We have a fascination with cults, but they are really no laughing matter.
These strange phenomena, in which people fall into a practice of life that is highly controlled by a central figure and exerts abuse and pressure on its members, are actually quite traumatizing for its members.
"Redditors who were raised in cults, when was the first time you realized something was wrong?"
Here were some of those stories.
When The Church Is A Cult
"I was raised in a very strict manner by Church of Christ parents in an extremely legalistic Southern Baptist church."
"I was extremely sheltered, allowed only one movie (maybe) and one hour of TV a week, ONLY Christian movies, books, TV shows, radio, etc."
"I never interacted with kids outside of the church bubble, as my parents started a Christian school so that I 'wouldn't have to go to the evil public school and be brainwashed.'"
"For me it was when my pastor and my youth pastor took me aside during a church camp and said they were worried about my salvation as I hadn't led anyone in the sinners prayer and didn't go on 'visitation,' which was door-knocking on Sunday afternoons to talk about Jesus."
"Instead, I played harp as part of the instrumental group every Sunday and Wednesday and sang in the choir when I wasn't playing, which practiced during the same time as visitation."
"They basically told me that since I showed most of the other fruits of the spirit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc., they thought I was Christian but since I openly boycotted visitation and hadn't borne any of the 'bringing new sheep into the flock' fruit by leading anyone in the sinners prayer, I couldn't possibly be a full Christian and they wanted me to work on that."
"I was 15! I never interacted with non-christians and was part of the instrumental group and choir which practiced during visitation! How could I do that if everyone I knew was already Christian?? 🤔"
"It led to some serious questions, but I couldn't really do anything until I escaped to college 3 years later."~moldylemming
"When it came time for me to leave for my own mental health."
"I became the villain and when confiding in my college tutor she was horrified to learn even a fraction of what I had grown up with. She was the main encouragement I needed to gtfo when I did" -Broken-Sushi
"When I realized that the doors to the 13 story former hotel building we were all living in was locked and you had to sign out to leave."
"No one (from children to adults) could leave without an explanation to where they were going and when they'd be back."
"Group operated under two names. IBLP (Institute for Basic Life Principals) this was their 'outreach' label where they would go to churches and show this seminar to bring new gullible people into the fold."
"ATI (Advanced Training Institute) was for the people that actually wanted in deep and consisted of an entire homeschool curriculum to make sure your kids got brainwashed correctly."
"They masqueraded as just another Baptist sect but it went way deeper. My family was highly involved for years but the year we lived at their training center was actually horrifying."
"Strictly controlled what was allowed in/out, surveillance for everything. Sad part is most of the families that lived there were essentially slave labor that worked for the ministry and were given free room and board."
"Many of them had nowhere else to go and were trapped even if they wanted to leave."-g1ngerguitarist
It is such a difficult thing to really identify the situation you are growing up in as traumatic.
Connected Even When I Don't Want To Be
"I was born and raised into a not so known buddhist cult (although whether its a cult or not is contested by a lot of people, still) called 'SGI.'"
"My mum was practicing it when she was still preggos with me. Thus I was considered to be a 'fortune baby' as they say lmao."
"I didnt think too much about it as a kid. We went to our meetings every week and met people but at some point I learnt the religion had a whole political thing going on in Japan and I was so confused."
"Also, ive had extensive mental health issues and over the last couple of years I realised my mum who has been practicing this religion for 20+ years is still a narcissist who has never shown an inch of wisdom or any kind of forgiveness as our religious text said."
"Ive slowly moved myself away but its hard because anywhere I move to my mum will always try to 'get me connected' to a local member and its a lot."-zhdlfrufghs
Best Excuses For Late Assignments That Were Actually True | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
"Ex-Jehovah's Witness here."
"My first hint that something was wrong was the amount of control exerted in our day to day lives."
"No beards, no long hair for men, no tattoos or piercings, no shirts with 'edgy' artwork like band shirts or shirts with skulls, no entertainment they don't approve of, etc."
"Other witnesses are trained to report you to the elders if you're not following their guidelines, such as if you have a position of respect in the congregation but someone sees that you have a rated R movie, they'll report you to the elders and you could lose your position and good standing, which will change the way the congregation treats you."
