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.
As much as academic scholars are held in high esteem for their higher education, so should those who have learned and applied valuable knowledge simply just by living.
Those with street cred have just as much of an advantage at succeeding in life, thanks to specific experiences that can't be taught in a classroom.
Curious to hear examples of what those might entail, Redditor WiSe_genX asked:
"What can you learn in 1 minute that will be useful for the rest of your life?"
Class is now in session.
A diploma isn't a requirement for being able to apply these life-saving facts.
"Maybe not useful 'the rest' but very much so when it is"
Worth A Try
"CPR: Lay person flat on their back on a hard surface, place your hands one on top of the other with arms straight, compress chest down to hell to the beat of 'Stayin Alive,' don't be afraid to crack ribs."
"Edit: Oh, and remember that if someone needs CPR, they're dead. You are working on a corpse. If they don't survive, it's because most people can't wake the dead with their bare hands. Talk to someone if you have to, but don't beat yourself up over it."
Take The Side Exit
"If you're caught in a riptide, swim parallel to the shore to escape it."
It's Easy To Lose Sight Over This
"Always wear some type of eye protection when dealing with anything that can cause eye damage. From connecting battery jumper cables to yardwork and everything in between."
"Protect your eyes. You only have two of them."
"Always unplug/remove the battery from your power tools before performing any kind of maintenance."
The kitchen can be a danger zone unless you're armed with these very simple bits of wisdom.
"A wet oven mitt is worse than useless."
Get A Grip
"A falling knife has no handle. Can be very useful in preventing kitchen emergencies."
"Learn how to operate a fire extinguisher. Many people don't bother but so many lives are saved and so many fires are stopped by them. It takes a minute and can save your life, as mine was saved when my mother put out a house fire with one. Also always keep some in your house and make sure you know where they're located."
Let It Fall
"Also hot things. I pull out some weighty dishes out of our 550°C furnace at work and every time before I pull them out I repeat over and over in my head 'Don't catch it if it falls. Don't catch it if it falls.' I also usually put my free hand in my back pocket or behind my back."
It doesn't take long to listen and apply these helpful instructions.
First, We Assess
"Pause and think before you respond."
Don't Be Impulsive
"Don’t put it down, put it away."
Make It Easier To Get Assistance
"How to properly as ask for tech support - 'Hi, this is [name]. I have a problem with [software/hardware name (to the best of your knowledge)]. I'm trying to [thing you're trying to do] and the result is [result] instead of [expected]. It started at [rough time frame] after [something significant you've done beforehand].'"
"How to do it badly: 'My keyboard doesn't work.'"
"How to do it better: 'Hi, I'm Noy. I have a problem with my laptop's keyboard. The L key no longer functions. It started yesterday after I spilled coffee on it.'"
"Your IT department thanks you."
There is much value in the lessons shared here that can change your life or those of others.
Now that plenty of helpful information was shared here, the next time you're about to be swallowed by a riptide, swipe left!
We all pride ourselves in knowing random bits of trivia.
While "useless knowledge" is the common parlance for these little fun facts we, often randomly, know, that seems an unfair label.
After all, who knows when a subject comes up in conversation, and you might be the only one who can answer a group question.
All thanks to the fact that you know a random piece of knowledge almost no one else on Earth seems to know.
Redditor Just_Free_Tea7 was curious to learn some of these obscure pieces of trivia, leading them to ask:
"What is a fact that you think barely anyone else knows?"
Don't be fooled by their cuteness
"The nuke stockpile in Washington State is guarded by trained dolphins that seek out and clamp a balloon on unfamiliar divers."- Gothsalts
A possible STD symptom no one mentions.
"Boanthropy is a psychological disorder in which a person believes they are a cow and try to live their life as one."
"Medical explanations suggest late-stage syphilis as one of the causes?"
You mean, that wasn't flipper's real voice?
"The sound used for a dolphin in nearly every single tv and movie is actually the same Kookaburra bird recording."- HFXmerEpisode 1 Hello GIF by The SimpsonsGiphy
You always wonder what goes through their minds...
"Animals and other creatures each perceive time in different ways based on their Critical flicker frequency which is almost like their minds refresh rate."
"Dogs, for example, perceive time as being slower than humans do, and it's perceived as a little faster by cats."- TwilightArcade
Well that's disturbing...
"No one has found a centipede with exactly 100 legs, because all centipedes discovered have an odd number of pairs of legs."
"They have found centipedes with 98,49 pairs, and 102, 51 pairs, but never exactly 100."- ZagreusD
If you take a closer look...
