People Raised In Cults Reveal When They Knew Something Was Wrong
Cults have a very repetitive nature. They offer the promise of a family, play on people's sense of loneliness and isolation, then trap them. Very predatory behavior. There can be a turning point for members, a sense of wrongness, and once you feel it the urge to flee a cult can be overwhelming.
Reddit user, _SxG_, wanted previous cult members to share:
Odd, Repeated Branding
When I realized all the books at our home were from the same obscure publication house. And I wasn't allowed to read Harry Potter.
Pay To Be A Part Of Us
As soon as paying them was obligatory
Well, My Reasoning Is...Because...?Giphy
Calling it a cult might be a stretch, but I was raised in an incredibly religious household and went to a pretty intense evangelical church most days of the week. My parents put me in just about every club/ group the church offered. Between youth group, bible study, church services, young adults group, AWANA, etc. I was there pretty often. Anyway my parents didnt have enough money for a private christian school, so public school was really my only escape from my super christian environment.
Sophmore year of high school I was taking a government class and we did this exercise to see where people stood on certain issues where the teacher would say heres a topic, go to the left side if youre for this and right side if youre against it.
Then someone in the group would have to give some reasons why they thought that way. I stood alone on one side of the room on probably 3 out of 4 issues and when I had to defend my choice, there were just too many times when my only reasoning was " because god/my parents say so".
That gave me some pause to think about why / if i really believed those things at all. It didnt instantly shatter my faith but it was definitely the moment my opinions started to change and I began to analyze why/what I was being told. I realized I didnt actually believe/ care about most of the things I was standing for.
Target The Odd One Out
When the only non-baptised kid in my school appeared.
I didn't even know baptism was not compulsory in the entire world or that other religions and no religion at all were things that existed. Also, he was so relentlessly and violently bullied that he had to leave school.
Suddenly, No One Else Is Like You
My mother was an avid follower of Niscience. She made my sister and I attend the meetings for Niscience. Part of the meetings was that you used your own Niscience name (my sister thought of it as a second middle name) and during certain prayers you had to use proper arm motions to salute the particular direction. I was 8 when I realized no one else had a different church name or did prayers with specified motions. I stopped going to the meetings, told my mom and sister it was a cult. Within a month they both stopped going as well, although my mom prayed and practiced daily at an alter in her bedroom for another couple of years before quitting.
I Still Can't Hear...
I'm Pentecostal still, (NOT APOSTOLIC PENTECOSTAL) but the UPCI one is I consider a cult. UPCI guy was praying for me to remove the "demons" from my head that were causing a ringing and loud blaring in my ears. I would hear a constant "WOOSH" and experience moments of deafness. He kept saying, "They're going. They're gone. You'll feel it soon."
I was like OK. Nothing happened. I got prayer. I should be fixed. Then for weeks I kept praying that God would "remove the demons." Then I had a dream that I was freaking out about demons and the blaring was incredibly loud my parents were yelling at me something about "It's Your BRAIN. It's medical."
Well, I woke up and realized that I actually had just started taking a new form of birth control for my skin called Tri-Sprintec, which sounds like something out of Black Mirror, and so I threw it out and I was fine again. About a week later the ringing and temporary deafness stopped and I was able to go back to ordinary life.
My grandmother was part of UPCI as well. They refused to baptize her because she was wearing earrings. (Totally unbiblical.) I should have noticed something back then.
You Could Say Anything, So Long As It's Okay For Me
When the leader, whom claimed to be freedom of speech, started suing people who said stuff he didn't like.
Pay To Keep Us Going To Keep Us Helping You
When the pastor talked like a stereotypical Kickstarter campaign to fund the church (which was not poor to begin with), with obscenely high goals expected of middle class at best people.
All You Need To Do is Look Around
whenever I figured out that my friends at my school were having birthdays, and Christmas, and halloween, and how I wasn't allowed to go my friends house... because my parents didn't want me to see a functioning normal life. (Grew up in a cult-like jehovas witness religion) got out of it around 11. Now 15.