"What really tipped it over the edge for me though was their doctrine that all non-witnesses deserve to die at Armageddon by gods hand, simply for not being witnesses."
"Armageddon is supposed to be urgently imminent, and over 99.9% of the world will die just because they're not witnesses."
"That didn't sit right with me. I had been working in retail for some time, and the people I worked with were every bit as intelligent, compassionate, and loving as any witness I knew."
"Eventually, these issues became too great for me to bear, and I committed the ultimate sin, researching the information that criticizes the religion."
"We were taught to be terrified of anything that remotely criticizes the religion and its leaders. I finally pushed against that fear and did the research."
"Woke up instantly. Realized why they taught us to fear 'apostate' information so much, it's because they know it's all true and they don't want us to see it."-excusetheblood
It's Jehovah Again
"When the 'Elders' told me that I could no longer speak to my younger sister anymore because she was in 'bad standing' with the organization."
"She's the only family I have left. They made her out to be this monster just because she wasn't actively going to church. That's when the glass shattered for me."
"I was one of Jehovah's Witnesses and my sister and I are still close. She's doing great things for herself and I do not regret my decision at all."
"Dont let someone else make decisions for your life, you'll be much happier!"-BananasAnd69
Oh If It Isn't A False Idol
"Not in a cult per say, but was in one of those evangelical megachurches. Started as a nice corner church; the piety was genuine."
"I dont think that the pastor planned the whole thing - he seemed a genuine preacher until the church grew exponentially. Like went from a few hundred members to 15,000 in less than 2 years."
"Then his main focus was maintaining (entertaining) the masses, which drove him to do stupid things."
"Many weird things started happening. Especially, one day he 'had a revelation' that the congregation needs to expand further and members have to, I am serious, give out all the GOLD they were wearing."
"I know a lady that got into serious trouble with her husband because she gave away her gold wedding band."
"My last straw was when he promoted himself to Apostle and renamed himself 'Paul.' Apostle Paul. Okay."-jetiro_now
The signs are varied but just as frightening across the board.
It's Always When You Get The Google
"When my other friends came to my church for the first time. Most of my friendships were isolated to church members until middle school."
"I started going with my other christian friends to their churches which were all similar to each other. When they came to mine they were uncomfortable and they all started telling me my church was weird."
"Around 13 years old a friend's mother asked me a few questions about my church and I had recently gotten the internet so I started asking questions at my church, and the questions were not welcome."
"My church was an offshoot, home based, from what is known as 'The Way' ministries."
"Recently a coworker told me a long story about almost getting indoctrinated to a cult while he was in college. I mentioned how it sounded like 'The Way' and his eyes lit up."-kruxader
The Simple Answer
"When my brother started asking (politely) how our religion was founded and how our family got involved and generally just questions about life: they don't believe in evolution or kissing before marriage."
"And they would bite his head off about it at age 11 It made me realise they were being defensive because they had no answers. If you can't explain why you're in a religion, you get the f**k out."-PurelyAmy
Well It Most Certainly Was A Cult
"Okay so I wasn't raised into a 'cult,' but from age 5-8 I lived with my mom, her 3rd husband, and her parents who were all a part of a 100+ member sex group in the late 90's early 2000's."
"It was a lot like a cult though, they had to sign waivers to join, recruited (and had recruitment expectations), wore specific outfits, encouraged family members to join, encouraged not having friends outside the group as it endangered their lifestyles..."
"Anyway I first knew something was wrong when mom brought me on a yacht and when it started pouring rain she forbid me to enter the lower deck to escape the rain."
"I was like 6 and they couldn't stop the uhh meeting going on so I could stay dry."
"Of the people who were at the home and who I met during meetings 6 of them within the last 20 years have served time for sex crimes and every time one of them was arrested they had meetings about it to help destroy computers and stuff. I'm not sure if it fits the exact def of a cult tho."-breezzii
These people were all lucky, and escaped mostly unscathed.
But cults can leave mental and physical scars on people. Remember that you never know the battles that people are fighting, and that any of those people could be fighting a past that took advantage of them.
