ‘apostle’ ‘prophet’ ‘messiah’ or ‘vessel of g-d’. This is early in the process, but not too early to high-tail it outta there.
2. Your ‘prophet’ will then purchase a large plot of land in the middle of nowhere. I implore you, DO NOT MOVE TO THE PLOT OF LAND. You will be promised a utopian paradise, you will be promised a free ride through the pearly gates or, even better, a ticket on a spaceship to rescue you from Earth. The outcome of these places is without exception a multifaceted variety of hell.
3. Ok, you didn’t listen and you moved to the plot of land. Remember, building a utopian society isn’t free, the prophet will require your money, pretty much all of it. In return you can live on the plot of land and build him a compound while he chats with g-d and checks out the ladies. Before you hand over that check I beg you to think twice. You are paying to do construction work.
…you’re toiling away constructing the compound for your prophet… this doesn’t seem weird to you? Really? Look at what’s happening my friend. Not weird? ok
4. At this point your prophet will get a message from g-d that will go something like this , “prophet, you should have many wives, the more the better… age be damned”. When your prophet gets this message and you don’t leave and you are STILL wondering ‘am I in a cult’ I am here to tell you my friend you most certainly are. Lets put this in perspective your prophet get’s a message from above that has nothing do to with the betterment of society, helping mankind, protecting the planet… nope, the message he gets is to have multiple wives. Think about this for a minute.
5. This is when the whole experience truly enters its downward spiral… the prophet starts collecting wives, perhaps they are honored but invariably there are some cases where this is by force. There are cases where this is age inappropriate and where this breaks up families… am I in a cult?! Yeah! You’re in a cult. Another common trend is that the other men in the cult are allowed to collect wives, sometimes with the freedom of the leader and other times they earn it by being good little followers. The women in this scenario become controlled second class citizens - does this seem like a progressive society to you? This is the las sign, you need to get out because the final step… well, let’s just say your odds of survival are precarious.
I could say it another way… if you have to ask yourself the question, ‘Am I in a cult?’ lets assume you are.