My parents and their cult maintained that stars could no longer be born because 'god was done creating' - I'd just done some stuff about stellar formation in school. Mentioned it in passing, and the denial was astounding.
"They are lying to pull you away from Jehovah" (what they call god). Typical.
I said "A new star is born every 10 minutes or so, and some of them are visible through a telescope. You can look at it for yourself." - for which I was accused of blasphemy. It was not a pleasant experience.
When you choose to silence someone instead of looking at the evidence they have, you are only showing how much you fear what they have to say. Their desperation to avoid hearing undeniable science was the tip I should have seen years earlier.
Have No Other Plans
I don't know if you can call them a cult, but a lot of people I talk to about my childhood compare it to one. I don't know if I'm biased because I was raised in it or not.
I realized something was wrong when I was about 12 and I was being told that my whole life was gonna be get married, have kids, be a housewife. Oh and if you can do that by 19, great. I've always been creative, mainly writing stories, and they started taking that away. My whole purpose was to make babies and serve a husband. I wasn't allowed school after 5th grade and I wasn't allowed contact with the outside world.
It was rough. I'm out now, though! And if you're reading this and you think you need to escape from something like this, whoever you are, message me. I escaped August of last year. It took me 5 years, but I did it. You can too.
Oh there was little doubts all the way. But I guess I found it most odd that full grown adults couldn't answer simple questions. "Why does God kill babies" "why did god hate black people until society changed their mind" "if God is humble why do we praise him" ect. Me and my friends were like 12 or 13. We would constantly ask questions like these and never got an answer that wasn't "God works in mysterious ways" "or you should have faith. I was Mormon. It's straight up a cult. The members are so brain washed they can't even see it. Looking back it's all so f-cking creepy.
I'm Not Going To Be Destroyed?
When I smoked weed for the first time and realized nothing was wrong with it. I eventually went down the rabbit hole and read as much as I could about mormon church history. I know the Mormon church isn't as culty as many other "religions," but it does at least have many cultish aspects to it.
Thank You, Spider-Man
When I remembered that as a younger child I had seen an episode of the 90's Spider-man cartoon. There was a scene where a culty organization had members calling each other "brother" and "sister". At the time I thought I never wanted to be in something like that. Fast forward a decade and there I was in an organization exactly like that.
Other honorable mentions were when I attempted to read the bible the first time and things didn't add up, and when I saw a few documentaries about cults and how creepily they fit to my situation.
Listen Up: Everyone Else Is Different
Where do I even start?
I guess the whole not speaking in tongues make me a sinner, regardless of any other factors.
That if I have any depressive thoughts I must be possessed by a demon.
That any impure thought I had meant I was going to hell and needed to drop to my knees and ask for forgiveness
Any other of denomination of Christianity was going to hell specially those Methodist and Catholics.
Was not allowed to have friends because they might bring some kind of sin into my life.
And Then She...
When I heard the story of how my mom was refused a blood transfusion while giving birth to me and she died......
The Math Doesn't Check Out
Raised JW. I'm not going to split hairs over whether it's a cult or not, but it's definitely has cultish elements and could be considered a high-control group (which you could argue is just a PC term for cult.) For context, they teach that the "Last Days" began in 1914 and that Armageddon would come before that 1914 "generation" died out. The problem here is obvious. Everyone alive in 1914 is dead. Maybe there are a few stragglers, but definitely not a generation.
The answer to this problem, in their eyes, was to revise the term generation to, in this context, include two overlapping "groups." Now not only where the people alive in 1914 part of that generation, but so are the people who where alive when that first "group" was alive. Essentially, you could be born in 1990 and by their new definition be apart of the 1914 generation.
When they introduced that teaching, I didn't believe it. It's plainly ridiculous. Slowly I began to reexamine other things I was taught as a child, and eventually I realized how monsterous much of what they teach is, such as disfellowshipping and prohibiting blood transfusions.