Body modification procedures are not uncommon these days.
If it makes a person have an improved perception of their bodies, the option for body enhancement should be available to them without judgment.
The people of Reddit explored ideas for improving the human penis when Redditor BleakPidgeon asked:
"If you were able to design penis 2.0, what would you change?"
People fantasize about being able to dictate the behavior of the phallus.
"Manual horny control. I can turn off my horniness whenever I want."
They Say When
"I don't have a penis, but I imagine it'd be quite helpful for men to be able to *choose* when they get their boners instead of it happening randomly."
Change In Direction
"I can control which way it bends."
"Ejaculate control. Not a drop comes out until the user wishes it to."
A Hard Fix
"Same for erections. They happen when you want them, and you have a dial for controlling the erection. These two features would have given us a fighting chance against our robotic overlords."
Different functions to the Johnson would please these Redditors.
The Spray Option
"I would add a small spray type shifter around the circumference of the area just behind the head of the penis just like the hose nozzles to change how the fluid comes out of the penis."
"No longer shall we suffer from missing the toilet with a jetspeed straight line piss option."
"No longer shall we feel the pain of passing a kidney stone with the mist option."
"No longer shall we struggle with producing large loads for our SOs satisfaction with the large sloppy stream option."
"We will truly be the most advanced adaptation of the human."
Setting The Pulse
"It will vibrate."
For Business Or Pleasure
"Make it have 2 modes:"
"Mode 1 - just sex - can still ejaculate as usual but cannot get anyone pregnant. Can control when the orgasm happens so you can have longer sex or quickies depending on the situation."
"Mode 2 - baby making mode."
With Great Pleasure
"Multiple orgasms without having to cum but they all lead up to a spectacular one in which you do cum."
"It will go flaccid and retract into the pelvis if there are STDs within 5 feet."
"Family gatherings are going to be awkward."
Some of the requests were innocuous.
"It can talk. I get lonely sometimes."
No More Competition
"I would make them all the same size. It would probably create world peace and harmony 😂"
If an option for an improved pecker was available, what changes would you suggest for an ultimate penile experience?
Being the one to start a conversation can be pretty awkward if there's no context.
We're not all chatty Cathys and just walking up and saying "hi!" really only works if you're an adorable extrovert (or toddler. mostly toddler.)
So how are we supposed to, like, talk to people?
Reddit user Eviotie asked:
"What is the best conversation starter you know?"
I'm not saying the answers are all right here. Some of these might actually be awful ideas - we're not the experts.
All we're saying is Reddit is full of "creative" conversationalists.
" 'So, you got any life regrets?' - my barber, the first time I walked in his shop."
"My only thought to that would be:"
" 'Jesus does my hair look that bad!?' "
"I once had an old Italian guy for a barber that, upon the fourth or fifth visit, proudly informed me that he was Benito Mussolini’s personal chauffeur."
"He would from then on tell me stories in praise of the man. This was around 20 years ago."
Exciting And Engaging ... Kinda
" 'Hey, you got anything you're looking forward to soon?' "
"Not only is it a great starter, but it is also really engaging because they're talking about something exciting."
"I use this so often!!"
"I used to use this one, but so many in my small town are just taking life day by day."
The Scott Pilgrim Method
"Did you know that the original name for Pac-Man was Puck-Man? You'd think it was because he looks like a hockey puck but it actually comes from the Japanese phrase 'Paku-Paku,' which means to flap one's mouth open and closed. They changed it because they thought Puck-Man would be too easy to vandalize, you know, like people could just scratch off the P and turn it into an F or whatever."
- whataboutschismscott pilgrim gideon graves GIFGiphy
Be A Pet Detective
"Actual answer: just ask about their pets."
"If they don't have any, ask if they'd ever want any."
"Even if they don't want any, they usually have a reason why."
"Ask them if they have pets."
"If they do, they'll gladly talk about it till the cows come home. Or they'll talk about the pets they wanted as kids or still want. Or about animals they like."
"If it turns out they don't like animals, you dodged bullet and they wouldn't have been fun to talk to anyway 😂 "
Know Your Audience
"Well, you have to know your audience."
