"You know you're in a 'cult' when"

September 4, 1999
By Siri Seriously Singh, S.S.S.

  • The pages of your phone book are all filled up almost exclusively with other members of your group.
  • You decide to stay within the group for your honeymoon.
  • The only real vacation you've taken in 20 years is a group sponsored retreat for some courses.
  • The only way you really know what's going on "in the real world", is by watching movies, which you do quite frequently.
  • You're really worried that you forgot to prepare your food as the group says.
  • Even your daughter's dolls look like group members.
  • All of your son's animals also are dressed up like members.
  • The only music that you own comes from your organization or its authorized list.
  • You can't figure out why your leader doesn't run for President or something really big.
  • Underneath you're hoping that your child is allowed to have a relatively normal name, but act really happy when he receives some weird name chosen by your leader.
  • You think that most people that aren't in your group are alcoholics, drug addicts, or neurotic (unless of course, they're friends with your leader).
  • The only things you can remember about your past are the painful parts.
  • Even though you don't believe in superstition or faith healers, you just spent some money to have your horoscope read by an astrologer and paid some guy to do psychic surgery on you anyway.
  • You wonder how it is that you can have a health problem when you know you've done everything just right like you were told by your group and its leader.
  • You have just completed 120 days of a meditation and still don't have a job. But you believe somehow that this has brought you blessings because you just found $20 in your coat pocket.
  • You just sold your car so you can afford to go to a group activity or fundraiser.
  • You are seriously thinking about selling your house for the same reason.
  • You baked hundreds of cookies to sell at some group activity, but you end up hawking them in the parking lot for enough gas to get home.
  • The only way you can really like people is when they are members of, or potential recruits for your group.
  • You do your two and half-hours of evening meditation and still wonder if that was enough and feel bad because you think you can never really do enough.
  • Even your nightgowns meet the group's code.
  • You throw out your favorite flannel shirt, because it's "not good for your aura."
  • Even though you might think that a piece of clothing looks good that's "not approved"--you don't even allow yourself to want it.
  • You think all the other groups just like yours are "cults," but not yours.
  • You think all the other groups just like yours don't ask enough of their members, but yours is better-- because you have to do even more than they do.
  • A lot of stuff that you used to think was really weird you are now doing.
  • Even though you told yourself that you would never bow down to a human being--you just touched your teacher's feet.
  • You don't care anymore who understands and who doesn't if they're not in your group.
  • So he/she they would learn better and you can be really close, you would actually think about sending your minor child away to a "third world country" for the rest of his or her childhood and adolescence if the group advised you to.
  • Even though you wouldn't trust your mother to make dinner for you--you now trust group members with your child.
  • You find it easier to forgive your friend's husband for arbitrarily, abandoning his children and stealing her money--than to forgive her for disobeying a group rule.

Copyright © Rick Ross

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