"Raindrops don’t fall in the drip shape popularly conveyed. "
"They fall in the shape of tiny parachutes or hamburger buns."- CBGvilleStop Motion Water GIF by TarverGiphy
Two iconic roles
"The girl who voiced Lilo in 'Lilo and Stitch' also played Samara in 'The Ring', both released in the same year, 2002."- ThrowRARAw
Um... how is this not better known...
"Before toilet paper was invented, the people of the USA used corn cobs."- Impossible_Cicada_75
"..I don't want to live on the moon..."
"Not sure how many people know this, but the moon has a sort of atmosphere."
"However, it is so thin that it's considered to be an exosphere."- JustAnotherAviatrixblack and white moon GIFGiphy
They'r contributions did not go unnoticed
"More pigeons have war medals than horses, dogs or mules."- Global-Program-437
It's easy to laugh off most of this information, as our lives might not be changed one way or the other for knowing it.
But we should always be open to learning something new.
And hey, if we ever find ourselves stuck with scratchy toilet paper, we can at least be grateful it isn't a corn cob.
The world is an ever changing place.
In addition to continuing advancements in technology, human behavior also continues to evolve.
As a result, what might have seemed "normal" 50 years ago might seem far-fetched today, while things which we today consider "normal" might never have even crossed the mind of anyone back then.
Making everything we consider "normal" among the many things in this world that continues to evolve at a rapid pace.
Redditor Primary_Berry_3560 was curious to hear what "normal" everyday things were anything but normal fifty years ago, leading them to ask:
"What is normal now but wasn’t normal 50 years ago (1972)?"
We could just leave whenever we wanted to!
"Knowing where your kids are 100% of the time."- bradland
We're all wired up today!
"No one had a computer in their house in 1972."- tcharp01
"Car seats for children."
"And most of the time we sat in the back seat with no seat belts available."- Rosemoorstreet
"There were no sensors- seatbelt were just shoved out of the way."
"Carding for cigarettes."
"Machines were everywhere for anyone to use."- factchecker8515buckle up crash test dummies GIF by ADWEEKGiphy
In the old days, we had one chance!
"Watching an entire TV series at a time that's convenient for you."
"VCR's weren't even a thing 50 years ago, so if your favorite show was on Wednesday at 8PM, you were either at home to watch it or you missed out on it forever."- DeathSpiral321
Music on demand!
"Listening to the song you want to where you want to, rather than whatever is playing wherever you are."- jfincher42Giphy
Being beholden to a landline!
"I am amazed to think about how disconnected we were."
"I could wake up on a Saturday morning and start calling friends."
"It was possible that not a single one picked up the phone and that was that."
"I would be on my own unless I waited a few hours and tried again."
"Also, in my area, the adults in the house almost always answered the phone so you had to get through them to your friends."
“'Hello, is Johnny home?'”
"'Hi this is his mother, what do you want?'”
“'I was wooooondering if he could come out to play'.”
“'Well he’s doing homework right now but I’ll tell him you called'.”
"As a kid, our times were divided between when we were 100% under adult control, which was when we were physically in their presence, and when we were free which was all other time."- Mrmidhoratio
"Asking 'Where are you?' when someone answers their phone."- brontosproximoShocked Phone Call GIFGiphy
No wonder they were all so tan...
"Regularly wearing sunscreen."- dixius99
It's amazing to see how much the world has changed in such a relatively short amount of time.
Leaving us to wonder what things will be "normal" 50 years from now, which today the very thought of would make us burst out laughing.
Don't mess with the ocean.
Why is that a hard rule for some?
It's like people can't help themselves.
Though it is vast and beautiful, the ocean takes life every day.
RedditorDankestKush420wanted to hear from the people who have survived the darkness of the sea.
"Deep sea divers, what are your horror stories?"
I almost drowned from a small but wave on the Florida coast. So a deep dive is a lifelong HELL NO for me. But go ahead... tell us some stories.
Poof. Gone.GIF by VPROGiphy
"I was watching a documentary about saturation divers the other day. Absolutely scary stuff. They live in a dome under the sea for several days/weeks so they don't have to decompress every day."
"There was this interview where one diver told a story about a colleague just vanishing. He was right behind him at one moment and then was gone in the next. No signs of an accident on the safety line, no sounds, no light signals, he was just gone."
"I used to work at a dive shop, a regular customer of mine told me on one of his deep cave dives at around 300 feet his main light imploded, and both of his backup flashlights failed. While this happened he also lost his guide line (read: life line back to the surface)."
