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People Raised In Cults Reveal When They Knew Something Was Wrong

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:

Redditors who were raised in a cult, when was the first time you realised something was wrong?

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...?


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.


Preventing Higher Learning


When they said I couldn't go to college


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.


But, Science?

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.


Unanswerable Questions

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.


People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.