This is a very personal test which is completely anonymous. You will not be required to provide any information as to your identity. Your privacy is respected. No-one but you will know the results at the end. It is your life and you get to choose your path, or you can follow a man/woman and let him/her choose it for you. So, you’ve nothing to lose. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself as you answer these 10 questions. At the end of it, you will have further options that you might want to explore.
Cults begin or evolve with a charismatic leader who claims supreme knowledge. These leaders are able to influence their followers to believe their perspectives and obey their dictates.1. Is your leader the ultimate authority of your group?
Most cult leaders give themselves impressive made-up names or titles which elevate their status to their followers. They may call themselves the man of God, pastor, prophet, messiah, messenger, enlightened teacher, guru, apostle etc...2: Does your leader have impressive, made-up names or titles?
Cult leaders convince members to forfeit their critical thinking ability in return for a sense of belonging, authority, and purpose. To members, it doesn’t matter what the evidence or logic may suggest, the leader is always right, and their misdeeds are always justified. Criticism of the leader is forbidden.3: Is your leader always right and therefore you are not allowed to criticise him/her, even if the criticism is true?
Cults generally only allow their members to study their organisation through approved sources. They view critical thinking as an infectious disease and every effort is made to suppress it. Doubting members are encouraged to isolate themselves from outside influences and focus solely on the doctrine of the cult. People who contradict the group are viewed as persecutors and are often given labels like “anti,” “apostate,” or “rival” Members are discouraged from consuming any material that is critical of the group.4: Are members of your group discouraged from reading anything that is critical of the group?
Because religious cults consider themselves the ultimate authority on truth, the members can't imagine anybody leaving the group with their integrity intact. Thus, they have to perpetuate a false narrative that former members were deceived, backslidden, demonic, bitter, evil, or fallen away etc. 5: As far as your group is concerned, would they say that there is no legitimate reason to leave them?
Does your group insist that the end of the world is near? Cults position themselves as the sole refuge from an evil outside world that is intent on their destruction. Cults thrive on conspiracy theories, catastrophic thinking, and persecution complexes. In an effort to draw in more paying members, cults are often very aggressive in their recruitment efforts which are usually justified as “saving” people from the evil world. Those who reject the cult’s message are condemned, unelected, damned, evil, goats, the great unwashed etc...6: Is your group suspicious about the outside world?
Cults all believe they are ‘right.’ They are the ‘right’ group with the ‘right’ doctrines, the ‘right’ leader, the ‘right’ interpretation of their holy book and their leader is ‘right’ in dictating what laws and rules they are to obey.7: Does your group believe that they are the ‘right’ religion/church/group/ones, or only ones, who have ‘right’ teaching/doctrine?
Cults exercise control over their followers. The leader determines the rules/laws and expects to be obeyed or else there are consequences. Rules/laws can include what you can’t wear, where you can’t live, who you can’t eat with, who you can’t marry, what job you can’t do, who you can’t keep company with, what education you can’t receive, what your stance is to those who have left the group, and many more.8: Are there any of the above such rules/laws in your group?
Emotional Separation. Cults are not happy when members leave, primarily, because they think there is never a legitimate reason to leave. Therefore, those who leave are treated negatively. Remaining members, even family members, distance themselves emotionally often shunning and ostracising ex-members. They now see them as unclean, evil, deceived, apostate, an opposer, etc.9: If you were to leave your religious group, would remaining members, even family members separate themselves from you whereby there would be any emotional detachment?
Physical Separation.Cults separate families. This is how it works. A member of a family leaves. The cult now separates the remaining family members with laws/rules. These dictate they can now no longer have ‘normal family life’ with that member who has left. For example:They are no longer allowed to freely eat and drink with them. They are no longer allowed to stay or live with them. They are no longer allowed to go on holiday with them.They are no longer allowed to celebrate the birth of their children or go to their wedding.They are no longer allowed to fully join in any funeral arrangements.They are no longer allowed to celebrate birthdays or special occasions with them.They are no longer allowed to go shopping with them.They are no longer allowed to contact them.10: If you were to leave your religious group, would remaining members separate themselves from you and cease to have ‘normal family life’ as in any of the above examples?
Time is Up!
If you are finding this helpful, you might find John’s story about his Cult Escape fascinating. See More