"The best conversation starter for any millennial would be to use a SpongeBob reference."
"It’s usually met with a resounding sense of familiarity and laughter and streams into so many other references from the show, which then spirals into all Nickelodeon shows from of our generation, then Disney… the nostalgia wormhole is never ending and will always be a rousing topic of discussion among our kind."
"Intense nostalgia for the years of our youth cripples us and we will never not take a minute to revel in our glory years and all the amazing content those years produced for the world!!! :’) "
A Little Conditioning
" 'Give me some good news!' Works especially well with coworkers."
"Let them know the answer can be absolutely anything. Anything from the plans for the weekend to them enjoying the weather. Sometimes it's as simple as a song they liked was on the radio this morning."
"It puts people in a positive mindset of thinking when talking with you. Especially if you make it a habit of asking often."
"Once people get used to the question you can see them look forward to it when you walk in."
- GlumBridgeJeff Goldblum Reaction GIF by Apartments.comGiphy
You're Both Surrounded
"Talk about how they know the host of the party or which band they came out for or whatever."
"Just talk about the environment you're both surrounded by. What is the commonality?"
"It's a lot easier to transition into a natural flowing conversation from there."
Travel ... Maybe
"Actual answer: travel."
"Pretty much everyone enjoys travel and there are a lot of questions people can ask if you are planning a vacation or just got back from a vacation. Then you can ask them where they have been/want to go."
"Yeah this doesn't work with poor people. Where TF are we traveling to, the check cashing store?"
A Safer Route
"If I am meeting a person from a different culture, or race, or country, or religion, I ask one of two questions that cannot offend anyone."
" 'Tell me about your favourite food from your childhood.' "
" 'Tell me about the kind of music you listened to as a child.' (What instruments, singing style etc.)"
"People's childhood is often a safe topic, because there was no politics etc."
"But even if there was some awful thing that happened, if they choose to tell you about it, it is a sign that they trust you to understand, about the war, the earthquake, the loss of their parents, whatever trauma they endured."
- TheonAlexanderHungry Italian GIF by 8itGiphy
My Go-To Drunk Bathroom Conversation Starter
"If you’re a woman who is trying to make friends with women: astrology."
"Doesn’t matter how much or how little you know or how seriously you take it. Women use astrology as an excuse to talk to each other."
“ 'Okay but I can’t help but notice you have Leo/Aquarius vibes?' is my go-to drunk bathroom conversation starter with whoever has the coolest outfit."
"I’ve made 5 friends this way😁"
Like I said, creative conversationalists, aren't they?
But what about you? What's your favorite way to start conversations? Or are you the type who would rather die than have to initiate a conversation with a stranger?
Tell us in the comments.
There are just some things in life that are not necessary knowledge.
Maybe we always hold out that tiny bit of hope we will one day be on Jeopardy... because you never know.
It's the creepy facts about life that leave me wondering and reeling.
RedditorsPanzer_ace_8wanted to compare notes on the things we're aware of that maybe we wish we could forget. They asked:
"What’s a disturbing fact you know?"
I mostly know disturbing facts about serial killers. As if that isn't enough. This should be fun.
Rest WellHand Pain GIF by PetelskiGiphy
"The skin mites that live on your cheeks come to the surface at night to find mates and do the deed. Sleep well."
"If you were to eat another adult human being, it would be approximately 125,822 calories. I went down a rabbit hole on Google and yeah."
"How come it's almost 126K?"
"Math. Average human is say 70 kg, has 20% bodyfat, so 14kg of fat. Fat has 9kcal per gram, which makes it. 126,000kcal. Math never lies! But I do make plenty of mistakes. Probably it's more complicated - but directionally seems legit."
"Within three days of death, the enzymes from your digestive system begin to digest your body."
"I guess it’s reassuring to know your body decays before bugs can even get a shot to help your body decay, sort of like a medical death except your body willingly does it for you instead of doctors."
People on Earthseason 11 people GIFGiphy
"If you are 25 years old, approximately 1/3 of the entire world's population that existed at your birth, have since died."
How do people just stumble upon this sort of info? Y'all must read.