"He was in a large room, so he dropped a reel with line on it and swam back and forth basically fishing for the guide line. He eventually hooked it and located it, but then had to make a decision which way to follow the line. The correct choice would lead him to safety, while the wrong choice would lead him deeper into the cave system. He made his choice and slowly followed the line out."
"He reached his first spare air tank that he staged and knew he chose the right direction. He had a long wait at each of his staged decompression tanks. It took him, from what I recall, around 7 hours to properly decompress and make it back out of the cave, all while not being able to see a damn thing."
"I went on a group dive trip with someone who was pretty experienced, and he was telling us a bunch of stories about his wreck dive down to an old WWII-era Japanese warship sunken in the Pacific. One somewhat morbid but funny story was when his group went into the ship and saw several pairs of shoes strewn about, lying perfectly side-by-side."
"After they all surfaced later, one girl in the group was like, 'Why did they leave their shoes behind like that?' and everyone else just looked at each other like, 'Oh man... who's gonna tell her?' Anyway, the real horror story is about a father and son duo who had decided to go on this trip as a bonding experience. So the thing to note about WWII shipwrecks is that after over half a century, they're pretty much rusted to oblivion."
"One bad kick will effectively disintegrate a perfectly-preserved captain's log, just from the motion of the water. Well, the duo was exploring the inside of the ship, and suddenly someone hears a loud CLANG! The father and son had wandered into an enclosed room, and the door had slammed shut with both of them inside."
"At that point, the guy telling the story paused, and someone else in the group was like, 'Wait, so what happened to them?' And the guy was like, 'What the hell do you mean, man? They got trapped and f**king died!' And in that moment, I decided f**k that s**t - I am never, ever diving down to go check out the inside an old WWII warship lmao."
"For as long as I been around the internet 1 diver story stuck with me. Not because of paranormal or unexplainable events. This person's story said they were deep diving with their father and literally saw a Lovecraftian size creature envelope his father ahead. After all was said and done at the surface he come to find out later his schizophrenia had come to while he was deep sea diving. I couldn't imagine seeing something your brain was telling you was real. Especially in that setting."
VortexJoe Biden Reaction GIF by GIPHY NewsGiphy
"One time when I was on a diving boat with some friends, one of the guys on there told about a story about how he used to be an underwater welder, and one time he and some other guys witnessed someone getting sucked through a hole the size of a tic tac."
Why do people even go that far down?
Everywheremarine life wildlife GIF by KQEDScienceGiphy
"I’m by no means a deep sea diver, but I am a licensed diver, sea urchins are massive and everywhere, like you really don’t expect their size and how common they are."
"Did a 60M/200ft dive on a wreck in a shipping channel. The dive boat skipper should call up the harbour master and check if there are any ships scheduled, and if there are not good to dive. Anyway did the dive. 25 mins bottom time so a fair amount of deco."
"During the 12M deco stop we could hear the rumble of a very very very large engine. Hmmm. Kept getting louder. And louder. And louder. During the 9M stop it got REALLY loud we looked at each other, gave two thumbs down and bolted back down to 18M and just hung there figuratively shi**ing our drysuits until it got quieter after a few minutes."
"We then resumed our deco. A small pod of dolphins came in to have a gander at us which was cool. A big f**k off panamax sort-a-size ship had come within 100M of our deco buoy. Never dived off that boat again."
Not sure if anyone has mentioned it, but the [Byford Dolphin Diving Bell Accident] (https://www.reddit.com/r/CatastrophicFailure/comments/4x1a2c/comment/d6blno6/) is pretty gruesome and scary. Basically, when deep see divers were returning to the surface, they were in a decompression chamber at a very high pressure."
"And there was a catastrophic failure of the decompression room that meant the air depressurized several atmospheres almost instantaneously and killed a couple divers by literally exploding them from the pressure release. Not sure what could be more of a gruesome tale than that."
"Not my story but still wanted to share: it's the story of a diver who was hired to remove and bring back bodies from a bridge that collapsed into semi deep water with numerous cars on it. Some people made it out of their cars and some didn't. But the worst thing that he saw was the bodies of children still stuck in the cars while the parents saved their own lives. The thought of going into murky water to essentially fish up corpses that are like a day old chills me every time I think about it."
Nope!Not Gonna Happen No Way GIF by FaZe ClanGiphy
"I went diving to a wreck around 200ft down, and I heard this terrifying roar and saw some creature almost twice the size of a blue whale. Noped right outta there as soon as I saw that, I'm not going there again, I'll stay in my lifepod."
Well that is all I need to hear. I'll stay on dry land, thank you.