Something That Stays With You Forever
I was raised IFB from age 9 to 18. In the summer of 2003, my parents let my sister and I the freedom to walk to the library together and get books. My sister and I dominated that kids reading contest. She read Harry Potter and I was reading Stephen King. One day during that summer, my sister, mother and I go visit another sister a few hours away. On the way home, my mom gets a call and she goes white as a sheet. I remember seeing her eyes in the rearview saying "Sarah, how could you!"
We both were afraid. The life most children in the IFB have is similar to prison where your property and space gets flip searches on a regular basis. My dad was searching her room and found the book. He beat the sh-t out of her, took her down to the library, where he berated the librarians for allowing her to check out the book without calling for permission. He said "Dont you know who I am and how this makes me look!" I wasnt caught. But I was scared enough to return my books. I was still to afraid to read Harry Potter until 2012.
Being horny can lead to some questionable decision-making.
Something happens to the brain when blood is flowing to other regions of the body.
They should discuss this in health class.
It's perfectly normal, but we have to learn how to deal.
Redditor Sir_Baconstrips wanted to see who was willing to discuss actions made while randy, so they asked:
"What's the biggest mistake you've made because you were horny?"
I can't tell you mine, because my mom might read this. But Reddit was more than happy to share.
History HelpHide Reaction GIF by florGiphy
"I browsed porn and then I asked my mom how to delete the history."
What was that?
"Probably my most embarrassing moment. Was on my work computer (family business so nothing locked) and it was a super slow day and I was alone. Anyways was doing a classic 3 min facebook check and scrolled down for a second and saw the news post about Adriana Chechik injuring her back in a foam pool. Figured top comments on that would be golden. Read one funny one that said 'her and her scene with [performer I can’t remember] is still goat.'"
"Never heard of said performer so I got curious and google her. Of course photos never do justice, had to see the performance ya know? So I clicked a random video, quick glance and thought 'meh' and was about to close the tab before I noticed my mouse twitch on the screen… What was that? No.. that wasn’t mouse error, that was someone… then within seconds I realized the accountant who taps in remotely to finish work came in at that exact moment that I had a browser open for less than 60 sec."
"The worst wart was I could have sworn I had all those remote services off, but she tried to tap in for over an hour and must of did something to wake splashtop (probably had it on some type of standby mode). She even called earlier but I saw a random number and was speaking with a client and ignored it."
"Anyways, decision time, do I call her and play it off as nothing or apologize? Naturally as a fearful 28 year old I play off as nothing. I call, no answer… then a few minutes later i get the call back and her words after exchanging 'hellos … are you finished with whatever you were doing…' still burns me."
"Let my (ex) boyfriend dry-hump me for an hour on a bench outside after summer school."
"The bad news: this bench behind our school was also beside a swimming pool. Where parents were taking their children for swim lessons. Eventually a staff member came out and yelled at us for being inappropriate."
"I still have shame flashbacks today, over 10 years later."
"I had a one night stand with a guy who was, in retrospect, seriously self-conscious about his penis size and kept going on about how if it was on the small size it was just because he has to have sex with it a few times and it would gradually get bigger until it was it’s 'true' size. I really didn’t care."
"But then to make himself feel better he turned it around and started talking about how big and wide my vagina was but kept reassuring me that it was ok because he liked the challenge. I wish I had snapped my legs shut and given him the boot right then and there."
In San DiegoNo Money Bangladeshi GIF by GifGariGiphy
"Lost my entire tax refund and got my phone stolen at a strip club in San Diego."
Always check your pockets on the way out.
The RewardHappy We Did It GIF by StoryfulGiphy
"Hooked up with a girl at a party. Just kind of bored, drunk, and horny. Having to go to the doctor for a case of pubic lice was my reward for poor self-control."
"I got my first serious gf in high school. She was two grades below me. So when I finished third year and moved 500 km south we was still a couple. I was so in love (and most of all horny) I commuted every. Single. Weekend. And I was poor. So I took the bus to the nearest station after school. Waited for the long distance bus for 4-5 hours."