GotchaKaty Perry Sharks GIF by VevoGiphy
"Some species of shark will 'waddle' onto land in order to catch more prey."
"During World War 2, Japan bombed China with fleas infected with the bubonic plague."
"Man they were just straight attempting to kill as many civilians of possible with that one."
"This is why a large portion of Chinese loathe the Japanese."
"It's believed the USS Thresher or USS Scorpion (don't remember which one) took around 20 minutes to go to crush depth in it's free fall."
"My Uni mate is a navy submariner and he said that if a problem isn’t your department you just ignore it, because ultimately it either gets fixed or you die, neither of which are scenarios you can do anything about. Him and a friend were playing Fifa in their bunk when the whole sub tipped to 45 degrees. They just kept playing at 45 degrees… it got fixed eventually but they’re reactor crew so nothing they could do to help either way."
"There are places called 'body farms' were scientists and researchers look at the decomposition process of human remains in different circumstances. Basically a big area somewhere outside were human, sometimes pig corpses are laid out to be exposed to the natural elements or they're even enclosed somewhere (like the trunk of a car). They're actually important e.g. for forensic anthropology to help solve crimes. And you can donate your body for research after you die!"
Miles Longart GIFGiphy
"Your body makes blood vessels of about 7 miles in length for every pound of fat you gain. This in turn strains your heart as it has to work harder to pump blood through the new network of blood vessels."
Well there are things I never needed to know. But now we do.
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Hitchhiking. It has to be one of the most dangerous things a person can do.
There are too many movies where a hitchhiker falls victim to some psycho, and they're shocked it's happening.
Like... Hello?!?! You got into some stranger's car. How could you not get killed?
Also, all throughout childhood years we tell kids to NEVER get into a stranger's car.
But once we're 18 that rule seems to no longer apply.
I feel like it should be MORE prescient in adulthood.
But I'm sure all the survivors have quite the tale to share.
RedditorWestTexasOilmanwanted all of the road travelers to share some memories about past rides. They asked:
"Current or Former Hitchhikers of Reddit; What person that stopped or gave you a ride was the most memorable? Why?"
I just don't have the trust in humans that some of y'all do. How do you get into a stranger's car? Oh no...
Among the HorsesLaughter Wtf GIF by ADWEEKGiphy
"So a few years ago I was working in a small resort in the French Alps for the ski season."
"About 15-20 of us all worked in a hotel in one valley, the only bar that stayed open past 11 was in a different valley, it was a pretty flat and straight road to it but a good 15 minute drive or hour walk. We would regularly split up into smaller groups to try and hitchhike cause ain't no one stopping for 15 people with their thumbs out."
"Well one time we couldn't be bothered to split up and we just decided to do the walk and not worry. We decided to chance it anyways and stuck our thumbs at to every car that went by, got a lot of honks, shouts etc, all fun and games until one guy stops with a horse trailer."
"He asks where we're going and we say where and he says hop in. Que 4 of us in his truck, 4 in the bed of the truck and the rest in the horse trailer next to this guys horse."
"Got picked up in Queensland Australia and after a few quite pleasant hours the driver started freaking out as we came to a police checkpoint. Turns out my new friend had broken out of jail and had stolen the car. I got stuck at Bowen cop shop until I could prove my innocence."
"I accidentally picked up a hitchhiker once. I was at a red light at the transition between a village and town road (no more sidewalk, road gets busier and a bit more dangerous to walk). A man walked up to my window from the sidewalk and waved like he was going to tell me something (I assume tell me I had a flat tire or something about my car)."
"I rolled down my window and he mumbled something with a smile, and when I motioned that I couldn't understand him, he just nodded happily, grabbed my door handle and got in my car. Once he was in, it was clear that he spoke little to no English (he was Asian, about 25-30 years old, and very polite)."
"He motioned that he appreciated the ride and I asked how far. He understood and said 'not far!' I told him I was only going home which was a mile down the road and that's as far as I could take him. He nodded politely but I'm not sure he understood."
"I drove the mile down the road, and right in front of my neighborhood was a Blockbuster. He motioned to the Blockbuster and said, 'Here, here!' I asked if he was sure and he nodded, thanked me profusely with gestures and bowing with his hands together. I waved and drove off. To this day I've never seen him again and it remains a strange encounter for sure."
zest for adventure...