"Went to a larger city to hitchhike my way there. I was there Friday night or Saturday morning. Locked ourselves in her bedroom and went at it until Sunday morning. I made my way down to school again and went to class straight from the bus Monday morning. This went on for almost a year…"
I'm OutChris Pratt Running GIF by Parks and RecreationGiphy
"Was trying to get with a girl in college. We were texting and I asked her what she was up to, she said she was training for a marathon and going to the gym and asked if I wanted to come."
"I ended up running 9 miles before I tagged out. So now I know how far I'd go to have sex it's up to 9 miles."
Lord the things people will do when slightly turned on.
Why in this day and age are people still taking nudie pics without triple-checking the recipient?
Why take the gamble?
And half of the time we hit send, mistakes get made.
One minute you're feeling sexy, the next minute grandpa is having a stroke.
Redditor Im_A_Freakin_Joke wanted to hear about the times people have sent photos to the family that left everyone SHOOK, so they asked:
"Redditors who accidental sent a family member a nude, what was the aftermath?"
I have done many things, but I never allow a snapshot.
GrossVacuuming Clean Up GIF by MashedGiphy
"'You should clean your room before you take that.'"
"I meant to send it to someone on WhatsApp that I was dating at the time and didn’t realize I accidentally sent it to my brother, their names were next to each other in my chat list and I chose the wrong one. I frantically called my sister in law and told her what happened and begged her to go into his phone and delete the message with the photo."
"This is before WhatsApp added the functionality to delete your own messages. She was so sweet and understanding and deleted the message. I was so embarrassed. To this day she has kept my secret, this happened five years ago."
"For context, my mom had some life-threatening medical issues when I was a kid, so there were a few month+ long periods where we rarely saw her. One night, I got a text from her that says 'send me a pic of u in bed."
"I thought she wanted a picture of me and my dog snuggling, as he slept with me and was the cutest sleeper. I usually sent her one every few days, even when she was home. It also doubled as her way to make sure I was following my bedtime."
"I was taking the picture, and I get a follow-up 'ignore that' text. At the same time, my dad opens my door so hard the hinges break. He says 'you get a text from mama?' I say yeah, and he says, 'it wasn't meant for you.' And leaves. I felt weird about it for days, even though it was years before I figured it out."
Leave it there...
"I happened to live across the street at the time and a dirty message meant for my now wife was sent to my mother! Luckily for me my mom is notorious for ignoring her phone so I sprinted across the street and said 'hey where is your phone' she told me it was on her desk so I calmly walked over unlocked it and deleted the message. In response to the look of confusion I told her 'deleted a message that was meant for now wife...' And left it at that."
AHHHH!!!! NO!Awkward Episode 1 GIF by HeelsGiphy
"One time my dad accidentally texted me 'sex if the Patriots win' and I still don’t believe I have recovered."
Mom and dad have their own lives.
DisconnectGIF by NETFLIXGiphy
"I didn't accidentally send a nude, but my phone did auto upload ALL my pictures when I connected it to my mom's computer. I'm no longer allowed to connect hardware to my mom's computer."
"I gave my sister my old Iphone (I’m 25, she’s 22). She didn’t realize that her photos were uploading to my cloud and when I went to send a photo to a coworker, at work mind you, I see her pasty a**. I immediately text her and was like STOP TAKING PHOTOS. She called me and asked if I was okay and I told her what was happening. She responded with 'My a** look good though,' and I died laughing. Love my sis, but Christ."
"I didn’t sent a nude. I was in the shower, about age 15, and I heard the phone ring. My best friend had a habit of calling while I was showering. So, I bolted out naked as the day I was born to grab the phone before she hung up. I didn’t realize pretty much my entire dad’s side of the family was visiting my terminally ill mother."
"They saw it all. My aunt jokingly said, 'Well, dang, I didn’t know there was gonna be a show.' And someone said, 'we were just joking when we said you’d grow up to be a stripper.' I had to do a walk of shame back to the bathroom as well."
"It was laughed off and it hasn’t been brought up since."
Let me see...
"Sent a pic of my boobs to my mom. Managed to convince her I was trying to take a pic of what I thought was a lump but ended up dropping my phone and sent it while fumbling. Which has happened before. But then she made me show her where I thought the lump was so that was very awkward."
Recover Modedelete black and white GIFGiphy
"I once sent a pic to a GF in college when we were home for break… only I searched her contact by last name and accidentally sent it to her mom!"
"Thankfully it was late and she was able to sneak into her parents’ room and delete it before they saw."
What have we learned?
At the very least, triple-check who you are sending it to one whichever app you use for that sort of thing.
There is so much to learn in the world, it's impossible for one person to know absolutely everything there is to know.
But there are certain things, like common phrases and idioms, that everyone seems to use that might be a little embarrassing to not understand until later in life.
Redditor Curious-2577 asked:
"What's something you learned 'embarrassingly late' in life?"
"My sister was in her fifties when she found out the meaning of, 'You have an addictive personality.'"
"She thought after all these years of therapy that it meant that people were addicted to her personality."
"We laughed hysterically when we talked about this (in a very sad way)."
"I thought that horses had toes until I was 22. I thought the hoof was a 'horseshoe' and the toes were tucked inside."
"How did I learn how wrong I was, you ask?"
"I was walking past a cavalry museum and saw a horse statue and loudly remarked, 'It must hurt so bad when they fold a horse’s toes to put them into the shoe!'"
"Dozens of horse enthusiasts turned and looked at me with wild bewilderment in their eyes."
"The saying is, in fact, 'Nip it in the bud' and not 'Nip it in the butt.'"
"A few months ago, two of my colleagues both handed in their notice at around the same time."
"I kept reading/hearing the sentence, 'They’re both moving on to pastures new’ being thrown about the office in the weeks leading up to them leaving, and I hadn’t heard this phrase before and thought that was the name of the rival company that they were going to, like, 'Pastures New.'"
"I thought it was weird that nobody was talking about how they were both leaving for the same company."
"I was in the car with one of the two people who were leaving and said, 'So where is it that you and X are going to be working? Is it...’"
"And just before I could embarrass myself and say ‘Pastures New,' they interrupted me and said they’re not going to the same place and asked me where I had heard that."
"I think at that moment, I realized I was stupid and didn’t mention it again."
"I think I was in college when I realized that Mario and Luigi are plumbers. I thought they just went and up down these tubes just because that was the theme of the game."
"That Bonsai are not a species of tree, but a way to grow them. Any tree can be a bonsai."
Houston, We Have a Problem
"Houston is not the name of the guy astronauts talk to."
"I learned that pork and beans are not called 'cowboy beans.' I was 18 and asked a grocery store clerk to help me find the 'cowboy beans.'"
"We were looking everywhere and I was getting frustrated because I know that every store carries these beans. After a while, I picked up a pork and beans can with a picture and said, 'See, they look just like this!'"
"He said, 'You mean pork and beans?'"
"Then I realized that my mom called them that so that I would eat them."
"The look of disappointment from that grocery store clerk haunts me to this day."
"Let me tell you about how I thought you were awarded a 'Pullet Surprise.'"
Rum and Coke
"Not too late in life, but I thought my parents were making 'Roman Cokes' until I went to college."
"Which, I think is a much better name for the drink (Rum and Coke) anyway."
Oh No, Not Acoma!
"That a coma was 'A' coma. Until I was probably 19 or so, I thought it was 'acoma.'"
"I thought you fell into acoma."
It Must Have Been a One-Way Trip
"My parents were divorced the whole time and my mom was not, in fact, taking a vacation, lmao (laughing my a** off)."
"I live near the Hospital for Joint Diseases… when I was a kid, I thought was a special hospital for people who had two or more different diseases at the same time."
"Moving cross-country, driving east to west, and crossing from Idaho to Oregon, I noticed huge fields with signs for the Ore-Ida Potato company."
"So I was in my early 20s when I figured out Ore-Ida wasn’t just a brand name but was because their potatoes came from Oregon and Idaho."