"I have only ever hitchhiked twice in my life, and both times, a ruinous hike was involved lol. In this story, I was left behind by the shuttle because it took me longer to complete the mountain traverse. I was in the middle of nowhere, it was getting dark quickly, and my phone wasn't working."
"An old couple in their 60s, whom I had been chatting with on and off on the trail, noticed my agitation and asked if I was okay. I told them the bus had left me behind and I had no way of getting back to my lodge, which was 30 kilometres away. They offered me a ride even though it was out of their way."
"We got to talking during the drive. I told them that the hike was a first for me as I wanted to do something memorable for my birthday; they joked that maybe I should stick to dinner and movies next time. As for my good Samaritans, they had been travelling the world to celebrate their recent retirement."
"Prior to doing the trek, they had just completed a cross-country motorcycle trip with their son. I was awestruck by their kindness and generosity, their obvious zest for adventure, and the fact that they were still so, so smitten with each other after all these years."
"you like hasish?"Fx Networks Indian GIF by Reservation DogsGiphy
"Hitchhiking in Israel with my partner in the 90s. We were picked up by these Palestinian brothers."
"After a bit of chit chat the one in the passenger seat says 'you like hasish?' Pulls out a big joint which we all smoked. He then says 'my brother, he's a cop,' then pulls out his glock and starts waving it around. 'It's all good' he says. We had a good chat, many laughs and after half an hour they dropped us off. We realized we were only about 100 metres further down the road from where we were picked up."
How have so many of you survived this long? Luck.
In ScotlandSam Heughan Dancing GIF by Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and GrahamGiphy
"About six years ago I was hitchhiking in Scotland, heading north to do some wild camping."
"My second ride, I got picked up by a Scottish guy, I could barely understand what he was saying because of the accent. He was heading into Glencoe to climb a hill and camp at the top, so I joined him. Long story short I now live in Scotland, we've been married for 4 years, and I now understand 99% of what he says."
"My most memorable ride was also my shortest. A guy pulled over in the middle of nowhere Maine. He said our path's would diverge just over the bridge but he'd give us a ride anyway. So we got in for the 100 foot ride. After we got out, he leaned over to the open passenger side window and said in a gravelly voice, 'Life does not give a rat's @ss who lives it.' And he drove off."
"I once picked up a guy wearing a black leather trench coat in 100 degree weather. He was young and friendly, made good conversation, but he absolutely reeked. Finally I couldn't really stand it and was like, 'Man, I'm sorry, but I gotta tell you that you f**king stink.' And he goes, 'Oh haha yeah, it's probably my racoon,' then he opens his jacket and he has a freaking racoon pelt tacked to a piece of cardboard."
"Memorable more for the reason I was hitchhiking. I had driven a few hours away from where I live and payed my last past penny to get training for my desired career. I barely had enough money to attend, and couldn't afford a hotel, so I packed a sleeping bag, and everything I needed to sleep in the back of my van at the training center."
"It was mid spring and was supposed to be pretty warm in the day, and a tad nippy at night, but we ended up having a freak blizzard. The Van was absolutely freezing so I decided to turn it on to keep warm and hope I didn't use too much gas. As it turned out my battery had died in the cold and I had a 2-hour walk, in a blizzard, to get in to town to try and get help."
"By some miracle I spotted a truck about an hour in. The driver had arrived too early to drop off his load, and decided to park on this empty dirt road to rest for the night. He ended up giving me some food, and jumping my car. I managed to stay warm the rest of the night, and get home after the last of the training."
"Definitely one of the scariest moments of my life, because I don't think I would have made it town with all my toes if I'd had to walk another hour."
This is nice...Music Video Desert GIF by Red Bull RecordsGiphy
"Not a naughty story, sorry... but I got a lift once while hitching during my army days. Hopped into the car, slightly distracted. Noticed wood panelling, leather seats, etc. That bonnet going on for 2km in front of the car. Turned out to be a vintage Rolls-Royce."
This is why I fly. Y'all are crazy.