"When I was really young, my sister told me she threw her guts up. So I was really afraid of vomiting my entire insides up for years."
Some of these really had us laughing as we realized the revelations some of these Redditors were having.
But when we're really honest with ourselves, we probably didn't figure out some of these until later, too.
While starting a family and having children is a goal that many people have, some do not realize that it's not easy, fun, and loving one-hundred percent of the time. Rather, it's expensive, exhausting, and hard, though it might be worth it in the end.
With this in mind, people shared what they felt were the hardest hurdles of their parenting.
Redditor ApprehensiveShock655 asked:
"What's the worst part of having a child?"
Fear of Not Doing Enough
"The constant anxiety that you’re doing enough to shape them to make good choices, a good life, be a good person and for them to have the life they deserve."
Like the Energizer Bunny
"It's incessant. It never stops. You never get a day off."
"Going from having two days per week to relax and do whatever to literally never having a moment free from responsibility."
No Break In Sight
"I’ve always wanted kids and still do, but this is the only thing that has come close to giving me pause."
"Both my siblings have young kids and I cannot get over how CONSTANT it is."
"From the second the kids wake up to when they finally shut their eyes, it’s non-stop. Then they get maybe an hour or two to themselves, which is mostly spent tidying up, etc., before the nighttime stuff starts with the baby crying, the toddler coming into bed, nightmares, etc."
"It requires years of not getting a full night's rest. You can never just go out whenever you want. No sleeping in, even on weekends because someone has to be up with them at 6 AM."
"Raising human children is an insane task."
Mom's Body After Baby and Dad Bods
"The weight gain is the worst! During the pregnancy, I gained 35 pounds. My belly has stretch marks. My boobs are all saggy."
"And it’s not even fair because my wife only gained like 15."
The Meal Planning
"Coming up with three meals to eat per day EVERY DAY stresses me out so bad."
"This sounds like such a small thing, but it really wears on you over time. You can’t just make something for yourself or something you and your spouse feel like eating: You have to constantly be thinking about if the kid is hungry and what they might be willing to eat."
Keeping Them Safe
"When people ask me this I say, 'do you know those video games where you have to escort a character to a destination without them being attacked?' That's parenting. Those missions are a pain in the a**."
Seriously, Keep Them Safe
"Having to deal with their total lack of self-preservation. They are creative and come up with all kinds of ways to try and kill themselves. Keeping ahead of the game is exhausting."
"They’re just always there. On you, behind you, in front of you, just a little speed bump impeding every task."
Letting Them Live Their Life Their Way
"Having a kid is like having a little piece of your heart running around in the world. When they're sick or get disappointed or just feel sad, it's worse than having it happen to you."
"Yet at the same time, you need to let your kids work through those things to learn to handle them. If you give into the worry and try to shield them from everything, you risk creating harmful co-dependence."
"So it's a constant struggle. But worth it!"
What Is "Sleep" Again?
"I'm only nine years in, but so far, it's been the sleep deprivation. Hands down."
And What Are These "Sick Days" You Speak Of?
"Having to take care of a sick child when you are also sick. For me that has been the most challenging part so far."
Another Full-Time Job
"It's like taking a second job that lasts 18+ years with a 24/7 schedule with no holidays or sick days."
"…And no second paycheck. It's actually like YOU are paying your second salary instead of getting one."
"The loss of freedom. I can't just... go somewhere. Even with older kids, there's so much planning and thinking and getting ready."
"I miss being able to just decide to go somewhere, and go there."
The Time Flies
"The best advice I got was from an ancient hospital security guard in an elevator. 'The days are long, the years are short, cherish them while you can.'"
"The phrase I hate is, 'You don't know it, but one day you pick your kid up for the last time.'"
There are all kinds of troubles that come from being a parent, many of which people don't necessarily think about until they already have a baby in the house.
But reassuringly, many people in the subReddit pointed out that no matter how hard some of these hurdles are to get over, it's still worth it in the end, and it goes by far too fast.